Kelly Clarkson’s parents split up when she was just 6-years-old, and 10 years later, she began writing her hit song “Because of You.” The heartbreaking lyrics were inspired by the pain she experienced when her parents divorced, and her father’s subsequent abandonment of her family, according to Country Living.
When she was 20-years-old, Clarkson went on to become the first ever American Idol. The track was released on her second album, Breakaway, and throughout the rest of her career she continued to have a strained relationship with her father.
Not much is known about her father outside of Clarkson’s abandonment issues with him. According to a 2007 biography from Fox News, Stephen Michael Clarkson is a former engineer. While Fox says his first name is Michael, the majority of other sources say it’s Stephen Michael, according to Bustle.
In an interview with Scandinavian talk show Skavlan, Clarkson discussed her absent father, and her life growing up without him. “I know a lot of people go, ‘Aww,’ but it’s not really that situation,” she said on the talk show (which can be viewed above). “I think if you don’t grow up with it, it’s hard to miss something you never had.”
Clarkson said that she attempted to reach out to him several time throughout her career, and that she eventually just gave up after she realized that her attempts were in vain, and she started to feel humiliated by her attempts to reach him.
“You’re like, I shouldn’t have to work this hard for someone’s love. Like, that’s a little ridiculous,” she continued. “And at that point, too, you grow up so much to where you go, okay, I don’t even think you’re capable (of love).”
Clarkson lost her estranged father last year, and she opened up to Forbes about how the song “Piece by Piece,” which she often performs for fans, chokes her up every time she sings it. It is unclear how her father died, but she did tell Forbes that she’s been dealing with his death, which happened a few months back.
“That song for me, personally, behind the scenes, it’s evolved mostly for me. So, like, from the moment I wrote it, just being pregnant with my little girl and then, you know, all the moments that I really did try and make it work with my father and life and just get completely let down to where …,” she said. “You know he passed away months ago. So that’s why.”
She continued: “The emotional state of that song for me, just for just many different reasons, it’s like a loss on a lot of different levels. So I think it’s always when I get to that last part of the song that it really does [get emotional].”
Kelly continued to tell Forbes that it “sucks to sing,” but that she hopes she will eventually be “fine.” Still, she continues to struggle with the reasons surrounding why she wrote the song in the first place. “It’s just the sense of loss that I just don’t know if I’ll ever not feel just because I’m a mom, I’m a mom of two kids that aren’t even from my womb that I still couldn’t imagine treating the way that I was. I think that was just a really hard one for me still. But I have to sing it and I get it.”
The singer, who shares two stepchildren and two biological children with her husband, Brandon Blackstock, said she feels sorry for her father and the life he missed out on having with his grandchildren and her siblings.
Catch Clarkson on the sixteenth season of The Voice, premiering Monday, February 25, on NBC. Clarkson is joining Blake Shelton and Adam Levine, who are returning as coaches for this season, as well as newcomer John Legend on the show.