Kacey Musgraves Shares Rare Insight Into Ruston Kelly Split: "I Was Dying Inside"

It's been almost a year since Kacey Musgraves and Ruston Kelly announced their divorce. Now, the singer is opening up about the split in a candid interview.

By Elyse Dupre May 20, 2021 2:40 PMTags
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Accepting the Grammy for Album of the Year 2019Kacey Musgraves felt as if she had an embarrassment of riches. Holding her trophy for Golden Hour, she expressed her love for her then-husband Ruston Kelly, telling him "this album wouldn't have been created without you."  

Flash forward a little more than a year, and she was announcing their divorce. "If you would've told me the night of the Grammys, ‘Hey, in two years, you're going to be divorced and have a whole 'nother album written,'" she admitted to Elle in the magazine's June/July cover story, "I would have been like, 'F--k off. No. No way.'" 

Apparently, fans weren't the only ones stunned by the country music duo's split. Musgraves and the singer-songwriter, 32, met at Nashville's Bluebird Café in 2016 and tied the knot the following year. In the middle of all that, Musgraves wrote Golden Hour, which secured the no. 4 spot on the Billboard 200 chart. 

"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," the artist, also 32, revealed of that stretch. "I was crumbling. I was sad. I felt lonely. I felt broken."

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By the time they were announcing their breakup in the summer of 2020, the pair insisted they held "no blame, anger or contempt for each other." Though they called their bond, "a soul connection that can never be erased," their relationship, they said, "simply just didn't work."

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Coming from a family full of long marriages, Musgraves reflected to Elle, "It was hard to not feel like I was in some ways a failure." But while she noted that it's easy to feel ashamed about ending a forever-type romance, "There's nothing more shameful than staying somewhere where you don't fit anymore."

Now, Musgraves, who said she's in "no rush" to date, is opening up about this chapter in a new album, which is expected to drop in late summer or early fall. 

"It's daunting to put your emotions about something really personal on display," she admitted. "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. 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.' I mean, I'm not a ruthless person. I care about other people's feelings. So it's kind of scary."

So, what can listeners expect from the new music? According to Elle, Musgraves takes on the role of a narrator, versus a character, and, as she put it, tells the story of "two people who 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."

Continued Musgraves, "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 f--ked up, it's your fault.' 'No, you f--ked 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.'"

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