Carly Pearce enjoyed a very public courtship before getting married last October, and now that the marriage has ended, the public has remained invested in the breakup.

"It's a lot harder than I thought it would be," the "Next Girl" singer says of living life in the spotlight when things got bad.

Talking to Apple Music Country's Kelleigh Bannen (host of The Kelleigh Bannen Show), Pearce admits she's thought a lot about allowing so much of her relationship with Michael Ray to become fodder for news websites, radio shows and television programs.

"I think when you go through some of the public parts that I've had to go through recently, sure, I wish I could run away and hide from some of that," the singer tells Bannen in a recent episode. "But I also think that since I started making music at this level, my first song ('Every Little Thing') was so personal and I think it showed me that we're all humans and we all go through the same things."

Pearce and Ray first started dating in early 2018 after she slid into his DMs. They announced their relationship that summer, became engaged that December and over the next 18 months took nearly every chance to talk about one another and their life together. Several songs from her 2020 Carly Pearce album were influenced by her now-ex, and they even paired up to sing one, "Finish Your Sentences."

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The CMA-nominated "I Hope You're Happy Now" singer filed for divorce in mid-June and has been quiet about what led to the sudden end of their romance — as recently as mid-February, she was doting on Ray during an interview with Taste of Country Nights. It's tempting to believe "Next Girl" "goes there," though she had not said as much. The uptempo song is a warning to women who are quickly seduced by male charmers.

"I bet you probably met him at a bar / Let him walk you to your car, I bet," Pearce sings at the chorus. "He said he never falls this hard / Yeah, I remember that part / He knows how to say all the right things / Knows how to get you outta that dress / Knows how to make you think you’re the best thing / But I know what happens next, girl."

Pearce says she's done an emotional 360 ("Not 180-ed, 360-ed") over the last few months, and digging into her country music record collection has been crucial. Presumably more new music is coming — the 30-year-old has hinted to it on social media. Don't assume she'll be spilling any tea, now or ever. Of how she'll carry herself moving forward, Pearce makes it clear she won't forget this time in her life.

"I do think I've learned some lessons through the last few years of maybe to keep certain things more private, maybe not exploit every aspect of your life too quickly."

The Kelleigh Bannen Show is one of several artist-driven shows on Apple Music Country. The country singer-turned-radio-host has also interviewed Luke BryanDan + Shay and Caylee Hammack during her first weeks on air. Bannen is also the host of the This Nashville Life podcast.

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