Is it 2015 again? Certainly seems that way, given the flurry of headlines about Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, the former country music power couple who divorced nearly three years ago.
No, the current frenzy is because Us Weekly â which once got the exclusive rights to Shelton and Lambertâs wedding photos â and People magazine reported last week that Lambert is dating Evan Felker, the lead singer of country music group Turnpike Troubadours. Felkerâs band opened for Lambertâs tour for a few days in early February. According to the magazines, Felker was married at the time â then several weeks later, he filed for divorce.
That alone would cause the celebrity gossip machine to start churning, but thanks to cryptic tweets, photos and Instagram posts, it went into overdrive. While neither of the singers has directlyÂ addressed the chaos (Felkerâs representative declined to comment; Shelton and Lambertâs reps did not respond to a request for comment), these days, they donât have to. This situation is a perfectÂ example of how much social media has changed the game with celebrity drama â particularly breakups â and helps stories take on a life of their own. Hereâs how this one unfolded.
Step 1: The ex weighs in
Shelton isnât known for being subtle. With one tweet, he threw a match on the gossip gasoline.
âBeen taking the high road for a long time.. I almost gave up,â he wrote a few hours after the tabloids broke the news about Lambert and Felker. âBut I can finally see something on the horizon up there!! Wait!! Could it be?! Yep!! Itâs karma!!â
Social media users went to work analyzing this gleeful tweet, which clearly seemed related to Lambert, and fueled the story to a new level of public fascination: Shelton never talks about his ex. Some speculated that âkarma,â may have something to do with the criticism that Shelton received when he and Lambert admitted they first had a spark in 2005 while Shelton was married to his first wife. But that doesnât quite add up, so was it something else entirely?
While doing press for âThe Voice,â Shelton demurred. âIt was a personal thing thatâs in a small circle of my people and thatâs why it was written the way it was. And then people took it and make it into what they want to make it into, which I donât want any part of that,â Shelton told âExtra.â (Note: When you send a tweet to your 21 million followers, that makes it less âpersonal.â)
âAt the same time, I canât help but think itâs funny how these fires get lit, and it takes off,â Shelton added. âI donât have time to care, also, thatâs why Iâve just kind of moved on.â
Thatâs great for him; his fans have not. Which leads us toâŠ
Step 2: Another ex weighs in
As Sheltonâs tweet made the rounds, singer Jeff Allen â who dated Lambert in the mid-2000s â fired off a tweet to âThe Voiceâ star. According to publications who saw the message before it was deleted, Allen accused SheltonÂ and Lambert of getting together whileÂ Allen was still in a relationship with Lambert.
âI kept my mouth shut for 13 years,â Allen continued in another now-deleted tweet. âSorry, his karma tweet rubbed me wrong. All of this is pointless.â
And as that propelled the whole situation furtherâŠ
Step 3: A reminder of the impact
Thereâs usually someone who isÂ unwittingly shoved into the spotlight but wants to make their feelings known. Two daysÂ after the Lambert-Felker news became public, Felkerâs wife, Staci, posted a photo on her Instagram story that quickly spread around the Internet. She took a teary-eyed selfie and captioned it with a âpublic service announcement.â
âIf Staci Felker can make it through this week,â she wrote, âso can you.â
Step 4: A search for previous cluesÂ Â
Lambert, one of the most popular stars in country music, can be intensely privateÂ when she wants to be. However, People magazine, citing an anonymous source, guided readers to âseveral veiled referencesâ that Lambert may have already made about Felker on Instagram.
The mag pointed to a photo from Feb. 7 which showed Lambert standing in front of a mirror with the caption, âI do this thing called whatever I want.â In March, Lambert posted about a co-writing session, which included a picture of a beer that is Felkerâs reported âdrink of choice,â according to People.
No matter the actual purpose behind the photos, judging from the comments, those posts did not age well. And thatâs one of the conundrums of being a celebrity in 2018 â social media is made to boost your profile, but when youâre in the midst of drama, itâs made to be analyzed.