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Shania Twain Engaged to Frederic Thiebaud

Shania Twain photo by Bryan Bowen Smith, courtesy of UMG Nashville.

A day after numerous news outlets reported on Shania Twain’s engagement, the singer officially announced the news with a note to fans on her website Tuesday morning.

“I’m in love!” she wrote. “Frederic Nicolas Thiebaud has been a true gift to me as a compassionate, understanding friend and over time, an amazing love has blossomed from this precious friendship.”

Details? Well, Shania didn’t really offer a lot. She shed no wedding date, didn’t mention how or when Fred popped the question and didn’t specify where she was when she wrote the note — and knowing what a world traveller she is, that’s a very legitimate question.

Shania did, however, offer “seasons greetings to all” and suggested that the pain of her broken marriage forced her to break down some of the walls around her. In that process, she rediscovered the value of personal connection and renewed her faith in it.

“In the last two and a half years of adjusting to life after separation and divorce, I needed to lean on others more often than I was accustomed to,” she confessed. “These people have been gifts, and I am fortunate to have so many of these beautiful people — friends, family and beloved fans, [whose] support I cherish more deeply with each day that passes. Now another year is about to pass, and I would like to thank everyone who helped me believe that new beginnings are possible and that love can be trusted.”

Next week — Dec. 28, to be exact — will mark 17 years since Shania married record producer and songwriter Robert John “Mutt” Lange. A little more than a year after that, she released The Woman In Me, a breakthrough album that launched her from an attractive, developing singer into a full-fledged country star. Her 1997 release Come On Over became the best-selling album ever by a female country singer, certified for sales of 20 million copies in the U.S. In 1999, she ultimately collected the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award.

The relationship with Mutt turned sour in 2008, and Frederic — the ex-husband of her former best friend — became a shoulder to lean on.

The split with Mutt was emotionally challenging, but she emerged from a dark period with a new lease on life and new positivity about the future.

“I’ve spent much time over the course of this past year, learning about others who have suffered loss in their lives and taken inspiration from how they’ve managed to overcome it,” she wrote. “I’m learning that grief, and the suffering of loss, challenges me to be more sensitive and understanding of [others] and also more accepting of my own struggles. Challenge reminds me how important it is to let those who love me, care for me when I need it. The support of others has helped me to move forward less fearful of change, allowing me to embrace the beauty of life today and remain more open to whatever it brings tomorrow.”

Shania’s personal turn-around is a reminder that hard times don’t have to be permanent. Her revival is likely to be centerstage in 2011. An autobiography is due in the spring. And she’ll be appearing in a reality series on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) beginning in April.

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