In February, Miranda Lambert shocked fans when she announced, shortly after Valentine's Day, that she had married Brendan McLoughlin, a 20-something police officer from New York City. The country star had kept her new relationship secret since the pair met in late 2018 -- a choice she says she made after learning from previous relationships what love is like in the spotlight.

“I was married before, and it was a huge wedding and everything was very public. So was my divorce,” Lambert tells People, referencing her high-profile relationship with fellow country artist Blake Shelton. “I learned then that it’s not for everybody else. This is my actual life. With Brendan, I made it a point to keep it as private as I could for as long as I could.”

It was Lambert's Pistol Annies bandmates, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, who set her up with McLoughlin after spotting him working during a Good Morning America performance the country trio made, but even they weren't at the couple's January wedding. "I didn’t have nobody. That was mine and his moment," Lambert says of the big day.

Lambert and McLoughlin's marriage came as a surprise both because the first time she ever mentioned him publicly was when she revealed that they'd gotten married, and because of how quickly it unfolded. "I feel like I’ve been through enough in my life to know what I don’t want, so when I know what I do want I snatch it right up,” Lambert explains of that choice.

McLoughlin, who is now on leave from his job with the New York Police Department, was previously engaged, and has a young child from that relationship, which ended before he met Lambert. Tabloids quickly unearthed those details after Lambert revealed that they were married. She now says she tried to warn him about what would happen when their relationship became public, but, she adds, he's been taking life in the spotlight well.

"To pull him into that world, I was like, ‘I’m sorry, this might be a shock,’" Lambert says. "He just takes it like a champ. He’s better at it than I am.”

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