Shania Twain's husband, Swiss businessman Frédéric Thiébaud, summed up his wife perfectly while chatting with Hello!: "She can do it all." The Canadian country superstar has spent the better part of the last two years performing a wildly successful Las Vegas residency, Shania: Still The One, at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, but also as a caring wife and hands-on mother to her teenaged son, Eja, from her previous marriage.
The hardworking, homegrown talent is even taking her son's school schedule into account while planning her 48-stop tour. "I wanted to time things around my mommy schedule, right? He's going to be there for the tour, with my husband and sister, and school starts in September."
Shania and Frédéric. Photo © Getty
The tour will be Shania's first in 11 years, and she swears it will be her last. She's also released a DVD with behind-the-scenes footage from her Vegas show, selected from 200 hours of material lovingly shot by Frédéric (and some of it makeup-free!)
Gallery: 49 photos of Shania Twain
We chatted with Shania, who splits her time between the Bahamas and Switzerland, to talk about her milestone 50th birthday, confidence and staying real.
Photo © Getty
The thing about you that strikes a chord is how real you are. In fact, you once said you wanted people to know that not every celebrity is a freak.
I think it's just easier being yourself. I'm a singer-songwriter. I'm not a model, I'm not an actress. I'm just myself. You can get caught up in being the actor, being the model, and any time that I've felt that happening to me, it has dragged me down. It is soul-destroying.
You are a very private person as well.
I do like to shelter my personal life as far as just the most intimate things, but as far as being my everyday self, it's just easier to be me.
Even down to the fact that you're makeup-free behind the scenes on your Still the One DVD.
Yeah! That's it! I have fun with the other part, I have fun with the dress-up, but I'm not going to pretend that's who I am all the time. Of course not. It's not that I want to shatter the illusion - maybe people would prefer never to have that stripped down, I don't know. But for myself, I need to strip down. If I had to hide [who I was], I'd live a lot of my life so sheltered I'd be miserable.
I love that you turn to the camera and say, "I'm fat. Well I was fat before Christmas but now I'm fatter."
[Laughs] Right? Who isn't after Christmas? If you're not fatter in January, you didn't have enough fun!
You turn 50 on Aug. 28. We heard your new album might be out by then!
Well, it's going to be out in my 50th year, not by my birthday! I'm making the album; the tour will slow that down, but once the tour is over I'm going to hit the studio and I'm going to make sure that it happens when I'm 50.
How does it feel to be turning 50?
I think that the older I get, the more accepting I am.
The night before your Vegas debut, you said to Fred, "I'm ready to accept my mistakes, I'm ready to enjoy all the good parts and I'm ready to laugh at anything that goes wrong." Does that sum up your philosophy on life?
Yes, definitely. I surprised myself. When I watched that, I'm like, "Yeah, go! That's the right attitude!" [Before Vegas] there was a mixture of insecurity and self-doubt and sadness. [After that] there was no turning back. No looking back.