It’s no secret that Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani are madly in love — the power couple has been in a relationship for five years already – but what most people don’t know is how Shelton also fell head over heels for Stefani’s three sons. 

The country superstar has become an extra dad to Kingston, Zuma, and Apollo, who are from Stefani’s marriage to rocker Gavin Rossdale, which ended in divorce in 2015.

“There’s no shortage of energy with the three boys running around at home, and “there’s days where you go, ‘Oh my God, when does school start?'” he jokingly said.

But that never lasts for long. “An hour later you’re going, ‘God, I can’t wait ’til they get home,'” said Shelton. “They’re so damn funny. It’s just my first time being around it, and it’s easy to fall in love with those kids. They’re pretty special.”

Blake Shelton Being The Awesome Extra Dad

While staying respectful of Stefani’s then-husband Gavin Rossdale’s role as their father, Shelton, has also taken a huge part in raising the boys over the last few years.

According to a source, the three boys “look up to Blake in a big way. He’s earned their respect as a father figure. He’s gone from being their friend to being a serious parental influence.” The No Doubt singer also called Shelton a “good dad” during a Today show appearance in 2019.

“He is a good dad, actually,” Stefani said. “He’s been helping me out a lot. I literally get to the point where I’m like, ‘You gotta get home—I need help!’ It’s hard. I got three boys.” Earlier this June, in celebration of this year’s Father’s Day, Stefani also thanked Shelton for helping her raise her boys.

Shelton has indeed been taking his role as a parental figure to Stefani’s boys very seriously.

“That’s a scary moment for me because it’s one thing for me to be with the kids all the time and be their buddy, but you do have to consider after a while that they start to listen to things that you say. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that,” Shelton opened up about the balance of being both a friend and a role model to Stefani’s three sons.

Blake Shelton Discovering His Daddy Instincts

Shelton also admits that being around Stefani’s sons has changed his perspective on his role in parenting.

“At this point in my life, I kind of had put [having kids] as like, ‘Well, that wasn’t meant to be.’ Then all of a sudden it happens one way or another, and it’s like, ‘Wow, [I] missed out on a lot.'”

“And so having them around … I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s so much fun,” adds the “God Gave Me You” singer.

Shelton also opened up to PEOPLE about how the boys have helped his father’s instincts materialize — and how thankful he is to have them around.

“For a long time, it was awkward trying to figure out what my place is and in their mind too,” he said. “The best part for me, selfishly, is discovering a part of myself that I guess I never really knew was in there. It’s definitely an instinct that kind of kicks in.”

The Voice coaches have been self-isolating at Shelton’s ranch in Oklahoma amid the coronavirus pandemic, taking advantage of the added uninterrupted quality time with Apollo, Zuma, and Kingston. They are spending time “doing things that I wished I had time to do for the last 20 years.”

“That’s literally stupid things, like pick blackberries,” Shelton said. “We grew a garden, grew several acres of sweet corn.”

“The simple pleasure of being together in one place for an extended period of time has been a real gift,” he added. “We cook, we clean, we ride four-wheelers, and we just enjoy being with each other and with family.”