Divorce can be rough. Just ask Blake Shelton. Before he got together with his fellow judge on The Voice and “Happy Anywhere” collaborator Gwen Stefani, the country crooner was married to another songstress, Miranda Lambert. The famous music industry spouses officially ended their relationship in 2015, but fans are still curious about their split.
“In family law, we warn our clients that when we go to court, they are going to be under the microscope. In celebrity divorce, however, that microscope is amplified times 10,” divorce lawyer Stephen Cawelti told Nicki Swift while giving us some exclusive insight into Shelton and Lambert’s highly-publicized break-up. Frankly, Cawelti noted that “celebrities getting a divorce are under two microscopes so to speak, the judge has one, and the public has the other.”
Cawelti also added that while both Lambert and Shelton “were shining stars in their own right when they met in 2005 … you could see the rocks from the beginning if you knew where to look.” Why is that? Well, our legal expert pointed out a key factor that set the singers’ relationship off on a rather iffy note.
Blake Shelton was married when he met Miranda Lambert
These days, the buzz around Blake Shelton may focus on his current partner, Gwen Stefani, and his ex, Miranda Lambert, but there used to be another woman in his life: the star’s first ex-wife, Kaynette Gern. As divorce lawyer Stephen Cawelti pointed out to Nicki Swift, when Shelton and Lambert “met and started to spend time together,” he was still married to Gern.
Shelton and Gern divorced not long after, and according to Cawelti, Gern accused Shelton of “‘inappropriate marital conduct’ as the grounds to sever their status as married persons” in the state of Tennessee. When one ex accuses the other of wrongdoing, that can certainly complicate divorce proceedings. “This can impact property or financial support rights, and allows the court system more leeway in crafting a final judgment that takes all the circumstances into account (it also gives both parties a heck of a lot more to fight about),” Cawelti said.
As we all know, Shelton’s breakup with Gern wouldn’t be his last messy split.
Blake Shelton hired PR pros for his split with Miranda Lambert
Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert wed in 2011, but their marriage was over just a few years later. This time around, the split took place in Oklahoma, and divorce lawyer Stephen Cawelti told Nicki Swift that the reason listed on the official papers was “incompatibility.” Apparently, “this is Oklahoma’s version of ‘no fault,'” and Cawelti reasons that “in their case, it may have been done to keep details private.” Despite that, we still know quite a bit about what went down between these country stars.
“In the past, both had been accused of cheating on the other, but there were no smoking guns to speak of,” Cawelti said. However, Shelton “went so far as to hire a PR firm to improve his odds in the divorce, implying that Lambert was the one cheating.” Apparently, while “hiring a reputation management expert is a great idea for a celebrity in trouble looking to boost their public stock,” if “it crosses over into cutting down their spouse, it can be actionable in court.” When it came to Shelton and Lambert, “the sorts of accusations being thrown around … are not exactly defamation,” Cawelti said, but “parties are always advised to be careful.”
“Remember, the judge is watching, too, with her/his microscope,” Cawelti said. “Harassment and restraining orders sometimes trump the first amendment right to free speech, and negative statements can be penalized, even enough to make a celebrity tread with caution.” While that’s definitely intriguing, that’s not the only interesting aspect about this split.
This is why Blake & Miranda's divorce was so secretive
If you were hoping to be let in on all of the nitty-gritty details about Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert’s divorce, then you were likely disappointed by the fact that official info was somewhat limited. Divorce lawyer Stephen Cawelti told Nicki Swift that “one of the more interesting aspects of the Shelton-Lambert divorce is that Oklahoma Judge, John Garner, elected to seal the ENTIRE court file.” Why?
According to Cawelti, “the judge determined that ‘the personal and financial privacy of the parties…’ outweighed the public’s legitimate interest in the details of the case.” Not only was that decision undoubtedly frustrating to those who were curious about the divorce, but Cawelti says that “Judge Garner came under fire not only from the public but even from local representatives for deciding that the entire case — not just the financial settlement or scandalous juicy details — needed to be sealed and kept from the public.” What would prompt a judge to make that kind of choice?
Cawelti explained that although “we won’t ever know the details … we can assume that if the case was public, it would have made a big enough stir that it merited a complete seal.” Cawelti also notes that this might make you ask: “Are celebrities special?” To which he says, “Sure. Should they be protected in legal proceedings more than anyone else? That depends on who you ask.”
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