LeAnn Rimes Says 'Coyote Ugly' Was the Introduction to Her Sexuality (Exclusive)
By Paige Gawley
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LeAnn Rimes was just 17 when she appeared in Coyote Ugly. ET's Lauren Zima recently spoke to the 38-year-old country star about how her involvement in the film pushed her into adulthood.
In addition to providing four songs for the flick -- "Can't Fight the Moonlight," The Right Kind of Wrong," "Please Remember," and "But I Do Love You" -- Rimes also appeared at the end of the movie, dancing on top of the bar alongside the film's stars, Piper Perabo, Tyra Banks, Bridget Moynahan and more.
"I was 17. I was... this little sweet innocent girl and then... I walk on set and they hand me these chicken cutlets to put in my bra and they're like, 'Push 'em up'... That was my introduction into sexuality and being sexualized as a woman," Rimes tells ET. "It was interesting. It was quite a shock to the system. I was a kid looking at these women going, 'I'll just do what she's doing.' Nothing was really embodied."
For Rimes, her appearance in the film was "awkward" because she was "still growing into" herself.
"I was trying to be this sexy singer performing on a bar, and that was so opposite of me. I was really acting at the time 'cause I was still figuring all that out about myself," she explains. "Now it's a different story. Now, if you put me on a bar, it's a different story... Now with all of my music, there's so much more of an embodied experience since I've lived these songs. I'm 38 now and it comes from a completely different place... I draw from my own life experiences."
Though the role and her involvement in the flick seemed to push her into adulthood overnight, Rimes says "it was time" for that to happen.
"They wanted to keep my image so innocent up until that point," she says of her team. "I was kinda like, 'Ta da' [at] the chains being broken off of a teenage girl. It was appropriate."
August marked 20 years since the film was released, a fact that Rimes admits is "insane" and "quite nuts." The anniversary has many people eager for a reboot or a sequel, something Rimes is down to do should the opportunity ever arise.
"We've been trying to get this done for a long time," she says. "I know [Tyra Banks] has been working on it on her end. [Songwriter] Diana Warren and I have been working on it on our end. So it's been one of those things that's been out in the universe, but it hasn't quite landed. So we shall see."
"There's a lot of powers to be involved with that and trying to get a bunch of people to say yes... There are so many people who want to see this happen and I am one of them. I would absolutely be involved if that happened," Rimes continues. "... It's such an iconic film and there's so many people who love it. These songs, this film, has been passed down generations now. I think it would definitely be welcomed with open arms."
As for a potential plot for a followup film, Rimes admits she's "played around with storylines," and considered what kind of involvement she herself would have.
"I could either come back as myself or I could play someone else," she says. "It would be fun to really kind of dig into that and see where it goes."
Though a sequel isn't in the pipeline just yet, Rimes couldn't let the 20th anniversary pass by without marking it in some way. Thus, in honor of the milestone, Rimes has released a MegaMix of the four songs she provided for the film. Additionally, the dance-style tracks will each be released individually in the coming weeks.
"People really do feel so nostalgic about the music and about the film in general, but the music really has seemed to stick with people for all this time and they passed it down to their daughters," Rimes says. "... There's just something about it. so it's nice to be able to take the four songs that I did for the film and really re-release this as a MegaMix, as a dance mix, to give even more attitude than it did the first time around."
Now that she's not a teenager, Rimes views the songs in a completely new way, a fact that's especially true when it comes to "Right Kind of Wrong."
"We actually completely revamped it and made it super sexy. I love it," she shares. "It's fun for me to be able to revamp some of these songs 'cause I was 17 when I did them and they were done in a very specific [way] and it was for the film. To be able to play with them now, and really do them in the way that I would've done them or I would do them now as an artist, has been really fun."
When she sings the track now, Rimes has one person on her mind -- her husband, Eddie Cibrian.
"There's something about him, I really actually do think of him when I sing that song... That would be where I draw my inspiration," she admits, before further gushing over her husband of nearly 10 years.
"To be with him for 10 years has been a blessing, it really has. We've been through a lot of ups and downs, as any couple, but have always been super close and connected and have each other's backs. That's what's kept us together," she says. "Through COVID, through all of this stuff, I think... we've solidified that even more... I feel like we're closer than ever. I feel like we were more connected through all of it. It's an honor to be his wife. He's a good dude, he really is."
In addition to the re-release of the Coyote Ugly tracks, Rimes is gearing up to share more about her wellness and meditation journey, by putting a chant record, The Human and the Holy, and starting a podcast, Wholly Human.
"Really coming back home to myself and my wholeness has been a journey of the last probably eight years. Chanting has been one way where I've been able to really take my voice back for myself. I've given it out so much to the world, and I've never really used it for my own healing. Chanting became a piece of my daily self-exploration," she explains of the origins of the record. "... I literally would sit down for my meditations and I would just start singing with my eyes closed and allow things to just flow through me, and when I found something I liked, I would record it."
Rimes hopes that, through the record, people are able to "find their own voice," whether they chant along or just have it playing in the background.
"We're programmed constantly by the things we watch, the things we listen to, and I wanted to put something out into the world that can help program people in the way that I feel lifts us up," she says.
Rimes considers her upcoming podcast as an "extension" of the chant record, and notes that it's "another way I'm finding that I get to discover another piece of me."
"The world we're living in is a lot of fragmentation. So I'm hoping through this podcast, with sharing my own personal stories, and by connecting people with some fantastic teachers and interesting minds and hearts, that we're able to come back into wholeness together," she says.
Coyote Ugly's 20th Anniversary MegaMix from Curb Records is out on digital platforms now. Rimes' podcast, Wholly Human, and chant record, The Human and the Holy, are due out next month.