The singer and TV presenter filed for divorce from husband of seven years, Brandon Blackstock, in June.
The couple have a six-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son, while Clarkson is also stepmother to Blackstock’s two children from a previous relationship.
American Idol winner Clarkson, 38, addressed the split during the premiere of her chat show.
“2020 has brought a lot of change also to my personal life,” she said.
“Definitely didn’t see anything coming that came.”
Clarkson told the virtual audience the divorce was complicated because it involved children.
“What I’m dealing with is hard because it involves more than just my heart,” she said.
“It involves a lot of little hearts. We have four kids, and divorce is never easy. We’re both from divorced families, so we know the best thing here is to protect our children and their little hearts.”
Grammy-winner Clarkson, known for hits including Since U Been Gone and Because Of You, said while she was usually “very open” about her personal life, she planned to maintain privacy around her divorce for the children’s sake.
She said: “In this case I will talk a little bit here and there about how it affects me personally, but probably won’t go too far into it because, you know, I’m a mama bear and my kids come first, although I do love you all.”
She also reassured fans she was doing fine. Clarkson added: “I know a lot of you at home, unfortunately, have probably been through it, either as a kid or just as yourself in your own relationships. I feel you, and it is a bad connection to have with people.”
Clarkson filed for divorce in Los Angeles. She cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split and requested that she not be required to pay Blackstock spousal support.
The two wed in October 2013.