Blake Shelton’s Heartfelt Reflections on the Tragic Loss of his Brother Richie

Blake Shelton, the beloved coach of “The Voice” and a country music icon, experienced a devastating event that forever changed his life when he was just 14 years old. His older brother, Richie Shelton, tragically passed away at the age of 24 in a car accident in Oklahoma on November 13, 1990. Blake continues to honor his brother’s memory and finds ways to cope with his grief.

Through interviews, social media posts, TV appearances, and even his music, the singer of “God’s Country” has been open and honest about his relationship with Richie. Blake has said that his divorce from his first ex-wife, Kaynette Gern, is the only other difficult experience that comes close to matching the pain of losing his brother. In a 2014 interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” he shared, “I put my divorce up there with my brother’s death, and that was a tough, tough call to make.”

Blake also cherishes the advice his father gave him after Richie’s passing. His father told him, “Look, you will never, ever get over this happening.” He emphasized that Blake would have to learn to adapt to the loss. And indeed, Blake has done more than just adapt; despite the constant pain, he has shown that one should never take life for granted and has become an inspiration to countless people.

Richie’s death has given Blake a new perspective on life. Over the years, it has allowed him to connect with others who have also experienced the loss of a loved one. On November 17, 2017, the 27th anniversary of his brother’s passing, Blake tweeted about how the tragic event “changed [his] life forever” and taught him to cherish every moment. He emphasized that “life is precious, and there’s no time like RIGHT NOW to go for it.”

On May 1, 2023, during Season 23 of “The Voice,” Blake bonded with NOIVAS (Savion Wright), a contestant who had also lost a brother. In a touching moment during practice, Blake shared, “My brother, he would have freaked out if he had known what I went on to do.” He continued, “You’d hear him coming six blocks away, the stereo blaring out of his truck.” Richie had a deep love for music.

In 2011, Blake Shelton and his then-wife, Miranda Lambert, wrote a song called “Over You” as a tribute to Richie. Miranda had the idea to write the song after Blake opened up to her about his traumatic experience, hoping to help him heal. Before “Over You,” Blake had never attempted to express his grief through music. The heartbreaking lyrics sung by Miranda include, “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.” Although Blake doesn’t sing on the recorded version, he has performed the song live on several occasions.

During a 2012 interview with People, Miranda shared some of the stories behind the lyrics. She revealed that Christmas became difficult for Blake because of all the memories associated with it. She recounted, “The presents and the time together, and then it all just going black in your mind.” The Grammy winner also mentioned that Blake’s father gave him Richie’s old tapes, and while they were writing the song, Blake joked, “Richie would’ve been so pissed I got all those records!”

Losing a loved one leaves an indelible mark on the hearts of those left behind. Blake Shelton’s openness about his brother’s passing has not only helped him navigate his grief but has also touched the lives of others who have experienced similar losses. Through his music and personal reflections, Blake continues to keep Richie’s memory alive and reminds us all to cherish the precious moments we have with our loved ones.


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