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Kelly Clarkson and Ex-Husband Brandon Blackstock Will Head to Trial in August Over Commissions

A Los Angeles County judge handed Kelly Clarkson a key victory as the singer heads to trial against her ex-husband, Brandon Blackstock.

With the date now set for August 27, the trial will focus exclusively on whether Blackstock, 47, collected fees on deals he helped broker for Clarkson, 42, in violation of California’s Talent Agencies Act. The law prohibits anyone other than licensed talent from taking commission on deals procured for professional artists.

“We will litigate whether there was a violation of the labor code only. Any questions as to earnings and damages, all of that will come after,” Judge Wendy Chang ruled.

This trial stems from an appeal Blackstock filed against a November 2023 ruling that awarded Clarkson $2.6 million. The “de novo” trial means the case will get a fresh look in state court.

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Blackstock’s lawyers hoped this trial would also focus on breach-of-contract allegations it filed against Clarkson in 2020 and on Clarkson’s personal finances. Doing so, his lawyers say, would have confirmed that the commission fees were used to pay joint expenses and afforded Clarkson a lifestyle she “was able to enjoy.”

Kelly Clarkson Wins Rulings As Judge Sets Date for Trial With Ex Husband Brandon Blackstock
(L-R) Brandon Blackstock and Kelly Clarkson. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

“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 who used those earnings on their children and Kelly and Brandon’s lifestyle during the marriage,” Bryan Freedman, a lawyer for Blackstock and his management firm, Starstruck Entertainment, wrote in a statement shared with Rolling Stone.

The trial is expected to last at least five days and to include live testimony from Rick Roskin and Darryl Eaton, two agents with Clarkson’s current agency, CAA. Blackstock claims Roskin and Eaton were with him at The Voice’s studio in May 2017 just before he allegedly spoke with the NBC executive who offered Clarkson a spot on the show. Blackstock allegedly took a commission when Clarkson was named a judge on The Voice for the show’s 14th season.

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Court filings obtained by Rolling Stone say that CAA agent Cat Carson testified last year that the two did not ask Blackstone to negotiate directly with the NBC executive.

Clarkson’s lawyer, Ed McPherson, argued that if the singer prevails in the de novo trial, then Blackstock will not be able to pursue his additional claims.

“If we win everything at de novo, they don’t even get a trial. They have no right to anything. There would be no management agreement, and they get no commissions,” McPherson explained, according to Rolling Stone.

Clarkson filed for divorce from Blackstock in May 2020. The two were married for seven years and share two children, River Rose, 9, and Remington, 7.

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