Kelly Clarkson will be absent from The Voice for the first time in years when the long-running reality TV singing competition cranks back up in 2022, and in a new interview, the pop superstar and television personality opens up about her reasons for taking the year off.

Clarkson — who shot to fame in 2002 as the first-ever winner of American Idol — stopped by the Today show on Tuesday (Aug. 23), and in an interview with Hoda Kotb and Carson Daly, she shares that since The Voice films over the summer, she simply felt that it was time to step away and take some leisure time for the first time in years. Clarkson says 2022 marks the first time she's had a summer off since she was 16 years old.

"... It's maybe common for a lot of working people. You don't get summers off, generally, unless you're in high school," Clarkson observes. "But I hadn't had a minute, and it's obviously been a rough couple years, so it was really important to me to shut down for a minute."

Clarkson and her husband of seven years, Brandon Blackstock, reached a settlement in their divorce in May after nearly two years of legal wrangling, and the singer says she spent a lot of her summer four-wheeling in the mountains and walking along the water.

"My sister, my nephew and I, and a couple friends literally spent the whole summer in the mountains, just getting out in nature," she explains.

Her time off also provided a welcome breather for her 8-year-old daughter, River Rose, and her son Remington, 6.

"The kids were with me and their dad, and it was nice because they usually have to travel a lot because of our separation," Clarkson states. "We were both in Montana, so it felt kind of the first time I think my kids felt a little more centered as well. So it was nice."

Clarkson first joined The Voice in 2018, and she's served as a coach for seven seasons. Pop singer Camilla Cabello is filling her chair for the upcoming season, which is set to premiere on Sept. 19. Cabello joins Blake Shelton, John Legend and Gwen Stefani as coaches in 2022.

Clarkson has not revealed whether she intends to rejoin The Voice for subsequent seasons.

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