Blake Shelton, the adored “The Voice” coach and a legend of country music, experienced a devastating occurrence when he was just 14 years old that forever altered his life. His older brother Richie Shelton tragically died in a vehicle accident in Oklahoma on November 13, 1990, at the age of 24. Blake continues to honor his brother’s memory and finds various ways to cope with his sadness.
The “God’s Country” singer has been open about Richie in interviews, social media posts, TV appearances, and even in his music. According to Blake, the only other terrible event in his life that has come close to equal the devastation of his brother’s passing is the divorce he had with his first ex-wife, Kaynette Gern. He stated, “I put my divorce up there with my brother’s death and that was a tough, tough call to make,” in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” in 2014.
The musician also recalled some advice his father gave him following Richie’s passing. The father of Blake warned him, “Look, you will never, ever get over this happening.” The short version is, “You’ll have to learn to adapt to it.” In addition, Blake has achieved more than just “getting used to it”; in spite of his ongoing discomfort, the actor has learned that one should never take life for granted and has motivated many others with his story.
With Richie’s passing, Blake now has fresh insight.
Over the years, Blake Shelton’s loss has given him a new perspective on life and introduced him to those who have also lost a loved one.
On the 27th anniversary of his brother’s passing, on November 17, 2017, Blake wrote in a tweet that the tragic event “changed [his] life forever” and showed him how valuable every moment is. In his tweet, he emphasized the phrase “life is precious and there’s no time like RIGHT NOW to go for it.”
A contestant from Season 23 of “The Voice,” NOIVAS (Savion Wright), and Blake connected via their shared loss of a sibling on May 1, 2023. During a practice, the experienced judge remarked to the prospective performer, “My brother, he would have freaked out if he had known what I went on to do.” “You’d hear him coming six blocks away, the stereo blaring out of his truck,” Blake added. Richie cherished music.
Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, a fellow country music star and Blake’s wife at the time, co-wrote the song “Over You” for Blake’s brother in 2011. The song’s creation was Miranda’s idea in the first place; at the time, she wanted to aid in her ex-husband’s recovery after he confided in her about the painful event. Before “Over You,” Blake had never attempted to express his sorrow via song. Miranda screams on the painful song, “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,” Despite not singing on the track, Blake has given the song a few live performances.
Miranda provided additional context for the lyrics in a 2012 interview with People. “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 said. “Christmas wasn’t fun for a long time.” The Grammy winner continued, “Richie would’ve been so pissed I got all those records!” Blake’s father had given him Richie’s old tapes when they were composing.