I've been listening to Gwen Stefani's latest album, This is What the Truth Feels Like, and I can't help but look back at her thirteen-year marriage with musician Gavin Rossdale. In interviews Gwen's been mum about detailing the reasons for the split, but it's all written frankly in her lyrics. If you listen back as far as No Doubt's Return of Saturn you'll discover the different stressors of the relationship. Long-distance, infidelity, and the prospect of "forever" are a few topics she sings about. What fascinates me is that Gwen knew Gavin was a cheater early on and she continued to be with him.
In No Doubt's "Bathwater" the self-proclaimed 'Orange County Girl' confesses her insecurity over her then-boyfriend's past relationships. "You and your museum of lovers/the precious collection you've housed in your covers/my simpleness threatened by my own admission," she begins on the track. She goes on to sing about being "full with envy" and "diving into [her] own destruction". If the lyric "I know I can't tame you but I just keep trying" isn't blatant enough, consider this telling line in the bridge of the song when she coos, "I pacify problems with kisses and cuddles/diligently doubtful through all kinds of trouble..." Okay, no clear sign of cheating just yet, more so trust issues for no particular reason.
Fast forward to No Doubt's Rock Steady LP and you get songs like "Detective", "Don't Let Me Down", and "In My Head". The deep, dark "Detective" paints a picture of a woman determined to uncover her lover's skeletons. "I feel you must have failed me/once again you let me down/my confidence below my knees now/I need to find you out," goes one verse. Gwen divulges more in the hook: Peek in, sneak about/I'm gonna snoop & call you out/I caught you/your hands are red/now I'm your broken-hearted detective.
Immediately following "Detective" is the song about forgiveness, "Don't Let Me Down." She then goes on to sing "In My Head," the number about feeling like a delusional girlfriend who always thinks her man is up to no good (hmm, I wonder why!). Despite all this, Gwen became Mrs. Rossdale in 2002. The couple became parents together three times over and led a seemingly happy married life until shit hit the fan last year. Rumors of Gavin hooking up with their young, blonde nanny swirled and the couple separated in August 2015.
I don't want to call Gwen weak. I don't think that's the case here. I think she whole-heartedly believed in her love and that they could make things work. As evidenced in other tracks, she often sympathized with Gavin's less-than-perfect upbringing. Finally, in 2016's "Used to Love You", she admits "I guess nobody taught you how to love." So now I ponder a few things: Why do people cheat? Is there such thing as cheating once, or is it inevitably chronic? Why do people stay with cheating partners? The answers to these questions evade me.
To my knowledge I've never been cheated on. I like to think that if I were ever caught in that position I would immediately leave the relationship. It's probably easier said than done. While a forgiving heart is a virtue, there must be a line between forgiveness and respect for oneself. How do you all feel about this? Feel free to sound off in the comments below!