When Kelly Clarkson was just 16—four years before she would go on to win the first-ever American Idol—the singer began writing her hit song "Because of You." The heartbreaking lyrics were inspired by the pain Kelly experienced due to her parents' divorce and her father's abandonment when she was six years old.
Eventually, the track landed on Kelly's second album, Breakaway, helping to earn her first of three Grammy Awards—but to this day, at age 36, Kelly's relationship with her father remains strained.
In a November interview with the Scandinavian talk show Skavlan, the 2018 Billboard Music Awards host discussed her absentee father—and why she finally decided to break away for good.
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, to Jeanne Ann and Stephen Michael Clarkson, Kelly describes her family as very "American": She has an older sister, Alyssa, who she says grew up with their aunt after the divorce, and an older brother, Jason, who lived with their father for a bit.
When her mom remarried, she gained five stepbrothers and stepsisters, and she apparently also has two younger half-brothers from her dad's second marriage. Still, she never really connected with her father.
"I know a lot of people go, 'Aww,’ but it's not really that situation," she said on the talk show. "I think if you don't grow up with it, it's hard to miss something you never had."
That's not to say she didn't try to reach out. Eventually, though, it got to the point where, according to Kelly, it almost became "humiliating."
"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)."
To be fair, she added, she doesn't know her father's background. But the singer, who shares two stepchildren and two biological children with her husband, Brandon Blackstock, said she feels sorry for him: He's missing out on getting to know his grandchildren as well as her and her siblings.
Becoming a mom is what inspired The Voice judge to write and record a positive sequel to "Because of You" in 2015.
In the title track to another Grammy-nominated album, Piece by Piece, Kelly sings:
I will never leave her like you left me
And she will never have to wonder her worth
Because unlike you I'm going to put her first and you know
He'll never walk away,
He'll never break her heart
He'll take care of things, he'll love her
Piece by piece, he restored my faith
That a man can be kind and the father should be great
After all these years, Kelly claimed she has "no hatefulness. No anger. No nothing, about it."
"Even if it's not your father, whoever it is in your life, if someone presents such a cancerous environment and then just keeps hurting you, and even if they're doing it inadvertently and they just don't know better, you should just not have that person in your life," she said. "And it's OK. That's not a hateful situation. You go your own way."
And, as she expresses in "Piece by Piece," she's happy her kids have a great father in Brandon.
"Watching my husband love on his daughter all the time you know, go to her events and just be there and, like, be present is hard to watch but beautiful to watch," she told Ryan Seacrest in a . "I know that my kids are going to have that."