I am watching Oprah’s interview with Shania Twain who has gone through some tough times. When she was four years old she walked in and saw her step-father pushing her mother’s head down in the toilet and paper stuck to her mother’s face as it came up. Shania and her sister visited the home where the abuse took place and there was an emotional moment as the memories flooded them.
Shania didn’t seem to have any hard feelings toward her step-father. She said he did his best to take care of them and he was proud of her singing. She was devastated when he and her mother died in an automobile crash in 1987 when Shania was 21. Shania took on the responsibility of raising her three younger siblings. Three years later when they were old enough to take care of themselves, Shania was on her own. Shedding her real name, Eilleen, she adopted the Ojibway name of Shania, meaning “I’m on my way.” She set her sights on Nashville (http://www.shaniatwain.com/bio.html).
Shania enjoyed great success as a recording artist. The Woman in Me won her the Grammy Award for Best Country Album as well as the Academy of Country Music award for Album of the Year; the latter group also awarded Twain as Best New Female Vocalist. In 1997, Twain released her follow-up album, Come On Over. This was the album that would establish her as a successful crossover singer.
Songs from the album won four Grammy Awards over the next two years, including Best Country Song and Best Female Country Performance (for “You’re Still the One” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”) for Twain. Lange won Grammys for “You’re Still the One” and “Come on Over”. The songs that had finally drawn European attention to the album were the pop remixed singles “That Don’t Impress Me Much”, a #3 in the UK and Top 10 hit in Germany in the summer of 1999, and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” which peaked at #3 in both the UK and France in autumn of that year. Additionally, the album set the record for the longest ever stay in the Top 20 of the Billboard 200, remaining in the Top 20 for 99 weeks.
Shania retreated to her home in Switzerland with her husband, Robert John “Mutt” Lange rock producer of AD/DC, Def Leppard, Foreigner, Bryan Adams and many more where they welcomed their son, Eja. I’m not sure when she first noticed the change in her husband but Shania asked her closest friend if she noticed any changes. Little did Shania know that her friend was the person her husband was cheating on her with. Shania found out about the affair from the friend’s husband. She was devastated. This was the woman whom she confided in–the woman whom she thought she could trust.
Shania and Lange divorced in 2008. Ironically, on on January 1, 2011, Shania married Swiss business executive Frederic Thiebaud, the ex-husband of Marie-Anne Thiebaud, the same best friend whom Shania’s first husband cheated on her with. Frederic was on Oprah with Shania.
Despite what happened in her personal life, Shania is on her way. In April 2010, Shania announced plans for her own TV show, entitled Why Not? With Shania Twain. The show is scheduled to debut on May 8, 2011 on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. Twain returned to American Idol as a guest mentor for a week where the top 6 contestants showcased her songs. She has written an autobiography, From This Moment On which hit the bookstores yesterday, May 2.
In her autobiography, Shania shares what she has been through–the physical and emotional abuse she and her family endured for years by Jerry Twain, her step-father- the incident with the tiolet where she watched Jerry plunge her mother’s head into the toilet repeatedly after knocking her out cold. Years later, when she was 11 years old, Shania summoned up the courage to fight back against her step-father. She recalls,“I ran up behind my dad with a chair in both hands and smashed it across his back… Before I could get away, he punched me in the jaw. Adrenaline pumping, I punched him back!”
She reveals that she was sexually abused by Jerry, who muttered obscene slurs at her while she was in bed and once fondled her when she was a teenager. She eventually convinced her mother to run away with the family to a shelter in Toronto. And of course she shares the pain of the affair which shattered her life and ended her marriage (http://shelf-life.ew.com/2011/05/03/shania-twain-abuse/).
I read the lyrics of the song, From This Moment and they are beautiful–they speak of love and commitment. Ironically, the lyrics are by her ex-husband and her. Perhaps this is why Shania used this name for her autobiography. After all the heartache she went through, she was able to find hope and love again with someone else.
Today, we salute Shania for her courage, surviving abuse and pushing past the pain of broken trust and a broken marriage.
Later in my life, I’m going to look back and smile and be very fulfilled. I know that if I don’t give it my all right now I’ll regret it later. That’s very important to me, because I’ve worked all my life to have this.Yes, you can lose somebody overnight, yes, your whole life can be turned upside down. Life is short. It can come and go like a feather in the wind.