In the new issue of Life & Style Weekly, on newsstands now, Blake Shelton’s close family friends, the Large family, open up, revealing what the Voice star was like before he was famous — while sharing photos and stories of the boy they knew since he was only 12 years old.

Larry and his wife, Carol, helped Blake move to Nashville, Tenn., in 1994 to pursue his dreams of being a country music star. “He said if it didn’t work out, he’d be picking up cans on the side of the road,” Larry says. “He was turned down by a lot of people. He’d get discouraged.”

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Now, he is a 60 million dollar man — but friends say that he is still the same nice kid from a small town in Oklahoma. “Fame,” Larry explains of Blake, “hasn’t changed him at all.”

“If you meet him, you love him,” Carol adds. “If Blake’s talking to you, he makes you feel like the only person in the room.”

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“He’s exactly like he is on television. Blake’s got such a quick wit and is happy to poke fun at himself.”

Carol, who heard about Blake’s heartbreak over the divorce with Miranda Lambert firsthand, reveals that the split “devastated him.”

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Carol recalls “He said, ‘I really thought that she was the one who’d be holding my hand the day I died.’ He thought she was his forever. Blake didn’t want the marriage to break up.”

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For all the latest news inside Blake’s split and new romance, pick up the latest issue of Life & Style Weekly – on newsstands now!