Gwen Stefani isn’t afraid to admit that she experienced heartbreak before falling in love with Blake Shelton.

The 48-year-old superstar opened up about the pain that she felt following two major breakups in her life during a new interview with Marie Claire for its holiday issue, hitting newsstands Nov. 28.

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Fans may remember that Gwen and Bush front man Gavin Rossdale ended their nearly 13-year marriage in 2015 amid rumors that he was unfaithful. Prior to that, Gwen’s seven-year romance with No Doubt’s Tony Kanal came to a halt.

“For a long time, I could not understand why I’d had so much heartache in my life,” she tells the magazine. “I have parents who are still married and in love. I had such loving role models. I didn’t understand it.”

Despite having dealt with the ups and downs of failed relationships, Gwen says she came to realize that her “heartbreak was supposed to happen.”

“It was my purpose to write about [that] and share my story,” she says. “I met at least 50 to 100 people before each show on my tour and got to hear that my truth and my story translated, and I feel very lucky and honored knowing that,” explains the mom of three, who in October released her first holiday album, “You Make It Feel Like Christmas.”

And, these days, the grass looks a lot greener for Gwen, and a lot muddier too as she gets to spend her time with Blake – People magazine’s 2017 “Sexiest Man Alive” – at his 1,200-acre ranch in Tishomingo, Oklahoma.

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“It’s very tribal,” she says of her time at the ranch. “Blake has a sister. She comes with her kids. We cook and get muddy and dirty. There are ATVs. Being a mother of three boys, it’s kind of the perfect place.

“Everything is real now, whereas before, things didn’t seem so real,” she adds.

Gwen Stefani talks about getting dirty with Blake Shelton Getty Images
Nashville-based writer and Rare Country contributor Melinda Lorge has always been passionate about country music. Follow her @MelindaLorge and join the conversation @RareCountry.
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