Blake Shelton's friends are his ''heroes''.

The 42-year-old country star has admitted that whilst he has had several different inspirations throughout his career, he currently believes that his ''rare'' collection of ''really close friends'' are the people he now holds in the highest regard.

He said: ''I find that as time goes by, my definition of a hero changes. My heroes have started to become my good friends.

''You start to find out, the older you get - I guess we all do - that a really good friend is a pretty rare thing to have in your life. That person. I've gotta say that the handful of really close friends that I have, those are my heroes. They're the ones that will just drop everything to be there for you if they need to be. I hold them high.''

But whilst the 'I Lived It' singer might have several close friends who are inspirations to him, his musical hero is Earl Thomas Conley, whom he met at the 2014 Country Music Association awards, where he won Male Vocalist of the Year.

Speaking to People magazine, he recalled: ''I noticed Earl Thomas Conley had never won that award. I don't know, it struck me. I just assumed that surely he must have, because he's my favourite he has to be the winner right? That night I happened to win male vocalist of the year and so I mentioned his name on stage and dedicated the award to him. He's just an incredible vocalist and, I feel like, underrated.''

Blake's biggest inspiration these days is his partner and fellow musician Gwen Stefani, as he recently claimed he ''wouldn't change'' anything about his life now that he's settled down with the 'Hollaback Girl' hitmaker.

He said: ''I wouldn't change one thing about my life right now. I'm happy. Sometimes happiness can seem like fleeting moments, but this one has been staying in the same lane for a long time. It's just amazing.

''I would just like to ride this wave till I die. The personal side of my life has been chaotic at times over the last few years, but it's kinda settled down now and just feels good ... When we first started seeing each other, friends of mine would be like, 'What the hell is that all about?' But if you ever had a chance to be around us together, it does make sense.''