Kelly Clarkson and Ex-Husband Brandon Blackstock Settle Lawsuit Over Millions in Commissions

Kelly Clarkson has reached a confidential settlement in her battle with ex-husband Brandon Blackstock over the millions in commission he paid himself as her manager.

Court documents show Clarkson requested a dismissal of the case on Tuesday, May 21, while Blackstock’s company, Starstruck Management Group, requested a dismissal on May 22. “Everything has settled,” a source close to the situation confirmed to Rolling Stone.

The private pact means the parties are no longer facing the public bench trial that a judge recently scheduled for late August. The potentially bruising trial was set to determine whether Blackstock violated the law when he procured deals for Clarkson, such as her judging gig on NBC’s The Voice, and then paid himself related commissions.

A California Labor Commissioner first ruled on the dispute last November, largely siding with Clarkson and awarding her $2.6 million. Blackstock appealed the ruling last December, setting the stage for the so-called “de novo” trial in state court, meaning a fresh trial starting from the beginning.

It was back in September 2020 that Starstruck started the legal skirmish when it sued Clarkson for alleged breach of her oral management agreement and purportedly unpaid commissions. The filing, which came three months after Clarkson filed for divorce from Blackstock, led the singer-songwriter and TV personality to file a petition against Blackstock and Starstruck with the California labor commission.

After a multi-day hearing with witnesses held in March of 2023, a labor commissioner issued a ruling last November that ordered Blackstock to repay Clarkson $2.6 million. The commissioner found that Blackstock collected fees on multiple projects in violation of California’s Talent Agencies Act, which prohibits anyone other than licensed talent agents from procuring engagements for professional artists. The projects included Clarkson’s judging gig on The Voice and promotional deals with home goods retailer Wayfair and a cruise line. In a win for Blackstock, the commissioner found that Blackstock could keep the roughly $750,000 in commissions for The Kelly Clarkson Show that the singer wanted him to repay. At the upcoming August trial, the fees for the daytime talk show were going to be back on the table, along with everything else, according to a recent court ruling.

The August trial was expected to last at least five days and include live testimony from several witnesses who were not available for the labor commission hearing in March 2023. Expected testimony from two music agents at Clarkson’s talent agency, CAA, could have been pivotal. According to Blackstock, CAA music agents Rick Roskin and Darryl Eaton were with him at The Voice’s studio on May 9, 2017, in the minutes before he allegedly spoke with the NBC executive who first extended the lucrative judging gig to Clarkson for which Blackstock collected a commission. Blackstock claims the agents asked him to approach the executive for the negotiation, meaning he wasn’t acting alone in violation of the labor code. According to filings obtained by Rolling Stone, Roskin and Eaton deny they were with Blackstock at The Voice compound that day.

In testimony at the labor commission hearing last year, CAA agent Cat Carson confirmed Roskin and Eaton did not broker TV deals at CAA and that none of them asked Blackstock to negotiate anything wtih NBC or anyone else, and that she was upset when he did so on his own.


In a prior statement to Rolling Stone, one of Blackstock’s lawyers faulted Clarkson for fighting for the millions in commissions. “It is morally, ethically and legally wrong to attempt to get monies back from your ex-husband who not only helped her as her manager but used those earnings on their children and Kelly and Brandon’s lifestyle during the marriage,” lawyer Bryan Freedman said.

Clarkson also testified at the Labor Commission hearing last year, saying she was never approached by NBC to work on the American version of The Voice before Blackstock reached out to them. She said Blackstock had advised her that NBC wasn’t interested because the network was looking for “a more sex symbol type.” Asked how she could recall that description so specifically, Clarkson testified, “Well, a wife doesn’t forget a time she gets told she’s not a sex symbol, so that stays.”


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