Blake Shelton's experience on 'The Voice' has caused him to feel more paternal.

The 41-year-old country star - who has been dating his former on-screen colleague Gwen Stefani since 2015 - has admitted that mentoring the acts on the show has led him to feel more fatherly than the experience of helping to raise the blonde beauty's three young boys, Kingston, 11, Zuma, nine, and Apollo, three.

Asked whether being around the boys had sparked a paternal instinct in him, Blake - who started dating Gwen after her split from Gavin Rossdale - shared: '''The Voice', I think, sparked that in me, if anything.

''I never thought in a million years when I signed on to do that show that I would ever be so defensive when it comes to reading a blog or critique about one of my artists.

''[In the] first season or two, I couldn't help it. I would just lose my mind when I would see someone picking on a kid, you know.''

Blake - who was previously married to fellow music star Miranda Lambert - recently took his girlfriend, her kids and Gwen's entire family to Oklahoma, the state where he was born, for the grand opening of his new restaurant, Ole Red.

And the singer admitted to relishing the experience of showing them around a place that remains so close to his heart.

Speaking to 'Entertainment Tonight', Blake explained: ''It's been a lot of fun for me to be the one to get to expose them to this - out in the country.

''They love it so much, her entire family. And when I say her family, I mean all of them. I'm talking about the kids, the mom, the dad, the brother. There's times when we've had holiday gatherings, and I'm talking about 30-plus family members from her side, from my side.''