Kelly Clarkson says people were “really mean” to her at the start of her career.

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson

The ‘Since U Been Gone’ hitmaker shot to fame after winning the first season of ‘American Idol’ in 2002, and has said people were rude to her at award shows because she started her career on a talent show.

Speaking to Jennifer Love Hewitt on her ‘Kelly Clarkson Show’, she said: “You probably don’t remember this, but it stuck with me [for] so long … almost 20 years now.

“It was at some kind of MTV Awards, VMAs or something, I don’t know what it was but you ran up to me. It was right in the final three of ‘Idol’, everything was happening in a whirlwind and people were really mean to us because we’re from a talent show and it was the first season.”

Kelly praised Jennifer for giving her “really kind” advice when so many other people were being “unkind”, and said she’s always remembered their interaction.

She added: “Everyone was so rude to us, like on the carpet, at the show … it was a horrible experience. You came up to me, ran up to me out of nowhere and were like ‘Oh my gosh, I’m really rooting for you’.

“You told me, ‘Please, keep the ones you love so close. It’ll be a few people in your life unfortunately but this business can be really hard. And just remember to keep those people that really love you’.

“You just gave me this advice that was really kind at such an unkind time for me personally. So thank you so much, it meant the world to me.”

The 38-year-old star is now in a much better place, but recently split from her estranged husband, Brandon Blackstock, after seven years of marriage.

And Kelly – who has River Rose, six, and Remington Alexander, four, with Brandon – said divorce is “s*****”.

She explained: "I've been through two divorces in my family, husband as well in his own family as a child. We didn't have social media around when that happened. And, like, having kids that run the gambit of four to 19 is a really tough thing. And, you know, I've had conversations with one of our eldest about how difficult it is in the public eye when your parents are so... you know, one of them is so prominent and having to navigate that for them is hard on their hearts. I'm just careful also while being real... And I don't think that anything is - like I said - nothing's wrong with anybody, it's just... it happens, and that's why there's nothing to hide about it in that sense. You know, it's just, divorce is a really s***** thing."