We’ve finally got our hands on Gwen’s full new interview and article in Stella magazine, which was available as a supplement in the UK’s Sunday Telegraph this past weekend. Click here for photos from the magazine.
In the new interview, Gwen talks pretty candidly about how she felt reconnecting with her former self and how it was a struggle to write new music. She even admits at one point of abandoing the new album but said says she “couldnâ€™t bear to give up”. Some parts of the article are honestly pretty hard to read and Gwen really lets us in on how she was feeling.
On Gavin, Gwen says that it has been challenging at some times during her marriage and obviously so cause of spending so much time apart. After being on the road all last year, now that Gavin is home with the family, it has really made the couple realize how much they need each other.
Gavin was also her support system in writing for the new album.
She continues on saying how overwhelmed she has been and sometimes she feels like she’s sperad so thin it’s not fun anymore.
Like I said above, it’s a pretty tough interview, but we really appreciate and love Gwen for always being so honest with herself and everyone.
The hotel suite where I am interviewing Gwen Stefani is some distance away from the suite where she has been photographed. And so a small group of us â€“ Stefani, several assistants and I â€“ set off down a long corridor.
Stefani is wearing a black-and-white chequered trouser suit and has a little black cape round her shoulders. As she walks, her feet slip slightly out of her teetering heels.
Halfway down the corridor, one of her assistants says to another, ‘Can you make sure she has some tea during the interview?â€™
It must be a familiar enough scene to her, yet something about it plainly sticks in her mind.
As weâ€™re talking later, Stefani says suddenly, ‘You know when we were walking down the corridor earlier? Someone said something like, â€œMake sure she has some teaâ€ â€“ treating me like this diva.
‘And I kept thinking, â€œThis is so weird.â€ None of it feels real. Even though itâ€™s been going on for so long, it still feels like itâ€™s happening to someone else.â€™
By now weâ€™re sitting in the other suite. The black cape has gone and so have the shoes. Instead, Stefani is sitting shivering with a blanket round her shoulders and her feet tucked under her.
Sheâ€™s sucking on a cough sweet. Meanwhile frantic efforts are being made to turn up the heating.
At 43, Stefani â€“ even up close and in this half-frozen state â€“ doesnâ€™t look any different from the way she looked 15 years ago. She has the same white-blonde hair, the same ruby-red lips and the same flawless skin.
But itâ€™s not simply that she doesnâ€™t look her age. She doesnâ€™t act it, either. She has the mannerisms of a hyperactive teenager, talking at such a rate that her words tumble out of her mouth. At the same time, she keeps tugging distractedly at her hair with one hand.
As she chatters hectically away, you have to keep reminding yourself that this is someone who has not only sold more than 40 million records worldwide â€“ both with the band No Doubt and on her own â€“ but who also runs a hugely successful fashion company, L.A.M.B, with an annual income of $90 million (nearly Â£57 million).
When I tell her Iâ€™m having difficulty matching up the private Gwen Stefani with the public one, she nods understandingly and says, ‘I know what you mean. I often feel the same way myself.
‘In fact, earlier today I was thinking how extreme and strange my life has been. We were listening to the X Factor contestants and one of them did a song of mine, Donâ€™t Speak.
‘It was a really surreal moment. Iâ€™m standing next to Tony Kanal [No Doubtâ€™s bassist] and this guy is singing a song I wrote about Tony breaking up with me.
‘Thatâ€™s also the song that broke the whole world for us and gave me everything I have right now. It felt like I had jumped 15 years into the future and was looking back on the way I was then.â€™
A lot may have changed for Stefani in the past 15 years, but in one sense sheâ€™s come right back to where she started.
No Doubt are about to release their first new album since 2001 and, although they never officially split up, itâ€™s been a lengthy lay-off even by resting rock-star standards.
Not that Stefani has spent it lounging listlessly by her pool in Beverly Hills. She doesnâ€™t do inactivity.
As well as making two solo albums, going out on tour and running L.A.M.B, sheâ€™s raised two children with her husband, Gavin Rossdale, lead singer of Bush.
Sheâ€™s also, it turns out, spent a lot of time worrying obsessively about whether being a mother was compatible with being a rock singer.
‘I remember when I was in hospital after giving birth to my first son, Kingston [now six] and someone said, â€œYouâ€™re a mom now.â€ And part of me thought, â€œDonâ€™t say that!â€
‘Although Iâ€™d always wanted children, it was such an opposite thing to being a singer. Being a singer is all about me. About ego. Being a mom is all about being selfless â€“ two different worlds.â€™
At first, she thought that everything could continue much as it had done before. ‘Eight weeks after I had Kingston I was back in the studio making a solo album.
‘Then I went out on tour and by the time I came back I was pregnant with my second son, Zuma [now four]. Then I went straight out on tour again. On one level it was like the fulfilment of all my dreams:
‘I was a mother, I was successful, everything was going greatâ€¦ The trouble was, in another way I was this real mess.â€™
It wasn’t until she tried to write some songs for No Doubtâ€™s comeback album that she realized just how bad a state she was in. For months, she stared at a blank sheet of paper overcome with feelings of guilt and exhaustion.
‘I kept thinking, â€œHow can I leave my two little boys and go off to the studio?â€ They weren’t sleeping well at the time, and neither was I.
‘All the time I kept thinking, â€œIf this doesn’t happen, youâ€™re letting everyone down: the band, my family, all the people who depend on me.â€â€™
There were occasions, she admits, when she was tempted to abandon the whole thing â€“ ‘but I just couldn’t bear to give upâ€™.
Whatâ€™s odd about all this drive, all this self-imposed pressure is that when Stefani was growing up in Fullerton in Southern California, she insists she wasnâ€™t in the least driven, or ambitious.
‘No, no,â€™ she says. ‘I was completely passive. My mom always said I was the peacemaker in the family. My older brother, Eric, was the leader, the creative one. I was just his puppet.â€™
It was Eric who in 1986 came home with a Madness album, decided to form a ska band and recruited his younger sister to sing backing vocals.
Then he went off to become an animator on The Simpsons and Gwen, none too willingly, took over as the lead singer. She’d never been particularly musical and it wasnâ€™t until Tony Kanal ended their relationship that she ever thought about writing a song.
‘I remember so vividly the first song I ever wrote. It was called Different People.â€™
A celebration of human diversity â€“ ‘The most amazing thing that Iâ€™ve seen in my time/Are all the different people and all their different mindsâ€™ â€“ it is apparently one of Barack Obamaâ€™s favourite songs.
‘How bizarre is that? The first song I wrote â€“ which, when I read the lyrics today, seems so naive and young â€“ and it ends up being one of the Presidentâ€™s favourites.â€™
But the moment she started writing, says Stefani, she became a different person. ‘Before that, there was nothing I was good at, and, all of a sudden, here was something I felt really passionate about.
I remember my dad listening to the first songs we recorded on his way into work and him saying, â€œThis is really good. You need to keep doing it.â€â€™
Stefani was still at college when No Doubt released their first album. They went on tour to promote it â€“ and more or less stayed on tour for the next two and a half years.
By the time they came back, they were famous. And in Stefaniâ€™s case, instantly recognizable, too.
Soon she grew used to looking out from the stage and seeing thousands of young girls all dressed like her â€“ like St Trinianâ€™s dominatrices with a bit of Minnie Mouse thrown in.
‘That was the most amazing feeling. Iâ€™d always loved dressing up, even as a little girl. Even now, if nobody else was around, Iâ€™d still be putting on make-up and doing my hair.
‘But seeing myself reflected in all these different girlsâ€¦ I donâ€™t know if you ever get over something like that.â€™
Yet in many ways, as Stefani readily admits, she was still hopelessly naive.
‘Iâ€™d never been a bad girl, or a rebel. I was never into drugs, I lived with my parents until I was 25 and Iâ€™d only had one boyfriend â€“ and he had left me. Then suddenly I had all this power.â€™
Just as No Doubt were taking off, they did the opening spot in a concert headlined by Bush. Backstage, Stefani met Gavin Rossdale.
‘Thatâ€™s when my life changed,â€™ she says. ‘Here was this successful, good-looking English guy who seemed to be interested in me. I couldnâ€™t believe it.
‘My dad actually predicted it, though. When he saw Gavin on TV once, soon after we met, he said to my mom, â€œThereâ€™s your future son-in-law.â€ But I didnâ€™t really believe it was going to happen until the day we actually got married.â€™
Stefani and Rossdale have been married now for 10 years â€“ an eternity in rock-star terms.
Not that there havenâ€™t been bumps along the way, most notably when Rossdale learnt that the model Daisy Lowe was not his goddaughter, as he thought, but his daughter.
‘Itâ€™s certainly been challenging for us at times,â€™ Stefani says. ‘Weâ€™ve had to spend a lot of time apart because of our careers. I basically spent all of last year on my own because he was in his band, touring the world. That was hard for me, being at home with the two boys. But now heâ€™s home we realise how much we all need each other.â€™
It was Rossdale who told her to keep calm when she couldnâ€™t write the new No Doubt album, and that in the course of time something would come. As it turned out, he was right.
‘What I realised eventually was that I had to write about something that I was going through. How I was trying to balance everything in my life and finding it hard, if not impossible.â€™
And did writing about it help you to balance your life a bit more? I ask. ‘No,â€™ she says, promptly. ‘It gave me something to write about, but it didnâ€™t resolve anything at all. In fact, that feeling has become even worse.â€™
She sighs, pops another cough sweet in her mouth, then apologises in case the sound of it clicking against her teeth is bothering me.
‘At the moment, I have to say that Iâ€™m spread so thin that itâ€™s almost not fun. I mean, how do you enjoy everything when you have so many plates spinning at the same time? To be honest, sometimes I feel completely overwhelmed.
‘Completely pâ€” off that itâ€™s too much at once: the fashion, the records, the children, marriageâ€¦ Everyone seems to be relying on me for something. And Iâ€™m not someone who likes to let people down.â€™
And then thereâ€™s the fact that she keeps being asked for advice on how to stay fit, thin and healthy.
‘That happens all the time,â€™ she says, her voice rising plaintively. ‘But Iâ€™m not a dietitian, or a nutritionist, or a trainer. The last thing I want to do is go round telling people how to live their lives.â€™
Nor does she claim to be able to offer advice on motherhood. ‘I know that my children have completely different lives to the one I had. But I hope they have lots of love and stability.
‘We both try to do as much as possible â€“ pick them up from school, be there when they need us. And they seem happy, so far.â€™
Itâ€™s time for her to go. The assistants are hovering outside, ready to take her to another appointment. Two nights ago she was in Los Angeles, she tells me.
Tonight sheâ€™ll be sleeping in the house that she and Rossdale have in Primrose Hill â€“ and tomorrow sheâ€™s going to France. Then she stops and says, ‘No, I think it might be Germany.â€™
As we shake hands, she lowers her voice so that no one else can hear and says, ‘You know what? Part of me just wants to eat a pizza and go to sleep.â€™