Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert Divorce Records Sealed
A former Oklahoma state representative says “there’s some shenanigans going on” with regards to the sealing of Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert’s divorce records. Former Rep. Aaron Stiles says the judge was not following the law when he sealed the couple's records last week.
A state law requires a judge to seal divorce, civil and other public cases only if privacy interests outweigh the public interest, and in that case the order to seal must be made public.
Update: Judge John Gardner made his protective order public on Tuesday. The Oklahoman reports that Gardner says, "If the pleadings in this case were made public, it would significantly compromise the personal and financial privacy of the parties.”
“These parties are entertainers and are not guardians of the public trust," Gardner adds. "Because the matters contained in this case are likely to be of significant media interest, but are private in nature and not matters which are of a legitimate public interest, there is a compelling privacy interest which outweighs the public's interest in the record."
Stiles wrote the law, which went into effect in Oklahoma in 2014. Previously he told the Oklahoman that he did so to prevent cronyism or judges sealing the files of their friends when they wouldn’t do so for the average citizen. A second opinion on the matter came from Oklahoma City attorney Irven Box, who suggested a favor was done due to the couple’s celebrity status.
After learning of Gardner’s explanation Stiles said the law requires judges to seal only sensitive details, not an entire case. Furthermore he says he’s never seen personal or financial privacy information be filed in a divorce case.
The country couple’s marriage was dissolved on July 20 after Shelton filed on July 6. Thus far, only the online docket has been made public. That document provides very little information.
“This is not the future we envisioned," Shelton and Lambert said when news of the divorce broke. “It is with heavy hearts that we move forward separately. We are real people, with real lives, with real families, friends and colleagues. Therefore, we kindly ask for privacy and compassion concerning this very personal matter."
They’d been married for just over four years at the time of the divorce and have no children together.
See a Timeline of Blake and Miranda's Relationship