Shania Twain has been married twice in her life. Oddly enough, the ending to her first marriage led her directly to the relationship that would turn into her second marriage that has lasted over ten years now.
Twain met her first husband, music producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange, in 1993 when the two decided to collaborate on her 1995 album, The Woman in Me. Both of them had already made a reputation for themselves in the music industry – Shania had just released her self-titled debut album and Lange had worked with iconic rock bands like AC/DC and Def Leppard.
Six months after meeting, the couple tied the knot and would be married for 15 years, welcoming their only son, Eja, in 2001.
Throughout their relationship, they worked on two projects together and became a sort of musical power couple as singer/songwriter and producer romantic duo. But their marriage came to a messy end in 2008 when they split up after Lange had allegedly had an affair with Shania’s assistant and best friend, Marie-Anne Thiebaud.
Marie-Anne was married to Nestle executive Frederic Thiebaud, whom Shania and Robert met in Switzerland in the 90s. The two couples grew very close, a source telling People at the time of the scandal, “Their two families would vacation and spend holidays together. Shania considered Marie-Anne one of her best friends.”
With Shania and Frederic both being victims to the same affair, they sought healing through each other as they both understood exactly what one another were going through.
Three years later, Frederic and Shania were married.
During their time of “hanging out”, Shania never revealed when or if they were dating, but she was open to talking about how they spent time together to try and get through the pain of being cheated on.
“The person to comfort me was Fred because he’s been through the exact same thing,” Twain told Oprah in 2008. “Fred was safe. So it was really a beautiful and perfect friendship.”
By 2009, the two were still spending a lot of time together, but Shania still never revealed any deeper of a relationship than a friendship that was between them.
“Having gone through the suffering of his family splitting apart at the same time and under the same extreme circumstances, he understands me better than anyone,” she wrote on her website.
Finally, in December 2010 – following the finalization of her divorce to Lange – it was confirmed that her and Thiebaud were engaged.
A day after the news broke, Shania wrote on her website, “I am excited to share some personal news with you; I’m in love! Frederic Nicolas Thiebaud has been a true gift to me as a compassionate, understanding friend and over time, an amazing love has blossomed from this precious friendship. Fred and I are happy to announce, our ENGAGEMENT!”
Not even two weeks later, on New Year’s 2011, they wed in Puerto Rico in a small ceremony that included only family and friends.
In the following months after their marriage, Shania was finally able to open up about her their friendship turned romantic.
“We slowly became very, very good friends,” Shania said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “We had many months of just trying to make sense of everything, holding each other up. It was a very difficult time emotionally for both of us. I would say he was probably stronger than I was. He was a tremendous support — we were a support to each other — and really found something beautiful in the end and unexpected.”
Days after she was on the show, Frederic talked to People about his feelings towards Shania.
“To express my love, words are not enough,” he said. “I’m more in love with her every day. What happened between us really came as a complete surprise. We never, ever expected anything like this. It’s just really a beautiful love story.
More recently, Shania talked with People last December, reflecting on her experience after the affair and how her and Frederic’s love grew stronger each day they spent together.
“That is a really strong bond that builds over time, that is rare, that you don’t have in every relationship if you don’t have those deep scars in common,” she said of Thiebaud. “We were a big part of each other’s healing.”
“When I got divorced I said, ‘I’m never getting married again,’” she added. “I was definitely one of those people that could have written a million songs about, ‘I’m never going to fall in love again’. But Fred was such an undeniable love.”
As for her relationship with Lange, she’s “found peace” and, in a sense, “forgiveness”.
“I found peace a long time ago,” she said, “and maybe peace is forgiveness, you know? I’m able to have more appreciation for [Lange] again, not for what happened in our marriage but for all that he contributed to such a great part of my career and my life. We have a beautiful child from it. The resentment is gone.”