Also Credited As:Margaret LeAnn Rimes
|Actor, Writer, Music|
|Margaret LeAnn Rimes on August 28, 1982 in Pearl, Mississippi, USA|
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Margaret LeAnn Rimes was born on Aug. 28, 1982 in Jackson, MS, the only child of Wilbur Rimes and Belinda Butler. Six years later, the family moved to Garland, TX, where the future star began singing at the age of two and competing in local talent shows. She developed her talent in musical theater, appearing in a production of "A Christmas Carol" in Dallas, and almost landing the title role in the Broadway production of "Annie." In 1990, Rimes competed on the nationally televised talent show "Star Search" (syndicated, 1983-1995; CBS, 2003-04), where she won in the junior vocalist category. Around this time, the young singer fell in love with country music and began appearing on Johnnie High's Country Music Revue in Arlington, capturing the attention of several talent scouts. Rimes' father began recording her when she was 11 and produced the demo "All That" at a studio in Clovis, NM. Dallas disc jockey and record promoter Bill Mack - who would become one of Rimes' strongest supporters - asked her to record the track "Blue" for her demo. He originally wrote the ballad in the early 1960s for country legend Patsy Cline, who had famously perished in a plane crash before she could record the song.
"Blue" turned out to be a life-changing song for Rimes. Record executive Mike Curb of Curb Records signed her to his label immediately after hearing her rendition of the ballad. The single also became the title of her 1996 debut album, which shot up to the top of the Billboard Country Albums chart and reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The album also included the up-tempo track "One Way Ticket (Because I Can)" and the Eddy Arnold duet, "Cattle Call." The music industry recognized Rimes' talent with her charming and inspired debut release, making her the youngest artist to ever receive a Country Music Association Awards nomination; in 1997, the little Texan girl with a big voice also won the coveted Best New Artist trophy at the Grammy Awards. Rimes also picked up a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her hit single "Blue."
Her Grammy wins kicked Rimes' recording career into high gear and prepared her for a pop music crossover. Early recordings she had done with her father's Nor Va Jak label were compiled onto the 1997 release, Unchained Melody: The Early Years and included her cover of songs originally performed by The Beatles, Whitney Houston, and Dolly Parton. That same year, her second full-length studio album, You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs, was released and showcased the singer's departure from country music to more Adult Contemporary fare. Rimes once again included her delightful renditions of pop standards like Bette Midler's "The Rose" (1980) and Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (1970) on the release. Yet it was the Dianne Warren-penned single "How Do I Live" that cemented her status as a pop star. The song reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent 69 weeks on the charts. Rimes also recorded the song for use in the 1997 action film "Con Air," but it was eventually passed over for the country-tinged version recorded by Trisha Yearwood. The singer returned to her country roots for 1999's LeAnn Rimes. It was a semi-tribute to Cline, with covers of her classic tunes "Crazy" (1961) and "I Fall to Pieces" (1961) included on the track list. LeAnn Rimes was another platinum-selling record for the star who also earned critical praise for her country music comeback.
Having dominated the country and pop music charts, Rimes set her sights on a Hollywood career. She sang the uplifting theme song "I Need You" for the made-for-television movie "Jesus" (CBS, 1999) and provided vocals for the feature film "Coyote Ugly" (2000), in which her singing voice dubbed for the lead character Violet, portrayed onscreen by actress Piper Perabo. The singer also made a cameo towards the end of the film, performing the theme song, "Can't Fight the Moonlight" (1999). The single stalled at No. 71 during its release, but dance club remixes and radio airplay boosted it to No. 11 after spending two years on the charts. She stretched her acting muscles even further with a 2003 appearance on the family drama, "American Dreams" (NBC, 2002-05), playing real-life singer Connie Francis. Rimes provided the voice for one of the animated characters on the DVD release, "Holly Hobbie and Friends: Christmas Wishes." The singer also opened up about her struggle with psoriasis and raised awareness for the autoimmune disease. Rimes' humanitarian efforts also focused on cancer research, for which she helped raise funds with the all-star benefit single, "Just Stand Up" (2008).
Like many young women before her, the price of fame began taking its toll on the star in the early 2000s. Rimes filed a lawsuit against her father/manager in May 2000, claiming he swindled over $7 million from her over five years. The singer also sued her record label to be released from her contract and demanded rights to her entire music catalogue, videos and publishing projects. Her legal battles settled in December 2001 after the label started a new contract with Rimes. Meanwhile, her father countersued with a claim that her management company, LeAnn Rimes Entertainment Inc., owed him three percent producer's fee for her recordings as stated on their 1999 contract. After a two-year long legal battle, both parties reportedly settled on undisclosed terms. Their timely reconciliation became public after her father walked Rimes down the aisle during her 2002 wedding to Dean Sheremet, a dancer she had met a year before at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Nashville, TN.
Rimes and Sheremet remained a relatively low-key Hollywood couple throughout their marriage. He stood in the background while the singer worked on her music career, releasing and touring in support of the country music album, This Woman (2005) and the pop/rock inspired Family (2007). In 2009, Rimes starred in the made-for-television film "Northern Lights" (Lifetime Television), a romantic drama based on the Nora Roberts novel. In it, she played Meg Galligan, a young pilot living in a small Alaskan town, who crosses paths with a homicide detective (Eddie Cibrian). The TV movie received plenty of attention after rumors surfaced that Rimes and Cibrian, both of whom were married at the time of filming, were having an affair. Both stars initially denied the rumors and kept the affair private until Cibrian's wife Brandi Glanville left him. Rimes and Sheremet also separated, and in September 2009, the couple announced they were getting a divorce.
Rimes' tabloid-worthy affair did little to boost her popularity in the eyes of original fans of a conservative bent who did not take kindly to a perceived "homewrecking" situation. In February 2010, having already gone public with her relationship with Cibrian, Rimes further tarnished her sweet natured image by having a homeless woman arrested in Los Angeles for allegedly harassing her on the street. It turned out that the woman, infamously nicknamed "Queen on the Scene," was only trying to protect the singer from getting photographed by the paparazzi. That same year, Rimes acted alongside Luke Perry and Elaine Hendrix in the quirky comedy "Good Intentions," while continuing to dodge endless rumors of her relationship status with Cibrian.