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A lot has changed for Kelly Clarkson over the past year, but the biggest development in her life is that she's fallen in love.
This is a first for the 30-year-old pop star, who has previously claimed that she has "never been in love." But that all changed when Clarkson started dating talent manager Brandon Blackstock -- who happens to be Reba McEntire's stepson -- in early 2012. Clarkson opened up to People about her newfound confidence, attributing much of it to her fantastic beau.
"I think as you get old though, too, you just get less worried about the little stuff that doesn't matter and you focus more on the bigger picture. And, you know, I'm also in love," she says. "I'm just super happy right now."
Last October, Clarkson claimed that she hadn't had much luck in the romance department in the past.
"I've never been in love. I've never experienced certain things, and I think that's because I have this side of me that is shut off," she said at the time. "Because I haven't found anybody yet to open to that I feel like, 'OK, you're worth breaking down that wall for.' I've never found that."
We're glad that life has since changed for the better for the first-ever American Idol winner. People reports that she and Blackstock have adopted a German Shepherd puppy named Bear and spend plenty of time being normal and doing things like going to the movies. "We're very super real -- like, what you see is what you get," Clarkson says of their relationship. So don't expect any weird tabloid stories to pop up about the couple any time soon.
"One of my favorite things is we're both in the business," she says. "He gets my job and he gets how busy it can get, and he gets the sacrifices that we both have to make with our jobs."
Blackstock has had a good influence on Clarkson's physical health, as well as her emotional well-being. The "Stronger" singer claims her boyfriend was part of the reason she dropped 20 pounds earlier this year.
"I would love to say that it had something to do with my work, but it doesn't," Clarkson said back in May. "I have a boyfriend, and if I'm being completely honest, no one likes to be not toned when you are dating someone."