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Why Gwen Stefani Thought Blake Shelton Ruined Her Shot at Returning to The Voice

Superstar Gwen Stefani will be returning as a Coach on The Voice as her husband steps down after 23 seasons. 

By Jax Miller

Coach Blake Shelton may be bowing out after 23 Seasons with The Voice, but luckily for us, his wife is making a triumphant return.

How to Watch

Watch the Season 26 premiere of The Voice on Monday, September 23 at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock. 

Esteemed singer and songwriter Gwen Stefani was announced as one of next season’s Coaches on the series, joining past Coach John Legend, current Coach Niall Horan, and Season 23 Mega Mentor Reba McEntire in the big red chair.

But Stefani, who served as a Coach for Seasons 7, 9, 12, 17, 19, and 22, didn’t think she’d return for her seventh rotation, at least according to her husband.

During a red-carpet interview for the series’ Live Semi-Finals, Shelton — whom Stefani met while filming The Voice said Stefani had her doubts.

RELATED: Blake Shelton Is "Most Comfortable" Here: See Where He Lives

“When I finally came to the conclusion that I was going to call it a day, last year, she even said, ‘Well, I guess they probably won’t have me back ever again, then,’” Shelton told NBC Insider. “And I go, ‘What are you talking about — you know they had you, they invited you to be a Coach for seasons before you and I were ever a thing.’ And she was like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s right. They did do that.’”

Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani

Shelton said he was confident they’d have her back on The Voice.

“And then, sure enough, she’s already going to be back,” Shelton continued. “She was excited to get the call.”

During her time on The Voice, Stefani shared the Coaches’ panel with some huge names, including Adam Levine, Alicia Keys, Pharrell Williams, Camila Cabello, and current Season 23 Coach Kelly Clarkson. She previously sat alongside Legend for Seasons 17, 19, and 22.

Stefani even coached Season 19 Artist Carter Rubin all the way to the win.

RELATED: Who Are Blake Shelton's Most Frequent Songwriting Partners?

“She’s such a visionary, and that comes through with her artists,” Shelton told NBC Insider. “You can see these kids come on the show — just literally — just their appearance and how they go from coming on the show with some talent to, by the end, they actually look like stars.”

Shelton called it “the Gwen Stefani effect.”

“It’s really cool to see,” Shelton added. “Especially when they’re open to listening to her ideas.”

On Monday, May 15, Stefani took to her Instagram page to confirm her return next fall. A graphic showed the red chair that's oh-so synonymous with The Voice with the name “Gwen” flashing on the back.

RELATED: Gwen Stefani Shared Sweet, Rare Footage of Her Kids at Blake's Walk of Fame Event

“Surprise,” she captioned with a smiley face emoji. “I’m back in the big red chair!!”

Stefani walks through one door as her husband exits, with Shelton previously announcing that Season 23 would be his last on The Voice. Having married Stefani in July 2021, he said he wanted to devote more time to spend with his new stepchildren.

Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani posing at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.

“I think being a stepdad has changed my perspective in that I’m not the first person that I think about anymore,” he said in a January 2023 interview with Access Hollywood. “Even to the small, little things when you go, ‘I think I’ll do this,’ the very next thought is always, ‘Well, wait a minute. How’s that going to work?’ Or, ‘What will they think?’ Or, ‘How will that affect a schedule?’”

For now, ahead of The Voice’s season finale, Shelton told NBC Insider he’s trying to enjoy his final time while it lasts.

“I don’t want to look back on this and feel like I rushed through it or I treated it like a normal season,” Shelton admitted. “I want to take it in and enjoy it.”

Team Blake singers Grace West and NOIVAS will compete with Team Kelly’s D. Smooth, Team Chance’s Sorelle, and Team Niall’s Gina Miles, with voting open to the public during the Live performances.

For Shelton, he compares the feeling with being back in school, calling it “exciting and fun.”

Tune in to The Voices Season 23 finale Tuesday, May 23, at 9/8c on NBC and available for streaming the next day on Peacock.

- Reporting by Tara Bennett