NBC’s The Voice is returning for its 17th season without one familiar face: Adam Levine. The longtime coach announced his departure from the show last month, and the news has been incredibly tough on his close pal Blake Shelton.
“I can’t imagine, honestly, what the show is gonna feel like at first without Adam there,” Shelton, who spent the last eight years filming alongside Levine, told ET’s Nancy O’Dell. “Adam has been my frenemy from day one, you know, down there on the end.”
Despite Levine’s exit, it appears Shelton will be in good company on the show’s upcoming season. In fact, the country singer’s girlfriend Gwen Stefani will round out the judges’ panel that also includes Kelly Clarkson and John Legend.
Fans may recall Stefani and Shelton met back in 2015 while filming The Voice. At the time, they were both recovering from their respective high-profile divorces. Now that the pair has been going strong for almost four years, their romance has been the subject of ongoing tabloid reports that suggest a possible engagement – and wedding – in the near future.
“First of all, the rumors stuff, I’m not gonna sit here and say that it makes me mad. It’s funny,” Shelton laughed in response to all of the chatter surrounding his relationship with Stefani. “I’ve learned over the years just to take that for what it is. If I am somehow, and Gwen is somehow, newsworthy enough that they have to make up stories about us just to have something to say, then I guess that’s a good problem to have.”
“You know, I gotta say that we couldn’t be happier,” he added. “And we’ve never been doing better.”
Shelton, who also acknowledged they “get stronger every day,” admitted that his relationship with Stefani will continue to move onward saying, “Obviously, that’s gotta lead somewhere, but I promise you, we won’t break the news in any of the grocery store trash magazines.”
In the meantime, the superstars are simply enjoying each other’s company. Shelton turned 43-years-old on June 20, and Stefani honored her man with a loving note and photo slideshow on Instagram.
“She’s never not been supportive or a cheerleader, just the most encouraging person I’ve ever had in my life, on any level. It’s unbelievable how supportive she is,” Shelton gushed. “I tell her this all the time, and she doesn’t realize it, but Gwen’s one of these people that I learn so much from, because no matter what the situation is, she has a way of looking at something from every angle possible, and understanding if there’s turmoil or something going on, instead of just jumping to conclusions or reacting, it’s, ‘Well, here’s why they may feel that way.'”
“I’ve learned a lot from her — to not be so reactive as I used to be. She’s definitely helped to calm me down, for sure,” he added.
Season 17 of NBC’s The Voice is scheduled to return in September.