Blake Shelton, the coach beloved by fans of “The Voice” and a country music icon, faced a life-altering event at the age of 14. His older brother, Richie Shelton, tragically lost his life in a car accident in Oklahoma on November 13, 1990. The memory of his brother remains alive in Blake’s heart, and he has found various ways to cope with his grief.
The Impact of Richie’s Death
In interviews, social media posts, TV appearances, and through his music, Blake Shelton has opened up about his brother, Richie. He candidly admits that his divorce from his first wife, Kaynette Gern, is the only other experience that comes close to the heartache he felt after losing his brother.
In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” in 2014, Blake revealed, “I put my divorce up there with my brother’s death, and that was a tough, tough call to make.”
Blake also shared the wise words his father imparted to him after Richie’s passing. His father told him, “Look, you will never, ever get over this happening.”
Furthermore, he advised Blake to learn to adapt to it. Blake has not only adapted to his loss but has also used his pain as a catalyst for personal growth. Despite his ongoing grief, he has learned to appreciate every moment and has become an inspiration to countless individuals.
A Fresh Perspective on Life
Blake Shelton’s profound loss has given him a new outlook on life throughout the years. This experience has also connected him with others who have gone through similar tragedies.
On November 17, 2017, the 27th anniversary of Richie’s passing, Blake tweeted about how the heartbreaking incident “changed [his] life forever” and taught him the value of every precious moment. He emphasized the importance of seizing opportunities and living life to the fullest right now.
Blake and NOIVAS (Savion Wright), a contestant from Season 23 of “The Voice,” shared a bond stemming from their shared trauma of losing a brother. On May 1, 2023, during a practice session, the seasoned judge told the aspiring performer, “My brother would have freaked out if he had known what I went on to do.” Blake reminisced, “You’d hear him coming six blocks away, the stereo blaring out of his truck.” Richie had a deep love for music.
Honoring Richie Through Music
In 2011, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, fellow country sensation and Blake’s wife at the time, co-wrote the song “Over You” as a tribute to Richie. It was Miranda’s idea, as she wanted to support her then-husband through his healing process after he shared his traumatic experience with her. Prior to “Over You,” Blake had never expressed his grief through music.
The poignant lyrics of “Over You” include Miranda singing, “But you went away / How dare you, I miss you / They say I’ll be OK / But I’m not going to ever get over you.” While Blake doesn’t sing on the recorded version, he has performed the song live on several occasions.
During a 2012 interview with People magazine, Miranda shared some of the stories behind the lyrics. She recalled Blake’s difficult Christmas memories, saying, “Christmas wasn’t fun for a long time because of all the memories – the presents and the time together, and then it all just going black in your mind.”
The Grammy winner also mentioned that Blake’s father gave him Richie’s old tapes, and while they were writing the song, Blake joked to her, “Richie would’ve been so pissed I got all those records!”