When Shania Twain went through her divorce with Robert (Mutt) Lange in 2008, she wasn't sure she would ever love again. The Canadian, who was blind-sided by the news that her now-former husband was having an affair with her personal assistant, and best friend Marie-Anne Thiébaud, couldn't imagine having the strength to pursue another relationship. Thankfully, the support from Thiébaud's former husband, Frédéric, slowly turned into love — a gift Twain never expected.
"I'm so grateful I found the faith and courage to love again — because the last thing you want to do when you're crushed is love again," Twain told PEOPLE. "When you have a great loss, you lose faith; you get very discouraged. I'm sure a lot of people say, 'I'm never going to love again. I never want to fall in love again.' Songs have been written about that. I'm really glad that that got turned around for me, and that's what this relationship is."
Twain and Frédéric wed in 2011, although getting married again was the farthest thing from her mind following her split from Lange. The 54-year-old previously admitted she was terrified when her marriage ended, and wasn't sure what her future looked like as a single woman, especially one in the public eye.
"Survival is everything," Twain told AARP via PEOPLE. "I was in quicksand. I panicked, like everybody does, but I didn't surrender. I found a way out."
It ultimately became love that sustained Twain, which was a happy ending no one –– especially Twain –– imagined.
"There were days I didn't really care if tomorrow came," Twain said of her second marriage. "It's twisted," she added. "But so beautifully twisted."
Twain was already well-versed in survival, long before she married Lange. The singer grew up in an abusive home, where she witnessed first-hand her mother fall victim to her step-father's rage, before both were killed in an accident when Twain was only 22, leaving her to raise her three younger siblings.
"Sometimes I get overwhelmed coping with things, but experience also teaches you how to manage," Twain said. "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."
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