Shania Twain’s Secret to Surviving an Affair

By Bill Arbuckle
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Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash
Shania Twain's career and marriage were shattered when she discovered her husband was having an affair. Are there lessons you can learn from her road to recovery?

She had it all — the looks, the voice, the career and the fans. Unfortunately, Shania Twain had something else: a cheating husband.

In 2005, music superstar Shania Twain learned her then-husband of 14 years, Robert John “Mutt” Lange, was having an affair with her personal assistant. The discovery was devastating. Lange had helped Shania Twain reach the pinnacle of music success. He had co-written her songs, shaped her sound and helped her transition from country music to pop. But the revelation of Mutt Lang’s infidelity broke the couple’s marriage, derailed her career and sent her into depression. “There were days I really didn’t care if tomorrow came,” Shania Twain told an interviewer for Page Six, a celebrity news site.

Today, Shania Twain is back on stage and happily married to a close friend. But her story — from success to sadness — isn’t uncommon. Roughly 40% of marriages will end in divorce. Every person who has experienced the pain of an affair or a broken marriage knows the whirlwind of emotions that result from such deep betrayal. If you are dealing with the pain of an affair, know that there is hope. You can recover. You can rebuild. It will take time, but there are several practical things you can do to help yourself through the struggle.

Shania Twain’s Secret to Recovery

The country music star told Fox News that while she struggled with the pain of the scandal, she was determined to recover. “Survival is everything. I was in quicksand. I panicked like everybody does, but I didn’t surrender. I found a way out.” Twain’s determination was a powerful first step in her recovery. In his online resource, “Recovering from an Affair,” Dr. Greg Smalley, Vice President of Marriage at Focus on the Family says there are other important steps a spouse can take when dealing with the pain of an affair.

  • Don’t make any quick decisions about ending your marriage. Dr. Smalley recommends the wronged spouse take time to process their emotions and to grieve the impact of the affair.
  • Seek Support. “Surround yourself with those who make you feel the safest, such as a same-sex friend or trusted family member,” Dr. Smalley says. “You can also seek the support of a counselor or pastor.”
  • Practice Self-Care. Take care of yourself physically, spiritually and emotionally. Eat healthy. Sleep when you can. Journal or write out your emotions, and most important, spend time with God expressing your pain and emotion.

Shania Twain’s Survival — and Yours Too

Recovery takes time. Even superstar Shania Twain admits it. When CNN asked how she survived, Twain explained, “Sometimes I get overwhelmed coping with things, but experience teaches you how to manage. 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.” Dr. Smalley agrees that recovery can be a ‘roller coaster’ for couples who commit to reconciling and rebuilding their marriage. “It is essential that you both recognize that there will be ups and downs through the healing journey. Depending on many factors, 18 months to two years is realistic; however, it can take longer for some couples and less for others. The important thing to recognize is that it will more than likely be a ‘roller coaster’” journey at times — with highs and lows and steps both forward and backward.”

The key to recovery, according to Dr. Smalley, is seeking God’s help to commit to healing and rebuilding. “Commit to walking the journey out with your spouse and the Lord, and one day, you may realize that the obsessive thoughts, intense grief and anger of the affair have become more distant.”

© 2020 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Originally published on

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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