Shania Twain Opens Up About Her Abusive Past In Emotional Interview

To the outside world, country superstar Shania Twain may seem perfect, but on the inside she's had to work hard on healing many wounds.

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Twain had a rough childhood growing up in Timmins, a town located in the Canadian province of Ontario. Born Eilleen Regina, Shania's parents divorced when she was just two years old so she was raised by her mother, Sharon, and a man named Jerry Twain, who later adopted her.

Unfortunately for the country pop singer, the road to success was paved with hardships and repeated abuse, which she and her mother suffered at the hands of Jerry.

Twain has often touched on the subject of her experience with domestic abuse, and even wrote about it in her 2001 memoir From This Moment On. The singer went on a 15-year hiatus shortly after the book was released, but she's back and is once again opening up about her story and pain in a new interview with 60 minutes.

Shania's family struggled with finances, so her mother was forced to remain in the abusive relationship with Jerry.

He was violent, and both verbally and physically abusive. During one of his outbursts, he nearly killed Shania's mother by dunking her head into the toilet. Shania, who was 11 at the time, was convinced that her mom was dead.

"I would get physically involved sometimes with my parents' fights," she said. "I just thought that he would kill her. One of these times—he was gonna kill her."

As a child, what confused Shania even more was that when he wasn't having an episode, Jerry was appeared to be a loving man.

"He just had issues—and, at the time I was looking at this man as somebody who was not being himself," Shania said. "It was like he was two people."

At the tender age of 12, the aspiring entertainer started performing on local TV shows, at community events, and clubs so she could help her struggling family. However, spending extra time away from home didn't mean that Jerry would stop hurting her.


Jerry allegedly sexually assaulted Shania when she was a teenager, which was the last straw according to her autobiography. She managed to convince her mom to move them to Toronto, where they lived in a shelter while she worked on her career.

Just when things were starting to look up, her mom and Jerry died in a car accident, and a then 22-year-old Shania was forced to take care of her siblings all on her own.

"At that point in my life, I would have rather gone with them," Shania said, referring to her parents. "It was like, 'This is way too much to handle.'"

Shania still managed to work her way up the fame ladder, from a small-time Las Vegas perfomer to country music's best-selling female artist of all time.

Sadly, the abuse and her mother's death weren't the only painful memories Shania carries with her.

The person she trusted the most, her ex-husband Mutt Lange, broke her heart when he cheated on her with her best friend after 15 years of marriage.

"I think what made my divorce heavier for me in the moment was the fact that it was like, 'I don't think I can handle one more bloody thing like that,'" Shania explained.

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On top of all that, Shania, 52, also battled Lyme disease as well as dysophonia, a debilitating vocal chord disorder that threatened her ability to sing.

"How many more traumatic moments can I take?" a tearful Shania said in the interview.

Thankfully, she made it through the hardships and her life has been on the mend in the last little while.


She is finding happiness once again with the release of her new album, NOW, this past September. She also found love with Frederic Thiebaud, whom she married in Puerto Rico on New Year's Day 2011.

“It was twisted,” she said wrote in the memoir, “but so beautifully twisted. I really can’t complain. I’ve got a beautiful man.”

The "Still the One" singer also has an upcoming tour, and a movie with John Travolta in the works.

She said it best when she said, "I was born to be a fighter and a survivor."

You can watch Shania's 60 Minute interview in the video below:

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.