What Blake Shelton Has Said About Why He's Leaving The Voice
Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Blake Shelton
Blake Shelton's time on The Voice is coming to an end.
After 12 years and nine wins, the 23rd season of the NBC singing competition marks the singer's last as a coach.
Shelton first announced he was stepping away from the show in October 2022.
"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 in an Instagram post. "This show has changed my life in every way for the better and it will always feel like home to me."
He continued, "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."
Shelton began coaching season one alongside Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and CeeLo Green. The Maroon 5 frontman and Shelton coached together up until Levine's exit on season 16, and various stars have filled the red chairs since including Nick Jonas, Shakira, and his wife Gwen Stefani, whom he first met on the show.
In the recent season, Kelly Clarkson returns as a coach alongside Chance the Rapper and Niall Horan, who make their debut as coaches on the series.
As the season progresses, here's everything Shelton has said about why he's leaving the series.
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He wants to spend more time with Gwen Stefani and their family
NBC Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton
After wrapping his final season of NBC's hit singing competition show in the spring, Shelton told PEOPLE he will be focusing on spending time with his wife Gwen Stefani and his stepsons.
"Gwen and I have done so much traveling and touring and work the first half of our lives that now we're like, 'Hey, I'm good to put my sweatpants on at 6 p.m. and watch Ozark eight times,'" Shelton told PEOPLE in his December 2022 cover story. "That's our life now, and we love it."
"If I walked away from my career at this time, the only thing that I run the risk of is having regrets that I'm missing out on some more important things in life. For now, that's our kids. This isn't about me anymore and never will be again," said Shelton.
He's focusing on his music career
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Blake Shelton
In addition to spending quality time with family, Shelton is also taking time to figure out his next steps when it comes to his music career.
"Walking away from music, you might as well just poison me or something. That's not something I can go without. I can't help it," he told PEOPLE in his cover story.
"I'm really at a crossroads right now. The country music lane is changing so rapidly, and there's some really good stuff out there. These young kids coming up, it's amazing to see the music that they're making and how creative they are," said Shelton, who has released dozens of No. 1 hits throughout his career.
"I'm enjoying watching what's happening and putting a song out once in a while. That's another reason that I'm excited to get some time back away from The Voice and concentrate more on, 'What kind of record do I want to make? Is it going to fit in? Do I care? Do I not care?' I got a lot to figure out," he said.
RELATED: Blake Shelton Reveals What He Wants to Take from 'Voice' Set as He Leaves: 'They Owe Me a Damn Chair'
He's working on new projects
Jake Giles Netter/USA Network
Along with making new music, Shelton is branching out with other projects, including his game show, Barmageddon, which he created with The Voice host Carson Daly.
Following the show's release in 2022, Shelton told PEOPLE he's "open" to whatever may come his way — but he's in no rush to book another gig.
"I've had people say, 'Man, come on. You're not quitting The Voice [to do] nothing!' But I really am. Please, I'm accepting ideas," he joked. "I have Barmageddon — we can do a whole season in a couple weeks, and it's a blast for me — and my Lands' End clothing line. It's time to push some of this [work] stuff out and let more family and personal life in."
He felt it was time to move on
Trae Patton/NBC via Getty The Voice
Speaking with PEOPLE in December 2022, Shelton opened up about how the show boosted his career, which he said made it harder for him to say goodbye initially.
"The holdup over the years has been that it's a hard thing for me to let go of. I've been here literally since the first minute," he said. "When I started on The Voice, that was 10 years into my career as a country artist. I never really made it to the A-level of country artists until I became a coach. The show did a hell of a lot more for me than I brought to the table at the time. I've far exceeded anything I thought I could ever accomplish in the entertainment world."
Shelton expanded on his decision to step away from The Voice during an interview with Today, noting that he first considered leaving in 2020.
"I think I was close to calling it a day right when COVID hit," he told Daly in February 2023. "And then, because of COVID, I didn't want to walk away from the show and leave everybody in a bind. I mean, this show changed my life. I'll stay here until the world kind of gets back to normal again."
"It changed the path of my career. When I came on as a coach on this show, everything in my life was turned upside down," Shelton said. "And in a good way, you know? This has been incredible, but it's time, you know. It's time for not even what's next. A little bit of nothing would be nice."