Kelly Clarkson Loves Her Life Now, But Was in a 'Very Dark Place' Early in Her Career

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Kelly Clarkson performs on stage during the CMA 2016 Country Christmas on Nov. 8, 2016 in Nashville, Tenn. 

Kelly Clarkson is the proud mother of two these days (and stepmother of two more) and at 34 years old she's feeling pretty good about her career. But in a new interview with Good Housekeeping, Clarkson thinks back to the time after she won American Idol in 2002 when she was tossed into a "very dark place" for a long time as she struggled to come to grips with stardom.

Promoting her book River Rose and the Magical Lullaby, Clarkson said she's in a good place now, but things were rough at first after she went from an unknown bar singer to the first Idol winner. "I was in a very dark place for a long time," she told the magazine. "It's just so hard to have normalcy. I love to sing, and I love to talk to people at meet-and-greets. It's just all the crap that comes along with this job... I don't love traveling, because I'm never home. It's hard when you have a family."

The good news is that Clarkson said she's "so happy" being married to husband Brandon Blackstock, who "understands and respects everything I do" as well as being mom to River Rose, 2, Remington, 7 months, and stepkids Savannah, 15, and Seth, 10. Clarkson, who recalled growing up poor with her two siblings and a single mom, is happy that her kids are growing up privileged, but she is striving to make sure they have a "servant's heart." What does that mean? "We do community service as a family, and I also call them out on things like getting impatient when they stand in line -- because they hardly ever have to."

Motherhood has definitely changed Clarkson, who said she thinks about giving it up "all the time," but she feels it's important for her girls to see her as a "woman accomplishing all these things while nailing it as a mom." The interview also finds Clarkson talking about how she keeps her marriage strong, getting turned down by two labels before Idol who told her she had to "lose 20 pounds and basically sign your life away" and what inspired her to write the River Rose book.

Read the full interview here.