Leann Rimes has opened up about becoming a stepmother, insisting she treats husband Eddie Cibrian's two sons "as if they are my own," but admits "there are many obstacles to overcome".
The Blue hitmaker married Cibrian in April (11) and the singer took on care duties for the actor's boys Mason and Jake, from his marriage to Brandi Glanville, who he split from in 2009 after embarking on an affair with Rimes.
The singer has now written a blog about the joy of becoming a stepmum, but also the issues that come with her new role.
She writes, "Step... stepmother, stepchildren - the word 'step' can take on such a negative connotation to so many in our society. A family is a family. In my eyes, there's no 'step' about it. I am a child of two blended families and now a mom in a blended family of my own. I have a very good understanding of being a child in a blended family because of my upbringing.
"It's not easy being a stepparent... It can be incredibly intimidating. It's one of the most challenging positions to be in as a parent and a child.
"There are many obstacles to overcome... two households with different rules, many different personalities and opinions that can pose issues at times. But it's important to take the highroad for the kids' sake and ultimately for your own. Unfortunately, our family life is being played out in the media in a way that's unsettling to Eddie and me. There are the children you want to keep shielded from any negativity that might arise..."
But Rimes is adamant she is not trying to replace their biological mother and hopes Glanville will one day introduce a stepfather into the boys' lives: "Eddie's sons I treat as if they are my own. Eddie has always encouraged me to look at us as a family and a part of our family are the two beautiful boys that we share with their mother and hopefully one day another wonderful man.
"Trust me, it's sometimes hard to wrap my mind around. One thing I know, is that I will never replace their mother, I would never try. I will however love them with all I have and do anything in my power to help raise them in a loving, safe and proper environment. These two little boys came into my life for a reason... we've found an amazing relationship full of laughter, respect and love. It's beyond rewarding to be able to help Eddie raise the boys and shape their lives. I take my role very seriously."