ValoryFor fans who want to know the intimate details of Brantley Gilbert‘s breakup with Jana Kramer, you’ll find the answers on his new CD, Just As I Am.

“It was the real thing,” he says of the romance.  “We went at it. We went at it hard and fast. It’s definitely a love story that’s a huge part of my life, always will be, and I was proud to represent it on the record. It’s part of that chapter.”

Since he’s been writing and recording, Brantley says he’s always been brutally honest about his life. So it really wasn’t an option to leave out even an unpleasant part.

“The past four-and-a-half years there was a lot of the good, and the bad and the ugly in there,” he says, looking back on his country career so far. “I didn’t skip anything… I take a lot of pride in being able to say I don’t sing anything I don’t write on. I don’t write about anything I hadn’t been through. I tell people, these albums are chapters of my life. Well, if you’re gonna say that you damn well ought to live by it.”

Brantley met Jana in June of 2012, and by January of the next year, he and the actress-turned-singer were engaged. But by August of 2013, they’d called off the wedding.  He’s quick to say rumors that circulated about the breakup were false, and what really happened is much less exciting.

“The stories that came up around that thing, I’ll be the first one to tell you, they’re not true. Obviously there’s a situation in relationships that exist where things just don’t work,” he says candidly. “That’s what happened to us.”

In fact, Brantley says the gossip about his ill-fated love affair actually reminds him of high school, and he’s still somewhat mad about it.

“The stories that were surrounding that whole deal that were made up — I had heard that Nashville was the biggest small town in America. I graduated with 66 people. Now, we could come up with a hella some stories. You know what I mean, and bend the truth like nobody’s business without breaking it, but when that happened and that went down, that was really the one thing that would make me pretty angry, and there’s some folks that’s lucky they ain’t got a dent in their head, and it ain’t over,” he laughs.

Even though the song “Dust” was written specifically about the breakup, Brantley’s quick to point out there were some positives to come out of his time with Jana too.

“It’s not just the negative things,” he interjects.  “Man, there are a lot of good things. More good than bad.”

In the end, Brantley says he has no hard feelings toward Jana and he wishes her well.

“She is an absolute wonderful person,” he reflects. “I think the world of her. She’s going to make someone a wonderful, wonderful wife — a wonderful, wonderful mother. Just between us, things didn’t work.”

Just As I Am is new in stores and online today.

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