It wasn't easy getting there, but LeAnn Rimes is finally -- to borrow a phrase from the title of her third album -- sittin' on top of the world. She has a brand-new record, Spitfire; a devoted husband, Eddie Cibrian; and a healthier-than-ever outlook on life, love, and her own self worth, which she valued at next-to-nothing not that long ago.
Speaking to Us Weekly about her tumultuous journey over the last few years, beginning with her 2009 extramarital affair with Cibrian, the "Where I Stood" singer, 30, says she feels like she's been on "an emotional roller coaster" recently. Last year, that roller coaster led her to seek treatment for anxiety and stress.
"I went in and took care of myself because I was stressed, I was depressed and anxious, and I didn't know how to process everything," she explains to Us of her decision to check into an in-patient facility in August 2012, noting that her "whole life has been out there for everyone to judge" since she was just 13 years old. "Going away was something I really needed to do."
Writing and recording Spitfire helped her realize that, Rimes adds. Though in some ways it was a form of "intensive therapy" on its own, it also brought up some feelings she wasn't prepared to face.
"I think I opened up the can of worms for myself by writing this record," she tells Us. "There were a lot of things I didn't even realize I was feeling...I needed to go somewhere and really process all of that stuff."
"That stuff," of course, includes the fallout from her affair with now-husband Cibrian. After Us Weekly broke the news of the Northern Lights costars' tryst, Rimes hit bottom.
"I was feeling all these crazy emotions and feeling terrible about myself and was disgusted by myself and thought I was pathetic," she says. (In fact, she uses some of those very words in songs on her new album. "Borrowed," for example, looks into the darker moments of falling in love with a married man and includes lyrics like, "I don't want to give you back.")
These days, though, the country crooner is feeling settled and happy. "Sometimes it takes walking through those tough times to come out the other side stronger and wiser," she explains to Us. "I'm gonna make mistakes as I move on in life, but that's who we are, and I'm fortunate that I've grown a lot and I'm proud of who I am now...it's a good place to be.
"I'm the strongest I've ever been," she adds. "I'm the most honest with myself that I've ever been, I'm the most secure I've ever been about myself and my family, and I'm the most confident I've been in a really long time."