Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock had been facing marital issues for some time, but their time in quarantine "exacerbated" those struggles to the point that the American Idol alum filed for divorce. These new allegations come from a source close to the former couple, who told PEOPLE that the couple's time in Montana only made the divide in their relationship that much more difficult to overlook and heal.
As the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe and forced most states to issue stay-at-home orders, Clarkson, Blackstock, and their two children headed to their "Vintage Valley" ranch in Montana. Although "their marriage was so strong," cracks that had already been formed were amplified as they hunkered down. According to the source, "it was a stressful time" and quarantining "exacerbated any issues" they already had.
Clarkson herself had opened up about the difficulty of quarantine in a recent interview with Glamour UK, where she likened it to an "emotional roller coaster." Clarkson said it had "been really hard as a working parent, because I'm still doing all the same jobs" on top of caring for her children, who were now home due to closures. She said that recent weeks had been "exhausting."
According to a second source, the couple had already been experiencing issues prior to heading out of sunny Los Angeles and to Montana, in part due to their careers. The source said that "things had changed in their marriage and the split was a while coming" and they had "been like friends for a while" With Clarkson busy with her talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, as well as acting as a coach on The Voice, and Blackstock busy with his own career, it was "nearly impossible to enjoy each other, especially with the children needing constant attention."
Although she "thought Brandon was her happily ever after," Clarkson eventually came to the realization that after nearly seven years of marriage, divorce was their only option. She officially filed documents in Los Angeles on June 4, citing "irreconcilable differences," listing their date of separation as "TBD," and requesting that the court uphold their prenuptial agreement. She also asked for joint legal and physical custody of their two children and to have her last name restored to Clarkson.
Clarkson is currently staying in Los Angeles amid the divorce proceedings, with a source stating that it is a "very sad" time for her. She was recently spotted strolling through the neighborhood without her wedding ring. She has not yet publicly commented on her and Blackstock's separation.