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Shania Twain: My Divorce Was the Wake-Up Call I Needed

Shania Twain Talks Marriage & Divorce with Oprah Winfrey
Shania Twain
Barry Talesnick/Globe

05/03/2011 01:00PM

Shania Twain says the breakup of her marriage in 2008 left her devastated – then, finally, empowered.

"I didn't want to live," she tells Oprah Winfrey of being told that then-husband Robert "Mutt" Lange was having an affair with her assistant and close friend, Marie-Anne Thiebaud, in an interview airing Tuesday.

Now, the singer says the dissolution of that 14-year marriage was "a very positive thing." Adds Twain: "I needed the wake-up."





Though she doesn't know the details of the alleged affair to this day – the couple has never admitted infidelity – the country superstar, 45, tells Winfrey she tried to get answers and even wanted her husband back. At one point, she recalls writing to Marie-Anne and asking, "Why are you torturing me? Let it go, please," she said. "Find love somewhere else from someone else."

"I know it was pathetic," Twain says of the letter. "But we all have pathetic moments. No one is above this type of low."

Finding Her Voice Again

While trying to heal from the divorce, Twain turned to the one person who truly could understand what she was going through: Marie-Anne's estranged husband, Frédéric. The two eventually fell in love, and married in January in Puerto Rico.

Happily married, Twain is now making an effort to reclaim her voice after a five year absence from the stage. She recently went to a doctor in Nashville to check her vocal cords and discovered that she suffers from a condition called dysphonia, which she describes as the muscles in her throat squeezing her voice box.

She attributes the condition to years of fear – from witnessing domestic violence as a child, her parents' deaths, the uncertainty that followed and battling longtime stage-fright. Still, Twain, who is releasing a new memoir, From This Moment On, and has a new show on Winfrey's network, OWN, debuting Sunday, says she plans to embrace music.

"I've trapped my own voice, and now I've got to unwipe all that," Twain says. "I really can't imagine not singing again."

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