Gwen is opening up about how music helped her with dyslexia and how her sons are learning to flourish in school.
Speaking with Zane Lowe on Apple Music for the latest edition of his At Home With conversation series, the “Let Me Reintroduce Myself” singer, 51, said she “discovered” she has dyslexia when her children — Kingston, 14, Zuma, 12, and Apollo, 6, all of whom she shares with ex-husband Gavin Rossdale — started having trouble reading.
“One thing that I’ve discovered through having kids is that I have dyslexia — everyone has things that happen and mine was that. And I feel like a lot of the problems that I have had or even decisions that I’ve made for myself stem from that, because now the children — obviously, it’s all genetic — they have some of those issues,” Stefani said.
“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. All of our brains do, you know what I mean?” the mom of three said.
Recalling her own experience, Stefani said she “failed at school,” adding, “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 that other people can’t do.”
Asked about how anxiety has affected her life, Stefani brought up her dyslexia once more, specifically in the early years of as an artist and member of No Doubt.
“At that time I had written that whole record not even knowing how to write a song and I had literally laid my entire life out for everyone to hear. And then I’m still in the band with Tony [Kanal] who I was so dependent on, because of probably my dyslexia. I didn’t know any of this until now, 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 and the only thing that was going right for me,” she said.
These days, Stefani has been delving into her creative passions, particularly music, and she attributes her happiness to fiancé Blake Shelton, who proposed in October.
“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,” she said.
Elsewhere, Stefani raved about their relationship. “He’s my best friend. We tell each other everything. I don’t want to do anything without him. He’s my homie. And he’s just a very generous, generous guy. He’s full of love and generosity,” she said.
Describing Shelton, 44, as she “could lean on and trust,” the pop star reflected on their five-year romance. “I’ve never met someone that’s just so interesting. And it’s weird because over the years — because now it’s been five years I’ve known him — he is an artist. He’s a Gemini. … He has a lot of different sides to him. But I think the fact that he really could walk away from anything at any moment. And his true love is just of nature and of just being at that ranch,” she said, speaking about his Oklahoma retreat where they spent the majority of the coronavirus lockdown.
“He’s just always been the same. He’s the same guy no matter where he goes, you know what I’m saying? You feel so proud … There’s just something great about someone that’s so genuine and then super talented, because then you watch him sing and you’re just like, ‘My God, your voice.’ He’s really good,” Stefani continued.
And Shelton has been helping her put together her next album.
“It’s really fun having him around in an A&R kind of way, too, because as I’ve been writing, he’s so good at knowing what songs are good,” she said. “He’s the one that came to me with [‘Let Me Reintroduce Myself’] to be the first single, because he was driving to the airport. He was like, ‘I have been listening to all the songs and I really think that this song…’ Because I was really like, ‘I’m not going to even have an opinion,’ because I don’t know any more about myself. I can’t tell. Everybody else, I’m going to serve it up and then you decide what you like, because it’s hard to tell after a while.”
When they aren’t working on music, Shelton and Stefani have been spending more quality time than ever with her kids and learning to be more present with one another.
“The one thing that I feel like we try to do in quarantine is just really be like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re going to look back at this three months, these 100 days in lockdown together, homeschooling the kids and cooking and eating tons of carbs,’ ” she said.
But that doesn’t mean it’s always glamorous. “And having to do our own laundry, having to cook. And I mean all this stuff, clean toilets. And it was a lot, it was a lot of boys, a lot of dirt. But I know that I’m going to look back at it and I already look back at it like it was an amazing thing,” she said. “It’s just trying to find the beauty in the moment and the good things that are coming out of it.”