Blake Shelton, the beloved “The Voice” coach, and a country music icon, suffered a tragic event that changed his life when he was just 14 years old. Richie Shelton, his older brother, unfortunately, passed away at the age of 24 in an automobile accident in Oklahoma on November 13, 1990. Blake still keeps his brother’s memory alive and deals with his grief in a number of ways.
In interviews, social media posts, TV appearances, and even in his music, the “God’s Country” singer has been candid about Richie. Blake claims that his divorce from his first ex-wife, Kaynette Gern, is the only other horrible life experience that has come close to matching the hardship of his brother’s loss thus far. “I put my divorce up there with my brother’s death and that was a tough, tough call to make,” he said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” in 2014.
The singer also remembered some words of wisdom his father told him after Richie’s passing. Blake’s father told him, “Look, you will never, ever get over this happening.” Simply put, “You’ll have to learn to adapt to it.” And Blake has accomplished more than simply “getting used to it”; in spite of his constant pain, the actor has discovered that one should never take life for granted and has inspired countless people with his tale.
Richie’s death has given Blake new perspective
Blake Shelton’s loss has given him a fresh outlook on life over the years and connected him to others who have also experienced the loss of a loved one.
In a tweet posted on November 17, 2017, the 27th anniversary of his brother’s passing, Blake expressed how the tragic incident “changed [his] life forever” and taught him how precious every moment is. He highlighted in his tweet that “life is precious and there’s no time like RIGHT NOW to go for it.”
Blake and NOIVAS (Savion Wright), a candidate from Season 23 of “The Voice,” bonded over their common trauma of losing a brother on May 1, 2023. The seasoned judge told the aspiring performer during a practice, “My brother, he would have freaked out if he had known what I went on to do.” Blake continued, “You’d hear him coming six blocks away, the stereo blaring out of his truck.” Richie loved music.
In 2011, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert (fellow country sensation and his wife at the time) co-wrote a song for Blake’s brother called “Over You.” Writing the song was actually Miranda’s idea; at the time, she wanted to help her then-husband heal after he opened up to her about the traumatic experience. Before “Over You,” Blake had never tried to put his grief into music before.
“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,” Miranda sings on the heartbreaking track. Although Blake doesn’t sing on the recording, he’s performed the song live on a few different occasions.
During a 2012 interview with People, Miranda explained some of the stories behind the lyrics. “Blake said 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,” she recalled.
The Grammy winner added that Blake’s father gave him Richie’s old tapes, and while she and Blake were writing, he joked to her, “Richie would’ve been so pissed I got all those records!”