While Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock’s recent divorce comes as a shock to most, an insider revealed to PEOPLE how the couple has been butting heads for quite some time.
“It just came out of nowhere. Their marriage was so strong,” says a source close to both Blackstock and Clarkson, who filed for divorce on June 4.
Between busy careers and four kids, the cracks in their marriage revealed themselves during self-isolating in Montana amid the coronavirus pandemic over the past few months.
“It was a stressful time,” says a source. “[Quarantining in Montana] exacerbated any issues.”
After getting married in 2013, Clarkson, 38, and the music manager, 43, welcomed their daughter River Rose, 6. And two years later, their son, Remington Alexander, 4, joined the family, which included Blackstock’s children, Savannah, 18, and Seth, 13, from his previous marriage.
“We’ve been in really close quarters and it’s been kind of nuts. I’m not going to lie,” Clarkson, who continued working on her upcoming album as well as filmed remote episodes of The Voice and The Kelly Clarkson Show — told PEOPLE back in May about life in Montana.
“There’s definitely some cabin fever going on. It’s challenging being a working mom.”
Clarkson and Blackstock have “been like friends for a while,” and work demands put a strain on their relationship, according to another insider.
“Things had changed in their marriage and the split was a while coming,” says the insider.
“They both work so hard. It’s nearly impossible to enjoy each other, especially with the children needing constant attention.”
Clarkson continues to work and focus on the children now that the family has returned to Los Angeles. “Kelly’s been through a lot, and she thought Brandon was her happily ever after,” says the source. “It’s very sad.”