Everything We've Learned About Miranda Lambert's Love Life Based on Her Lyrics

She divorced Blake Shelton in 2015, then had a relationship with Anderson East, then dated Evan Felker in 2018 and revealed in February that she married new beau Brendan McLoughlin.

By Corinne Heller Jun 04, 2019 11:00 AMTags
Miranda Lambert, 2017 ACM Awards, ArrivalsFrazer Harrison/Getty Images

You can feel Miranda Lambert's emotional pain, and triumph, through her music.

The 35-year-old country singer, who is nominated for three 2019 CMT Music Awards, divorced Blake Shelton in 2015 after four years of marriage, then had a more than two-year relationship with Anderson East, then dated boyfriend Evan Felker in 2018 and then revealed this past February that she married new beau Brendan McLoughlin, a New York City police officer. Like many couples, they have weathered breakup rumors, and are going strong.

Over the years, Lambert has expressed her feelings about love through her songs.

In 2016, a year after her divorce, she sang a lot about heartbreak on her The Weight of These Wings double album.

"2015 pushed me into a writing mode I've never been in before," Lambert told the music site HITS Daily Double. "It's very humbling to be hurt, and I have to be honest. My fans expect that from me."

Lambert joked that the album "captured the seven stages of grief, but it took me 24 songs to get there."

"I was going through a divorce very publicly, and thank the Lord I am a writer," she said. "That meant I could find some way to deal with it, that people could say, 'I get it—I've been there too.'"

Miranda Lambert's Best Looks

And fans speculate that Lambert's songs took a sassy turn last year...queue the shade.

Check out some of the singer's cryptic love messages in her music.

"Lyin' Here"

"Lately, I see leavin in your eyes / So nothing you say, will come as a surprise / You don't even have to try to be sincere / Just go on, and leave me lyin' here / And I'll tell my heart / You didn't cause it to break / And I'll tell my mind / That I'm the one that made the mistake / And I'll tell my eyes / They don't even have to cry one tear / Just go on and leave me lyin' here"

Ouch! But Lambert isn't quite sure what she was thinking about—other than sensing the end of a relationship before it comes—when she penned the song that was on her 2001 self-titled independent debut before she even appeared on Nashville Star. But it turned out to be prescient!

"A lot of my songs have come back to me," she told the U.K.'s Songwriting magazine in 2020. "One of them was 'Leave Me Lyin' Here.' It was one of the very first songs I ever wrote, on my independent little CD I made. Now, thinking back, I don't know how I wrote that or where I was coming from. Obviously, I was taking from people around me because I hadn't lived enough life for it to have come from my own perspective. Then, as time went on, I couldn't believe that it came out of me then because it struck a chord so much now."

"Bring Me Down"

"Sweet like a kiss, sharp like a razor blade / I find you when I'm close to the bottom / You can't appreciate the time it takes / To kick a love I always knew was kinda wrong"

She gives a hint in this track off of her star-making 2005 album Kerosene that she has a little trouble staying away from the guys who may not be so good for her. It's not the first time such a vice would come up.

Meanwhile, the full album came out that March, and she would meet Blake Shelton a few months later.

"Dead Flowers"

"I feel like the flowers in this vase / He just brought 'em home one day, 'Ain't they beautiful?' he said / They been here in the kitchen and the waters turnin' gray / They're sittin' in the vase but now they're dead, dead flowers"

The metaphor for a relationship that's lost its bloom is thick in this 2009 song, the lead single off of her fourth studio album, Revolution. At the time she was happily ensconced with future husband Shelton, still just her boyfriend of several years at that point, but Lambert said it was inspired by actual dead Valentine's Day flowers from her past.

"I wrote it from a love gone bad point of view," Lambert wrote on her website, "but a girl told my mom that the lyrics were exactly how she felt when her dad left her. That really meant a lot to me and was such a different take on the song."

"Runnin' Just in Case"

"I carried him around with me, I don't mind having scars / Happiness ain't prison but there's freedom in a broken heart"

The opening track off of 2016's The Weight of These Wings lays out Lambert's lingering heartbreak following her split from Shelton the previous year for all to see.

Because as the band Nazareth said, "Love hurts, love scars, love wounds and marks."

"Use My Heart"

"I can't throw a line but I can reel it in / I can't throw a dart but I can make it stick / The thought of loving you just makes me sick / I don't have the nerve to use my heart"

Lambert has talked candidly about 2016's double album The Weight of These Wings being her post-divorce confessional. But since she had met musician Anderson East by the end of 2015, the concern about getting her heart broken all over again couldn't have been too far from her mind.

"Ugly Lights"

"And I don't try to justify the reason I'm not living right / I wear my sadness like a souvenir / I drink too much to fall apart, that's how I fight this broken heart / So what, if I feel comfortable in here"

This was ripped from experience, too, as Lambert acknowledged in 2017 to a small audience at Joe's Bar in Chicago. "I got divorced so I started drinking a little extra," she explained. "Anyways, I found myself in Midtown in Nashville three nights in a row at last call and with the lights coming on, and I'm still sitting there. So I wrote a song about it."

"Getaway Driver"

"So I keep the engine running / She'll be my gasoline / She treats my heart like a stolen car / All the while she had the keys / Standing in the line of fire I'll be standing right beside her / I'm her getaway driver"

East co-wrote this one off of The Weight of These Wings with Lambert and veteran country song scribe Natalie Hemby, so trade that stolen car in for a white horse and we know how Lambert escaped her downward spiral.

"Things That Break"

"Me, I don't ever wanna get too close / Or be held responsible for the pain that you can't see / Somebody once broke me"

East was up to the challenge, though, at least for the duration of what would be a two-year-plus relationship.

"Got My Name Changed Back"

"Well I've got me an ex that I adored / But he got along good with a couple road whores / Got my name changed back / I got my name changed back / I don't wanna be a Missus on paper no more / I got my name changed back"

"It's a way of reclaiming your humor after you've been so sad," Lambert explained this 2018 Pistol Annies song in a behind-the-scenes video. "To me, it's celebrating reclaiming part of yourself."

She also jokingly told the Tennessean that year that being part of a trio sometimes was helpful because they could share more dirty details and then point the "that's not my story!" finger at each other.

"Settling Down"

"I'm a wild child and a homing pigeon / Caravan and an empty kitchen / Bare feet on the tile with my head up in the clouds / I'm one heart goin' both directions / One love and a couple of questions / Am I settlin' up or settlin' down?"

Nothing cryptic about the inspiration for this tune off of 2019's Wildcard that was released as a single a couple years back, especially when husband Brendan McLoughlin became Lambert's first-ever co-star in real life to make it into one of her videos. ("I needed a video babe and he was there, so it just worked out," she quipped to ET Canada in 2020.)

But at the same time, "Settling Down" is an honest discussion with herself about whether taking another shot at committing to forever is the right choice for her. The seed for the song was planted during a conversation she had with her tour bus driver. "We had both been going through a lot in our personal lives," she told Billboard in 2020. Lambert and the driver concluded that "settling down doesn't have to necessarily mean no more fun or freedom. Maybe it sets you more free and allows for more fun and someone to share it with."

"How Dare You Love"

"The needle in the ink, don't need to overthink, it's there for good / Leave me, you'd never, this is forever, knock on wood / Tender in my chest, to hell with the rest, we're right as rain / Rough around the edges, walkin' off the ledges, goin' insane"

Something to get the heart thumping, but in a good way, as she was again inspired by the newfound love in her life.

"In general, on this record and where I am in my life, I drew from a different place," Lambert acknowledged to Songwriting magazine two years ago. "By getting a little happier and coming out of a bad time in my life I think it allowed me to show up to writing sessions in a different headspace than I was in before."

Lambert has sung about love and heartbreak as both a solo artist and with her band, Pistol Annies.

"We wrote this song and I told them, 'Man, there's a lot of people going through divorces, and they can't find the silver lining, and they're going to be so happy when they hear this that they'll wanna dance, maybe like smile for the first time in a while," band mate Ashley Monroe said in a behind-the-scenes video for their recording session for their 2018 single "Got My Name Changed Back."

"It's a way of reclaiming your humor after you've been so sad," Lambert said. "To me, it's celebrating reclaiming part of yourself."

The 2019 CMT Music Awards will air live from Nashville on CMT on June 5 at 8 p.m. ET.