LeAnn Rimes’ Candid Confessions: Rehab, Stage Fright, Growing Up In The Spotlight & More

The two-time GRAMMY winner held nothing back during her recent appearance on the Happy Place podcast.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

November 24, 2023


11:49 am

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LeAnn Rimes; Photo Courtesy Facebook

LeAnn Rimes has spent her entire life in the spotlight, from performing in singing competitions at five years old to appearing on TV shows by the age of eight, and now bringing her talent to stages around the world. She has often admitted to dealing with trauma as a young child from these experiences that left her vulnerable to people’s opinions on her life and career. Over time, this evolved into her developing stage fright and having to learn to overcome that obstacle.

The legendary singer/songwriter recently appeared on an episode of the Happy Place podcast with Fearne Cotton and during their conversation, she opened up about her upbringing, undoing childhood trauma, dealing with stage fright as a renowned artist, and more. 

Discovering Her Fear Of Being Imperfect

When the discussion shifted to the period of time when the stage no longer felt like her safe space, Rimes explained that it came as a result of years of trying to be perfect for those around her instead of focusing on what makes her happy. 

“I think that was a time in my life where I felt like a lot of people were picking me apart in a lot of ways, and I felt like a lot of things were stacked against me. It was like, ‘don’t f*** it up, then they’ll have something else to add to the list of things to stack against you.’ And so I honestly think that that’s what caused it,” Rimes told Cotton.

Rimes went on to explain that as soon as she got up to the mic and the moment began, the fear and rising sense of panic started to fade away. 

“Once I walked onto whatever I was doing or opened my mouth, I was like, ‘okay, this is it. I’m in. I’m all in.’ So it would flow from that moment, but it was the self-talk and the fear of messing something up and not being good enough up until that moment. And then once it started, it was like, ‘okay, that’s fine.’”

LeAnn Rimes at the 2023 CMT Awards Photo: Getty Images for CMT Emma McIntyre
LeAnn Rimes at the 2023 CMT Awards Photo: Getty Images for CMT Emma McIntyre

LeAnn Rimes On Checking Herself Into Rehab

Dealing with all these emotions night after night led the “How Do I Live” singer to feel completely drained after a show. Many artists have been in a similar position and caused them to turn to drugs or alcohol to keep the high of being on stage going. It wasn’t until Rimes went through rehab and found help in learning the tactics of breathwork that she was able to unravel a bit of that trauma and start to find joy in more of the mundane things. 

“I think checking myself in, I had never been alone ever in my life. There was constantly somebody around me. So that was the first time I really spent time alone and it was just the beginning of my own wellness, self-exploration journey. That was definitely not the end all at all, but that was the beginning of it. So I’m grateful for that time, but that wasn’t what I think really started to kind of move me in the right direction. It was a stepping stone,” she said while recounting her time in rehab. “I feel like when I found breath work about two years later, that’s what really started to open me up and break down some of those barriers and started to help heal the trauma.”

LeAnn Rimes; Photo by Norman Seeff
LeAnn Rimes; Photo by Norman Seeff

This time dedicated solely to working on herself also allowed her to let go of some of those pre-show nerves. 

“Once I started to unravel that, it became a lot easier. So I will get body nerves, but I won’t get these thoughts of like, ‘oh my God, I’m going to mess this up.’ It’s more of an anticipation now than a nervousness,” she shared. 

Growing Up In A Difficult Environment

Rimes’ need to please everyone around her stemmed from her upbringing as an only child and having to be the middleman of a depressed mom and an angry father who didn’t get along. 

“Compared to most, I had a great childhood, but I had a rough childhood…I was the good girl that was pleasing everybody. Then growing up in the public eye and then going through a very public affair, I mean, there was just a lot. And it was always so much forward movement that I never had time to stop and process any of it. So I think there was just 30 years of life there for me to try to start sifting through and emotionally and physically processing it because my little body and mind and soul is holding onto to everything.”

LeAnn Rimes with Husband, Eddie Cibrian; Photo Courtesy Facebook
LeAnn Rimes with Husband, Eddie Cibrian; Photo Courtesy Facebook

Over the years, she has been able to rebuild her relationship with her parents while still maintaining the necessary boundaries for her to live a happy life. However, in many ways, her childhood still affects her journey, like not having kids of her own in fear of passing down the same trauma. She may not be a biological mom to any children, but Rimes has spent about 14 years helping raise her stepsons, Mason, 20, and Jake, 16 with her husband Eddie Cibrian. On the podcast, she recalled stepping into this new journey in her late 20s and feeling like an “outcast” before learning to set boundaries once again and find her place within the dynamic of a blended family. 

“I’ve loved seeing the kids have a childhood. I didn’t have that. And so to be able to give that to someone else has been really special,” Rimes said as she got teary-eyed.

How Has Being A Step Mom Affected Her Songwriting?

Becoming a step-parent has also had a big influence on Rimes’ songwriting and her ability to express deep emotions through her music in a whole new way. This is especially evident through the song “Love Line” off her 2016 Remnants album, which she wrote for her stepsons. 

“There’s so much I wanted to say to them when I was first in their lives, and I was definitely not an appropriate conversation. So I wrote a song called ‘Love Line,’ which is just about love being so much deeper than blood and my family, who I call family in my life, most of them are not blood…Life has shown me that family is what you make of it. So it’s definitely opened me up, my capacity to love and to be able to express that through music. They’ve changed that for sure.”

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LeAnn Rimes’ last collection “God’s Work” was released in 2022 and then again in 2023 with the addition of “resurrected” versions of some of the songs. 

The songstress recently wrapped up her headlining run dubber the story…so far tour and beginning December 2, she will shift gears to her festive run of Joy: The Holiday Tour. This trek will run through December 21, when she will bring things to a close in Miami, FL.

Additionally, Rimes announced that she will be returning to London to celebrate her almost 30-year career with a milestone performance at the O2 London on May 8, 2024. 

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.