Kelly Clarkson “Feels Like a Weight Has Lifted” After Leaving ‘The Voice’ and Moving to New York

Last year was full of changes for Kelly Clarkson. Notably, she left The Voice and finalized her divorce from Brandon Blackstock after two years of separation. Now, after two decades, Clarkson has relocated her life and her daytime talk show to New York.

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Season 5 of The Kelly Clarkson Show premiered on Monday (October 16). Fans saw a reinvigorated Clarkson walking onto the set for the first time in months. After major changes in her life, the Grammy winner told USA Today she’s happier than she’s been in years.

“Full disclosure, I put on a smile a lot of those times because I was struggling a lot in my personal life,” she said of her time on The Voice. At the time, she was pulling double duty hosting her talk show and being a coach on the singing competition.

[RELATED: Watch: Kelly Clarkson Duet “Stronger” with Billy Porter]

Clarkson calls those hard years a learning experience. “I’ve learned a lot about what I’m capable of handling and also what you should not handle,” she explained. “That was me saying ‘bye’ to The Voice and having this big move. I love the family, but I was like, ‘I’m struggling. I can’t smile anymore, I don’t feel like smiling.’”

The Voice wasn’t the only thing Clarkson waved farewell to recently. After living and working in Los Angeles for two decades, she moved across the country. However, New York wasn’t her first choice. “I knew I needed a fresh start and couldn’t be in LA. I really wanted to be in Montana, but you can’t really do a show there quite yet. So I was like, ‘The only other option would probably be New York.’”

Before long, Clarkson said she learned to genuinely love the Big Apple. However, she had her doubts in the beginning. She thought she was making a “horrible” choice, but pushed through her anxiety. She had high standards for her new home, though. Most importantly, it had to be a good place for her two kids, River Rose, 9, and Remington, 7, to live. “I was like, ‘I’m not living there unless it’s right by the park and really nice for the kids,’” she explained.

“What’s cool for me with season 5 is I am in such a great place, not only with my kids but with me personally and with the show,” Clarkson revealed. “I feel like a weight has lifted. … The thing I’m most excited about with season 5, on a selfish level, is just showing up to work smiling and actually meaning it.”

(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

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