Kacey Musgraves says her next album was written in the wake of her divorce from Ruston Kelly, but the project isn't described as a divorce album, necessarily. Speaking with Elle, Musgraves opened up some about her emotions as her marriage broke down.

The magazine describes songs from the still-untitled project as having a literary distance between singer and subject — almost as if it were a character, not Musgraves herself, who was unraveling personally as her professional life flourished.

The 2019 Grammy Awards were a high point in Musgraves' career. In accepting the award for Album of the Year for Golden Hour, she specifically thanked Kelly for being a sort of muse.

"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," Musgraves says. "I was crumbling. I was sad. I felt lonely. I felt broken."

The reasons for their separation aren't clear, perhaps because they're not simple. It's a relationship described as simply not meant to be, but that explanation offers no easy path to escaping the pain of heartbreak.

"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," the 32-year-old says. "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."

Musgraves' feelings of despair stretched beyond just her and Kelly. She comes from a family filled with successful marriages, including grandparents who have known each other most of their 80-plus years. "It was hard to not feel like I was in some ways a failure," she says.

The couple were married less than three years after meeting at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. They announced they were divorcing with a joint statement on July 3, 2020.

"We’ve made this painful decision together — a healthy decision that comes after a very long period of trying the best we can," they said at the time. "It simply just didn’t work."

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