We try to avoid spending too much time on the celebrity gossip pages around these parts, but when word spread Monday morning that Miranda Lambert—the pride of Lindale—had split from her husband, Blake Shelton, it caught our eye. Lambert is a megastar in the country music world, of course, with four platinum albums and one gold record in her ten-year career, all of which peaked at number one on the country charts. (And that’s to say nothing of her collaboration with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley for two albums as the Pistol Annies.) She claimed a whopping nineteen Academy of Country Music awards as a solo artist, and a pair of Grammys to flank those on her mantle.
Despite her credentials, though, Lambert’s not always treated as the international superstar that she is. Her name may be Miranda Lambert, but in the press, she’s often been referred to as “Blake Shelton’s wife”—sometimes without her own name even appearing in the headline.
It’s something women whose husbands are successful in their own right are familiar with. The Associated Press referred to Magic Mike XXL star and Austin native Amber Heard as “Johnny Depp’s wife” in a recent headline, despite the fact that her most recent film has outgrossed Depp’s Mortdecai by seven times so far. But it’s especially absurd in the case of Lambert, whose own star shines every bit as brightly as that of her soon-to-be ex-husband.
But with Monday’s news, it’s less likely to happen in the future. Although the details of the separation have been kept private—and, frankly, are no one’s business—it’ll be interesting to see what this means for Lambert as both a public figure and an artist. For the bulk of her career, she’s been involved with Shelton, but her songs have still been largely defined by the way they react to no-good men. As Texas Monthly’s Skip Hollandsworth wrote in 2011:
No one has sung these kinds of songs as often and with such relish as Miranda Lambert. She is part blond babe and part saucy shitkicker, the kind of gal who’s pretty enough to win a beauty contest but tough enough to crack open someone’s head with a beer bottle. “Look right here,” she tells me, pointing to an elaborate tattoo spread across her left arm of two intertwined revolvers graced by angel wings. “That defines who I am. The wings are my way of saying, ‘I’m a nice, down-home, small-town girl.’ ” Then she points to the pistols, and for a moment her eyes narrow. “But if you do me wrong, you better watch out, because I won’t take any of your crap.”
We wish the best for both Lambert and Shelton, of course—but given that divorce has inspired masterpieces from artists ranging from Bob Dylan to Tammy Wynette to Pink to Marvin Gaye, we’d also be lying if we didn’t say that this has us anticipating her follow-up to last year’s Platinum just a little bit more.
(Photograph by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP)