Although everyone knows the stress and grief of going through the turmoil of an emotional divorce can have deleterious effects. Not only is a divorce likely to be financially troubling, it can also have a variety of negative physical effects as well. However, one disturbing negative physical effect that has appeared in the news recently is losing your voice. Well, not actually completely losing your voice so that you cannot speak, but losing your singing voice, as in the case of popular singer Shania Twain who recently appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss her painful divorce from her producer, co-writer, best friend and husband Robert “Mutt” Lange.
The country singer told Oprah she was an emotion wreck after learning her husband had fallen for a mutual friend. Twain said her divorce caused her to literally lose her voice, and that she figured “mentally” that she would never sing again because she thought she would not be able to “voice the words” again. Twain has rarely performed in the years following her divorce and is now attempting to change that with a new television show of her own Winfrey’s OWN network. Twain’s show is oddly titled “Why Not?” Perhaps the title relates to Twain’s response when asked if she would sing again, “I want to. And that’s the whole point of doing it,” she said during the Winfrey interview.
Whether or not the divorce was the direct cause of Twin’s loss of voice and early retirement from singing depends on how you look at the issues in her life prior to her marriage and divorce. Twain has reported seeing her step-father abuse her mother as a child and admitted that fears and anxieties throughout her life had been “slowly squeezing my voice,” and the divorce was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Twain’s sudden silence is not the first time a popular singer has “lost her voice.” The popular vocalist Shirley Bassey lost her voice after her 21 year old daughter was found dead in a river in the UK on August 29, 1985. After intense vocal coaching Bassey was eventually able to resume her career, but it does appear there is a good case for believing stress and grief can actually make you lose your voice. And in the case of Shania Twain, it is no real surprise that after going through a disturbing and emotionally devastating divorce, a person would not feel like singing for a while, maybe even many years.