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A look back at Gwen Stefani's bittersweet romance with No Doubt bandmate Tony Kanal

The No Doubt bandmates were once lovers

A look back at Gwen Stefani's bittersweet romance with No Doubt bandmate Tony Kanal© Jeff Kravitz
Faye James
Senior Editor
April 28, 2023
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Gwen Stefani's emergence into the music spotlight is inextricably linked with her former romantic partner and No Doubt bandmate, Tony Kanal. 

As members of the band, the two achieved significant success together. However, it was their break-up that would ultimately pave the way for Gweni to find her voice as a solo artist.

Gwen skyrocketed to the level of a celebrity feat, with a successful music career, fashion line, and family life. 

While she continues to conquer the music industry to this day, together with her husband and The Voice co-coach Blake Shelton, many are wondering what has happened to her ex Tony Kanal. Here’s a look back at their bittersweet relationship. 

When did Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal date?

Stefani and Kanal's relationship began when they were teenagers and members of the band (and she sure looks different these days). 

They started dating in the late 1980s and continued their romantic relationship for several years. 

As they grew together, they navigated the challenges of the music industry, with Stefani taking on the role of lead singer and Kanal playing bass guitar.

During that time, No Doubt released its third album, Tragic Kingdom, which became a commercial success, catapulting the band and Gwen to fame. 

But the couple’s relationship was not publicized at the time, and the couple kept their romance private. 

Their connection, however, was evident in their music and performances, and fans couldn't help but notice the chemistry between them.

RELATED: Gwen Stefani shares photos of her and Blake Shelton's 'growing babies' 

MORE: Carly Pearce reveals what Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton are really like away from the spotlight

Did Gwen and Tony’s bittersweet relationship inspire No Doubt’s songs?

Their relationship reportedly inspired many of the songs on No Doubt's breakthrough album, Tragic Kingdom, which was released in 1995. 

The album featured hit songs such as Don't Speak, Just a Girl, and Spiderwebs, which are still popular today. 

Heartbreak and betrayal were themes on the album that struck a chord with listeners and made Stefani a formidable voice in the music business.

Detailing about what they’ve gone through, Tony said: “We were on tour for the Tragic Kingdom for 28 months. We were going through a breakup, and in every interview, we were talking about it, so we were opening this wound on an hourly basis. It was so brutal, but I don’t know how we made it through.”

Gwen also agreed that it was a tense time for them. Despite their romantic relationship coming to an end, the exes continued to work together in No Doubt. 

The band went on to release several more albums, including Return of Saturn in 2000 and Rock Steady in 2001. During this time, Gwen did, however, emerge as a solo artist in 2004 with the album Love. Angel. Music. Baby, which displayed her distinct aesthetic and originality.

Why did Gwen and Tony split?

After seven years of being in a romantic relationship with Gwen Stefani, Tony Kanal broke up with her. The two couldn’t grow together anymore and needed space.

“After Tony broke up with me, I realized I had something to say. When I started writing songs, it was like, ‘I’m a real human, I can do something,’” Gwen revealed. 

Although they called it quits, they continued to work professionally in the band, and the silver lining behind the breakup made the singer more creatively expressive.

Speaking to The Guardian at the time, she said: “Before I was really passive, all I cared about was being in love with my boyfriend.” 

The singer added: “I didn’t have any creative power, nothing. I don’t know that person anymore. But I’d been really bad at school and didn’t know what I would do, I just sang in my brother’s band (Eric Stefani, who founded the group No Doubt). But after the breakup, I just started writing all these songs and suddenly I was: ‘Oh I think I’m really good at this!’”

Gwen's song Cool from L.A.M.B is rumoured to be about her relationship with Tony. 

Where is Tony Kanal now?

Tony now spends a lot of his time as an animal rights activist, sharing his content via social media.

He has also continued songwriting and producing songs, and based on his Instagram, he is making his television scoring debut as a composer on Season 2 of Single Drunk Female. 

Tony is also happily married to American home designer Erin Lokitz, with whom he shares two daughters. 

While he may not be in the spotlight as much as he was during his No Doubt days, he's still a prominent figure in the music industry. 

From his early days in the band to his current work as a producer, composer, and musician, Tony has had a successful career that has spanned several decades. 

When did Gwen meet Blake Shelton?

Gwen and Blake first met in 2014 when she joined The Voice as a judge, replacing Christina AguileraThe couple married in 2021 and now live in Oklahoma together. 

Gwen shares three children with her ex-husband, Gavin Rossdale, 57: Kingston, 16, Zuma, 14, and Apollo. And Blake adores being a stepfather to the trio and even quit his role on The Voice to be a more hands-on parent. "You don't know what your regrets are going to be until you look back one day. 

"I feel like my regrets would be, if I stayed on this path, that I am missing out on some more important things in life — and for now, that's our kids," he told People magazine.

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