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As one of the best-selling artists of all time with 100 million records sold, it’s no surprise Shania Twain has been dubbed the “Queen of Country Pop.” However, as depicted in her Netflix documentary, Shania Twain: Not Just a Girl, released on July 26, her rise to stardom was no easy feat.
The songstress grew up in a mining town called Timmins in Ontario, Canada, as one of five children living with her mother and stepfather, Sharon and Jerry Twain. They often struggled to make ends meet, Twain revealed in the documentary. She described her household as “violent,” but she found solace in music. Despite their financial challenges, Twain’s mother encouraged her to pursue a career in music — even taking her to perform after hours in bars as an 8-year-old. But just as Twain was beginning to make a name for herself, tragedy struck — a pattern that would sadly repeat later in life. Keep scrolling to see how Shania Twain overcame her greatest struggles and hardships.
Shania Twain’s family faced tragedy early in life
In 1987, when Twain’s music career was just getting started, both her parents were killed in a car accident. It left her responsible for her younger siblings at just 22 years old. “Nobody could really help me through that grief,” Twain recalled in her documentary. “At the time I really just wanted to quit and get a real job.” She took a job performing at a Canadian resort to provide for her siblings. Despite her reservations about pursuing a career in music, it was there she realized she had “talent that would be a shame to throw away.” She juggled raising her siblings, working and continuing to chase her musical dreams, and she eventually signed her first recording contract in 1992.
She was betrayed by ex-husband Mutt Lange
Despite landing her first record deal, Twain struggled to hold onto creative control of her music in the male-dominated country music world. She said she had very little creative input on her first album, but she was able to show her sexy side in her “What Made You Say That” music video. The video, which showed her rolling around with a man on the beach, was risque for the time and garnered the attention of Robert John “Mutt” Lange, a well-known rock producer.
Lange reached out to Twain, and the two formed a musical — and romantic — partnership that allowed the singer to have more creative license. Within six months, they got married and wrote her second album, The Woman in Me. The album earned her many accolades, including a Grammy for Best Country Album and the Academy of Country Music Awards Album of the Year in 1996. However, it was the second album Twain wrote with Lange, Come On Over, that made her a global superstar. Twelve songs off the album were released as singles, with several crossing over to the pop charts, including “You’re Still the One,” which was written about Twain and Lange’s love. Come On Over remains the best-selling country album of all time with 40 million copies sold and is the best-selling album by a female artist ever.
The duo continued to make hits together and welcomed their son, Eja, in 2001. But in 2008 the pair separated after it was revealed Lange had an affair with Twain’s close friend Marie-Anne Thiébaud. They officially divorced in 2010, and by 2011 Twain had remarried her former pal’s ex, Frédéric Thiébaud.
Shania Twain’s voice was put to the test
Amid her divorce, Twain was also dealing with another personal setback. She was diagnosed with Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick while horseback riding. Her diagnosis prevented her from recording a new album in 2004, and although her Lyme disease symptoms began to subside, her “voice was never the same again,” she revealed in the documentary.
Between the issues with her voice and her divorce, “I just [didn’t] see any point in going on with a music career,” she recalled of her head space at the time. But Twain recognized she had to do something to “crawl out” of the hole she had fallen in. “I had to take baby steps,” she said of getting back to work. However, Lionel Richie had other plans. He asked her to re-record “Endless Love” with him while she was still regaining her confidence to sing again. Although Twain didn’t think she was ready, Richie was persistent. “I thought, Well if I fail, I’d rather fail with somebody that is forgiving and sweet and kind about it,” she said. While recording with Richie, she learned that “with a lot of effort” she could sing again.
What are Shania Twain’s new album and Las Vegas residency?
Following Twain’s hardships, she stepped back into the spotlight in 2012 with a Las Vegas residency at Caesars Palace. In 2017, she released Now, her first album since her split from Lange. As shown in the documentary, Twain is working on her sixth album and even gave fans a preview of what’s to come, sharing her latest song, “Not Just A Girl,” in the doc. She has yet to share a release date for her sixth album. Twain also returned to Las Vegas for another two-year residency at Planet Hollywood. The show, Let’s Go, is set to run through September 2022.
How much is Shania Twain worth?
Between best-selling albums and lucrative tours and residencies, it’s no surprise the country-pop star has amassed an impressive fortune. Various sources, including Celebrity Net Worth, estimate her net worth is around $400 million. Beyond her endeavors in the entertainment industry, Twain also owns properties in Florida, New York, the Bahamas and New Zealand.