The Stunning Transformation Of Shania Twain

If the BBC calls you the "Queen of Pop," you must be doing something right. As far as we're concerned, Shania Twain has definitely earned the title. Although her first album wasn't hugely successful, her second album shot her to fame, eventually selling over 7.6 million copies. Her third album became the best-selling album by a woman in 2000. Overall, she is the best-selling female country singer, having sold over 100 million records. Over the years, the star has earned five Grammy awards (along with 18 nominations).


But Twain wasn't always royalty in the music industry. In fact, when she first started out, she was just another struggling artist getting by with gigs in nightclubs. And even when she did find fame, it wasn't always an easy ride for the singer. Want to learn more about the ups and downs of this superstar's rise to the top? Here is the stunning transformation of Shania Twain.

Shania Twain grew up in Canada in a poor family

Shania Twain's early years couldn't have been further from the bright lights of Hollywood. Twain grew up in the small town of Timmins, Ontario, in Canada with her mother, her stepfather, and her siblings. As Twain told Rolling Stone, things weren't always easy for the family. Her mother reportedly suffered from depression and Twain was often hungry as her parents didn't have enough money to feed the family. However, Twain was careful to hide her poverty at school, as she feared her family would be separated.


Even though her childhood was undeniably difficult, Twain realizes that it made her who she is. As she told The Globe and Mail in 2002, "I love where I'm from. And I love everything about my history. And I wouldn't change it. And I actually appreciate the hardships that I went through."

Twain even grew up to create her own charity designed to help children going through the same experiences she did when she was young. The Shania Kids Can Charity Foundation offers lunches, academic development, and financial and emotional support for children growing up in poverty.

Shania Twain started singing from a young age to help support her family

Even when she was young, Shania Twain was a keen singer — even if she didn't understand how the music industry worked. "When I was a very small child, I didn't even know what a career was or that I'd be getting into this giant machine. I just knew I loved music," she told The Sun. When she was just 3, Twain began singing. By the time she was 8, Twain was performing in late-night bars to earn some extra cash for her family. "Before I even graduated from high school, I'd done years of singing Top 40 country, Top 40 rock, folk, every genre," she said.


According to Biography, Twain even started writing her own music at the age of 10. But for Twain, singing was never about making money. Instead, it was about finding a means of escape. "When you're hungry you can't do anything about it but distract yourself from the hunger. And it really works. It's therapeutic," she told The Guardian. "A lot of kids play with dolls and I played with words and sounds."

Shania Twain's stepfather was allegedly abusive when she was young

Shania Twain's childhood was hard because of her family's poverty, but that wasn't all she was dealing with. As the singer told ABC News, her stepfather was also abusive to her and her mother. The fear and unpredictability of her stepfather's outbursts was "overwhelming" and terrifying. Once, Twain allegedly saw her stepfather put her mother's head in the toilet and for a few moments, the young girl thought that her mother was dead. "She was unconscious, she was limp ... he had her hair in his hands," she recalled.


Even though Twain's stepfather was physically and verbally abusive, Twain still thought of him as her father. "It was the Jekyll and Hyde in him that was the greatest torture," Twain said. "I loved him and I respected so much what he did for us, being the hard worker, he set a great example. So I'm still left confused. I'm baffled by all of that, I really am." At one point, she and her mother even moved into a "battered women's shelter," as she told The Big Issue.

Shania Twain moved to Toronto to pursue singing at 18

Shania Twain knew that she wanted to become a professional singer, so, at 18, she left behind her small town of Timmins, Ontario and moved to Toronto to pursue her dreams. According to Biography, she had to take on a few odd jobs in addition to singing gigs just to pay the bills, including a job at McDonald's.


Twain spent this time touring around Southern Ontario singing and taking voice lessons from a coach called Ian Garrett. To pay for her lessons, she would clean his house. "He'd feed me once in a while, too," she told her biographer. She also spent some time singing in Nashville.

Twain spent several more years trying to make a career for herself. She sang in clubs in Toronto and even opened a show for Bernadette Peters. However, in 1987, her career plans were all put on hold.

Shania Twain's parents were killed in a car crash when she was 22

In 1987, Shania Twain's mother and stepfather were killed in a car accident. It was understandably what Twain called a "major turning point in [her] life." As she told The Big Issue, it made her rethink her music career. She realized that all of her friends had gone to college and she may never have the chance. "Suddenly, not only did I not have parents, I had nothing but this music career in which my chances of succeeding were incredibly low." Ultimately, Twain explained, it meant that she had to choose music for herself, not for anybody else. In the end, it made her more productive and determined than ever.


Twain decided to leave Toronto, put her music career on hold, and move back home to be with her four siblings. "I had a lot of responsibility," she told the Independent. "I had to grow up fast."

Over time, Twain healed from the tragedy, even though she was heartbroken that her parents never saw her eventual success. "You start looking more towards the future as time goes on and stop wishing for what will never happen," she told the CBC (via Outsider).

Shania Twain was working at a club when she was discovered by Mutt Lange

After four years spent back at home with her family, Shania Twain returned to focusing on her music career. She began singing in a cabaret at The Deerhurst Resort in the small town of Hunstsville, Ontario. "It was the first time that I'd performed outside of high school," Twain told Refinery29, "and all of a sudden I had to go from country rock bar singer to a much more glamorous production that spanned several decades of music."


It was during this period that Twain got her first real big break. She recorded her first self-titled album in 1993. While it wasn't a huge commercial success, it did catch the attention of one important music producer, Mutt Lange. According to The Globe and Mail, Lange saw one of Twain's early music videos and the pair began collaborating on music for her second album. They also developed a romantic relationship, and that same year, the two were married.

Shania Twain's second album "The Woman in Me" shot her to fame

Once Shania Twain and her husband, Mutt Lange, began working together, things really took off with Twain's second studio album, "The Woman in Me." Twain took more of a leading role in her music on this album, letting her true personality show. As she told the Independent, her management team was initially skeptical: "I would be hated by the men because I was too opinionated and too forceful and demanding, and I would be hated by the women because I was being sensually expressive," she said.


Luckily, she didn't listen to them. As she told Official Charts, she wrote her own songs (sometimes with the help of her husband), directed and edited her own music videos."It was an incredible learning time in my life," she recalls. "I was really blossoming at this point in my career ... And it just got better and better."

Clearly, her risky decision to take a leading role in the album paid off. She won a Grammy for Best Country Album, and the album eventually became the best selling record ever to be released by a female country artist. As Twain put it, the album is "probably the biggest achievement of my career."

Shania Twain was transformed by motherhood

In 2001, Shania Twain gave birth to her only son, Eja Lange. For her, becoming a mother was an even bigger turning point than her rise to fame. To have her son, Twain decided to take some time off of her busy singing career. She and her husband retreated from her ever-growing fame and moved to a quiet home in Switzerland. Motherhood also changed her as a person. "I feel much stronger. Motherhood has changed me more than anything else," she told FHM. "I feel happy and completely in control. Somehow my body just feels more mature. I just feel more of a woman."


As for raising Eja, Twain was careful to avoid spoiling him. "I would like him to be well-rounded, humble and honest, without having to be deprived to develop that character ... We don't keep him in a bubble," she told People in 2007. It seems like Twain's approach worked well. As Twain told Wide Open Country, he eventually grew up to be a humble, hard-working musician, just like his mother!

In 2003, Shania Twain lost her voice due to Lyme disease and didn't sing for 15 years

As fans of Shania Twain probably already know, the singer stopped recording music in the early 2000s. She ended up taking a 15 year hiatus from 2003 to 2018 after experiencing vocal problems due to Lyme disease. The star lost her voice and was forced to take time off. At first, Twain thought she might just be tired or burnt out (via People). 


But eventually, it became clear that it was a far more serious issue. "There was a long time I thought I would never sing again," Twain told CNN. Finally, after about seven years, the doctors finally diagnosed her vocal cord damage caused by Lyme disease. Apparently, she'd caught it from a tick while horseback riding in Virginia.

Twain underwent multiple surgeries along with vocal physiotherapy so that she could finally perform again. Talk about determination and perseverance!

Shania Twain split from her husband Mutt Lange in 2008 after he had an affair

After 14 years of marriage to Mutt Lange, Shania Twain was dealt a devastating blow: Lange was having an affair with her personal assistant and best friend Marie-Anne Thiebaud. "It's a multiple betrayal because it involves all the people around her, the people she is closest to," a friend told People at the time. "She is in absolute, total shock."


Twain and Lange divorced in 2009. As Twain later told ABC News, she had already been feeling distant from Lange prior to the affair. "What I do know is [Thiebaud] took advantage of, you know, the weakness in the relationship between Mutt and I," she said. Twain, who was already (unbenownst to her) suffering from Lyme disease, found it even harder to sing. In the fallout of the divorce, she developed dysphonia. "The muscles literally constrict the voice box and prevent air from flowing properly," Twain explained.

Shania Twain found love again in an unexpected place

After Shania Twain's heartbreaking divorce, the singer found love again — in a very surprising place. After discovering that her best friend had betrayed her, she ended up finding comfort in said friend's ex-husband, Frederic Thiebaud. Over time, the pair became closer. As Twain herself put it to AARP, it was "twisted, but so beautifully twisted."


Twain explained to The Guardian that their children realized they were falling in love before they did. In the end, Twain found a more passionate, more real relationship than she ever had with Mutt Lange. "Poor Freddy pays the price, because I'm like: If I'm ever getting married again, this is me. I don't think Mutt ever knew me. That's the difference." The pair married in 2011 and have been going strong ever since. In fact, Twain believes that they are far happier than their respective exes are. We love to hear it!

Shania Twain released her first studio album in 15 years in 2017

After struggling with her voice for many years, Shania Twain released her first album in 15 years in 2017. Writing the album wasn't always an easy process. In fact, as she told UDiscoverMusic, it was a bit like going to the gym. "Of course it's painful, you're going to be sore the next day and go through some ups and downs, but you've taken that initial step," she said.


The album was called "Now" and marked a new period in her career. For one thing, she debuted a whole new voice as a result of her surgery. "It's given me more room to play, to be honest," she said to Today. "I have gravel." Even though Twain's old, clear voice may be gone forever, it's remarkable that she managed to make a comeback after such a long and devastating hiatus. "I've found a new voice," she said. "And I like it."

Shania Twain has taken on a few film roles

After getting back into singing, Shania Twain also explored another artistic avenue: acting. In 2019, she played Becca in the film "Burning Rubber," alongside John Travolta, and in 2020, she starred in a film about Jeremy Camp, a Christian musician, called "I Still Believe." It seems that Twain had discovered yet another talent. Travolta told AARP that Twain was an "intuitive and thoughtful" actress, and he told ET Canada that she was "born to be on film."


For Twain, acting offers a brand new learning experience. "It's a whole renewal — a renewed energy through this performance platform," she told And it sounds like she has only just started experimenting with this side of her career. "I feel like there's so much to explore, there's still so much to do, and acting is definitely one of those platforms that has endless possibilities and potential," she told CityNews. "So I'm very excited about it." She hasn't taken any acting classes, but apparently, she wouldn't mind doing it if she were asked to. So, who knows, maybe Twain has a future in film!

During COVID-19, Shania Twain focused on her personal life

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shania Twain's life was getting pretty busy — she was singing in Las Vegas acting and exploring a new acting career. However, once the virus hit, she was forced to slow down.


In some ways, the slower pace of life was a blessing in disguise. "It's difficult, of course. The isolation can be a challenge, which everybody in the whole world is experiencing right now, but I'm looking at a lot of the positives," she told Global News. For one thing, it gave her more time with her family. It also gave her more time to focus on writing music. She even got a chance to spend some quality time doing "home-life things" — namely, making pancakes!

While the pandemic may have slowed her down, it's clear that we'll be hearing a lot more from Twain in the near future. As Twain would probably put it, she can "only go up from here!"