Kelly Clarkson on Her Daughter River: Motherhood Has Changed My World

02/25/2015 at 08:00 AM ET

Kelly Clarkson opens up about marriage, the joys of being a mom and her emotional new album Piece by Piece. Subscribe now for instant access to her exclusive interview and personal family photos, only in this issue of PEOPLE!

Kelly Clarkson never thought her life would look like this. Within a year, she became a wife and a mother of three and couldn’t be happier about it.

“My whole life took a big 180,” the singer — who releases Piece by Piece, her first non-holiday album since 2011, on March 3 – tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “I never thought I was going to be a mom, so it’s very much changed my world in the most awesome way.”

Kelly Clarkson River PEOPLE Cover
Anders Overgaard

These days, her life with husband Brandon Blackstock, 38, their daughter River Rose, 8 months, and her stepkids Savannah, 13, and Seth, 8, is a blissful, chaotic mix of homework, diapers, and date nights. And while she still makes time for the globetrotting duties of a pop star, her perspective has shifted.

“I love what I do, but I feel like I relied on my career a lot for my self-worth. And now I’m more than that,” says Clarkson, 32, during the revealing interview at her Nashville-area home. “I’m a mother and a wife and have this whole other thing going on.”
Since giving birth to River — whom Clarkson calls “the happiest baby on the planet” — the singer has felt an unexpected emotion.

“I have a certain level of peace I didn’t know was going to come with it,” she says. And within her new life, which helped heal some of the wounds caused by her own parents’ divorce, she has found a renewed purpose.

“My best friend always says, ‘You just want to create the family you never had.’ I might be doing that,” Clarkson adds. “In defense of my family, it happens. People fall out of love, and people go separate ways. People are human. I’ve accomplished a lot, but I guess the biggest success I want is that whenever I die people will say, ‘She was so successful as a mother, and as a wife.’ That’s kind of my big goal.”

For more of PEOPLE’s exclusive interview with Clarkson, including more personal family photos, pick up the latest issue of the magazine, on newsstands Friday.


— Mary Margaret

FILED UNDER: Babies , Exclusive , News , Parenting

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Showing 76 comments

sue on

Her baby is adorable. Unfortunately, Kelly doesn’t look like a pop star anymore. She looks much older with the fake blonde hair and baby weight. Lose the hair color and the extra weight, then she will look like the rocker she was.

jacque on

Beautiful cover. River Rose is just like her mommy, happy and bubbly.

sjs89 on

Kelly’s real hair color is blonde but she looks better with brown hair.

sara on

Love Kelly. Love her music. Hate her stylist. They dress her like she is either a teen or a 50+ year old.

georgiaonmymind on

She looks beautiful and perfect! There is more to life than fame and fortune! Family and relationships (good, lasting ones) are what life is all about! Congratulations on your beautiful family!

Denise on

Precious photo!

Hea on

I had no idea she had stepkids.

dancer92136 on

She is happy and normal…how refreshing. I forgot one thing talented too.

duh on

@sjs89, NO ONE over the age of 20 has “real” blonde hair…duh.

Lorett on

Cute kid, but what’s the point photographing her almost naked when mom is fully dressed in a jacket.

Juli on

What a beautiful picture of mother and daughter!

Amanda on

Wow..shush ladies! Kelly is awesome! PERIOD!

rooroo on

You go girl! So happy for you Kelly. I wish you and your sweethearts a long and happy life together.:-)

wally on

Hate the blond hair she looks better with brown Hair

Amaryllis on

She looks like she’s doubled her weight. If she wants to be around for her kid, she’d better do something about it.

Peppa on

There is a lot more to Kelly Clarkson than her weight. Yet, so many people seem to be focused on it. She is a happy wife and mother, who happens to be a great singer.

Adrienne @ MidwesternBelle.com on

Almost all of these comments are about her appearance…personally, I’m thrilled she is so happy and could care less about her hair style, stylist, etc! Happiness is more beautiful than any hairstyle, weight or outfit in my opinion.

Carrie M on

This is one happy baby!! Sure wish I were as happy as River Rose!!

Marine on

@sue what crawled up your ass? If she feels comfortable at her weight then why the hell do you care if she has a few extra? Her weight isn’t what makes her a singer its that kickass voice that she is.

Not Happening on

Wow. Mean people. You take a wonderful article and talk about her weight. She’s a real person. All those talking about her weight, you all are complete jerks!

She looks beautiful and her baby is such a happy baby. You can see that from all the pictures she takes of River.

CherylS on

@Amaryllis: She has a little extra baby weight but she’s hardly morbidly obese so I don’t think she has to be concerned about not seeing her kid grow up. Cut the girl a break; she had a baby eight months ago and being with her little one instead of her chef and trainer is her priority right now.

sue on

Kelly has talked about her weight many times before baby. When she was dating her now husband she did an interview about losing weight basically to catch him and be healthier. Once she got him the pounds came back.

jessica on

She has great values and her daughter is lucky to have her as a mom:)

Gussie on

River and Kelly look awesome. Kelly’s new CD drops March 3rd. Can’t wait to get it and People magazine. I may just buy a few copies of each!! I’m a great fan of Kelly. Her music really touches my heart and soul. Her interpretation of what she sings is stellar. To me, Kelly has one of the greatest voices of our time.

flasun85 on

@duh, you’re a moron. I’m 29 and I have never colored my hair. It is as blonde as the day is long.

tracey on

Makes me sick how that woman was trying to get her 15 minutes of fame by bashing Kelly’s weight recently. Kelly is beautiful and truly one of the best female vocalist of our time. She’s glowing with happiness and love for River Rose, and I wish she and her little baby girl all the best!

allisonhazen on

sue on February 25th, 2015: She just gave birth. Baby weight should be normal.

Debs626 on

So happy for Kelly!!!
Her daughter is absolutely adorable!!

lilly pond on

Gross. Her husband was married at the time they hooked up. She broke up a marriage. Don’t like her.

Debs626 on

Amaryllis..I would love to know what your stupid a$$ looks like??? I bet you are no beauty queen. Kelly looks fabulous, she is happy and healthy and your jealousy is laughable.

libba on

Kelly looks older than she really is. I agree her stylist needs to go.

PAT on

This cute baby! Good luck on selling lots of new MUSIC!

Romancegirl on

I don’t know if Kelly thinks we’re all stupid, but we can all count to 9. She was pregnant when she got married. She is now grossly overweight and her bleached hair is ugly. I think her baby is overweight as well. What about her own mom and dad. Why doesn’t she ever talk about them? They got divorced but they’re still her parents. Kelly Clarkson is a phony. What a stupid article.

IrisMingle on

So cute!

Sabra on

How precious is she! An angel!

Anonymous on

I wonder why her stepkids don’t live with their mother??

Eden on

I wonder why her stepkids don’t live with their mother?

Texas Gal on

Shame on all you women who are bashing a fellow mom and woman! How in the world are women supposed to get passed the stigma of always having to look good in order to sell music, movies or whatever. Right now, her family and baby’s needs are more important than losing the weight. It is bad enough when you are not a celebrity. Instead of kicking her, why not lift her up and encourage her?/

Missy on

Damn Kathy I think you need to take a chill..she never said it was exclusively hers. Maybe you can become a star and People magazine will give a ish that you had a baby too….Kelly and her daughter are adorable!

dancer92136 on

@lilypond..your post is so wrong. His ex sings Kelly’s praises and she to has moved with someone else. They split long before his relationship with Kelly.

Missy on

@lilly pond…his ex wife stated they were not together when Kelly and Brandon go together. Please only comment on ish you know. She did not break up any marriage

happy on

Aww such a cute baby.

Lois on

Really don’t like her at all how she rush to get pregnant after she got married. She knew he already had kids. Her career has suffered because are it. Saying that people didn’t want to work with her. She didn’t give people a chance being so high minded. She has became like other celebrities that think having a child solve things and it don’t. And for thosethat not having fame and fortune is wrong. Really? She need ti get her career on track or she will be nothing anymore.

Missy on

Sue, you have to be the most ignorant judgmental idiot out there. “Lose the extra baby weight” ?? Really? How about this, shut up and let people be happy. I am glad she isn’t these anorexic idiots who starve themselves or work out 8 hours a day. She focuses on her family. She is probably losing the weight a healthier way which is smart and it takes longer. I am tiny myself and bounced back right after and you don’t see me judging others who have a harder time doing so. Congrats Kelly! Your’re beautiful the way that you are and screw these idiots who do nothing but put others down on a media website just to make themselves feel better. Sick and sad but that is the messed up world we live in. Bunch of bullies.

JustMe on

Sue, you have to be the most ignorant judgmental idiot out there. “Lose the extra baby weight” ?? Really? How about this, shut up and let people be happy. I am glad she isn’t these anorexic idiots who starve themselves or work out 8 hours a day. She focuses on her family. She is probably losing the weight a healthier way which is smart and it takes longer. I am tiny myself and bounced back right after and you don’t see me judging others who have a harder time doing so. Congrats Kelly! Your’re beautiful the way that you are and screw these idiots who do nothing but put others down on a media website just to make themselves feel better. Sick and sad but that is the messed up world we live in. Bunch of bullies.

Anonymous on

Sorry “Duh”, but you are incorrect. I am almost 60 and am still blonde. NATURALLY blonde. It has to do with genetics, not age.

Guest on

That baby has the most adorably large head. Lol

I’m Standing Right Behind You on

That is one adorable baby…many blessings to Kelly and her family.

Amaryllis on

@Debs626. It looks mighty fine. I don’t eat half a cow for lunch.

CC on

@Lois, you obviously debate about as well as you construct a sentence and spell. Is your life completly devoid of joy?

Alice on

Chubby and bad hair cut just like her mother.

wragged on

Real blonds don’t have brown roots.

Stacey on

@Alice – Did you say the baby has a bad haircut?? The baby that is less than a year old & barely has any hair? Wow..some people are ridiculous!

Lenora on

YUM Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice! Congrats to the happy
family! I’ve always been a fan and like how Kelly is combining home
and work successfully. I’m a babysitter on call! :)

danceygirl on

Yes, I’m glad Kelly is happy being a Mom and she has right to look however she wants. I think what most people are reacting is it’s a bit of a shock to see how heavy she has gotten. The last picture most of us saw was her wedding picture and she looks like a completely different person in two short years. Since half of the US population is overweight most people will probably think she looks fine and defend her.

ginag on

@duh, excuse me. I’m 48 and still have my NATURAL blonde hair!!! No, it’s not gray, it’s BLONDE!!! Have been accused since I was in my 20’s of it being colored because “no one” has natural blonde hair anymore. Hear to tell you, I do. As well as my sister and brother!

wragged on

Calm down ginag. Kelly has black roots. Most brown haired people were blond as kids.

wragged on

Calm down, ginag. Kelly has dark brown roots. Its not about you.

Acompletemystery on

@Sue: You’re a very shallow person.

Carolyn on

The baby looks happy, but she is not cute. Go ahead, heap abuse on me.

Lisa on

who cares. These celebrities think they are the only ppl who have babies. I haven’t met a woman that hasn’t changed when becoming a mother…..ugh

gardenboy on

River? She might just as well call her swamp.

Michelle on

Is the left side of her head shaved? And if so, why?!

Brooke on

Ew! Her hair! Why is everyone doing the Demi Lovato side shave thing? It’s hideous! I see it everywhere now. Be somewhat original, folks.

Barbara on

Why is the baby naked? Don’t think its appropriate…

PAT on

Reba has Kelly’s back!!!Think both are pushing new music!!!

Vienne on

Give her a break people! She just had a baby. She looks nice and baby is adorable

Gail on

River looks like cutie pie, so happy for her!

IMA on

Stop with the weight bashing, she will lose it when shes ready. Just look at her for the wonderful, BIG hearted 💜woman that she is. BTW u rock Kel

Anonymous on

Forget you Louis. It’s stupid not to like someone depending on how fast they get pregnant after they’re married, and since she had her baby in mid June she was probably barely pregnant when she got married. But so what, who cares, I know I don’t because it’s the 21st century and what happens in her private life is her business not ours. Yes, Brandon already has kids but before she even got pregnant, Kelly said that Brandon wanted a baby too so stop giving her crap. Her career hasn’t suffered one bit witch. On her saying that no one will work with her. The media twisted on some things she said. In the interview where she was talking about it and in other interviews since, her real non joking reason she gave was that they said they were too busy or because of some political reason. That’s why they declined. Kelly isn’t high minded and would give them a chance if they said yes. You are wrong about Kelly and don’t know jack crap about her. Kelly is far from being like other celebrities, doesn’t think that having a child solves things. That’s not why she had River. She had her baby because she wanted to have child of her own, experience being a mother, to love and take care of her and saw how great of a father her husband was to his two oldest kids. On her fame and fortune, Kelly uses her for good like helping out with multiple charities and causes. Her career is on track. Be like Kelly and do good in the world instead of talking crap about someone you don’t know.

cg on

@PAT. Kelly and Reba saying these things to just push new music. They are not like that. Reba has Kelly’s back because they have been good friends for a decade and are now family.

cg on

Forget you @Louis. Did someone pee in your Cheerios this morning? It’s stupid not to like someone based on how fast they get pregnant. Good Lord, it’s the 21st century. But since she had her baby in mid June she was probably barely pregnant when she got married, do the math but so what, who cares? I know I don’t, it’s her her private life not ours. And I’m not going to dislike someone depending on how fast they get pregnant after marriage or if they already all when they do get married. Yes, Brandon already kids but before Kelly got pregnant she said that Brandon wanted a baby too so leave her alone. Her career hasn’t suffered or gone off track. On her saying that people don’t want to work with her, the media twisted some of the things she said. In that interview where she was talking about it and in other interviews since her non joking reason for their decline was either because they were too busy or political reasons. Kelly is not high minded and if artists were interested she would give them a chance. Um, she obviously gave John Legend a chance when agreed to collaborate with her though they already know each other by working together on a show a few years back. Kelly is far from being like other celebrities. She didn’t have her baby to solve something. Kelly had River because she wanted a child of her own, to love and take care of, experience being a mother and saw how great of a father her husband was to his two older kids. Don’t know why you brought up fame and fortune but since you did, I’d just like to point out that Kelly uses her’s for good like helping out with multiple charities and causes. You don’t know squat about Kelly. How about you be more like Kelly by being a good person who does a lot of good in the world instead of talking crap about someone you don’t know.

Lastly, all you knuckle heads talking crap about her or her baby which is really low, grow up.

Anonymous on

Didn’t know she has step kids!

Anonymou on

Didn’t know she has step kids!

Rod on

I hope river is wearing clothes in her next people magazine cover picture. I lost respect for Kelly clarkson. Making her daughter be almost naked when she herself is dressed in a jacket and everything.

GG on

River is a adorable kid, she looks like mini Kelly.

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