Sheryl Crow Says Armstrong Didn't Abandon Her When She Was Ill

ByABC News via logo
July 6, 2006, 7:15 AM

July 6, 2006 — -- Superstar singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow has survived an almost epic bad year.

On Feb. 4, she went through a very public breakup with cyclist Lance Armstrong after two years by his side, cheering his final victories in the Tour de France. The couple got engaged in August 2005, but then suddenly, the relationship was over.

Then 2.5 weeks later, Crow, 44, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

In an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America's" Diane Sawyer, Crow talked about her recovery from cancer and the breakup, dismissing reports that the seven-time Tour de France champion had deserted her when he found out she was sick.

"I thought: 'Now, this is just one crummy joke,'" Crow said. "It was like, 'Wait a minute, how can this be? No, you've got the wrong person.' You know. But yeah, that's the way it happened, you know."

On Feb. 20, Crow received a routine mammogram, and calcification showed up in both breasts. The doctor told her to come back in six months, but another doctor told her not to wait, and she went in for an immediate biopsy.

The diagnosis was cancer, and Crow had to have a lumpectomy and radiation therapy.

"I was so shocked. I mean, obviously, lots of tears," she said. "All of us were in shock. I mean, time really stood still."

She saw the diagnosis as a wake-up call.

"There were just aspects of my life I had to look at and say, 'What is this? What is this telling me?'" she said. "It's about showing up for yourself. It's about facing that giant machine every morning, being stripped down to just one little person addressing their life. And that was -- that was my wake-up call. I had to be here. I had to show up for myself."

Crow has spent her life nurturing others, friends say. She says it's simply not true that Armstrong -- fiercely disciplined, reserved, and a cancer survivor -- bailed when she got sick.

"No, it was really, I mean, really difficult, you know, just really difficult for both of us," she said. "But it's in those moments when you realize, OK. This is my life. Your first instinct is to say, OK, I have to have my family here. I've got to rely on my doctors, and I have to surround myself with people who can really carry me through this and who can really be there emotionally for me, like really just consistently be there emotionally."