Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect the primary source of Sheremet’s interview.
One of the most dramatic controversies in country music history had to be LeAnn Rimes’ cheating scandal, which led to her divorce from Dean Sheremet and marriage to actor Eddie Cibrian.
Throughout the saga and its aftermath, everyone involved seemed to speak out in the press — or even on reality TV — except for Sheremet.
In a new interview with Nat’s Next Adventure, Rimes’ former backup dancer and manager finally revealed his perspective on the ordeal, and he had plenty to say after all this time.
Taking much of the blame himself, Sheremet says the marriage was in trouble long before Rimes and Cibrian met on the set of Northern Lights. He says he always felt overshadowed by his famous wife, but tried to put those thoughts aside.
“It would have been unfair for where she was in her career for me to ask her to pump the brakes. I thought it would be better for me to take all of my creative energy and ideas and put it into her.
“Unfortunately, I think the business ended up destroying us. That passion for our marriage wasn’t there. The person that I needed to be, the person I should have been, I wasn’t. I wasn’t the person she came home to and unloaded on. And, then, of course, I was thinking, I haven’t done what I’ve wanted to do in over eight years.”
As animosity between the couple grew, Sheremet was also feeling out of place in his surroundings.
“It was a very different life. We were living in Bel Air at 20 years old with a giant mansion, Porsche, Range Rover and Ferrari. I never felt comfortable with it. I’m not the type to throw money around. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
Finally, during filming for Northern Lights and just after celebrating a “seven-year itch” party, Sheremet says the unthinkable happened.
“There was this bar that everyone hung out at after set and I remember coming down the stairs and seeing the two of them shooting pool together. I could just tell by the body language that everything had changed. She’s shooting pool, shooting tequila, in a tight tank, tight jeans, over the knee boots and she’s standing across from him, playing with the pool cue. All of a sudden, there was a huge shift. My stomach dropped. I literally felt like I got hit.”
He says despite their problems at the time, he still felt their marriage would get better.
“’I can’t wait till 30. We’ll have a kid, slow down a bit.’ Cut to it being a f–king disaster.”
Now a chef in New York City, Sheremet believes the scandal hurt Rimes’ career in more ways than one. He and Rimes co-wrote her last hit, 2007’s “Nothin’ Better to Do,” and since then the singer has barely cracked Billboard’s Top 40.
“The dumbest thing she ever did for her career was divorce me, because we were such a good team. The last hit song she had was when she was with me.”
In the end, Sheremet felt like anyone in his position would have felt.
“The hardest part was someone standing in the back of the bus in the middle of nowhere and saying, ’I don’t love you anymore.’ I would’ve rather she said, ’I slept with 20 guys.'”
He doesn’t blame Rimes for what happened any more than himself.
“But who’s to know? Who’s to say I wouldn’t have left her? Who’s to say I wouldn’t have cheated on her? I was on the verge of outgrowing that situation. If the animosities kept building … You get into a vulnerable situation and you make stupid mistakes. I can’t say it wouldn’t have been me. I don’t regret anything.”
But he does think she’s losing her way.
“She really lives on the adoration of others. I could be speaking out of turn but this is my perspective. She lives and dies on the perception of herself. I sympathize with that ’cause she’s been famous since she was 12 years old, so she doesn’t know anything else.
“In L.A., there’s the paparazzi and that false sense of success, false security that you’re still relevant. If you’re in the magazines, then you matter. And that carried over to the divorce. She became even more ’famous.’
“But she was in the middle of the road in country and she should’ve been owning that format. She’s one of the most talented people I’ve ever met, has the most incredible voice, she’s flawless. But she got away from doing that and it breaks my heart. She’s gone away from what she was put on this earth to do. It’s all been at the expense of that. I think she learned a really hard lesson because it didn’t pan out the way she wanted it to.”
Text NEWS to 22422 for CMT News alerts. Msg & data rates may apply. Up to 5 msgs/wk.