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For the first time since announcing her divorce from Michael Ray earlier this year, Carly Pearce is talking about how she’s dealing with what she says has been the hardest year of her life.

In an exclusive interview with People, Carly says that she still has her wedding dress, wedding photos and her 5-carat enagement ring. “I’ll keep it until I feel like I shouldn’t, and that’ll be it.”

Although Carly had previously said that she would keep details about her divorce private, she’s now sharing some insight into how it transpired. “My love was real,” she told People. “I will stand by that forever.”

Regarding how she fought to save her marriage, Carly says, “I did everything that I knew how to do.” She also cleared up speculation that quaratining put a strain on the relationship, telling People that things were headed south before then.

While many have wondered who initiated the split – especially since Michael appears to have moved on so quickly (he was recently seen seen kissing Travis Tritt’s daughter) – Carly says that SHE was the one who ended the marriage. “I realized very quickly that this was not the situation that I wanted for my life.”

As for the WHY behind the failed marriage, Carly remained vague. “It takes two people to work on something,” she said. “When you love somebody, you trust them.”

Carly Pearce Breaks Her Silence On Michael Ray Divorce: 'I Did Everything I Knew How To Do' | People

Now working to heal her broken heart, the new CMA winner refuses to call the brief marriage a mistake: "My love was real. I will stand by that forever." Subs...

Read Carly’s full interview with People here.

GALLERY: Carly Pearce

 

Jenny Bender is one third of the Kicks Wake Up Krew on Kicks 99 in Augusta, Georgia, along with Cash & Dub. She's married to Chris Bender and is doting dog mom to their two rescue fur babies, Mary Poppins Bender & Truly Scrumptious Bender. Jenny is a karaoke queen who loves Jesus, country music, cheese, the color pink, and the smell of new books.