Gwen Stefani Opens Up About How Dyslexia Shaped Her Music Career
Gwen Stefani is speaking up about her struggles with dyslexia, including how it shaped her music career when she was just starting out and how it continues to inform her understanding as a parent.
The entertainer and frequently-duetting fiancée of country star Blake Shelton who recently mounted her solo pop comeback with “Let Me Reintroduce Myself,” shares as much in a recent interview with Apple Music. Talking to host Zane Lowe, Stefani reveals how her three children with former husband Gavin Rossdale — Kinston, 14, Zuma, 12 and Apollo, 6 — helped her come to terms with the learning disorder.
“I think the one thing that I’ve discovered through having kids is that I have dyslexia,” Stefani admits.
“I feel like a lot of the problems that I have had or even decisions that I’ve made for myself stem from that,” she continues, “because now the children obviously, it’s all genetic, they have some of those issues. But now they get all these benefits. They have these incredible teachers and schools and they don’t have to have shame about it. They understand that their brain functions in a different way.”
Looking back on her budding days as both a student and a performer, Stefani delves further into how her life was altered by the affliction that can affect one’s ability to read, spell, write and speak. It even impacted her time with the act in which she first came to prominence, No Doubt.
Stefani remembers how she “failed at school, and I was a good girl. I didn’t do any bad stuff. It was just really hard for me to function in that square box of school that everybody was supposed to be understanding. And my brain didn’t work like that, it still doesn’t. But it works in different ways that are probably a gift.”
Later on, she progressed musically with the help of her bandmates. Early in her No Doubt days, Stefani recalls how she “literally laid my entire life out for everyone to hear. And … in the band with Tony [Kanal, No Doubt bassist] who I was so dependent on, probably because of my dyslexia.”
“I didn’t know any of this until now,” she adds, “but I think that I didn’t have any confidence in myself at the time, but when I would write a song, or I would get on stage, it just felt so right.”
Of course, dyslexia or not, Stefani’s only excelled at a music career that’s now over 30 years strong. And her current happiness has a lot to do with Shelton, whom she met on the set of The Voice.
These days, Stefani’s proud to report that her “life’s gotten so good right now actually having a best friend who I can be in love with and just share everything with and trust. It’s just been such a different chapter.”