Shania Twain on Her Painful Divorce: "I Didn't Want to Live"

In an Oprah interview, the country star opens up about her divorce and the crippling fear that's kept her from singing

Fans of Shania Twain, rejoice! The country superstar says that even though fear has held her back from singing in public for half a decade, she's working toward getting back on stage again.

"I want to," she said Tuesday on The Oprah Winfrey Show -- her first televised interview in five years -- but she has to get over her crippling anxieties first.

Twain, 45, said her voice has been progressively "closing up" for years because of fear caused when she witnessed her stepfather Jerry Twain beating her mother; the uncertainy of how she would care for her siblings after her mother and stepfather died in a car crash when she was 22; and persistent stage fright.

The final straw came after her husband of 14 years, Robert "Mutt" Lange, asked for a divorce in 2008, and Twain said she found out the next day that he was having an affair with her assistant and close friend, Marie-Anne Thiebaud.

"I didn't want to live," she said, describing how she couldn't warm up even after five steaming hot baths a day while at the same time she was continually sweating. But ultimately, it's "a very positive thing," she said. "I needed the wake up."

Marie-Anne's ex-husband, Frederic Thiebaud, who appeared with Twain on Oprah Tuesday, said that he had discovered the betrayal and, since Marie-Anne and Lange wouldn't come clean to Twain, he was the one to do it. "I had to tell her," he said. "She was really heartbroken."

Twain still doesn't know the details of the alleged affair -- the couple never has admitted infidelity -- though she did try to get answers and initially wanted Lange back. Twain admitted to Oprah that at one point she even wrote to Marie-Anne, asking: "Why are you torturing me? Let it go, please. Find love somewhere else from someone else."

Twain told Winfrey of the letter, "I know it was pathetic. But we all have pathetic moments. No one is above this type of low."

She said she shares responsibility for the demise of her marriage, but not the way it ended. "I will never forgive behavior like that," she said. Twain did add, however, that things go "very well" when she sees Lange now in connection with their son, Eja, 9, but that she's made sure Marie-Anne is not allowed to spend time with Eja.

Meanwhile, Twain turned for comfort to someone who understood completely: Marie-Anne's estranged husband, Frederic. The two eventually fell in love and married in January in Puerto Rico. "That's twisted," she admitted of the husband swap. "But just so beautifully twisted."

Happily married, Twain is now concentrating on the future. She's written a new memoir, From This Moment On, which hit bookstores today and delves more deeply into the issues she touched on on Oprah. And on Sunday, May 8, Twain debuts a show, titled Why Not? With Shania Twain, on Winfrey's network OWN.

Shania also recently discovered that she suffers from a condition called dysphonia, which she describes as the muscles in her throat squeezing her voice box. "I've trapped my own voice, and now I've got to unwipe all that," she said. "I really can't imagine not singing again."

Twain fans don't want to image that, either.

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