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60 Seconds with Leann Rimes

So, Love Is Love Is Love is about…

Love. It’s inspired by my support of the LGBT community over the years. When I came to write it, we got into a deep conversation about how far your love can extend. Can you disagree with people and still extend love? Even when they commit deplorable acts, can you find away to extend love to them? It’s a timely conversation.

In what way?

With politics and religion, people always feel their way is the right way. You need to be able to see another person’s point of view. We’re all stuck at the moment and missing each other in our communication. We can point at others and say, ‘They’re the hateful ones’ but we should look inside ourselves first.

Did you enjoy yourself at New York Pride?

It was incredible. I’ve always had LGBT fans. I’d hear from teenagers who came to my shows and said my music helped them speak up for themselves and come out to their parents. My uncle was gay and passed away from Aids when I was 11 so I’ve always been aware of those issues. Back in the 1990s, for kids to speak up about who they were was pretty ballsy — especially for young country music fans from Middle America.

Other half: Eddie Cibrian

How did your song about your mum, Mother, change your relationship?

We’ve had an interesting relationship. We haven’t been close. I kept her on the outside for a long time but now I’m a step-mother I have better idea of what mothering is all about and a new respect for her. The song is about healing and accepting her as a woman who has struggled and overcome things.

Do you still feel you worked too much as kid?

Oh yes. I was seven when I started performing on stage every Saturday at a local venue, then when I was 13 I started touring and did 500 shows in three years. I’ve had to go through some resentment. I keep a balance between work and home life now.

You won the best new artist Grammy at 14 — how much pressure did that put on you?

Back then, it seemed like a normal thing to happen. I couldn’t take it all in and didn’t understand that it put pressure on me. That didn’t hit me until I was 17 and exhausted.

What are the highs and lows of being a step-parent?

Having two amazing kids in my life since they were two and six and being part of helping them develop into little men has been amazing. Any blended family comes with its challenges. We’ve been married six years. It took a while to settle in as a family but the past few years have been pretty mellow.

Over-worked: Rimes started touring at 13

Are you prepared for the teenage years?

The oldest is 14. I don’t know if anything can prepare you for the teenage years. At least he’s a boy. I remember as a girl it was all raging hormones and we were absolutely insane. I think girls are definitely harder than boys. He’s a good kid.

Do you tell him how easy he’s got it not having to do 300 shows a year?

We’ve talked about how my life was. He can’t fathom it. I didn’t have a chance to be kid so it’s nice being around them. I had to get used to being around kids with a normal childhood. They’ve been two of my biggest teachers in life. They know they have it pretty well. They’re appreciative kids.

Do you worry your personal life has over shadowed your music career over recent years?

It has but I can’t control what people say [Rimes married Cibrian following their extramarital affair]. Things calm down then stupidity flares up again. There’s less charge to it these days and no truth to it, which is why it’s been so great to focus on my music. To be able to come out of such public shame and ridicule and be where I am now is a feat in itself. I’m in a very settled place and able to feel a love for myself and everybody, which I’ve never had before.

What lessons has your career in showbiz taught you?

When we’re kids we trust our instincts — we don’t consider other people’s opinions. It changes when you feel you have to live up to other people’s expectations but being true to yourself is where success comes from. So no matter what, trust your gut.

Single Love Is Love Is Love is out now