Michelle Branch says it’s a ‘Mindf—‘ to raise a baby while her eldest prepares for college

Michelle Branch new photos of her PR team

courtesy of Michelle Branch Michelle Branch

In the midst of a series of public ups and downs in Michelle Branchthe wedding of the Patrick Carney of the Black Keysthe “Everywhere” singer-songwriter’s three children are doing well.

Last month, Branch posted — then deleted — a tweet accusing her husband, Black Keys musician Patrick Carneyof cheating on tour while at home with their 7-month-old daughter, willy. After sharing the post, the 39-year-old singer-songwriter was arrested on a domestic violence charge since dismissed for allegedly slapping 42-year-old Carney. She filed for divorce days later and wrote in a statement at the time, “With such young children, I ask for privacy and kindness.”

“I definitely shouldn’t have taken to Twitter to say anything. Here I say, ‘Please respect our privacy,’ but I was the one who told the world,” Branch told PEOPLE , on Zoom from his Nashville home, in this week’s issue.

(A few days after this interview, Branch and Carney requested the suspension of the divorce proceedings for six months to work on their marriage, according to Tennessee court documents obtained by PEOPLE.)

Patrick Carney of the Black Keys and Michelle Branch

Patrick Carney of the Black Keys and Michelle Branch

Jeff Kravitz/Getty Patrick Carney of the Black Keys and Michelle Branch

Though she may have regrets, Branch has long been known to wear her vulnerability on her sleeve. A month after the dramatic episode, however, she is honest but cautious when addressing the situation. “I have to respect that I’m not the only person involved in this. We have very young children,” says Branch, who also has a 4-year-old son, Rhys, with Carney, and a 17-year-old daughter. . -one-year-old child, Owen (who uses the pronouns they/them), with her ex-husband Teddy Landau. “I promised Patrick not to talk about it publicly.”

RELATED: Michelle Branch has ‘nothing but love’ for Patrick Carney, says marriage ‘changes from hour to hour’

As for Branch’s children, they were not informed of the tragedy. “I hope they don’t know anything about what’s going on. I’m preparing to leave in a week on tour. Patrick is on tour at the moment,” says the musician, whose new album The fever problem comes out on Friday, a day after the start of his concert tour in Boston. “Dad’s at work and mom’s getting ready to go to work. I’m going to take the baby on tour with me because I’m still nursing him.”

She and Carney welcomed Willie in February, and since then most of Branch’s time has been happily consumed by the child. “First of all, he’s the cutest little baby ever,” she jokes. “I’m completely obsessed with her.”

Willie’s dad has been on tour with the Black Keys since early July, and lately Branch says Owen has been “a big help” with the babysitting. Rhys, on the other hand, does his best to help mom. “He’s in kindergarten and he’s a wild man,” she explains. “He doesn’t understand that a baby can’t play yet. He’s like, ‘Come on, can we go play?’ And I’m like, “No, it’s just a drop. Give it some time.” But it’s really sweet to see him together.”

As Branch rehearsed to hit the road, she also helped Owen research different potential colleges to attend next year. “It’s quite a spirit — for me to have a 7-month-old daughter and then one going off to college,” the Grammy winner said. “If I didn’t have the two youngest kids to distract me from the fact that my baby is going to college, I think I’d be a mess.”

She may still consider Owen her “baby,” but they’re now the same age Branch was when they created the 2001 debut album that launched her into teen stardom, The Hall of Spirits. Despite coming across as the spitting image of each other, Owen lives a completely different life than Branch at 17, having left home in the middle of high school to pursue a music career rather than go at University.

Branch doesn’t consider it crucial for Owen to go to college, but she says “they’re so smart” and independently interested in two potential subjects to study: animation and paleontology. “If you were to meet Owen at some point, there’s a notebook with a million different characters. They’re constantly drawing,” she says. “The world is their oyster… But mom’s calling it now – they’ll probably get into animation one way or another.”

RELATED: Michelle Branch finds strength in music and therapy amid marital struggles: ‘What my heart needs’

Having recently obtained their driver’s license, Owen has experienced a new wave of independence, which can be as overwhelming as it is fun, especially combined with college. “I keep reminding Owen that I left home around the same age, and that’s how you learn – trial by fire,” says Branch. “You can only prepare the kids. You give them all the tools they need to survive on their own, and I think Owen will be fine.”

College life will be a whole new experience for Owen, but Branch predicts they’ll enjoy it at least more than life at home with a needy little brother. “Every day I’m like, ‘Owen, I need to take a shower. Hold your sister, make a grilled cheese for your brother,'” she notes. “So I’m sure Owen will be happy to be out of the house, away from that.”

For more from Michelle Branch, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

Comments are closed.