Sheryl Crow on How Her Cancer Battle Stopped Her From Falling for "Pathological Narcissists” & "High-Achieving Men”

Sheryl Crow on How Her Cancer Battle Stopped Her From Falling for "Pathological Narcissists” & "High-Achieving Men”

The singer once dated Eric Clapton, Owen Wilson, Josh Charles, and Lance Armstrong.

Painful experiences might be the cause of our 3 a.m tears on a random occasion but we can't disagree on the fact that they are great teachers of how life is as well.

Take singer Sheryl Crow's life for example. The If It Makes You Happy singer had to go through a painful heartbreak and a cancer diagnosis at the same time. Recalling the difficult time in 2009, Crow told People in 2019, “When I was diagnosed and my relationship fell apart, people were camped outside trying to get that picture of Sheryl Crow at her lowest moment. I just lost all faith in humankind."


Just weeks after cyclist Lance Armstrong broke off their engagement, Crow was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was left alone to fight through the difficult time but that didn't stop her from beating the wretched disease. “But I licked my wounds," she continued. "I started feeling like, ‘I’m at a point in my life where I need to manifest something more realistic.’”

She said that the breast cancer diagnosis came as a wake-up call to her as it made her look at many "aspects" of life for the first time. "It's about showing up for yourself. It's about facing that giant machine every morning, being stripped down to just one little person addressing their life. And that was -- that was my wake-up call. I had to be here. I had to show up for myself."

If there were things her struggle taught her about life, there were other things she learned as well like... the type of men she fell in love with. During a chat with Dax Shepard on his podcast, Armchair Expert, the 58-year-old said that the whole cancer experience changed her perspective on the "pathological narcissists" she fell for when she did.


Other than Armstrong, the Soak Up the Sun hitmaker has dated a number of men like Eric Clapton, Owen Wilson, and Josh Charles. Recalling them she said, “I think that it took me until I got diagnosed with breast cancer to figure out that love is not something that you tap dance to get." Noting how her relationship with work and the universe has been the same way, she added, "I picked people that demanded that of me. I mean — I’ve picked some very high-achieving men.”

Crow revealed that “pre-cancer, I gravitated to pathological narcissists — and that sounds awful... I’m just saying I’m drawn to them" because she was a “loyalist and someone who sticks with people way beyond what I should. Co-dependent? Yeah, I guess in some ways I am. I think I’m less of that now. I think I’ve very aware of it [now].”

She further explained that it was because she saw them "mirror" how she really felt about herself. "There is a wow thing. You’re a rock star. You’re funny. You’re smart. You have your whole financial thing. You run your own company. And that looks great. And then slowly start whittle away all the things that you really feel about yourself. Which are: You’re not really worth being loved. You’re not that good. You’re fooling people. All those little voices.”


“I found that most of the important relationships that I had were extremely high performing, high achieving narcissists," she continued adding that she eventually saw herself become a "shadow around them" and "got used to being lonely and I was constantly — in several of my relationships — just used to being expendable." Adding that even though she was in a "dangerous spot... Every person that I have loved, I love still love, I don’t have any terrible feelings about anyone. That sounds really woo-woo. There was a reason why I loved them.”

The singer who was there to promote her 11th and final studio album Threads revealed that it's only after a healer told her, “‘Until you can put yourself first in your life, you will always be at the bottom’” that she realized that she has been the one pushing herself to "the bottom of the heap." Someone who would prefer suppressing her feelings.

However, after conquering her battle with cancer, she has learned to prioritize herself and her adopted sons Wyatt and Levi over anything else. She said that she's "perfectly content" and "I feel so much more alive and young than I even felt in the 20 years of living in L.A. I love my life. … I was normal before I made it, and I’m pretty normal now.”





Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by Mike Coppola / Staff

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