After nine years, Shania Twain’s husband Frédéric Thiébaud is still the one — but the way their love story came to be sounds straight out of a soap opera.
“It’s twisted,” Twain, 54, tells the publication. “But so beautifully twisted.”
In 2008, Twain’s ex-husband Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who was also her longtime cowriter and producer, told her their 14-year marriage was over. Within weeks, she found out why: he had been cheating on her with her dear friend and their personal assistant, Marie-Anne Thiébaud.
At the time, Marie-Anne was married to Frédéric, who was the one who ended up telling Twain about their spouses’ affair. (Twain says Marie-Anne had previously assured her it was “absurd” to think Lange was unfaithful.)
“There were days I didn’t really care if tomorrow came,” says Twain, who dealt with depression after learning of the affair.
Over time, Twain leaned on Frédéric for understanding, and eventually their friendship turned romantic. The pair got engaged in 2010 and a year later, they married.
“Survival is everything,” Twain says. “I was in quicksand. I panicked, like everybody does, but I didn’t surrender. I found a way out.”
Now, Twain is keeping busy with her happy marriage, raising her 18-year-old son Eja (whom she shares with Lange), a return Las Vegas residency and a budding acting career. In March, she’ll appear in the film I Still Believe, which follows the story of real-life Christian-music singer-songwriter Jeremy Camp, after starring opposite John Travolta in the race car film, Trading Paint, last year.
Twain also says she has recovered from problems with her voice, which have plagued her since 2003. That year, she was diagnosed with dysphonia, which is a neurological disorder of the larynx.
After Philadelphia otolaryngologist, Robert Sataloff, figured out that the root of her dysphonia was Lyme disease, Twain had Gore-Tex stabilizers implanted in her throat in 2018 so that her vocal muscles don’t have to work so hard.
As Twain writes new music, she says much of it is reflecting on her childhood, which was far from rosy.
Twain (born Eilleen Regina Edwards) was raised in Ontario, Canada, by her mother, Sharon, and her stepfather, Jerry Twain. Twain’s father abandoned the family early, and there wasn’t always money for them to have heat or proper meals.
In addition, Twain witnessed domestic violence as early as age 4, when she saw her stepfather knock her mother unconscious against a toilet seat and try to drown her.
“That was the beginning of the norm for the rest of my childhood,” she says. “I don’t know how we survived it.”
When Twain was 22, tragedy struck her family when her mother and stepfather died in a car crash. From then on, she took on the role of raising her three younger siblings.
“Sometimes I get overwhelmed coping with things, but experience also teaches you how to manage,” she says. “When you get older, you have so much experience at falling and getting up. You’re not going to stop falling. But you will get better at getting up and brushing yourself off. I believe that. I’ve lived it.”
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Twain says age has also taught her to be more confident in her body.
“I’m more comfortable with my body now than I was when I was younger,” says Twain. “It was really a struggle back then. But with age, you ask, ‘OK, how many more years do I have to live, and do I really want to live them feeling negative about myself and the things I can’t change?'”
“I just think it’s not worth it,” she adds. “Age brings perspective. Every day I learn something new. And I plan on doing that till the day I die.”