Blake Shelton's tenure on The Voice has officially come to an end — which means it's time for a trip down memory lane.
Shelton, who has been a coach since the very first season in 2011, recently spoke to EW about the bittersweet reality of exiting the show after 12 years. Asked to recall his favorite memory across his 23-season run, Shelton initially joked that he couldn't possibly answer: "You could probably ask Kelly [Clarkson] that because she's only been here less than half as much as I have." But the truth is, his greatest takeaway from The Voice is larger than a single moment.
"I couldn't even begin to tell you what my favorite memory was," said Shelton. "But my favorite thing that's happened and developed was I met my wife on this show."
Shelton and No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani met in 2014 as judges for the singing competition. Six years later, they tied the knot. Stefani, who didn't make it to last night's emotional finale of The Voice, pre-recorded a message for her husband, reflecting on the start of their relationship. Stefani noted that when they first met, their "lives were having this parallel destruction happen, then next thing you know, [she and Blake] were becoming, like besties, and falling in love."
Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton on 'The Voice'
Outside of his relationship with Stefani, Shelton had an easy time picking a favorite moment from his final season. "My standout memory of this season is hitting my button for Grace West for two reasons," he reflected. "She's an incredible talent and the other reason is it's the last time I was gonna hit my button for anyone."
While the country star will no longer sit the giant red chair or smash his button for talented contestants, he plans to enjoy the show from afar. And sometimes from up close — because unlike your average viewer, Shelton still has a special connection to the upcoming season.
"As a viewer, I already have my favorite team picked out because Gwen's gonna be a coach," admitted Shelton. Stefani is slated to return as a coach alongside newbie Reba McEntire and fellow returnees Niall Horan and John Legend. Despite not being onscreen, Shelton expects to remain very opinionated about each judge's decisions. "[Gwen]'s probably gonna get super sick of me giving her advice and my ideas and stuff, because I'm definitely gonna have my ideas."
Recalling his wife's season 19 victory, Shelton admits, "She's won this thing so she knows what she's doing," before adding, "But she hasn't won it as many times as I have, dammit."
Shelton still holds the The Voice record with nine wins to his name, but the season 23 success story is none other than first-time coach and One Direction alum Niall Horan, who coached Gina Miles to victory.
Additional reporting by Briana Edwards.
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