Kelly Clarkson 'got real bitter' after 'American Idol,' says 'The Voice' healed her

Kelly Clarkson felt like she was punished for winning "American Idol" — and it wasn't until she became a coach on "The Voice" that she really felt better about her music career.

“The first three years of my career was me just paying for winning a talent show,” Clarkson, 37, admitted to USA Today on Wednesday. “I got real bitter. I was just looking for anyone to talk to who knew what I was going through. And that’s why I like to do that for artists on ‘The Voice.’ It’s actually healed that bitterness I used to carry, being able to be that for somebody else.”

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The "Meaning of Life" singer revealed that some of her biggest critics early in her career went on to judge singing competition shows themselves, which she says adds a layer of "irony" to the hate she faced back in 2002.

Since winning the first season of the recently rebooted music series, Clarkson went on to win several Grammys and judge the short-lived "Duets" before becoming a winning coach on "The Voice."

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The star's latest endeavor is her own daytime talk show, premiering Monday with guest Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who will fill in for originally scheduled guest Kevin Hart following the comedian's car accident last week.

Clarkson has also become a wife and mother, marrying talent manager Brandon Blackstock in 2013 and welcoming daughter River Rose and son Remington Alexander.

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Despite all of the changes in Clarkson's life since "American Idol," she swears she's just the same Texas gal she's always been.

“I’m still the same person, but with a busier schedule,” the "Since U Been Gone" singer said.

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“That’s actually very true for right now. I’m the same kid that was on ‘Idol.’ Obviously, I’m now a mother and a wife and there’s different things in my life I’ve progressed with," she said. "But the core of me is still the same chick you saw on ‘Idol.' I have a very normal life, other than my jobs.”