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Shania Twain reveals her secret battle with Lyme disease

The singer also spoke about the heartbreaking end of her marriage

by Gemma Strong

Shania Twain has kept a very low-profile for the past 15 years, something she has now attributed to the end of her marriage and the loss of her singing voice. In a new interview with the Sun, the star spoke about her split from Robert 'Mutt' Lange, who left her for her best friend, and also revealed her secret battle with Lyme disease, which left her unable to perform. "“I lost my voice for several years and I could speak but I couldn't yell," the country singer said. "I could never yell for my dog or my son or whatever."

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Shania Twain pictured with her husband Frederic Thiebaud

Shania admitted that she thought she'd never sing again after contracting the disease, which is a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks. "I also felt that I was never going to make another album — that was probably my truth. It was devastating. I really grieved about that. It did bring me down and I struggled with it every day," she said. "It was very depressing and I was really sad about it but I still had my writing and my writing is my first love, really, over everything. I was only going to be a writer and not the performer."

STORY: Lyme disease: All you need to know and how to avoid tick bites

The 51-year-old star said she had spent years battling to get her voice back, which she described as a "very long, drawn-out process". But she fought hard, and managed to write and record her latest album, Now, largely on her own. "The last thing I wanted to do at this point in my life after surviving all of that was rely on somebody else to take this huge step with me," she said. "I wanted to do it on my own, I wanted the challenge."

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The singer was married to Robert 'Mutt' Lange for 17 years

Shania also spoke about the end of her 17-year marriage to producer Mutt, who left her for best friend Marie Anne Thiebaud – in an extraordinary twist, Shania is now married to Frederic Thiebaud, Marie's ex-husband. "I thought that marriage was forever. I really, really believed that. I thought, 'I'm safe. This creative relationship is forever'. And I really counted on that," she admitted. "I never even considered that it would ever be different. I was committed and that would be the rest of my life. I was sure of that. So when that fell away, the marriage fell away, the friendship falls away with that, and every part of that falls away. And of course the musical collaboration fell away."

STORY: Martine McCutcheon reveals she has been diagnosed with Lyme disease

The Man! I Feel Like A Woman singer, who is a mother to 15-year-old son Eja, added: "If I had never found love again, I'm not going to lay down and die. But I'm very lucky that I did. And that of course re-energises all of the inspiration that any creative person needs. Falling in and out of love is always inspiration to be creative, for me."