I just watched Jewel on the Today show thinking at first that I probably wouldn’t cover that story. She has a new children’s album out called The Merry Goes ‘Round. She explained that it’s a multi-genre effort that she put together by collaborating remotely while she was pregnant and later while caring for her now three month-old son, Kase. (I still think of “cheese” whenever I hear that kid’s name, I can’t help it!) Jewel impressed me so much with her story. This may be old news to some of you, so please humor me while I repeat it. I vaguely remember hearing that Jewel went through some hard times at the beginning of her career, but I never knew how desperate it was for her. She told Kathy Lee and Hoda that she was living out of her car after her boss fired her for not accepting his sexual advances. Then she was very sick with kidney problems and couldn’t get admitted to the hospital because she didn’t have insurance.
I hit the baby lotto. He’s just a really sweet, easy-going little boy. I’m so lucky.
On her ten year relationship with Ty Murray before marriage
I pretended it was fine, I pretended it was cool but [whispers] it really wasn’t.
On being homeless and not being able to afford medical care
I ended up homeless because my boss propositioned me and when I wouldn’t sleep with him he didn’t give me my paycheck. I got kicked out of where I was living my rent was due that next day. I thought “Well, I’ll live in my car for a minute… get back on my feet,” but I had bad kidneys and I never could hold down another job because I got sick so often. I didn’t have insurance and ended up almost dying in the parking lot of an emergency room because they wouldn’t admit me because I didn’t have insurance. I ended up homeless for about a month and I went back to singing.
I’ve always loved the song “Who Will Save Your Soul,” and now that I know Jewel’s backstory it makes so much sense to me. She sings about sexual harassment at work, not being able to afford the bills, and feeling less worthy than other people. If it takes a famous singer to remind us of the fact that there are people who are not getting treatment that they need, so be it. Half of all bankruptcies in America are caused by medical bills.
Here’s a link to Jewel’s new kids’ album. She’s doing great now and she seems like she’s so happy to be a mom.
Jewel is shown at the Emmy Awards on 8/29/11. Credit: WENN.com