For Years, Kelly Clarkson Tried Everything to Gain Her Father's Love but Was Left Broken and "Humiliated" by His Rejection

For Years, Kelly Clarkson Tried Everything to Gain Her Father's Love but Was Left Broken and "Humiliated" by His Rejection

After a bitter divorce from her mother, her father abandoned the family and did not show any interest to be a part of her life, until she gained success as a singer.

Source: Getty Images | Photos by (L) Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff (R) Adam Rountree / Stringer

Father-daughter relationships are special. For the little girls, it's their father they trust to pick them up, spin them around, and help them to sneakily do things that their mother wouldn't let them do. Slowly, as they grow older, that bond they share is meant to be stronger and continuously filled with love. They look up to their fathers for approval, guidance during their tough times and support when they achieve their dreams. However, not every daughter gets to experience that love, adoration, and approval and one such person is What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger singer Kelly Clarkson.



It began when she was a child

At the age of six, Clarkson had to face something devastating — her father, Stephen Michael abandoning her and her family. After her parents' messy divorce, the singer was sent to live with her mother while her older brother lived with her father and her sister with their aunt. Her mother then remarried and gave her a new family of five step-brothers and step-sisters though she also had two younger half-brothers from her dad's second marriage, according to Country Living.



However, the young girl, though surrounded by her new family, wanted more than just that. In fact, there was just one thing she truly desired and that was her father's love. Despite reaching out to her father and attempting to build a bond with him, her heart was shattered when she was rejected by him. She was left feeling broken and "humiliated" when Stephen refused to acknowledge her.


During her teenage years, she wrote about her crushing pain...

When she was just 16 years old, the soon-to-be American Idol contestant began writing her hit song, Because Of You. It was inspired by the heartbreaking emotions that she had been feeling after her parents' divorce and the fact that her father had chosen to abandon her. Her lyrics read, "Because of you, I don't know how to let anyone else in. Because of you I'm ashamed of my life because it is empty. Because of you I am afraid."



Speaking on the Scandinavian talk show Skavlan years later, Clarkson talked about her father. "I know a lot of people go, 'Aww,’ but it's not really that situation. I think if you don't grow up with it, it's hard to miss something you never had. You're like, I shouldn't have to work this hard for someone's love. Like, that's a little ridiculous. 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)," quoted Your Tango.


Four years later after Because of You, her life changed

It was in 2002 that Clarkson went on to win the first-ever American Idol and her fame was practically written in stone with her soulful voice. Her life was about to change drastically. But there was one thing that didn't change. Soon after her win, her absent father reached out to her. However, she was disappointed when it was all about taking advantage of her newfound success.



And she highlights her relationship with him in her 2015 hit song, Piece by Piece — a song she performed on the American Idol stage, full of emotion. She sang, "I traveled fifteen hundred miles to see you. I begged you to want me, but you didn't want to. I made something of myself and now you want to come back. But your love isn't free, it has to be earned. Back then I didn't have anything you needed, so I was worthless."



But her husband and children turned things around for her

When she met and married her husband, Brandon Blackstock and had her own children with him, in addition to her stepchildren, she knew she was going to be fine. She managed to find real love and Blackstock restored her faith in fathers. "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. I know that my kids are going to have that," she said in a 2016 radio interview with Ryan Seacrest, quoted Country Living. However, in June 2020, the couple announced that they are getting divorced.



As for her own father, she just feels sorry that he didn't stick around to see her grow up. After so many years, Clarkson 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."

"A lot of the reason why I wrote Piece by Piece was I guess I didn't realize the gravity of the situation until I had a child of my own, and until I experienced love like I do with Brandon on the daily," Clarkson said, according to Huff Post.

"I guess you don't realize something is missing until you feel it. I can't imagine walking away from my little girl. I can't imagine not having that love anymore. I didn't know it was missing because I never had it. It was a revelation and that's why I wrote that song. I think a lot of people go through that."


"That song for me, personally, behind the scenes, it’s evolved mostly for me. So like from the moment I wrote it, just being pregnant with my little girl and then you know all the moments that I really did try and make it work with my father and life and just get completely let down to where…," she said to Forbes. "You know he passed away months ago. So that’s why."


The multiple-Grammy winner continued to tell Forbes that it "sucks to sing," but she hopes, eventually, it will "fine." As of right now, she still has to deal with the heartbreaking experience that inspired the song. "It’s just that sense of loss that I just don’t know if I’ll ever not feel just because I’m a mom, I’m a mom of two kids that aren’t even from my womb that I still couldn’t imagine treating the way that I was," she said. "I think that was just a really hard one for me still. But I have to sing it and I get it."