Ahead of the release of Shania Twain‘s upcoming Netflix documentary, titled Not Just A Girl, she released a revealing trailer in which she spoke about her ex-husband’s affair. “It was similarly intense to losing my parents. I thought I had lost my voice forever. I thought that was it,” she recalled. Shania’s first husband, Robert John “Mutt” Lange had an affair with her best friend and personal assistant, leading to their divorce in 2010.
Despite feeling like her world was ending, Shania found herself walking down the aisle only a few years after her husband declared her wanted to separate. So, who stole Shania’s broken heart and pieced it back together? Read on to learn about both of the country icon’s marriages below.
Robert John “Mutt” Lange
Shania and Mutt met in 1993 at a country festival called Fan Fair after Mutt, a music producer, had gotten her phone number from her record label, per CMT. They were married on Dec. 28 of that year and quickly became a power couple personally and professionally, as they collaborated on much of the country superstar’s music, including her multi-platinum albums and some of her biggest hits between 1995 and 2005, such as “Any Man of Mine”, “(If You’re Not in It for Love) I’m Outta Here!”, “No One Needs to Know”, and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” among many, many others.
“As a producer, he is very much a director as well; very hands-on and very talented. So, he was driving the direction of the sound. He didn’t drive the direction of my voice and never tried to change me,” she explained to The Guardian in 2018 of Mutt’s impact on her music while they were husband and wife and collaborators. “He was never part of the creative development in that sense. He drove the instrument choices, the sound, the groove. He was a bass player as a musician, and he was very driven by the rhythm.” The dynamic duo welcomed a son, Eja, in 2001.
Shania and Mutt’s relationship seemed to be a dream come true, but that dream came crashing down in 2008 when Mutt approached Shania and told her he wished to end their 14-year union. Shania then turned to her best friend and “confidant” Marie-Anne Thiébaud, who she hired to work for her while in Switzerland, as noted by the Belfast Telegraph. “I said, ‘Marie-Anne, don’t you think my husband is acting strange?’” she revealed in an interview for The Oprah Winfrey Show. “And she said, ‘No, I don’t see anything strange.’”
Unfortunately, Shania would later find out that Marie was the reason her husband wanted to leave her, and Marie-Anne’s husband, Frédéric Thiébaud, had to break the news after he found out himself. “I said, ‘Guys, now you have to tell her. This is ridiculous. You just owe her that,’” he recalled on Oprah. He broke the news to Shania once Mutt and Marie-Anne refused.
“There were days I didn’t really care if tomorrow came,” the “Endless Love” songstress told AARP Magazine in a 2020 interview (via CNN) of her complete and utter shock after she learned of the affair. However, Shania also called the unfortunate event “beautifully twisted,” as the heartbreak led her to her future husband: Marie-Anne’s ex-husband, Frédéric.
Shania and Frédéric met through Marie-Anne, and both couples became quite close very quickly. “Fred and Mutt were good friends, and Marie-Anne and I were good friends,” Twain revealed on Oprah. However, once the news broke, Shania was left devastated. “I called her up and I said you know, ‘Why don’t you come over. I wanna talk to you about something.’ I asked her if there was anything she needed to tell me. I wanted to give her the opportunity to tell me herself without me accusing her,” she recalled on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Unfortunately, Marie-Anne denied hiding anything from her or having an affair with her husband.
The Grammy Award-winner then noted that she and Frédéric eventually became friends after “trying to make sense of everything [and] holding each other up” through the pain of it all. Speaking of their newfound love, she added, “We were a support to each other and really found something beautiful in the end and unexpected.”
In her interview with AARP, Shania said she came out stronger on the other side of her messy divorce. “Sometimes I get overwhelmed coping with things, but experience also teaches you how to manage,” she noted. “When you get older, you have so much experience at falling and getting up. You’re not going to stop falling. But you will get better at getting up and brushing yourself off. I believe that. I’ve lived it.”
Shania and Frédéric got married on New Year’s Day in 2011 in Rincon, Puerto Rico, per People. “They were married at sunset, in front of 40 of their closest family and friends,” Shania’s representative told the publication at the time. “Frédéric Nicolas Thiébaud has been a true gift to me as a compassionate, understanding friend and over time, an amazing love has blossomed from this precious friendship,” Shania wrote on her website before their nuptials, according to People. It appears Shania got her “Forever and for Always” after all.