Shania Twain Says She ‘Lost a Very Important Foundation’ Upon Her Parents’ Death in 1987 Car Crash

“My whole life history was there, with them, and many of the associations fell along the way, away, after my parents died,” said Twain on a new episode of the Making Space with Hoda Kotb podcast

Shania Twain is opening up about losing her parents in a 1987 car accident.

In a new interview on the Making Space with Hoda Kotb podcast, the country superstar spoke to the Today host about the death of her mother, Sharon Twain, and stepfather, Jerry Twain, and how the loss impacted their family.

Twain, 57, recalled attending a “computer programming” school in Toronto at 22 years old, where she was working on a “backup plan” in case her singing career didn’t take off, when she learned the news of her parents’ death.

“My sister had called me and told me that they died in a car accident. I just, you know, I fell apart totally, just into shock for days, and I just couldn’t let go of them,” said the Grammy winner, who’s previously spoken candidly about growing up in poverty and facing both emotional and physical abuse at the hands of Jerry.

“I lost a very important foundation. As rickety as it was, it was still a foundation,” continued Twain. “My whole life history was there, with them, and many of the associations fell along the way, away, after my parents died. It was so true that so much of my life was stemming from them being in my life — the good and the bad.”

Following the tragedy, Twain assumed the role of raising her three younger siblings. “My kids — I call them that often. I know they’re not mine, but I say that,” she explained, noting that her eldest sister was “very, very busy” with her own marriage and two children.

“My younger sister was still living at home, and my two younger brothers were still, you know, 13 and 14 years old,” added Twain. “We all agreed that they shouldn’t be separated. But no relatives were able to take both of them in. So, the only way to keep them together was for us to stay together.”

Taking on the responsibilities of a caregiver, however, wasn’t new for Twain. “I was already very much a mother figure in our house. My mother was depressed a lot of our lives, didn’t get out of bed for days many times,” she recalled.

“That’s why I was up, ironing my dad’s shirt and his pants, getting everybody ready for school in the mornings, and getting home from school after the whole mess of the morning,” continued the singer-songwriter. “I had to hurry up and rush around and clean it all up before he got home, so he didn’t drag her out of bed by her hair. I mean, this was the cycle.”

About five years after her parents’ deaths, Twain released her debut self-titled album in 1993 — two years before she’d skyrocket to success with The Woman in Me and its singles, including “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” and “Any Man of Mine.”