"I understand why people are disappointed in me, especially since I grew up as America's sweetheart," the country singer says in an interview in Shape magazine's October issue. "I think any relationship is hard to get out of, and I don't think the way I did it was right."
Rimes finalized her divorce from Dean Sheremet in December after eight years of marriage and moved in with Cibrian shortly thereafter.
The 28-year-old noted that getting married at an early age contributed to the split of the marriage. "It wasn't a fulfilling marriage for either of us," she says. "As we got older, we grew apart."
But Rimes says the most important thing from her experience is "cultivating strength from rough situations."
This past year, for the first time ever, I put me first," she says. "I'm sure some people are thinking that I was totally selfish, but the truth is, there are times in your life when you have to be selfish in order to find out what truly makes you happy."