Shania Twain opens up to Oprah and on 'Today' show, breaks long silence on divorce


Image Credit: Sonia Moskowitz/Globe Photos/

It’s an interesting thing when a notoriously private celebrity like Shania Twain goes through a public divorce: On the one hand, you admire her staying above the fray and keeping details to herself—you want that for her—but on the other, you really, really want to know everything.

Three years after her husband and best friend/assistant allegedly had an affair—they’ve never admitted it to her; her friend’s husband, now married to Twain, had to break that bit of news to her—Twain is finally talking. Promoting her new memoir, From This Moment On, and her new reality show Why Not? with Shania Twain (debuting Sunday on OWN), Twain has sat down with Oprah Winfrey and Meredith Vieira for revealing chats.

This morning on Today, Vieira was most interested in why Twain finally broke her silence, and in such a grand way. Twain said she realized she was obsessing about the death of her marriage and that while she’s not good at asking others for help, writing was always her form of expression. She wanted to write about something other than the betrayal she felt, so she began penning her autobiography, which put the divorce in perspective—it’s only a part of her life. (That actually makes sense.)

The memoir and TV show are her own form of therapy; it’s her way of facing things head-on. “I am genuinely a very private person, and I’ve probably been just too closed, and up to now, probably more closed than what was good for me,” she said. “And I also feel that a lot of that was just a bit of fear and anxiety, maybe worried about what people would think all the time, get criticized for it. And now I’m at a point where I feel sharing and giving testimony to a lot of things I’ve experienced in life will do more good for others than it would do keeping it to myself.” 

Her chat with Oprah was obviously more in-depth. She spoke about how she herself never got all the details she wanted about her ex-husband Mutt Lange’s relationship with Marie-Anne Thiebaud, who Twain says had repeatedly comforted her when she asked Marie-Anne if she thought Mutt was acting strange. Mutt asked for a divorce, and the next day, Fred Thiebaud—who said he’d discovered the affair in a “quite concrete way”—told Twain about it because Mutt and Marie-Anne refused to.

The massive heartbreak Twain had already experienced in life made her want answers. “Through my experience with my parents dying, the accident, for example, I was responsible for dealing with the lawyers and the insurance companies, and I had to know all the awful details—how they died, every mark on their body,” she told Winfrey. “It was hard at the moment, but I was able to then work through what I knew, and then in the end, I could come to understand it. By not understanding and knowing the details, your imagination is left to run wild.” Twain said she tried to phone Marie-Anne, but she didn’t respond. Twain read aloud from the letter she sent Marie-Anne, which is reprinted in the book, asking her to, “Find love somewhere else, from someone else that isn’t hurting two families so much.” (Anyone else think of the Dolly Parton song “Jolene” just then?)

The anxiety of the divorce—together with the fear she’s felt her entire life (she details family abuse in her memoir)—literally silenced Twain, who’s been diagnosed with dysphonia, a condition in which those emotions restrict the muscles around the larynx and make it difficult for her to sing. Through the book and the TV show, she’s hoping to regain her voice. “Stage fright, domestic violence in the home as a child, my parents dying, not knowing what’s next; just all of these different stages of fear in my life,” she said. “I’ve just trapped my own voice, and now I’ve got to unwind all that.”

Twain does seem to be loosening up. She sees the humor in her finding love with Fred, who she married earlier this year. “He was Marie-Anne’s husband. That’s twisted, if you really think about it,” she told Oprah. “But just so beautifully twisted.”

Readers, what do you think? Are you glad to finally learn Shania’s own take on her heartbreak? Will you be picking up her book or watching her new show?

Read more:
Shania Twain details family abuse and painful divorce in new memoir

Comments (68 total) Add your comment
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  • MultiPass

    I like her.

    • Flip

      I hope she releases a new album soon!

      • Liz

        Me too! I miss her beautiful voice. What a backstabbing “friend” she had. Once the excitement wears off, I bet both Mutt and Marie-Anne will start regretting their choices.

  • Lynn

    Mutt sure is a fool. Who the hell would cheat on Shania Twain??? Frederic won that battle, big time. Plus Shania and Fred have both children – shows who the responsible adults here are and who the selfish ones are. All the best to Shania – she’s amazing.

    • maria

      She alwayed loved mutt more,then he loved her. He was only interested in the music business side.

      • Colleen

        All I can say is he got was he deserves. Shania is going to show him what “happily ever-after” is.

        He will need some big boots to get out of his sh**

  • Jen

    I hope she can get her voice back!

  • Linda Bickel

    I absoultely love Shania Twain, she has always acted and performed with grace and class. I am so glad that she is getting her sea legs back, I think most of us can relate to what happened to her, She has more class in her little finger than both her ex her ex friend.

  • Brenda Barrett

    I, too, admire Shania. She and Mutt seemed to have a real marriage of minds and souls, rather than just a physical attraction. No outsider can ever know what happens inside a marriage, but from the outside it sure looks like Mutt traded away a rare connection for physical attraction.

  • Sarah Lubitz

    I’ve been a fan my entire life, so seeing Shania come back has reminded me of why I became a fan: she’s strong. I’m so excited that she’s healing and that she’s happy. Seeing her smile and laugh is a gift. She’s truly an inspiration. I think she’s back and better than ever.

  • Paul

    I have been a fan for years. Not just of her music, but how she carries herself through life. She has so many things to be bitter about, yet she always manages to smile at the end of the day. I really admire that. We all have struggles in our lives, and I’m sure there are more to come. It’s just inspiring to hear stories like this. Can’t wait for her new album!! I hope it comes soon!!!

  • Gillian Holmes

    I know it takes two people to begin an affair, no doubt I can understand her nightmare of it being with her best friend, how could she betray such a friendship. I’ve always admired Shania, she is such a classy person, hopefully it won’t be too long before she is up on that stage.

    • Earnest

      I’ve always loved Shania & felt like she was a sincere person who didn’t deserve a cheating husband.

    • Linda

      Yet once again Shania goes on a media tour and never once discusses the long-term affair that she herself took part in while she was married. Funny how those details are swept under the carpet. Sell those books Shania!

      • karri

        Wht the heck r u talkin bout. Where’s the proof? I don’t think she would ever d that to mutt. Besides like someone replyed she prob loved him more than he loved her. Ur prob sayin this cuz maybe ur a person close the them and tryin to throw the blame off of mutt and marie ann. I believe in Shania and I think she an awesome person and so so talented. I hope she gets to where she wants to be and she flies high once again.

  • Sue

    I’ve always liked her. I watched the interview, and it was interesting to see someone come out of the other side of a divorce, like I did myself. My only complaint is that while she was talking, Oprah interrupted and acted like she wanted to push the conversation along. Time to go, Oprah.

    • Oprah

      Sue, maybe it’s YOUR time to go. Still upset that you never got an invite for favorite things, dearie??

    • AW

      I totally agree! She kept cutting Shania off mid-sentence and throwing in her BS philosophies on life. It was very rude.

      • Sue

        Thank you!

      • Wanda

        That’s not the first time Oprah has interrupted someone on her show. I use to admire Oprah but after watching a few of these interviews and the continuous interruptions and not letting the person talk I stopped watching her shows.

    • casey

      yep, i agree. i didn’t like the interrupting, but honestly, shania appears to be someone who can go on and on if you let her. oprah was just trying to get to the good stuff and keep her moving. maybe oprah felt more inclined to do this with shania considering she’s basically oprah’s employee now.

  • Lawrence Murphy

    It sounds like Shania has finally fell into the gutter where the majority of Hollywood is, such a ahame.

  • True Blue

    I really hope she can get her voice back, that’s really the biggest loss out of all this turmoil. Considering all the crap she went through, I’m sure she has more than enough inspiration to write an album’s worth of material.

  • liny w

    It’s difficult enough when private people go thru a divorce. How much more so for public people like Shania or Sarah McLachlin. Shania is a great talent and entertainer and I wish her the best.

  • Dick Chapman

    I ws glad to see Shania finally accept the wrongs done to her and has a great relationship with her new husband! It is ironic that he was the husband of her ex best friend Good Luck Shania

  • Rachel Nytes

    You should never let a friendship ruin your relationship,just like you should never let a relationship ruin your friendship,Both are too precious to lose! Unfortunately Shania lost on this one,but ultimately gained far more with her love

  • Jean

    Just watched a special on the history channel about Shania’s life. I have so much respect for her. She is a very talented, beautiful and strong woman. You go girl!

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