Why Blake Shelton Was Ready To Leave The Voice After 23 Seasons: ‘It was Bittersweet’ (Exclusive)

The country crooner has mixed feelings about his departure. He's been on the show since its 2011 debut.

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After over a decade, Blake Shelton, 45, may be excited to move on from The Voice, but the decision did not come “lightly.” In fact, the country crooner’s choice to leave The Voice after a 23-season run has been incredibly “bittersweet for him.” “This is his baby,” an insider revealed in an EXCLUSIVE to HollywoodLife.

Blake Shelton

The source unpacked the “Out In The Middle” singer’s 11+ year history with the series too. He’s been on the singing competition since its 2011 premiere. “He has been there since season one and he feels that so much of what he has he owes to The Voice,” the insider continued. “He’s been through divorces and marriages and so many life changes, but The Voice has remained a constant to him.”

Of course, meeting wife Gwen Stefani, 53, on the show back in 2014 was one of the “biggest” life-changers from the show. While the duo thinks “it was fate” that really brought them together, the show will always be “where they met and fell in love.”  The insider went on, saying how “Being able to work with her for so many seasons made their relationship stronger and Blake is forever grateful for [that] fact.”

Working on the latest season together was really the cherry on top for the singing duo. Talking about the “full circle” moment, the insider added, “Being able to have her on with him this one last season right now has been phenomenal… Blake is so proud of the show and the two of them will definitely be watching from home.”

Gwen is super supportive of Blake’s reality retirement. A separate source close to the No Doubt diva told HollywoodLife, “Gwen couldn’t be prouder of Blake right now. She knows it’s a huge decision and one that he hasn’t taken lightly.”

For the songstress, it seemed like “the right time” for Blake to part ways with the show, especially if that means more time together at their home in Oklahoma. “Gwen completely supports him and she’s looking forward to spending more time at their home in Oklahoma together now,” the insider said, calling the shift a “big change” but also a “welcome one.” According to the insider Gwen’s boys Kingston, Apollo, and Zuma simply “adore” their stepdad and are “looking forward to spending more time together on the ranch with him.”

Blake first announced his departure via an NBC press release he shared on his Instagram page  Oct. 11. “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 wrote. “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.”