Gwen Stefani and John Legend on Blake Shelton’s Exit From “The Voice”: “He’s Been the Heart and Soul”

Gwen Stefani and John Legend on Blake Shelton’s Exit From “The Voice”: “He’s Been the Heart and Soul”

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 18: In this image released on April 18, Blake Shelton performs onstage at the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards at the Grand Ole Opry on April 18, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for ACM)

Image Source: Getty / Kevin Mazur

It’s the end of an era: Blake Shelton is officially exiting “The Voice.” On Oct. 11, NBC revealed that the show’s next season will be the country star’s last.

In a statement shared by the network, Shelton wrote that it took him a long time to decide to leave. “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. 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,” he wrote.

While his statement didn’t clearly state why he’d decided to leave, it hinted that the amount of work the show entails may have influenced the choice. “It takes a lot of work, passion, and adult beverages (Ha!) to pull off a live show twice a week,” he continued. “I’ve made lifelong bonds with Carson and every single one my fellow Coaches over the years, including my wife Gwen Stefani!” (Shelton met his wife, Stefani, as coaches on “The Voice” in 2014, and the pair officially tied the knot in 2021).

“I have to give a huge shoutout to the singers – the ‘Voices,’ who come on this stage season after season and amaze us with their talent, and a special thanks to those who chose me to be their Coach,” Shelton continued. “Lastly, it’s about y’all, the fans, who watch and support these Artists, us Coaches, and everyone at ‘The Voice’ who are chasing their dreams. It would not happen without you!”

Shelton will appear on season 23 alongside three new judges — Chance the Rapper, Niall Horan of One Direction fame, and Kelly Clarkson. The new coaches each celebrated their positions with statements, with Clarkson telling NBC, “I am so excited to be back with my ‘Voice’ family! Let’s do this, Team Kelly!”

NBC also shared a statement from Chance the Rapper that read, “I’m thrilled to join The Voice as a Coach for the next season. I’m excited to help other Artists get to the next level and make the most of this life-changing experience. Get ready for #TeamChance.” Meanwhile, Horan told the network, “I’m excited to be joining this season of The Voice as a Coach. I’m looking forward to meeting and mentoring the new crop of talent while we battle it out with the other teams!”

Shelton was one of the show’s four original coaches when it premiered in 2011, alongside Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green, and Adam Levine. Season 23 will air in spring 2023, though an official release date has not yet been announced.

What Have “The Voice” Coaches Said About Blake Shelton’s Departure?

John Legend — a current coach on season 22 of “The Voice” — told Entertainment Tonight in an interview, “Well, you know, he’s been doing the show for 22 seasons, it’ll be 23 when he’s done, and you can’t do something forever.” “We’re gonna miss him though,” Legend added. “He’s been the heart and soul and anchor of the show for a long time, and he’s a friend of mine, and I really enjoy working with him. We’re all gonna miss him.”

Stefani, another coach on season 22, penned an emotional tribute in response to her husband’s exit announcement on Instagram. “i am so proud of you and so blessed to have found u,” she commented on Shelton’s post. “your talent brings joy to the hearts of so many people and i am so lucky to be part of ur life’s journey ❤️ gx.”