Born Eilleen Regina Edwards, Twain is only 2 when her father, Clarence Edwards, divorces her mother, Sharon. In 1971, Sharon remarries Jerry Twain, an Ojibwa Indian, and he adopts and raises Shania in the rural Canadian mining town of Timmins, Ontario. "My dad's side of the family was the side we grew up with," Twain tells PEOPLE of her upbringing with Jerry. "So it was the Indians that were really our family." By 8, she's singing in clubs in the middle of the night. Her parents often wake her at 1 a.m. to go perform after last call. Stardom was "their dream," she tells PEOPLE in 1995. "I dreamed about being a kid."
Twain parents are killed in a head-on collision. Only 22, Twain cares for her three teenage siblings by singing at the upscale Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario. "I was overwhelmed with a lot of decisions," Twain later tells PEOPLE. But, she adds, "What I learned through all of that was how strong I was capable of being. I didn't fall apart. I kept it together, paid the bills, took care of the kids, did the groceries, cooked and cleaned and still kept down a job."
Once her siblings are old enough to take care of themselves, Twain pursues her dreams in Nashville, signing a record deal with Mercury Nashville, which releases her 1993 self-titled debut album. Around that time, Twain begins writing songs over the phone with reclusive London-based producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange. In June 1993, after months of working together, they finally meet in person. By December, they're married. "It was just like a dream," Twain tells EW.
Co-writing 10 of the 12 tracks on The Woman in Me with Lange, Twain becomes a household name with the record, which sells 12 million copies. "He deserves all the credit I can give him," she tells EW. "But at the same time, I don't discredit myself." She receives four Grammy nominations the following year, winning for Best Country Album.
Buoyed by making the Top 10 hit list with "From This Moment On," "You're Still the One" and "That Don't Impress Me Much," Twain's third release Come on Over becomes the fifth-best selling album of all time, selling 34 million copies worldwide and making her only the second woman (Whitney Houston is the other) to have two albums sell more than 10 million copies each. Her success lands her on the cover of Rolling Stone.
At the Grammy Awards, Twain squeezes into a skintight dominatrix ensemble to perform her hit "Man! I Feel like a Woman!". The racy, nontraditional Nashville get-up doesn't keep her from winning awards for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song. "I've never been out to offend people or do things for the sake of being different," she tells PEOPLE. "As long as I'm comfortable, and I like what I see in the mirror, I go for it." In September, she wins her first Country Music Association Award for Entertainer of the Year.
Now living in the Chateau de Sully, a 19th-century mansion in Switzerland the couple bought in 1998, Twain gives birth to son, Eja (pronounced Asia) D'Angelo Lange. "I don't feel like a star there," she tells PEOPLE in 2002. "I needed to leave behind the whole 'Shania' thing and be myself."
Twain makes her latest album, Up!, a double CD, creating several versions of its 19 tracks. According to Time, the original pop version contains snare drum hits and techno arrangements, while the second disc sprinkles the tracks with mandolin and slide guitar to appeal to her country fans. Listeners in Europe get a different second disc, which features songs set to, as she puts it, "an Asian, Indian vibe."
Twain returns to the spotlight–but not with good news: she and Lange split after 14 years together. The breakup is reportedly caused by Lange's relationship with Marie-Anne Thiébaud, 37, a longtime secretary and house manager of the couple's estate. "Mutt and Marie-Anne left their spouses for each other and are still in a relationship," a source tells PEOPLE, adding that "Shania considered Marie-Anne one of her best friends." In a PEOPLE cover story, Thiébaud denies the allegations. Twain says on her website, "I have so much to say but I know the best way for me to speak is through my music."
Twain makes her first public appearance since announcing her split from Lange at the 2008 Country Music Awards. The singer surprises the crowd and presents Kenny Chesney with the Entertainer of the Year award. "It's good to see all of you too," Twain tells the audience after being greeted by a standing ovation. "I hope to be seeing a lot more of you."
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): WENN; amazon.com; Barry King/WireImage; Courtesy Rolling Stone; Kevin Mazur/WireImage; Limelight; amazon.com; Rick Diamond/WireImage