It’s not often you hear a musical artist say, “I hate this song!” right before performing one of their biggest hits. However, “The Voice” coach, Gwen Stefani, uttered those exact words right before singing “Ex-Girlfriend” at her Iowa Speedway IndyCar concert on July 24th, reports The Des Moines Register.
The concert consisted of a lineup of greatest hits from Stefani’s 90’s ska band, No Doubt, including “Don’t Speak,” “Spiderwebs” and “Bathwater.” During the concert, the pony-tailed vocalist confessed to thousands of fans in the crowd, “Some of these songs are actually painful for me to sing, revisiting the horrors of my love life.” She then admitted to hating “Ex-Girlfriend,” right before she sang the heck out of it.
Lyric Wars, Divorce Wars
Stefani is happily in love with her husband and fellow “Voice” coach, Blake Shelton. However, her love life was not always so rosy. Her 13-year relationship with Bush front man Gavin Rossdale ended in betrayal and heartbreak. According to Bustle, the song, “Ex-Girlfriend” is a “direct attack” on Stefani’s ex-husband.
The outlet connects the lyrics of the song to the Bush track, “Dead Meat.” Specifically, Bustle explains that Rossdale’s lyric from “Dead Meat,” “I’m doing you in tomorrow/ I’ll burn before I mellow” was the impetus for Stefani’s lyric from “Ex-Girlfriend” that goes “You say you’re gonna burn before you mellow/ I will be the one to burn you.”
The messy public breakup with Rossdale left Stefani hurting and vulnerable. According to ET Online, “Stefani filed for divorce from Rossdale in 2015 citing irreconcilable differences. The couple was married 13 years and had three children, Kingston, 14, Zuma, 11, and Apollo, 6. Once their divorce went public, rumors started swirling that Rossdale allegedly cheated on Stefani with their nanny, Mindy Mann.”
In 2016, Stefani opened up to Harper’s Bazaar about the breakup, including finding out about her husband’s infidelity. She vividly remembers the day she found out about Rossdale and the nanny. It was the day after she performed at the Grammys in 2015. “February 9th. I obviously know the date,” Stefani told Harper’s Bazaar. “It was the beginning of hell. Like six, seven, eight months of torture, trying to figure out this big secret.”
Life, and Concerts, Go On
Although Stefani has clearly moved beyond her relationship with Rossdale, it was evident at the Iowa concert that singing some of the songs she wrote about him is still painful. Nonetheless, the 52-year-old “Voice” coach appears to be blissfully happy with Blake Shelton, who was set to take the stage after Stefani, The Des Moines Register explains.
“You’re welcome for getting you ready and all sweaty for Blake Shelton,” she shouted just before ending her set, “That’s how he likes it.”
Another article in Des Moines Register focused on Shelton’s performance, which was the last one of the race weekend. The outlet reports, “Stefani often joins her husband for a duet on Shelton’s songs ‘Nobody But You’ and ‘Happy Anywhere’ but she did not make another appearance Sunday.” The year prior, at the Iowa State Fair, Stefani and Shelton did perform a surprise duet. But that was the last Iowa performance the pair did together.
Shelton told the crowd, “It’s always weird when she doesn’t come out to sing those songs with me. She did her set and went into party mode.”