What Rimes With LeAnn?

21-Year-Old Singing Sensation Back On Concert Circuit

In 1996, LeAnn Rimes, a 14-year-old singing sensation, was living every country singer's dream.

When 48 Hours first met her, LeAnn was about to pick up a Grammy for her hit single "Blue." Not only was she one of the youngest singers ever to win a Grammy, she won two awards that year.
LeAnn had presence, she had drive, and she had an astonishing voice. But was she the next Patsy Cline, or just a one-hit wonder?

"I don't want to fade away. Some artists hit so fast and then the next couple of years, they're gone," said LeAnn. "One day, you know, I want to be able to be called a 21-year-old singing sensation."

Now, LeAnn is 21, and has eight albums and several hits under her belt. But it's been a rough few years. Correspondent Susan Spencer reports.
"All the bad things that I've been through have made me very strong," says LeAnn. "I can pretty much face anything today."

Back then, she was constantly on tour, which was brutal for a kid. "I did … 500 shows in 3-and-a-half years from the time I was 13," she says, admitting that the pressure was intense. "I think everyone really expected a lot of me as a child which sometimes drove me insane, because I then put pressure on myself very much to be perfect."

When she was 15, her parents divorced and the mom and pop operation literally fell apart. And a few years after that, LeAnn sued her record company and tried to get out of her contract. She also sued her own father, charging that he'd stolen millions from her. He sued back, calling her a "spoiled brat" in court papers.

"It's a bad soap opera," says LeAnn. "It is amazing… I've been through heartache and love and pain, and I think everyone wanted to see me as the perfect little child, and I'm not that any more. I mean, I've had experiences in my life that have made me a woman."

The lawsuits were settled nearly two years ago. The details were never released, and neither parent would speak to 48 Hours about it. But LeAnn says everyone has now more or less "made up."

"It quite amazes me that I've come out of it so happy and so in love with my family," says LeAnn. "I go to them for advice about life and not business. Family is family, now."

And there's someone to feel good about, too. LeAnn married Dean Sheremet, a writer and dancer, nearly two years ago, when she was just 19.

"I have a wonderful husband and I think that makes my life a lot easier and more fun," says LeAnn.
Today, LeAnn is very much in charge of her own career. She's back on the concert circuit now, feeding off the crowds: "I haven't toured for almost three years. This year was really about going out and seeing the fans again."

Her music style keeps evolving, and it's no longer limited to just country. "I have the largest crossover single ever in pop music with 'How Do I Live.' So I think I've done it successfully," she says.

Today, she and Dean live with 7 dogs and 2 cats in Nashville. And at some point, she says they'll have a family.

"I love what I do. But I would never have wished the things that I've gone through on anyone or on anybody's family," says LeAnn. "And I don't ever want that to happen with my child."

But at the ripe old age of 21, LeAnn spends little time looking back. There's just too much ahead.

"I'll be working pretty much until the end of the year, and then starting up again in January with the new record that'll be out in spring. And then touring next year," says LeAnn. "So I have a busy couple of years coming up, definitely."

A busy couple of decades, perhaps?

"I hope so," she says. "Hey, I hope I'm around for that long."

  • Rebecca Leung

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