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The singer turned talk show host relocated with her kids from L.A. to New York City for season 5 of her hit show

Kelly Clarkson was ready for a new beginning.

The singer turned talk show host, 41, decided to relocate with her kids, daughter River Rose, 9, and son Remington Alexander, 7 (whom she shares with ex-husband Brandon Blackstock, 47), to New York City once she realized her talk show could be based in the Big Apple as well.

“I was very unhappy in L.A. and had been for several years. I needed a fresh start,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “We told NBC, ‘I’m not trying to sound ungrateful, I just can’t stay here anymore for my mental health; for me and my kids.’ They weren’t doing well either.”

For the past few years “I’d just been showing up and smiling and doing what I’m supposed to do,” she adds. “But you can only compartmentalize so long until you break.”

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson cover 1/15/2024 issue
Kelly Clarkson on the cover of PEOPLE.

Clarkson, who had been dealing with the unraveling of her nearly seven-year marriage to Blackstock, her former manager, insists the move has proved to be the right choice for her family. “[Remington] walked out of the school here and was like, ‘This is where I should be.’ And he’s 7,” she says. “So it’s amazing that work is going well, but as a mom, that’s a win for your kid.”

As for the new season of her show, which just brought home six Daytime Emmys including outstanding daytime talk series and host, Clarkson most looked forward to being “present. I was going through a really rough few years, and even in the first season it was rough behind closed doors,” she allows. “Just to be able to come into season 5 feeling good and knowing my kids feel good—and the dust has settled. Season 5 is my first season to actually enjoy every minute of it.”

Kelly Clarkson and her kids, Remington Alexander and River Rose.
Kelly Clarkson with Remington and River in July 2021.KELLY CLARKSON/INSTAGRAM

Typical non-working days now revolve around exploring the city with her kids. “We go walk the dogs a few times at the park. We’ll go for ice cream because my daughter will wear me down. We’ll go make slime and we go to the museum,” she says. “That’s what’s cool about New York. A typical day here is not typical.”

Her life now is “so full in the best of ways. It could be full of chaos — because it has been at times — and it’s not. It’s just full in the most beautiful ways,” she adds. “Everything is hitting on all cylinders. [She looks around the room.] And if you see wood, knock on it.”

Kelly Clarkson

The Kelly Clarkson Show airs weekdays. Check local listings for station and time.

For more of Clarkson’s exclusive interview, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

One thought on “Kelly Clarkson Moved to NYC Because She Needed a ‘Fresh Start,’ Was ‘Unhappy’ in L.A. for Years (Exclusive)”
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