Kelly Clarkson is being careful of everyone involved in her ongoing divorce from Brandon Blackstock during what she says has been a "horribly sad" time.
The "Stronger" singer, 38, spoke to Entertainment Tonight about being open when it comes to sharing her personal experiences with fans, while also balancing that with her loved ones' privacy. Clarkson is mom to daughter River Rose, 6, and son Remington Alexander, 4, as well as stepmom to Blackstock's children from a previous marriage, Savannah, 18, and Seth, 13.
"The thing that's been kind of hard to navigate is I am an open book, but at some point I'm a mama bear more than I am a person in the public eye. So I care 100 percent more about my children than I do anything else on this planet," she said.
"So that's been the hard thing of, like, yes, I'm willing to share my experience and, yes, it is the worst," continued Clarkson. "I mean, the past few months have been horribly sad. But at the same time, I have to think, 'Hmmm, like, what I say has a domino effect in other people's lives.'"
The Voice coach further explained how social media and being in the public eye complicates a divorce for the entire family.
"Having kids that run the gamut of 4 to 19 is a really tough thing. And, you know, I've had conversations with one of our eldest about how difficult it is in the public eye when your parents are so … you know, one of them is so prominent and having to navigate that for them is hard on their hearts," she said. "I'm just careful also while being real."
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Clarkson went on to say of the split that "nothing's wrong with anybody" and that "it happens, and that's why there's nothing to hide about it in that sense."
"You know, it's just, divorce is a really s—-y thing," she said.
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The American Idol winner reflected on why she's so open about her life, saying that coming from a small town simply meant everyone knew everything about each other.
"I mean, if anything, I've fought my entire career just to be me," she said. "Because most managers and publicists get nervous with me because I am an open book, and labels and people frowned upon it early on. But, I don't do it for anyone else, honestly."
She continues: "I don't know, I come from a small town, I'm used to everybody knowing everything anyway … I feel like if you're hiding something, there must be something wrong with it. And there's nothing wrong with anything — life just kind of happens, and it takes turns that you don't expect and are sad."
A source previously told PEOPLE that Clarkson would surely make it a point to put her kids first in her divorce from Blackstock, 43. "She had to work through a lot of hurt from her childhood," said the source close to Clarkson, whose emotional 2015 song "Piece by Piece" was written about her father's abandonment and the stability she found in Blackstock.
"Her priority is making sure her children grow up in a stable, loving environment," added the source. "… She's always thought of Seth and Savannah as her own too, and she has a special relationship with both of them. Kelly wants to remain close with her step-kids."
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