Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock hoped things would work out between them, but quarantine only made things worse. A source tells ET that some of the couple's friends were surprised by the news that the "Since U Been Gone" singer filed for divorce, but "those closest to them know it's been difficult."
The source says: "Kelly and Brandon had been having problems for several months and were making a conscious effort to work things out. They both hoped quarantining away from L.A. in Montana would help them work things out in their marriage, but instead the change in environment was actually detrimental."
"The constant time together seemed to make an already challenging situation worse," they note, adding that The Voice coach's career "definitely helped to keep her mind off things, but this recent downtime gave her the time she needed to think about her life and her marriage."
The source also says Clarkson started the divorce process "they'd both been dreading" a few weeks ago, after "Kelly knew she just needed to follow her heart and finally realized divorce was her only option."
The pair have two children together, 5-year-old daughter River and 4-year-old son Remington. Blackstock is also father to an older daughter and son from his previous marriage to Melissa Ashworth.
"Kelly and Brandon haven't cut each other off; they are still talking to one another. They are both heartbroken, but their plan is to put the kids first," the source adds. "Their focus is on co-parenting and moving forward, as this is the last place they ever thought they would be. They both understand divorce is never easy for children, but Kelly and Brandon are great parents. It'll just take time."
The source says Clarkson "has always been a very organized businesswoman, so her decision to have a prenup just reflects that and protects her earnings. Kelly is very kindhearted, generous and giving, so Brandon will be just fine."
ET confirmed on Thursday that the singer filed for divorce June 4, with Clarkson citing irreconcilable differences in her filing. According to court documents obtained by ET, she listed the separation date as "TBD" and asked for joint legal and physical custody of River and Remington.