Former “Voice” coach Kelly Clarkson was the first winner of “American Idol” in 2002 and her debut single, “A Moment Like This,” reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Charts that same year. After numerous other chart-topping successes, Clarkson won Grammys in 2006 for Best Pop Vocal Album and Top Female Vocal Performance.
Now she’s fighting back against a lawsuit by her former father-in-law’s company, Starstruck Management Group, that claims she owes them at least $1.4 million for their role in turning her into a “mega superstar.”
Does Clarkson Owe Her Former Management Company Millions of Dollars?
Clarkson signed with Starstruck Management, owned by her now-former father-in-law Narvel Blackstock, in 2007. It was through her work with the agency that she met her now ex-husband and the father of her children, Brandon Blackstock. Clarkson filed for divorce from Brandon Blackstock in June 2020, and records show the divorce became final in 2022 with some details yet to be finalized.
Starstruck Management Group sued the 40-year-old pop culture icon in September 2020. In legal documents obtained by Heavy, Starstruck’s lawyers assert that “In 2007, Starstruck agreed to manage Clarkson’s career. Like any other client, Starstruck invested a great deal of time, money, energy, and dedication to Clarkson. Over the course of approximately thirteen years, Starstruck developed Clarkson into a mega superstar.”
The documents continue:
By way of example only, Starstruck was instrumental in helping Clarkson achieve success in terms of numerous hit albums, multiple Grammy wins and nominations, her role on popular television shows like The Voice and her own talk show. Despite Starstruck’s hard work and dedication, Clarkson has decided that she is going to stop paying Starstruck what is contractually owed. Through this lawsuit, Starstruck seeks to not only recover its commissions on millions of dollars that Clarkson has already earned, but also the millions of dollars that Clarkson will continue to earn, and which are owed to Starstruck for its prior hard work and dedication to Clarkson’s career.
According to the lawsuit, Starstruck Management Group said Clarkson owed them more than $1 million in unpaid commissions and would likely owe more than $5 million by the end of 2020.
According to People, the attorneys for the Blackstocks stated in 2020, “It is unfortunate that Kelly is again attempting to avoid paying commissions that are due and owing to Starstruck to try and achieve some perceived advantage in her ongoing custody and divorce proceedings.”
Clarkson Fights Back With Countersuit
Clarkson has insisted she does not owe Starstruck anything and in October 2020 filed a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner accusing Starstruck Management of breach of oral contract and violation of California’s Talent Agencies Act, seeking an order to declare the management agreement void, according to court documents obtained by Heavy.
According to court records, the talk show host said both Brandon Blackstock and Narvel Blackstock were unlicensed as talent agents and therefore her contract with the company should be deemed “void and unenforceable,” court records reveal.
Although the original lawsuit was filed by Starstruck in 2020, it is likely that it will continue to go on for at least another year. A new judge has been assigned, the Honorable Wendy Chang, which is likely contributing to the delay, according to Los Angeles Superior Court records.
The next hearing in the Starstruck case is scheduled for March 27, 2023, according to court records.