Glamour: Zooming out, when you take stock of the past year, how do you place it within the course of your life?
GS: Mind-blowing. I don’t understand my journey. It’s so crazy. But one thing I learned is, that’s what life is. We all have to go through hard times. Tragedies. Those are given to us to see what we’re going to do with them. How can we give back? How can we improve when we have these challenges?
Glamour: In reading what you’ve said about your divorce, one thing in particular struck me: You used the word embarrassed a lot. Why did shame enter into the equation for you?
GS: I don’t think you’ll talk to one person who didn’t make it in a marriage who’s not gonna feel that way. The intention of being married is the vow, right? You want to put everything into it to make it a success. And all I had to look at was the huge success of my parents: They just had their fiftieth anniversary. I had to work really hard at marriage, all the time, like everybody, but ours was extra hard, when you add that we’re from different countries, both of us being in music, and celebrity. [Marriage] was the one thing I didn’t want to fail at. People can say whatever they want to about me…and I don’t get too affected. But I didn’t want them to think I was a failure. There’s nothing weird about how I felt.
Glamour: You’ve referred to that period as several months of “hell” and “torture.”
GS: [Laughs and nods.] But you know what? I’m in a different place now, [and] that is the past for me. I’m in such a new place. It’s all about the future for me. Not really just the future—but the moment right now. Like, I’m Woman of the Year, right here on this couch!
Glamour: Hell yeah! On the theme of living in the moment, you’ve said that the process of writing the new album saved your life. How did it save you?
GS: It released me from that feeling of hopelessness. When I was in the studio for This Is What the Truth Feels Like, it was like, I need to be here right now. This is the only place I feel good. It doesn’t matter what comes out of this, as far as my career—this isn’t about a hit. It’s about saving my life. And it was interesting, because I know you’re going to ask me about Blake, but finding somebody who was going through the exact same experience? [Shelton divorced country singer Miranda Lambert at about the same time.] That was an inspiration. He was a friend to me when I needed a friend. An unexpected gift. And that became an inspiration in the songwriting.
Glamour: From the outside, your relationship seems like an opposites-attract situation. You’re pop; he’s country. You have a fashion empire; he has a ranch in Oklahoma. It’s like a rom-com premise.
GS: It’s definitely two different cultures. But there are many similarities, in things that we love and our morals. But it’s really fun when you can learn about so many new things and share those differences.
Glamour: For instance?
GS: I’ve learned a lot about country music from him.… But my first concert ever was [folk/country singer] Emmylou Harris. My parents took me out of Girl Scouts to go to that show.