Kacey Musgraves Opens Up On Divorce: “In My Personal Life, I Felt Like I Was Dying Inside”

Kacey Musgraves with long hair
UMG Nashville

Kacey Musgraves is opening up about her divorce from fellow country singer Ruston Kelly almost a year after the pair first announced their split in July of 2020.

She sat down with Elle to talk about her new, upcoming album, and what led her to finally write what many will classify as a “divorce album,” though it doesn’t sound like that’s exactly what it will really be.

As her career was rocketing to the moon, her personal life was anything but:

“I felt, in many ways, on top of the world in my career, but in my personal life, I felt like I was dying inside. I was crumbling. I was sad. I felt lonely. I felt broken.”

She says since the pandemic started and halted her non-stop life on the road, she was able to find quiet time to reflect on the internal heartache and struggle that going through any type of divorce will inevitably cause, whether it’s amicable or not:

“Golden Hour was, in a lot of senses, escapism. It was fantasy. It was rose-colored glasses.”

The next album , she says,

“Is realism.”

Though she and Kelly never publicly commented on the exact reason for the split, their marriage was seemingly going well when Kacey credited him as the inspiration behind entire Golden Hour record and eventually won “Album of the Year” at the Grammys for it.

It seems like in this case, there wasn’t one specific thing that went wrong:

“Two people love each other so much, but they cannot make it work in the physical realm to be together, because it’s just not written in the stars for them.

It almost takes the blame off the two people, which is what I like, because it could be easy in a heartbreak to be like, ‘Well, you fucked up, it’s your fault.’ ‘No, you fucked up, it’s your fault.’

And it’s like, ‘No, let’s just blame the stars. Let’s just say that we’re not meant to be.’ ”

Though she notes she’ll be doing a deep-dive into the roller-coaster of emotions she’s experienced over the last year on the new album, that doesn’t mean it’s easy:

“I haven’t spoken much about this chapter, and I don’t feel like I owe that to anyone, but I owe it to myself as a creator to flesh out all these emotions that I’ve felt, and I do that through song.”

And she’s right, she doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. But as a creative person, that’s typically how she processes and comes to terms with what’s going on in her life.

So, you can bet we’ll be getting a little more insight into everything that went down in some of the music.

Though, as I mentioned before, it’s not going to be all that country:

“It would be strange if I didn’t acknowledge what happened in my life creatively, but it is scary to be like, ‘I’m about to share my most personal thoughts about me, about this other person, about a union that I had with someone.”

She also touched on the fact that while she got her start in the country genre, much of the Nashville machine and radio world has never been all that kind to her. She doesn’t feel like she owes them anything, and I do believe that’s a large part of why she’s planning to make the leap from country all-together on this project:

“I feel like I don’t belong to country in any way on one hand, but on the other hand, I’m deeply rooted in that genre. So I’m not owned by it.”

Though, both in her love life and career, she seems to have come to terms with it all and accepted the track she now finds herself on.

I’ll always be sad and disappointed that country music didn’t make room for her when the opportunity was there — cue “Good Ol’ Boys Club”…

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