Kelly Clarkson and The Chicks Bond Over Divorces as Star Says Friendships 'Really Helped'

We all need somebody to lean on — especially in the midst of a difficult divorce.

For Kelly Clarkson, that somebody — or somebodies — were her female friendships, as she explained to The Chicks, who, for better or for worse, could relate all too well.

The country stars stopped by The Kelly Clarkson Show on Monday, and each opened up about their experiences with divorce to Clarkson, who finalized her own split from ex Brandon Blackstock in March.

Clarkson, 40, asked Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer how they found strength during their own tough times, and said she sought comfort in her closest friends.

“I think [music] is therapeutic but like, your female friendships,” she said. “I feel like that has really helped me.”

The Kelly Clarkson Show/YouTube The Chicks and Kelly Clarkson

For Maguire, 52, dealing with her first divorce at the same time as Maines, 47, was back in 1999 proved helpful (Maguire split from first husband Ted Seidel that year, while Maines called it quits with ex Michal Tarabay).

“I remember when [Maines] first came down in the studio in Nashville and said, ‘Guys, I just want to tell you, I’m getting a divorce,'” she recalled. “I remember thinking, ‘Well, I’m getting a divorce, now she said she’s getting a divorce, now I can’t say I’m getting a divorce!’ I hadn’t told y’all. I was feeling like everybody was gonna judge me, ’cause I thought I was first getting the divorce.”

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As it turned out, Maguire and Maines (who would each go on to marry, then divorce once more), were in the same boat.

“So I was like, ‘Guys, I’m getting a divorce.’ And Martie’s like, ‘I’m having a horrible marriage!'” Maines recalled. “OK, we’ll do this together.”

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Maguire said that having each other to lean on was “great,” while Maines joked that they were “divorce buddies.”

Maguire went on to marry Gareth Maguire, though they split in 2013 after more than 11 years of marriage, while Maines and actor Adrian Pasdar divorced in 2017 after 17 years of marriage.

The Chicks’ 2020 album Gaslighter went scorched earth on the star’s doomed union, with lyrics that went into specific detail about the circumstances that apparently led to their split.

“I definitely wanted to be very blatant and like, literal with this one,” Maines explained. “But yeah I was still… I wasn’t like, beyond all the emotion like I am now. And then there’s the stress of oh my gosh, now my kids are gonna hear this and then…Now my son [Slade] is on tour with us, he’s in the band and I’m like, this is kinda weird. So I’m always checking, are you OK? Are you alright?”

Nadine Ljewere The Chicks

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Though the Chicks admit that singing about real life can be tough, Strayer (who divorced Charlie Robison in 2008 and married husband Martin Strayer in 2013) explained why it’s really the only way.

“There’s no way around it,” the star, 49, said. “When you write falsely, it doesn’t work. You have to be real. It’s weird, the more specific you are, the more it’s universal to other people.”

The country stars will take Gaslighter on tour this summer, and told PEOPLE last month that they’ll mix in some old classics, too, like “Goodbye Earl” and “Wide Open Spaces.”

“We’ll rotate different songs [from Gaslighter], but if you come to more than one show, you’ll maybe get to see that whole album performed,” Maines said. “That’s for the fans, but it’s also for us because we work so long and hard on the record, a lot of the payoff is getting to play them live.”

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