Kelly Clarkson: ‘Once I got married and had kids, my empowerment grew’


Kelly Clarkson’s new album, The Meaning of Life, dropped this week. I haven’t heard it yet but I unabashedly love Kelly and generally like her music. Fortunately for us, new music means more Kelly as she makes her way along the promotional path. Recently she made headlines by saying “When I was really skinny, I wanted to kill myself.” That singular quote was pulled out of context by most agencies. CB elaborated nicely about Kelly’s point being that nobody cared about her mental state because of her physical appearance. Because Kelly dares to be comfortable in her own skin, it seems to be what most people want to talk about. Like, how dare she live her best life at a normal size. Recently Kelly furthered her comments about her state of mind and how now, as a wife and mother, she feels more empowered than ever.

While Clarkson, 35, says she’s “never felt the need to be a certain weight,” there have been moments of insecurity.

In 2007 she admitted she was bulimic for a short time in her early teens because she felt she’d get better parts in her school musicals if she was thinner. And she recently told Attitude magazine, “When I was really skinny, I wanted to kill myself. I was miserable, like, inside and out, for four years of my life. But no one cared, because aesthetically you make sense.”

But at her recent iHeartRadio album-release party in L.A., Clarkson clarified those comments had more to do with having to smile through the “arranged marriage” of her first post-Idol record deal and the stresses of her career rather than feeling suicidal: “People are always pushing us, but we’re also pushing ourselves and you don’t really know your limits until it’s too late sometimes.”

Helping Clarkson find balance is her husband, music manager Brandon Blackstock, 40, and their children — Clarkson’s stepkids Savannah and Seth, as well as daughter River Rose, 3, and 18-month-old son Remington Alexander.

“I feel sexy and far more intelligent and wiser,” Clarkson says of life as a wife and mom. “I don’t think you have to get married. I don’t think you have to have children. But once I got married and had kids, my level of empowerment grew to another level.”
Clarkson credits her family for giving her the life experience necessary to record Meaning of Life.

“A lot of these songs you have to have lived for you to be able to sing them,” she says. “And I’m living!”

[From People]

Maybe I’m too much of a Kelly apologist but I feel like this is being taken out of context as well. The way I read her comment was that she was saying public perception is that once you become a mom and married, your sex appeal index drops, which affects your self worth. But what she’s discovered is that contrary to that, she feels even stronger and sexier than ever before. I really don’t think she – in any way – is saying a woman needs to be married or have kids to feel empowered. The way I see it is, like many of you said similarly, my 40s have been the best decade of my life. In my case, I just happened to have been married with kids during my 40s so it’s hard to separate the two.

Honestly, I think Kelly is mainly addressing people associating weight gain with unhappiness and trying to say it isn’t true. I am all here for that message. Weight gain can come from childbirth, treatment that is saving your life, menopause, as well as simply not making weight your sole focus. There are many positive reasons a person moves away from a size 2, so let’s celebrate them.



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33 Responses to “Kelly Clarkson: ‘Once I got married and had kids, my empowerment grew’”

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  1. Alison says:

    I like her and I love this. I identify fully – I was completely independent from 18 to 35 and not planning to procreate when I met the person who became my husband. Was happy and whole then, but happier now because it’s a happy relationship with a happy kid.

    I get the wiser and more intelligent thing too… part of it is just age but when you’re married you spend WAY more time engaged in conversation than when you lived alone. More discussions = more thinking, reading etc.

    Also: I love her body esthetic. She is a world class singer to start with and has made me cry many times. Her job is not to be skinny. She is vibrant and healthy and happy. Good for her.

    • Zondie says:

      I agree with Kelly. I was always independent and driven but after my marriage I was happier and more at peace. People noticed and mentioned it to me. When I had my first child I became more confident and capable. I don’t think Kelly is saying you should get married and/or have kids, just that this unexpected change in her inner life happened. And I agree because the same thing happened to me. A beautiful surprise. Also Kelly has such a great voice and I appreciate her honestly about appearance in the music industry.

  2. Enough Already says:

    It’s quite clear she was talking about her own experience and not generalizing to all women. However, her contradictions about her weight confuse me. How can you say you didn’t feel pressure to be a certain size and then say you were once bulemic in order to get parts in school musicals?If you had an ED then you were concerned. She seems to be in a great place now but there are teens out there with disordered eating issues who love pop culture.

  3. polonoscopy says:

    It’s just… yeah. Saying “you’ll be happier with a man and kids” is kind of a main theme in the whole history of women’s oppression. I can’t help but bristle.

    • annabanana says:

      Yeah I grew up with that thinking instilled in me, plus I come from a catholic country where it’s kinda expected. Having kids do change you’re life for me positively getting married not so much, if I knew then what I know now I would’ve just had kids by myself. I understand the empowerment thing she’s saying just can’t articulate it well. Don’t get me wrong having kids isn’t for everyone, but for ME it’s best thing and hardest thing that happened to me.

    • BendyWindy says:

      But that’s not what she said. She said, “YOU don’t have to get married. YOU don’t have to have kids.” But when SHE did, it empowered her.

      I’m a pretty militant feminist. I didn’t need to get married. I didn’t need to have kids. But once I did, I found myself, never a shrinking violet, even more willing to use my voice when necessary. My kids made me feel stronger, even though I wasn’t weak before–because they are relying on me to fight for them. That is my story. It is Kelly’s story. It doesn’t have to be any other woman’s story. That’s what feminism is about: choice.

  4. Erinn says:

    I really don’t like her much. I find her to be super grating at times, and I really can’t stand her music. A lot of people consider her to be very talented – but I think she ultimately did so well based on being “real” and “different” than the Christina’s and the Brittney’s. She hit the scene with great timing, and the American Idol machine didn’t drive her into the ground – which is impressive, really. She’s got an alright voice but I find her music so boring.

    But despite me being annoyed by her – she’s got some good messages. Not all of the things she says are great, but I do appreciate that she preferred to take a hit career wise over working with Dr. Luke ever again.

    She’s saying that for HER she’s feeling her best. She’s feeling sexy, empowered, amazing. For her – marriage and kids did that. For someone else it might be traveling, or starting a business.

    Ultimately, it’s nice to see her feeling good. I think at the end of the day she’s probably a great person – and I always feel a little guilty for being so annoyed by her. But I also recognize that she means well and that’s half the battle. So good for Kelly – I’m glad she’s happy, and I’m glad being a mom and stepmom is something she loves – it’s so nice to see kids with access to people who are genuinely on their team. So many terrible parents are out there that it’s nice to hear stories from the ones that love life with their ‘littles’.

  5. magnoliarose says:

    I think she is very honest about her experiences with pressure to be something her body wasn’t meant to be. How could she be happy when she is fighting against her body and hurting herself in the process? She has struggled with her weight and fluctuated up and down, and that is far worse for her health than maintaining a size that is right for her genetics and isn’t stressful. Larger or smaller it shouldn’t determine a woman’s self-worth or rule her life.
    She has an amazing voice and two little sugar dumplings that are adorable and a great career. Her music isn’t my taste, but her voice is undeniable.

    After she was a Ron Paul supporter, I sort of intentionally ignored her, but a positive body message is always a good thing.

    Addressing what Hecate said about why someone might carry a few extra pounds-My doctor thinks the hormones, preservatives, chemicals, additives, and medications that are used because of unhealthy farming practices have caused hormonal and endocrine problems for Americans. Drugs can cause liver problems, and a person wouldn’t even know it. Fatty liver disease is an epidemic, and most people who have it don’t even know it, and it can make it impossible to lose weight. She has so many patients that do all the recommended things and can’t lose weight leading to depression and frustration. Our liver controls our metabolism so it makes sense and she said fixing the problem has made a huge difference for people struggling.
    I just wanted to throw that out there since I read here that many ladies in the community are frustrated and thought maybe it could be helpful to someone. It isn’t fair to feel bad at all much less because invisible forces are working against you.

    I am not sure how I feel about her empowerment statement, but it is a good thing she is happy.

    • FHMom says:

      Your doctor’s theory sounds plausible. I’m going through menopause and feel like anytime I start eating processed food, I gain weight. I also stopped taking Wellbutrin after about 7 months because in addition to feeling like it didn’t help me any, I felt it was causing me to gain weight.

  6. ShaunaShyBlackGurl says:

    Keyword is,”I” not “you” or “we”
    But of course, people will project or purposely misconstrue her words to make them mean what they want them to mean.

  7. ShaunaShyBlackGurl says:


  8. David says:

    She was great on Stern yesterday!

  9. Pansy says:

    Y’all, she’s not even that overweight. Yes, bigger than she was, but as a woman in my 40′s, who isn’t?! He voice is amazing, her stories and transparency is refreshing. I hate that Bc she’s happy with herself the media is all like “HEADLINE: SOMEONE CHUBBY [or naturally very thin] IS ALSO HAPPY” anytime people have overcome personal weight stigmas.

  10. Wren33 says:

    I think I understand where she is coming from. Prior to kids especially, her body was basically just something to think about in the context of how it did or did not conform to popstar standards. Now both her body and mind are something that are valuable in producing, supporting and engaging with her family. Probably a different context for a woman in a time/place where she was only valuable to her husband and kids.

  11. word says:

    Kelly Clarkson: ‘Once I got married and had kids, my empowerment grew’…among other things…

    • Enough Already says:

      You’re the reason parents should put passwords on the home computer. Shouldn’t you be at the orthodontist or getting ready for recess or rearring our boy band posters. Or something.

    • Ladidah says:

      @word you are male, right?

      This time article – – says it all. over focus on body size (aka dieting from a young age) tends to result in either eating disorders like bulimia and sometimes obesity. What is too thin for women?! What is too big!?No one can agree. In the 1960s we sold weight gain supplements for women, now we see Hollywood women and musicians regularly lose weight to be more desirable. But fifty years ago it was all about curves, and even 100+ years ago it was “in” to be plump (like Queen Victoria).

      Being anxious about how you look in order to fit societal standards of beauty affects both men and women, so don’t think you are immune from being trolled or feeling insecure about your appearance.

      Weight gain happens to a lot of people as a natural part of aging, or sometimes they are Vikings and born big and tall. My parents and grandparents got wrinkly, added some belly and water weight from medications, and are still wonderful people.

      I think it is sad she is relating she had bulimia – a deadly mental illness – and all you can say is a variation of ‘shoulda kept the mental illness ‘cuz you gave me a boner’ then. Please.

      I hope your partner is as understanding about your weight as you are.

  12. Margo S. says:

    Her children are so beautiful. I love Kelly Clarkson. Shes incredibly talented and super sweet!

  13. lucy2 says:

    She’s saying that’s what worked for her, and clearly says you don’t have to do the same to find happiness.
    I think age plays a big part too, I too have been happier and more sure of myself as I get older. I don’t have a spouse or kids, but I have taken the time to go back to things I love doing, and it’s made a difference. Thank goodness too, considering how depressing everything is right now.
    Just purchased her new album! I’ve been looking forward to it for a while. I love her voice, and a lot of her music, she’s one of the few pop artists I like anymore. She’s super talented.

  14. Maggie says:

    Sorry, but calling her “normal size” is not correct as she is not “normal” as in acceptable medically for her height. Maybe it’s “normal” socially because so many people are fat but fact is she’s overweight.

    • Ann says:

      I agree. She is obese. I don’t mean that a judgement but merely a statement of fact. Her wrists are chubby. It’s great that she’s happy with her current weight but she’d probably be a lot more comfortable if she lost some weight. I’ve lost about 50 lbs in the last few years and it simply makes life easier. Although I do feel for her getting all this attention because of her body. I’m still not used to how people treat me now compared to when I was heavier. She has such a great attitude though, I bet she will handle it well if she does make some changes.

      • Miss Kittles says:

        Do you consider Ashley Graham obese as well??
        I think you need to look around & refine what obese really looks like!

      • Ann says:

        I was obese. I know what it looks like. It’s not an insult, it’s medically defined criteria. Ashley Graham is likely considered medically obese as well.

    • jayem says:

      @Maggie, Wow! That’s quite a talent; to be able to tell someone’s BMI and how healthy they are just by looking. You should join the circus. But just to get you out of society.

      @Ann, I just feel bad for you. Self-hating is not gonna lead you great places in life. How “chubby” were your wrists 50 pounds ago?

      • jugil1 says:

        @ jayem, Thank you! You said it better than I did.

      • Ann says:

        I was about 20 lbs overweight before I lost weight, which put me in the range of obese. The first thing I noticed getting thinner were my wrists and fingers, so they were pretty fat before I started changing my lifestyle.

        And did you not read my comment? I wasn’t being mean so I’m not sure why you’re trowing insults at me. The article mentioned her weight so that’s what I commented on, politely. I’m not self-hating, I’m a healthy person who made a positive change in my life to correct a weight problem. Being overweight is problematic, any doctor will tell you that.

    • jugil1 says:

      @ Maggie & @ Ann, spare me your faux concern over how labeling Kelly as overweight is wrong. You simply want to be able to call her names such as “obese” & “fat”.

  15. DesertReal says:

    Good for her. She’s awesome & I’m glad she has something outside her career that has empowered & fulfilled her.
    Nothing to see/take out of context here.

  16. TeresaMaria says:

    I am all for positive body image etc., but that does not change the fact that she is overweight. If she is happy – kudos to her! But I hate when skinny people have to deal with “Oh you are such a skeleton and why don’t you eat” nonsense, but being overweight is considered to be “happy and bubbly and whatnot”

    • jayem says:

      You are not for positive body image if you insist someone you have never met – much less weighed – is overweight.

      Since we’re all armchair physicians now, I think *you* are just a hateful person. And unhappy. Maybe if you ate, you’d be bubbly and whatnot, just like Kelly.

  17. Loca says:

    Love Kelly and her music! Keep doing your thing . Beautiful babies. What I love about her is that she always dresses for her weight. Its obnoxious to see people wear too tight clothing, bikinis when they clearly are not fit. Just wear the size you are for your body type.

  18. Lyb says:

    She seems like a nice person, but with so much weight, that hair and make up, she looks around 50 to me.