LeAnn Rimes Can’t Live Without Her Pets


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August, 2004
“Cats need more than we think they do,” says Rimes. “They need places to play, my two cats certainly do.”

How can she live, without her pets?

“I couldn’t,” says and laughs singer LeAnn Rimes, known for hit songs including “How Do I Live?” “Don’t Ever Lose That Light In Your Eyes,” and “Can’t Fight the Moonlight.”

She certainly has enough pets. “We (she and husband Dean Sheremet) have seven dogs and two cats. She says, “We love our animals. But I was always a dog person until we got the two cats.”

Rimes is promoting the Friskies For More Cat Habitat Shelter Program. Friskies will donate $100,000 to help ten shelters built an ultimate habit for their cats.

“Cats need more than we think they do,” says Rimes. “They need places to play, my two cats certainly do.”

Rimes has Bengal cats. This is very active breed whose origins can be traced to a kind of wild cat from Asia. The Bengal’s even look like wild cats with spotted or marbled coats, and they sometimes sound more like little leopards than they do domestic cats.

“Well, I’ll tell you these cats do keep us up at night. They sleep all day, at least ours do. And then in the middle of the night, they stalk us, and jump on our bed. I think their goal is to wake us up,” she begins laughing. “And they usually succeed. And then in the morning we find toys scattered all over.”

So who’s smarter, the dogs – pets she grew up with, or her recently acquired disorderly felines?

“The cats are definitely smarter,” says Rimes. “Dogs need us in a way that I’m not sure that cats do. Well, the cats do need our love, but I think they’re more independent and they’re better at thinking on their own, and taking care of themselves. But then every animal is different. I have a German shepherd who is actually a trained security dog and he is one of the most intelligent animals. He’s smarter than some people I know. He takes good care of me.”

There was a time when Hollywood celebrities or Nashville singers lived right on major streets, they didn’t they need security dogs or gates. Stars like Jack Benny or Clarke Gable might even answer their own door, if you happened to knock.

“I’ve heard that,” says Rimes. “I can’t imagine that today. It’s not easy being a celebrity in some ways that most people wouldn’t think about. We’ve become so celebrity and paparazzi driven. People follow you home, then they go through your trash. We live in a world where people want to know so much about the inside of everything you do. It gets hard. But it’s a part of the job.”

It’s been a part of her job for a very long time. Born in 1982, Rimes just celebrated her birthday (August 28). She began to sing before she was two. At five, she entered and won her first song and dance competition with a rendition of “Getting To Know You,” recorded many times by old Hollywood pro’s, like Bing Crosby. That’s when she decided to get into show biz. An only child to her dad Wilbur and mom Belinda. Wilbur, they gave her opportunity. But Wilbur was much later accused of pushing his daughter too hard.

Rimes sued her father in 2000, alleging that he and former co-manager, Lyle Walker, had bilked her company out of more than $7 million over five years. Wilbur filed a countersuit against LeAnn Rimes Entertainment Inc. They settled the dispute in 2002.

At age seven, she made her stage debut in a Dallas, TX music production of “A Christmas Carol.” At 11, she recorded her first album, “All That Jazz.” Two years later, already a show biz veteran, she earned a pair of Grammy Awards for “Blue.” She followed with chart topping “How Do I Live,” the longest running single on the Billboard Hot 100. “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” was one of four songs she contributed to the multi-platinum soundtrack album “Coyote Ugly.” Both “How Do I Live” and “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” crossed over to the pop music chart.

“I grew up listening to all kinds of music,” she says. “Music is music – it doesn’t matter if they call it country or pop or whatever. Still, country music is my first love. But I always will want to branch out and do different things. I admire artists who have done that.”

One of those “things,” she’s want to do is to write; she co-wrote four of the tunes on her latest cd, “Twisted Angel.”

She says two of the artists she admires most, role models even, are Reba McEntire and Barbra Streisand.

“Reba’s been in this business more than 20 years and she always carries herself very gracefully. I’ve met her many times and she’s one of the most down to earth people you’ll ever meet. Streisand has been in this business for decades, and she’s done it all, act, direct, sing and kept her life as private as possible. These are two very intelligent women.”

Rimes says she looks at her pets and notices they know how to live, and they always keep that light in their eyes, even if they’re having a bad day. “Sure, they’re role models too,” she says and laughs.