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Fans were shocked when Jewel announced in July 2014 that she and Ty Murray are divorcing after six years of marriage and 16 years together.
Since their split, the two have remained committed to co-parenting son Kase and they've even maintained an amicable relationship—but the four-time Grammy winner worked hard to get to a place of self-acceptance, throwing herself into her memoir and her new music in the wake of her shocking breakup.
"The birth of my son really inspired me to make sure I'm the kind of woman I want my son to know, and looking at the places I've been stagnant, looking for things that were lost and reclaiming them. The process of making this record and writing this book really helped facilitate that for me," the singer told Time of her album Picking Up the Pieces, which hit airwaves on Friday and is reminiscent of her 1995 debut album Pieces of You.
The longtime singer-songwriter says both the book and her new album were therapeutic, and she used those creative outlets as a coping mechanism during her heartbreak.
"It's funny, most people go through a divorce and are like, why didn't I just get drunk and have meaningless sex?" she jokes. "And I write a memoir and a heartbreaking record, peel off every scab I've ever healed and stick my finger in them and write about it. That's how I dealt with it. But I think it was the best thing I could have done."
While several of the songs on Picking Up the Pieces were written when Jewel was 17 or 18, the musician said the meaning hasn't changed and has simply evolved.
"I was going through a divorce, and looking at my entire person and saying, what is my essential self? I don't think there was an area of my life that wasn't touched," she says of the inspiration behind her new music.
Jewel's memoir, Never Broken, is also expected to be released tomorrow—a decision she says she consciously made in order to give fans a deeper peek into her personal life.
"I wanted them to come out at the same time. When I do live shows, I do a lot of storytelling and music, and it's hard to get that all in one place unless you do some kind of TV special. They give you the whole story, if you put them together," she shared. "My number one job was being a mom. My number two job was making sure I was giving enough time to transition Ty and I into a new phase of our relationship with the divorce, and it took a lot of energy to do that. And then my third job was writing the book and doing the record."
Jewel's 12th studio album, Picking Up the Pieces, is currently in stores.