In a tearful interview with E!'s Giuliana Rancic Sunday, Dec. 9, Rimes, 30, opened up again on her 2009 affair with Cibrian, 39. As first revealed by Us Weekly, the two fell in love on the set of the Lifetime movie Northern Lights -- even though Rimes was being married to chef Dean Sheremet and Cibrian had two sons, Mason, 9, and Jake, 5, with wife Glanville, 40.
"I call it insanity! Absolute insanity," the singer said of falling for her then-costar. "But nothing ever happened between us except for on camera, you know, during the film . . . Absolutely nothing," she insisted. "I had no idea what life was throwing me and I had no idea how to handle it. . . But all I knew was I could not . . . we couldn't stop connecting in some way. And it was the hardest thing I've ever been through in my life."
When Us broke news of the costar's extramarital affair in March 2009, Rimes says she went into hiding.
"I think I became numb. Then I told everyone I should have told and then I curled up in a ball on the couch and then I didn't move. And I didn't move for a while. It's that feeling of your heart falling to the ground," she explained. "Eddie reacted the way that I reacted too, but he reacted in his own way and I allowed him to do that. Because he had so much more to deal with than I did -- I had a marriage, he had a marriage and children. I can't even fathom that."
But Rimes says she doesn't like to use the word regret.
"I wish I handled it differently because I wish it could've been better for me, for Brandi, for Dean, for Eddie and for everyone else," Rimes explained. "I know in this situation it's gonna take some time, all I wish is that everyone that was hurt, that we hurt, that I hurt, can be happy."
And she also doesn't like the word home wrecker.
"I'm like, can someone come up with anything like more, I don't know, original?" she joked, but her laughter quickly turned to tears. "Because at the end of the day, I never set and been held by so many . . . like by my family . . . my friends, my new friends, this is what life's about," Rimes said between tears. "Through all the hard stuff, there comes so much beauty on the other side if you just let it happen."
Rimes needed helping working through the pain and decided to go to treatment for anxiety and stress. "I'm crying, like uncontrollably," the "Blue" singer said of her bad days. "Thats when I knew I had to seek help and so therapy for me has been mazing and it's good."
Husband Cibrian, whom she wed in April 2011, joined Rimes briefly in her interview with E! and also said he has no regrets of their affair.
"You gotta sometimes fight for what you know eventually is going to be your truth and your happiness," he said. "I'm a better father for everything that has happened. I'm a better friend. It's been difficult but it's, it's definitely been worth it."
The couple hopes to have children together in the future, but for now, Rimes is happy being a step-mother to Cibrian's sons (or "bonus sons" as Rimes cals them) with Glanville. And she knows that she and Cibrian are in it for the long haul.
"When you endure those kind of hardships, at the end of the day if you can't make it through that, you can't make it," Rimes said. "And we've made it through a lot . . . We fought for each other."