Kacey Musgraves Struggled With Feelings of Failure After Her Divorce
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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