In an interview with Howard Stern on Wednesday, Stefani revealed that although she’d worked as a coach on the singing competition in previous seasons, they didn’t form a friendship until they bonded over heartbreak.
“I didn’t know Blake. In the show, how it works is I’m in hair and makeup for about 400 hours and we all have separate trailers,” the No Doubt front woman explained. “We would talk when we were in front of the cameras, like okay it’s time to go … so I did not know him, but you get to know him on the set because he’s so funny and he’s so lovely. And I was actually, from the outside, he looks so happy and all those things. But when I came back to the show, I had this huge weight on me.”
Their first day back on set, Shelton dropped his own bombshell to The Voice cast: He had split from his wife, fellow country crooner Miranda Lambert.
Stefani’s marital problems remained private at the time, but she gradually began to confide in her colleague
“I think I may have went white and was in shock, because it felt like he was exposing me …. and I just couldn’t even get my head around it, and it was during the [blind auditions], during that time, that he came up to my chair for the first time,” she told Stern. “We just started this friendship, which was just unbelievable that God would put us in the position to have each other in that moment, in the same exact moment. I mean, his thing had been going on since January, mine since February.”
“I wasn’t trying to start a relationship. I was just trying to not die, you know what I mean?” she added. “There was no plan.”
Her heartbreak and then new romance also inspired her to start fresh on her third solo album after not being able to connect with singles written by other artists.
“You know when you’re so bad that you just almost can’t get out of bed, kind of thing? I was like, if I could just go to the studio, maybe I won’t feel like such a jerk,” she recalled. “I just felt like such a loser, and I just got myself up. I remember driving down — it’s making me cry now, but driving down Santa Monica Boulevard just crying my eyes out going, what am I doing right now? I’m already torturing myself. I’m going to the studio right now to write a song with some guy I don’t know. I don’t know how to even write a song. … I just felt like, why am I going to torture myself more when I’m already in hell? But I did it because I felt like if I could do something creative and good, then maybe — ’cause I kind of learned that with Tragic Kingdom, I had a horrible situation and something great came out of it, and I helped so many people with that record.”
Within eight weeks, she’d written most of the record now known as This Is What the Truth Feels Like, a deeply confessional album about the lows and now highs of her personal life.
“I just started getting to a point where I was like, I don’t care about records, I don’t care about hits. I don’t care about anything but just using the gift that God gave me and respecting myself, because I know that that’s what I was given,” she said.
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