August 14

A Look Back at Anne Murray, Her Agonizing Struggle with Drugs and Divorce

Anne Murray, the pop, country, and adult contemporary singer from Canada was also among the famous artists who fell victim to the weary path of balancing her career with her personal struggles. The first female Canadian solo singer to make it to the No.1 rank on the U.S. charts, Murray was also the first female artist to be awarded Gold record for one of her signature songs, Snowbird. Her successfully released albums that sold over 55 million copies across the globe, made her the pioneer singer to open the doors of opportunity for fellow Canadian singers like Shania Twain, Celine Dion, and k.d. lang.

Like many fellow artists who savored the sweet taste of victory and widespread fame, Murray had once found herself slipping to rock bottom. It was a dark and painful time for America’s then-Canadian sweetheart. In her tell-all memoir titled All of Me, Murray shares her struggles after she parted ways with the man she had a long-standing affair with—television producer Bill Langstroth. The singer adds that when her ex-husband was already married when their affair was only blossoming.

Apart from the bitter separation, country singer Anne had to go through a series of more personal adversities for over 20 years. “It was just very painful for me and I had no idea. I had no idea how I would be affected. And so, you know, to be truthful, there was a point where I didn’t know whether I could get through the book, because it hurt so much.” She admits.

Her affair with Langstroth set in motion while they collaborated for Singalong Jubilee, a show that aired in CBC-TV. While the two were on a trip to Charlottetown, they smoked weed together then shared a kiss. Murray knew that the affair shouldn’t have grown into something more. Langstroth was about 15 years her senior and her boss, and he already had a commitment as both a husband and a father prior to their intimate involvement. “But I was falling in love, fast, and powerless to do anything about it,” the singer confesses in defeat. Before Langstroth divorced his first wife in 1975, he and Murray had to keep their relationship a closed secret even to the singer’s fans. The discreet nature of their affair led some supporters to speculate about Murray’s sexual orientation.

Aside from her divorce, among the tragic life encounters that Anne Murray had to endure include the plummeting of her career during the mid-80’s, her daughter’s battle with anorexia, the demise of three of the people closest to her—her mother, close friend, Cynthia McReynolds, and longtime manager Leonard Rambeau—along with the overwhelming guilt that Murray had to grapple with after spending so much time away from her family.

As for Murray’s drug use, she clarifies that the only “drug” she had ever touched was dope. She smoked marijuana “like everybody else the odd time”. She more or less strayed away from putting anything else into her system.
Murray may have permanently retired from the music industry, but her decision does not keep her legacy from being fondly remembered by fans worldwide.

In recent years, drug abuse, decline in mental and emotional wellness have been among the most rampant issues tormenting our present-day artist. There are many other artists who, like Anne, are trying to face and fight off their own inner demons. While not everybody may have been as strong and resilient as Anne Murray, this should still serve as a reminder to all of us of just how significant and influential all the love, support, and understanding we give to our idols can be.


  • Always a favorite of my wife and I. We have seen her in concert at least four times and enjoyed all of them. I share a birthday with her and only hope she remembers that there are people who care about her and hope she is doing well.

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