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Blake Shelton is leaving “The Voice” at the end of the upcoming 23rd season after being with the show ever since it premiered twelve years ago. In a new interview, Shelton is opening up about the real reason he’s leaving “The Voice,” explaining that he first started thinking of making his exit in 2020.

Shelton’s Real Reason For Leaving ‘The Voice’

“I think I was close to calling it a day right when COVID hit,” Shelton said while appearing on the “Today” show on Monday morning.

“And then, because of COVID, I didn’t want to walk away from the show and leave everybody in a bind,” he continued. “I mean, this show changed my life. I’ll stay here until the world kind of gets back to normal again.”

Shelton went on to say that “The Voice” changed his life both professionally and personally.

“I met my wife on this show,” he explained. “It’s changed my life in every way it possibly can, from a personal standpoint.”

Fox News reported that Shelton is referring to the fact that he met his wife Gwen Stefani while acting as a coach on “The Voice” back in 2014. Though they were each married to other people at the time, they began dating the next year after divorcing their respective spouses, and they finally got married in 2021.

“When I came on as a coach on this show, I mean, everything in my life was turned upside down,” Shelton said. “And in a good way, you know? This has been incredible, but it’s time, you know. It’s time for not even what’s next. A little bit of nothing would be nice.”

Related: Blake Shelton To Depart ‘The Voice’ After 23 Seasons – Fellow Musicians Throw Support Behind Him

Shelton Announces He’s Leaving ‘The Voice’

Shelton shocked the world back in October, when he announced that he would be leaving “The Voice.”

“I’ve been wrestling with this for a while and I’ve decided that it’s time for me to step away from ‘The Voice’ after Season 23,” he said at the time, according to NBC News. “This show has changed my life in every way for the better and it will always feel like home to me.”

“It’s been a hell of a ride over these 12 years of chair turns and I want to thank everyone at ‘The Voice’ from NBC, every producer, the writers, musicians, crew and catering people, you are the best,” he added. 

Shelton further opened up about his decision to leave the reality show in December.

“I’ve had people say, ‘Man, come on. You’re not quitting “The Voice” [to do] nothing!’ But I really am,” Shelton told People Magazine. “Please, I’m accepting ideas.”

“The holdup over the years has been that it’s a hard thing for me to let go of,” he continued. “I’ve been here literally since the first minute.”

Related: Gwen Stefani Calls Marrying Blake Shelton ‘Greatest Thing To Ever Happen To Me’

Shelton’s Thanks ‘The Voice’ For Career Success

Shelton went on to admit that “The Voice” played a huge role in boosting his career.

“When I started on ‘The Voice,’ that was 10 years into my career as a country artist,” he said. “I never really made it to the A-level of country artists until I became a coach. The show did a hell of a lot more for me than I brought to the table at the time. I’ve far exceeded anything I thought I could ever accomplish in the entertainment world.”

Shelton has been one of the best parts of “The Voice” ever since it premiered back in 2011, and he will be dearly missed one he leaves. Be sure to check out the season premiere of Shelton’s final season next Monday night on NBC at 8pm! 

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