Carly Pearce Opens Up About Divorce and ‘Hardest’ Year of Her Life

"It was very clear that this was not the marriage that I wanted."

Written by Chris Parton
Carly Pearce Opens Up About Divorce and ‘Hardest’ Year of Her Life
Carly Pearce backstage at Ford Fairchild's photo booth at “The 54th Annual CMA Awards,” airing live Wednesday, November 11, 2020 on ABC from Music City Center in Downtown Nashville; Photo credit: Ford Fairchild

Carly Pearce and fellow country singer Michael Ray stunned fans when they abruptly announced the end of their marriage in August, a split that came after just eight months. And now the “I Hope You’re Happy Now” hit maker has opened up about the fallout.

Speaking in People magazine and calling 2020 “single-handedly the hardest year of my life,” Pearce doesn’t go into detail about what caused the breakup specifically, but says she gave the relationship multiple chances to change course.

“I did everything that I knew how to do,” she says. “It takes two people to work on something … When you love somebody, you trust them.

“This was not a flippant decision,” Pearce goes on, echoing an earlier statement in which the couple said things were going downhill for months before their decision. Some had speculated that the COVID-19 quarantine pushed Pearce and Ray over the edge, but she says that’s not the case. “This was something that I really took time to make sure I was doing the right thing. It was very clear that this was not the marriage that I wanted.”

The divorce was one the most difficult things Pearce has ever endured, she explains, and it’s something she’s still processing. But the hit maker has been able to lean on her faith to get through.

“I truly thought I was gonna die,” she says. “There were moments I seriously did not know if I could breathe. It was awful. It is awful. But I think that what’s been awesome has been trusting myself and trusting what I have always known, which is God won’t take me through something that he won’t bring me out of or bring good from. … I believe we don’t go through things that we’re not supposed to go through. My love was real. I will stand by that forever.”

Ray is now dating Travis Tritt’s 22-year-old daughter, Tyler, and Pearce says she’s hoping to one day open her heart again as well. But as if recovering from a divorce and navigating a pandemic wasn’t enough, the star tells E! she also suffered a scary fall on Halloween night that knocked out her two front teeth and required stitches in her mouth. She was worried she wouldn’t be able to perform on the CMA Awards, but thankfully healed up in time for a stunning duet with Charles Kelley.

“It looked really bad. It was scary,” she says. “I was just really fortunate to get doctors that helped and knew the pressure I was under. But with every day, I was like, ‘Please Lord, let my face heal so I can do this’ because this is such a huge moment.”

In most ways, though, Pearce’s life is going better than ever. She scored her second Number One with “I Hope You’re Happy Now” (with Lee Brice) and the won her first ever CMA Award for Musical Event of the Year for the same song. And she is determined to keep growing.

“I am hopeful,” she says. “I want somebody. I desire marriage. I desire companionship. I desire a family. I desire all of those things. I think that having divorce as a part of your story is hard. It’s a hard reality. It’s been hard for me to accept that and not be embarrassed or feel like I’m defined by that. But in reality, I know that I’m not. I’ve come to a place of just accepting that everybody has a journey, and this is mine — and the right person will be able to love me through that.”