Pursuing one’s passion with utmost sincerity and madness has proved to be emancipating and fulfilling for many artists. But it becomes exceedingly difficult to follow the desire when one struggles to achieve the basic amenities and emotional stability in life. Therefore, when one overcomes all the hardships and succeeds in making a mark in the world they become no less than role-models and heroes for the generations to come.
Arguably, the most famous country singer of the 90s, Shania Twain (Eileen on birth) overcame hunger, poverty and numerous emotional turbulences before she could become who she is today. But it didn’t stop there, she fought internal battles even after achieving success only to come out more strong and graceful.
The traumatic childhood
The Woman In Me hitmaker is known to be a private person who barely talks about the experiences of her life. But in a rare candid interview with Nightline anchor Cynthia McFadden she opened up about her growing up years in an abusive household amid poverty and crises, her husband’s infidelity leading to a heartbreaking divorce and finding love again, reports ABC News.
“I think I’ve remained very detached from my life to this point, almost as though it was a different person, every phrase I went through,” Twain said. “So I’ve reconnected and said, no, this is actually who I am. I’m neither embarrassed of who I am, where I come from, what I’ve experienced, I’m not ashamed of it.”
When she was 4, Shania was legally adopted by Jerry Twain after her mom married him. But her stepfather physically abused her mother and verbally tortured her. She reveals that she remembered all the traumatic incidents of her childhood, saying, “[It was] overwhelming for any child to never know what to expect from one day to the next,” Twain said. “It could happen anytime. But also you don’t know if they’re going to survive it.”
Experiencing verbal abuse from her father left her hollow inside and also confused because he was also the man who taught her to be a good and hardworking human being. “It was the Jekyll and Hyde in him that was the greatest torture,” she said. “I loved him and I respected so much what he did for us, being the hard worker, he set a great example. So I’m still left confused. I’m baffled by all of that, I really am.”
Talking about their financial struggles she recalled that she repeatedly went to school hungry and felt jealous looking at her friends’ lunchboxes, but never told anyone. “It’s very hard to concentrate when you’re stomach’s rumbling,” she said.
“I would certainly never have humiliated myself enough to reach out and ask for help and say, You know, I’m hungry. Can I have that apple that you’re not going to eat?” she said. “I didn’t have the courage to do that.”
Twain’s challenges continued when her parents were later killed in a car accident in 1987, leaving her to raise her three younger siblings.
Her marriage and its devastating end
In 1993, Twain married her colleague, music producer Robert “Mutt” Lange, 62. It was love at first sight for her. She was madly in love with Lange and they went on to produce several records together. “When I met Mutt for the first time, I knew that I loved this person,” Twain said. “I felt like I had already loved him.”
But her packed schedules and frequent tours proved to be damaging for their marriage when she started feeling a sense of aloofness and detachment in her marriage. “When I started to get lonely, then I knew that something wasn’t right,” she said. “I’m married to someone I love, and I’m so lonely… I didn’t want to live that way.”
As the turbulence in her marriage rose she started confiding and finding solace in her close friend Marie-Anne Thiebaud. But the worst was yet to come. Soon, Twain came to know that it was, in fact, Thiebaud with whom her husband was cheating on her. This left her distraught and broken, she no longer knew who to trust and completely lost faith in herself. Twain confronted Thiebaud about their affair and this was the last nail in the coffin of their 14-year-old marriage.
“Whether she was part of the cause … of the breakup or whether it was just me leaning on her because it was already breaking up, I really don’t know which came first,” Twain said. “What I do know is she took advantage of, you know, the weakness in the relationship between Mutt and I.”
She added, “I was angry at Mutt for not listening to me and not answering my questions, more than the affair itself.”
Finding love again
It is not easy to defeat a strong woman. Out of her many incredible qualities, one is, standing back stronger at the end of a storm and still have the compassion and courage at heart to not turn bitter from the inside. After Lange’s unexpected infidelity, Twain did lose hope and faith in love but she did give it another chance and it served her well this time. The 5-time Grammy winner eventually found love again in someone close to home – Frederic Thiebaud, Marie-Anne’s ex-husband. The couple married on New Year’s Day, 2011.
“I fell in love, I can’t believe it because I didn’t ever want to know love again,” she said. “I’ve always believed in love. I temporarily lost my hope in love, and it was temporary thank goodness.”
She also, eventually, gathered the courage to forgive Lange. She had written the most passionately romantic songs for and with the same man who broke her heart but that does not take away the feeling wrapped in them.
“I still think they’re beautiful,” she said. “Nothing of my present or my future will ever take away what I had in the past, ever. I would never disrespect myself and do that. I’m very happy with every love song I ever wrote in my marriage to Mutt, and I’m very proud of the work we did together.”
Only a strong person with a huge heart could say that!