This Voice judge is no longer entertaining anyone’s opinions about her body—except her own. Years after Kelly Clarkson’s body shamers compared “naked” models to the star in an effort to get her to mimic them, the 38-year-old recent divorcée is opening up about that unnecessary pressure.
Many will probably remember Kelly’s early days after American Idol, when the powerhouse vocalist began her steady rise in the music industry. But fewer might realize the demands she faced—oftentimes, demands unrelated to her talent itself. Instead, Kelly remembers the time as one of “more pressure” to keep up her thin appearance.
“I felt more pressure from people actually when I was thin, when I was really thin and not super healthy because I just was worn out, just working so hard and not keeping healthy habits,” she told Glamour U.K. “But I felt more pressure.”
Kelly went on to reveal that industry insiders were actively pushing images of how she should look onto her. “It was more of magazines shoved in front of you and, ‘This is what you’re competing with and we’ve got to compete with it,'” she recalled. “I can’t compete with that. That’s not even my image. That’s not who I am. That’s who they are.”
And the women on the covers were “Naked,” Kelly exclaimed, before adding, “I’m not joking, literally naked.”
Now, the Voice coach is confident enough not to care. And her confidence and talent have paid off—she’s one of the talent competition’s highest-paid coaches to date, and was hired for the important gig at her “heaviest point.”
“I got on the number one television show at my heaviest point, because it was right after I had kids and it was like they didn’t care,” she explained. “Paul hired me from NBC because he loved my personality, he loved that I connect with people and I’m really raw and real. It had nothing to do with my sex appeal or my look aesthetically. It had to do with me as a person. I think it’s really up to artists to force people to have that mentality.”
Kelly is continuing to push that narrative in her own life. As for anyone who has any unsolicited comments about the star’s appearance: “I dare you to say something. I’m happy in my life. I’ll work on me in my time,” she offered.