Why Kelly Clarkson's Ex Brandon Blackstock Owed Her Big Bucks Three Years After Their Divorce

Brandon Blackstock and Kelly Clarkson had us all convinced their relationship would last forever. The "Since U Been Gone" hitmaker first laid eyes on Blackstock back in 2006, at a rehearsal for the Academy of Country Music Awards. Years later, Clarkson admitted to People that she instantly knew he was the one, but their paths didn't cross again until the 2012 Super Bowl. The couple started dating that very same year, and in December, Blackstock popped the question. They tied the knot in October 2013 and welcomed their first child, River Rose, in 2014, followed by their second, Remington Alexander, in 2016. 

Over the years, Clarkson has gushed about their lovely relationship in several interviews. So, everyone was shocked when the "American Idol" winner filed for divorce in June 2020 after an almost seven-year marriage. But a source put some questions to rest by offering insight into their split to Us Weekly: "They clashed on so many levels, and being in quarantine together heightened their problems to the point of no return. So she filed for divorce." They continued, "Everyone thought Kelly and Brandon had the perfect marriage, but they definitely didn't. Brandon's very laid-back, whereas Kelly's pretty high-strung." 

In April 2023, Clarkson released "Me" and seemingly called out Blackstock with the scathing lyrics, confirming that things weren't as perfect behind the scenes as we assumed. Meanwhile, the former couple's legal battle raged on in court and made for a messy divorce, as they were both ordered to pay millions to the other.

Blackstock was ordered to pay Clarkson $2.6 million

According to legal documents obtained by People, a California labor commissioner ordered Brandon Blackstock to pay Kelly Clarkson a staggering $2.6 million in December 2023. Throughout their relationship, he also served as Clarkson's manager through his father's management firm, Starstruck. Under this role, Blackstock was supposed to handle the day-to-day workings of Clarkson's life. However, he overstepped his bounds and illegally ventured into the role of a talent agent by landing her jobs. The labor commissioner ruled that his actions went against California's Talent Agencies Act (TAA). 

It also called for Blackstock to pay back the hefty commissions he garnered from the gigs he'd landed Clarkson over the years, which included her role as a judge on "The Voice," a promotional contract with a Norwegian cruise ship line, a Wayfair collab, and a two-year deal to host the Billboard Music Awards. Blackstock's legal team appealed the ruling and requested a fresh trial. 

In 2020, Starstruck Management Group sued Clarkson because she allegedly owed them $1.4 million in unpaid commissions after already shelling out $1.9 million. Clarkson countersued for illegal procurement. At the time, Blackstock's father, Narvel, issued a statement: "[Clarkson's petition] conveniently ignores the fact that Kelly had her own licensed talent agency [Creative Artists Agency] at all times. While Starstruck Management Group provided talent management services on her behalf, it did so at all times that CAA was her agency of record," (via Us Weekly). 

Clarkson has also paid Blackstock millions of dollars

According to The Blast, when their divorce was finalized, Kelly Clarkson agreed to pay $1.3 million to Blackstock as a one-time payment. According to documents obtained by Us Weekly, the estranged couple share joint legal custody over their two children, but Clarkson was awarded primary custody after the court ruled that the relationship wasn't solid enough for healthy co-parenting. Per their agreement, Blackstock can only visit on certain weekends but virtually stays in touch with them throughout the week at stipulated times. 

The Blast also noted that Clarkson has to shell out $45,601 a month in child support alongside a one-off payment of $50,000 to cover their kids' travel expenses. If that wasn't enough, she also has to pay her former husband monthly spousal support of $115,000 until January 31, 2024. Blackstock and Clarkson also got into a legal spat over their $17.7 million Montana ranch. Clarkson wanted to sell the property, but since Blackstock resided there and intended to become a rancher, he was vehemently against the sale.

People reported that they'd reached a settlement whereby Clarkson received complete ownership of the property and gave Blackstock 5.12% of the estate. Likewise, he gained control over assets like livestock, cars, and a flight simulator. Clarkson seemingly shared her feelings on the grueling battle in her song, "Red Flag Collector," by writing, "You can take my money / Drag my name 'round town / I don't mind, I changed it anyway."