Carly Pearce says her marriage to fellow country singer Michael Ray was in trouble before the coronavirus pandemic — and subsequent lockdown — even started. She opens up about their divorce in a new interview with People.

"It was very clear that this was not the marriage that I wanted," Pearce says in a revealing interview published Wednesday morning (Nov. 11), just hours after she learned she won —and reacted to winning — a 2020 CMA Award for Musical Event of the Year.

While the union was brief, Pearce insists her love for Ray was real — the marriage was not a mistake. No tawdry details about the split are shared in this profile, although she says she did everything she knew how to do to keep things together.

"It takes two people to work on something," Pearce says. "When you love somebody, you trust them."

Ray and Pearce married in October 2019 after 18 months of dating, but separated just eight months later. Details of their romance were very public, with both parties often taking to social media to love on one another. Since it ended, the 30-year-old "I Hope You're Happy Now" singer and her 32-year-old ex have remained very quiet about what happened. She says now that she was overcome with grief.

"I truly thought I was gonna die," she says. "There were moments I seriously did not know if I could breathe. It was awful. It is awful."

Friends and family, professional counseling, a new shih tzu puppy named June and songwriting have helped Pearce through this challenging time. There are songs coming about her heartache and the breakup, but "Next Girl" (her current radio single) is not one of them. A song called "Heart First," she tells People, is, however.

"Head couldn’t have told me no different if it tried / Had that all in tunnel vision, didn’t think it through / Yeah I only saw what I wanted to / Cause when you fall you fall heart first / And when you hit the ground it hurts / Wish there was another way without the crash and burn / That I could learn / But when you fall you fall heart first," she sings in a clip shared to Instagram.

Taste of Country asked Pearce if her next album will be the kind of breakup album that Miranda Lambert recorded after her split from Blake Shelton. The Weight of These Wings was tremendously personal, and lengthy.

"I've looked to her a lot throughout this year," Pearce says. "Something that she said that I think is really awesome is, just listen to the music. The music will speak for it. I feel that."

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