Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 | 5:28 p.m.
Country music queen LeAnn Rimes finds herself in yet another nuclear tabloid and Twitter war with her actor husband Eddie Cibrian’s ex-wife, Brandi Glanville from “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” She’s putting the angry words and mudslinging behind her, though, as she starts a three-show run tonight through Saturday at LVH.
LeAnn, who appeared on Monday’s American Country Awards on Fox at Mandalay Bay Events Center, told me: “I’m in Las Vegas a lot this week, and I love Vegas, so we will have a good time for sure. I will be very busy.”
LeAnn, 30, and Eddie, 39, met while filming the Lifetime movie “Northern Lights” in 2009 and wed in 2011. In a tearful interview with E!’s Giuliana Rancic, she said that she resented being called a home wrecker: “Through all the hard stuff, there comes so much beauty on the other side if you just let it happen.”
She co-wrote nine of the 13 songs on her new album “Spitfire” and says it’s a roller coaster of emotions she’s experienced from pain, anger, love, being broken and letting go. “I have never been so honest when writing, producing and performing on an album; it’s no-holds barred. It took me 18 years to make what I feel is the most passionate, soul-baring, most complete album of my career.”
Since she promises to perform some of the new tracks at LVH, it was inevitable in our interview that I’d talk with her about the feud with Brandi and how singing about the turmoil of her personal life has brought her to tears.
Robin Leach: Is it painful or cathartic?
LeAnn Rimes: Both. Incredibly painful, but I guess you have to move through the pain sometimes, and that is the cathartic part about it; it allows me an outlet to be able to get it out. There is a lot of humanity on my album; I think that this is the first time really that I truly have had that on a record. I think that I have tapped into it before, but there was always something that was off limits because I didn’t want to offend anyone, and I didn’t want to let people into too much of me.
I started so young I think that people think that they know me, but they really don’t. I think this record is allowing them into so many aspects of those places that I have never let them into. It was definitely painful to write, and it is painful to sing some nights because those emotions are still underneath my skin, but I also know that I am human, and I am not the only one who has experienced these situations.
R.L.: Do you get stronger as you sing about it more often?
L.R.: Yeah, for sure. The more I see people relating to it, too. You realize that this “celebrity and fame” thing, I didn’t really sign up for. I wanted to sing when I was a little kid, and I still do, that is what I live to do is to sing and create. I guess it can be a little confining and a little lonely at times, so to see people get it, when you are singing about it, and go, “God, I’ve been there and thank you for writing about it because I didn’t know how to say it, or I was afraid to say it.” Those moments make you feel a lot less alone in those situations.
R.L.: In England, we have an expression that you never talk about these things; you always shove it under the carpet-
L.R.: Right, I guess that is not country music. At the end of the day, I find myself listening to old-school country music because that is what I loved about that time in country music because no one did shove it under the carpet. Heartbreak, drinking, drugs, cheating and jail, it all was discussed. I did an album last year called “Lady and Gentleman,” which I covered all my favorite men songs, but now from a women’s perspective, so I really got into listening Willie (Nelson) and Waylon (Jennings) and Kris Kristofferson and all these great songwriters who were never ashamed or afraid to write about what was going on in their lives.
It really did inspire me for the new record. I find it hard to find these days people who are willing to go that deep into their lives, but it seems, in the same breath for me, everybody wants to dig so far deep in my life anyway, and it is all untrue. The greatest way for me to able to express myself is through my music. There is nothing that needs to be pushed under the carpet for me, for sure.
R.L.: Is also is an emotional cleansing and a way to build strength for the future.
L.R.: Yeah, this is the only way I will be approaching music from here on out. It is an emotional cleansing, always at my own expense. I am not sitting here bashing and hurting others; it is the fact that this is all about my feelings and where I have been, and where I am at or where I am headed.
R.L.: Wouldn’t it be nice to have a year with no drama?
L.R.: It would be nice, but I don’t know if I signed up for that. For me, we try to keep as much of a drama-free life in our household as possible. Once we step out of these walls, it is hard to do, but I think that is why I have really taken care of myself to learn how to deal with it in a better way so I can keep some peace within myself and in my life. If it comes out through my music, then so be it; that is what I do.
R.L.: Where is LeAnn Rimes at this moment in her life?
L.R.: I think I am probably, as much as the drama that surrounds me, I am probably in the most peaceful place that I have been. Allowing myself to have all these emotions and write all these emotions and know that they are all OK, these are all my feelings. That is the greatest thing that I don’t feel ashamed or bad about the life that I am living. I am proud of myself for taking care of myself.
I probably have more peace in my life than I ever have in a very long time and am really able to communicate with those around me, and those that are around me are great, great people, people that I can count on and depend on; same with me. It is nice to be able to have a family and a husband and really, truly take advantage of that part of my life and live it to the fullest because that is something that I neglected for a very long time growing up the way that I did. It is nice to have a balance, is the word for me for right now; I am truly learning how to balance everything.
R.L.: Do your fans embrace your honesty and say that they get strength out of it, too?
L.R.: Oh, yeah. That is one of the most amazing things to have people say. … There are so many people who are afraid to talk about certain things, everything from relationship issues to being a step mom, so many things that I am going through publicly or have gone through publicly. You realize you are not alone in this world, no matter if you are a celebrity or not.
R.L.: Do you ever look over your life and say, “Wow, I can’t believe what I have done and what I've been through?”
L.R.: Yeah, I can’t believe I have made it this far -- holy crap! I’ve learned to look back with pride and awe, a lot of times I have just kept going and moving forward since my first record when I was 11. It has been so many years. One of the most amazing things is that I have had this long career that most people don’t even get a chance at a fraction of this, so I feel like I am in the best place musically that I have ever been and I am making the best music that I have ever made. It is amazing how life happens, and then it opens up a whole new world.
R.L.: So maybe climbing mountains is a very healthy exercise in creativity?
L.R.: Sometimes you have to fall to the bottom of the pit and then climb back up again to really appreciate it. I have climbed many of those mountains and fallen many times. Being as resilient as I have been, that is when I look down and go, “Yeah, you did it, over and over again.”
R.L.: Maybe that is the other thing that the fans love, it is because you are as human as they are.
L.R.: And I am. I am realizing that I am, more so than ever, and that is a great lesson after being in this crazy business for all these years. It is a great place to be and know that I am human, and thank God I am human because I wouldn’t want to be anything less or more than that. I think that with this celebrity thing that surrounds us, sometimes it is hard to remember that we are allowed to be that way. I guess I am just giving myself the permission to be human.
R.L.: I like that. Are you a happy person or a pained person at this moment?
L.R.: A little bit of both, to be honest. I think I have gone through a lot of the pain, and that is what I went to work through this year, for myself. I think that I choose happiness, even though I struggle a lot. I decide to choose happiness at the end of the day. I think that is because I accept the things that I cannot change and the people that I cannot change, because of that, and knowing that this is just life. There is a peace that comes to me within that, and I think that I am much happier than I have ever been, even through the struggles.
R.L.: You are in the news again with more of the tempest in your life.
L.R.: I am honestly trying to keep out of it. It’s always some kind of ex-wife drama. Eddie’s ex-wife. There is my next country hit! Who knows? I mean, honestly, it is so sad. I was just saying to someone I can’t even go online, on radio, on television because I don’t want to see any of it. That is one of the things that I have truly tried to shield myself and the family from is to try to let go of the B.S. that is out there and not cloud my mind with it.
R.L.: I guess you secretly pray this turmoil ends.
L.R.: I definitely do. I can’t control it. I can only control how I react to it. It is hard to sometimes see just lies, and just because it is coming from someone’s mouth who is involved in the situation doesn’t mean that it is truthful. It is sad to see that people take it as gospel sometimes -- not everyone, fortunately, because there are people who know better.
R.L.: Isn’t that why the expression “get a job” was created?
L.R.: Truthfully. At the end of the day, it is hard to see my name dragged through the mud as it is with constant lies, but like I said at the end of the day, I have the control of how I react to it. I am ready for it to go away once and for all so it’s just about my music. That is what it is about at the end of the day. … Other people cause drama; leave me out of it.
R.L.: I guess the price of fame is an ugly number.
L.R.: It is crazy to me. People these days become famous, even if it is for five seconds. It’s become that people aspire to be famous. We have always had people who wanted to be famous in our culture, but I don’t know if it has something to do with reality television or the way that people are obsessed with tabloids. People will do anything and everything they can to become famous no matter at what cost.
For someone like me, I am not going to say that fame hasn’t brought me great things, but at the same time it’s my voice, I love to entertain. I enjoy entertaining people, I enjoy relating to people through my music. The fame stuff is secondary, although it is a necessary evil for what I do. But it is not something that I ever said when I was kid, that I wanted to be famous. It has become sort of an obsession in our society.
R.L.: You seem to have a very solid grasp on the tabloid-headline stupidities of this world.
L.R.: I try. I try not to let it have a grasp on me, but the other way around.
R.L.: You have to tell me one secret: Who do you listen to when you want to escape the madness and wild accusations?
L.R.: Wow, I am a huge singer-songwriter fan, so I love guys like Ray Lamontagne and David Gray. I listen to everything, Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell. I love great lyrics. I love songs that move me and make me feel something. Great singers. I love Adele. I am one of those people who put on my iPod and have a glass of wine and am so content. That seems to be my escape from all this lately.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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