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Lambert certainly sings the praises of her other half, Blake Shelton, who’s not only a major country music singer but also a star judge of NBC’s The Voice. In May of 2011, the couple said “I do” in a much-publicized marriage, making them the present day King and Queen of Country Music. “We met singing on a CMT [Country Music Television] duet show and soon became friends as he has such a great personality.” They’ve been together for several years, and Lambert is well aware of the pluses and minuses of a show-business marriage. “The challenge is that we are always at opposite ends of the country. We know what each other is going through; we inspire each other and like to bounce ideas off each other,” she says. And with fame comes the inevitable microscope. “When you are married to a celebrity, people start looking for reasons to tear you down,” she notes. Very grounded, solid, and wise beyond her years, Lambert explains, “We are very real and don’t get caught up in the crap. After all is said and done, we will be at home and living a normal life. We just don’t get caught up in the celebrity mayhem.” At a time when country music artists are becoming brands, will Lambert follow suit? “I want to do it all!” she exclaims. “I would love to have a boot line — cowboy boots with heels — and a perfume. I would love to be the next Reba, but it takes a lot to build an empire!” One thing Lambert has added to her empire-building résumé is the role of actress. A huge aficionado of NBC’s long-running series Law and Order, she guest-starred as an actress who is assaulted by a reality-show producer. “I have all the episodes Tivo’d. I watch the marathons and follow the show religiously.” Of the role, Lambert notes, “Having to be a character opposite my personality was scary — I am confident and opinionated and had to play someone who was subdued.” She studied with acting coach Susan Batson (who coached Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman), and while she doesn’t want to be an actress, she says “If the right part came along and it was small, I would explore it.”

When she does take a break from performing, downtime is spent with Shelton and a menagerie of dogs, pot-bellied pigs, chickens, and horses on their farm in Tishomingo, Oklahoma (just an hour and a half from Oklahoma City). “We are very outdoorsy people and like to hunt and fish and just hang out at the house.” Lambert is often traveling nationally on a tour bus, but not long ago ventured to Italy and Switzerland for the very first time and found the experience amazing. “We stayed outside of Florence in Tuscany and took day trips to Chianti (where she took a cooking class) and Rome. We also had a show in Gstaad, Switzerland — it was so beautiful and I would love to go back, ” she says.

Lambert’s dogs are near and dear to her heart. She is involved in the dog rescue group MuttNation Foundation, whose mission is to financially support the no-kill shelters of Tishomingo and the surrounding areas. She hosts and organizes the annual Cause for Paws concert to help the Humane Society of East Texas. The foundation raised nearly $300,000 at the fourth annual event. The couple own six dogs — all adorable mutts that were found on the side of the road. “People just leave animals at our door.” Several of her rescued dogs stole the show at her star-studded wedding last year — serving as bridesmaids. “Animals love you unconditionally and keep you grounded. I really need to be involved with animals in any way I can and feel like we are making a real difference.”

If the last year is any indication, Miranda Lambert is making quite a difference, both on and off the stage.