Thanksgiving is a time for family, and obviously many traditions surround it. This year has, as you’ve doubtless already noticed, been different for everyone though, and some of those traditions have had to be put on the backburner. Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton had their family to look after during lockdown, so they decided to mix things up a bit.
Stefani and Shelton have always loved Thanksgiving. The stars of hit TV show The Voice had embarked on traditions of their own ever since officially getting together back in 2015. In November 2019 while walking the red carpet for their show, the loved-up couple stopped to tell a reporter for TV’s Entertainment Tonight all about their holiday plans.
Stefani told Entertainment Tonight’s Cassie DiLaura, “We all fly out to Oklahoma, like 30 of us.” That’s a big family to accommodate, but the couple had it covered. Stefani went on, “Blake has this bed-and-breakfast hotel that we all stay at, and it’s just pretty incredible. We have fun, we all cook together, it’s fun.”
And don’t forget, Stefani and Shelton have kids to share in the Thanksgiving celebrations. These are the three sons Stefani had with her ex-husband, the equally famous Gavin Rossdale. Stefani was with Rossdale for 13 years until they split in mid-2015. And wouldn’t you know it, Shelton divorced his wife Miranda Lambert at around the same time.
Stefani’s kids with Rossdale are named Apollo, Zuma and Kingston. And if rumors are to be believed, Stefani might give them a sibling one day too. She’s been with Shelton since November 2015 – neither hung around after splitting from their spouses – and Shelton doesn’t actually have biological kids of his own, so the whispers are that he’s really keen to have a child with Stefani.
Either way, keeping three young children entertained at Thanksgiving can’t be easy. But Stefani and Shelton have their ways. For years they’ve had their holiday at Lake Texoma. Shelton told Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet in 2019, “We’re taking all the Stefanis and then the Shelton bunch are gonna meet up there and just literally [spend] like, five days away.”
And the blended family has invented some great new traditions while together for the holidays. For their 2019 celebration in Oklahoma Stefani’s youngest child, the then-five-year-old Apollo, made the family a delicious meal of… turkey with Funyuns. Don’t worry though, they had a regular turkey too for the non-Funyun-lovers.
According to an “insider” who spoke to Us magazine in 2017, Shelton actually liked “a very traditional Thanksgiving and all traditional foods, like stuffing and cranberry sauce.” He also, the person said, “does a bunch of the cooking and starts preparing it the day before because he does so much work.” But aww, he was willing to have a Funyun turkey anyway.
Shelton’s been a great “bonus dad” to Stefani’s three boys by all accounts. One anonymous “friend of the Voice coaches” told People magazine in 2019, “He’s so fun and has shown Gwen’s kids another side of life filled with adventure. The boys have really grown immensely by spending time with Blake.”
And Stefani herself has said the same thing about her beau. Speaking to People magazine in December 2019, she told the world that Shelton was a “good dad.” She added, “He’s been helping me out a lot. I literally get to the point where I’m like, ‘You gotta get home – I need help!’ It’s hard. I got three boys.”
Of course, through no fault of anyone, the concept of raising three young kids suddenly got much more difficult in 2020. When lockdown came into effect, parents were expected to homeschool their children – and keep them entertained. Even for a pair of professional entertainers, that’s kind of a big ask.
Alas, the lockdown did seem to trigger some separations among couples in the world of country music. Racking your brains to remember who’s split from who? Well, Darius Rucker and his wife Beth, who had been together for 20 years and had two children, announced their uncoupling in July 2020. And the month after that singer Kacey Musgraves split from her husband Ruston Kelly.
But in the Stefani-Shelton camp, everything seemed fine. In April while everyone was still getting used to the “new normal”, Stefani and Shelton appeared on TV via video link on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and Stefani gave her boyfriend a haircut. Plus Shelton told the host, “She bakes bread, I’ve been building a fence and gardening. We’re pretty self-sufficient out here.”
Things went so well for Stefani and Shelton that they were even able to record a song together while in lockdown, the aptly titled “Happy Anywhere.” Ahead of its release in July 2020, Shelton spoke to People magazine about his love for his girlfriend and how he was getting to spend more time with her.
Shelton couldn’t help but gush about his girlfriend to the magazine. He said, “An Okie boy and a California girl look on paper like an unlikely match, but what matters is she’s a great human being. She is the most understanding, kind-hearted person I’ve ever met and I learn something from her every day.” Awww.
And far from being bored or frustrated, Shelton seemed to be greatly enjoying the downtime brought by the lockdown. He said, “The simple pleasure of being together in one place for an extended period of time has been a real gift. We cook, we clean, we ride four-wheelers and we just enjoy being with each other and with family.”
The music video for “Happy Anywhere,” the fourth song collaboration between the two The Voice coaches, had been designed to give fans a glimpse into the everyday life of Shelton and Stefani. Shelton told People, “There was a camera shooting the things we do every day. We make biscuits, fish, sing together, spend time with family… just a day in life!”
And regarding the song itself, Shelton said, “We were waiting for the right time to release it, and I knew that time was now. We’re all still socially distancing, so there’s no better time to be happy anywhere with the person or people you love. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are – as long as you’re with them, you’re happy.”
Shelton was well aware not everyone was having such a good time in lockdown. That same week in a radio interview for The Storme Warren Show he said, “You wake up and look at the news and you’re starting to realize that this quarantine is not working out too well for a lot of people who are finding out…they don’t like being around each other as much as they thought they did, which is terrible.”
But he and Stefani, Shelton said, had “experienced the opposite.” The country star went on, “Obviously, none of us like these circumstances, but I’d be lying if I said that I’m not having a blast being stuck at home for this long because I’ve just never gotten to do it. Since I’ve owned a home, I’ve never been able to be there more than two weeks max at a time.”
Shelton went on, “This has been an eye-opener. I told my manager, I said, ‘Man, you might have a hard time getting me to go back on the road again actually.’” So things were going very well indeed for Shelton, but what about his significant other? Stefani spilled all on TV’s Today With Hoda & Jenna in October of that year.
Stefani had found things a little more tricky, especially since her brother’s family had been self-isolating with the couple too. Stefani said, “I feel like since we were all locked down, I had to do so much laundry and cleaning and cooking and toilet cleaning and it was like… it was so gross.”
The singer went on, “It was a lot of work. I was home-schooling. We had five kids here home-schooling. In this old abandoned house that Blake actually bought on this land – it was actually like, a hoarder’s house – we found some old school desks. They were disgusting and we cleaned them out and the kids were, like, home-schooling in this cabin. It was very extreme.”
But still, lockdown was on the whole pretty good for Stefani and Shelton both. In a September 2020 “First look” preview video for the new season of The Voice, Stefani describes the whole experience as “magical” and says that previously she and her family had never had “that much solid time together.”
And Shelton seems delighted that he’s learned some new things during the lockdown. He says in the video, “This summer during quarantine, I learned how to make jam… We’ve made, like, cases of peach jam. That’s a lot of work! Probably will never do that again but I know how to do it.”
But there was one big holiday coming up – Thanksgiving, of course. How were Shelton and Stefani going to do it? Things weren’t only complicated by the lockdown situation, but by the fact that The Voice was due to restart just as most people were preparing for a locked-down Thanksgiving blowout.
Unfortunately, production on The Voice had been hit by the nationwide emergency, just as many other shows had. So TV stars were now subject to social distancing rules, for a start. The showrunners had pre-taped some episodes that would air until April came to an end, but after that it was anyone’s guess what was going to happen. Dates had to be changed and schedules were thrown into chaos.
So the time-stretched Stefani and Shelton did the sort of things lots of parents no doubt dream of doing – they just had all the holidays ahead of time and most crucially, all at once. All that planning, cooking, cleaning, looking after the kids – it was all condensed into one manic, but extremely fun, day.
Stefani explained it all on the Today with Hoda and Jenna show in October. She said, “We actually had our Thanksgiving here last night because we had to switch around our schedules this year, so we had an early Thanksgiving. It’s been a lot of fun being out here.” And it sure sounded like it.
The singer went on, “We had, like, 14 different celebrations here last night and we just had to pile them all together so we can fit it all in. We had a lot of fun, it was really good.” And Stefani even learned to do something new for the unexpected but awesome mega-holiday.
Stefani had made, she proudly announced on the show, her “first pumpkin pie ever.” She went on, “My mom always does it and I’m like ‘Oh my gosh, I’m actually graduating into the next level.’ I actually didn’t panic, it was… really fun.” The multi-holiday early Thanksgiving had been a massive success.
But there was another awesome thing just around the corner for Stefani as well. Later that very month the moment The Voice and country music fans had been waiting for took place: Shelton finally got down on one knee and popped the question to Stefani. Her answer, of course, was an emphatic yes.
Both halves of the celebrity couple shared the good news via Instagram. Stefani posted a photograph of the moment and wrote, “@blakeshelton yes please! Gx,” along with a ring and a prayer emoji. And Shelton himself wrote, “Hey @gwenstefani thanks for saving my 2020… And the rest of my life… I love you. I heard a YES!”
And Shelton’s already taking his responsibilities as a father figure to Stefani’s sons very seriously. According to an insider who spoke to People magazine, “Blake told her boys that he wanted to propose and asked their permission. Her family very much approves of him. He’s an amazing partner and a great extra dad to the boys.”
Another anonymous source spoke to Entertainment Tonight after the engagement was made public, and explained that Shelton and Stefani’s lockdown activities together had drawn them even closer. The insider said, “Blake has been the one who wanted to take it slow in the beginning, but recently he decided it was time.”
And the insider went on, “They’ve had lots of downtime together and he truly saw the importance of spending life with the person you love. Gwen takes marriage very seriously and was disappointed that her first marriage didn’t work out. She wasn’t in a hurry because she wanted to ensure Blake was ready.”
The secret source continued on, “[Shelton and Stefani] both live incredibly busy lives and have managed to make sure they work together and spend as much time as they can together. The pandemic has given them both the time they needed to slow down and just appreciate and love each other.”
So while some couples had found lockdown pushed them apart, it was the exact opposite for Shelton and Stefani. The source added that as well as having asked Stefani’s sons for permission to marry her, he’d asked her father too, but only because she would have wanted that. The insider said, “Gwen is very traditional, so he truly felt that asking her father for approval was the proper thing to do.”
When the People’s Choice Awards rolled around in 2020 they were very different, just as Thanksgiving had been. Shelton and Stefani didn’t get to walk a red carpet: they had to stay in a car. But Shelton was named Country Artist of 2020, and he of course mentioned the woman he was going to marry in his acceptance speech.
Shelton said, “Thank you to my new fiancée, Gwen Stefani. That’s S-t-e-f-a-n-i, if you need to Google it to figure out who she is. Thanks for my inspiration!” Despite the stresses of lockdown, which are inevitable even if you’re a celeb, Shelton and Stefani have managed to come out of it even stronger than before. Happy Thanksgiving!