Shania Twain has revealed she would "flatten" her breasts in order to avoid unwanted attention as a child while growing up.
The singer, 57, said that physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather, who is no longer alive, left her "ashamed of being a girl".
She told The Sunday Times' Style magazine: "I hid myself and I would flatten my boobs.
"I would wear bras that were too small for me, and I'd wear two, play it down until there was nothing girl about me.
"Make it easier to go unnoticed. Because, oh my gosh, it was terrible – you didn't want to be a girl in my house."
Twain, who grew up in Ontario, Canada, recalls not knowing if her stepfather would kill her or her mother, and felt "anger" as she tried to fight back.
When she was 22, her parents were killed in a car crash and – the second of five children – she took on the role of looking after her younger siblings.
While trying to earn a living for the family as a singer at a resort hotel, Twain became once more aware of unwanted male attention.
She said: "What was so natural for other people was so scary for me. I felt exploited, but I didn't have a choice now. I had to play the glamorous singer, had to wear my femininity more openly or more freely.
"And work out how I'm not gonna get groped, or raped by someone's eyes, you know, and feel so degraded."
However by her mid-20s, when she had started to sign record contracts, Twain said she began to "appreciate" her body for the first time.
The star has been married to Frederic Thiebaud for 11 years, and has 21-year-old son Eja with her first husband.
She rose to fame in the 1990s with hits like That Don't Impress Me Much and Man! I Feel Like A Woman.
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