Shania Twain Says She Would 'Flatten' Her Breasts to Avoid Stepfather's Abuse as a Teenager

"You didn't want to be a girl in my house," the Grammy-winning singer said about her abusive childhood Sunday

Shania Twain is speaking out about her childhood trauma — and how it has affected her body image.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, the 57-year-old singer said she suffered sexual and physical abuse at the hands of her stepfather Jerry Twain growing up, and that she tried to change the way she looked as a means of coping.

"I hid myself and I would flatten my boobs," the "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" singer said. "I would wear bras that were too small for me, and I'd wear two, play it down until there was nothing girl about me. Make it easier to go unnoticed. Because, oh my gosh, it was terrible — you didn't want to be a girl in my house."

Yet, at 22, as the second-oldest of five living in poverty in remote Timmons, Ontario, she had to come to terms with her own sexuality after her stepfather and mother died in a car accident. As she helped to raise her younger siblings, Twain embarked on a career in music, singing at a nearby resort.

Shania Twain attends the opening ceremony of the 16th Zurich Film Festival at Kino Corso on September 24, 2020 in Zurich, Switzerland. The Zurich Film Festival 2020 takes place from September 24 until October 3
Shania Twain. Thomas Niedermueller/Getty

"Then you go into society and you're a girl and you're getting the normal other unpleasant stuff too, and that reinforces it. So then you think, 'Oh, I guess it's just s---ty to be a girl. Oh, it's so s---ty to have boobs.' I was ashamed of being a girl."

She continued, "All of a sudden it was like, well, what's your problem? You know, you're a woman and you have this beautiful body? What was so natural for other people was so scary for me. I felt exploited, but I didn't have a choice now. I had to play the glamorous singer, had to wear my femininity more openly or more freely. And work out how I'm not gonna get groped, or raped by someone's eyes, you know, and feel so degraded."

Shania Twain appears during a portrait session in New York on . Twain is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the album that turned her into a global superstar. She is releasing a deluxe reissue set of her 1995 breakthrough album "The Woman in Me," which became the best-selling record by a woman in country music at the time Music - Shania Twain, New York, United States - 14 Jun 2019
Shania Twain. Christopher Smith/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

The star soon found success and became able to manage her own expectations, as she signed to a label in Nashville and met her future producer and first husband Robert "Mutt" Lange.

"By the time I had my record contracts I was the kind of woman that ... when I walked in the room, it's like, don't even get any closer," she told The Sunday Times. "It was clear in my body language. And I think maybe what young girls can learn too is to exude that confidence."

Shania Twain
Shania Twain. Andreas Rentz/Getty

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Last month, the Grammy-winning superstar celebrated the 25th anniversary of her iconic album Come On Over.

Via social media she also looked back on her third studio recording, which spawned iconic hits such as "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" and "That Don't Impress Me Much" and set a plethora of music industry records.

"25 years ago I released Come On Over... and because of your support, that album went on to become: The biggest-selling studio album by a female artist of all time, the best-selling country music album ever [and] the biggest-selling album by a Canadian country artist ...Crazy," she wrote.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to

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