Out of tragedy comes hope — or, in Gwen Stefani's case, an unexpected solo album that serves as soul-deep catharsis.

In an interview with Lisa Paige for PopCrush Nights that airs tonight (March 18), the singer, whose This Is What The Truth Feels Like hits stores today, explained how her entire life changed one morning in February 2015. Upon learning a devastating secret — that her husband Gavin Rossdale had cheated on her — she felt inclined to wallow and mourn her broken family. Instead, she pored over her feelings, forced herself to go to the studio and wound up recording a collection of songs she never anticipated making.

"It was really a dark time for me, so I just turned to music and it was the only thing I could think of to do to save myself," she says in the talk, which you can listen to in full above. "It was just, 'Oh, my god, if I don't go to the studio today, I'll die, so I guess I'll go to the studio and try to live.'"

Stefani said she initially lost her confidence as a songwriter in the aftermath of her very public divorce proceedings, but that after she began to carefully consider the natural tone of her new work — which centered on the "purity of mending your heart" — she experienced a renewal of creativity.

"I spent a lot of time trying to find my faith, and praying," she explained. "I was desperate, and it wasn't until June [2015] that I went into the studio for the first time. I don't even know how I set up the session; I just knew that I needed to do it, even though I just wanted to be in bed crying and feeling sorry for myself."

And though the past 13 months have been rough, and Stefani's devastated about having to split custody of her children, she's found hopeful solidarity in her new material's reception.

"That's as candid as I can be about it: It's a nightmare," she admitted. "The only good thing that's come out of this is the music and to be able to share it."

Listen to the full interview above, and be sure to download This Is What The Truth Feels Like on iTunes.

Check out what these artists looked like when their first albums were released:

 

Watch Gwen Stefani debut "Used To Love You" in New York City: