The Real Reason You Don't Hear From Alanis Morissette Anymore

There was no one growing up in the '90s who didn't know all the words to "Ironic," a song so good, we were all willing to forgive the fact that nothing about it was actually ironic. In 1996, Jagged Little Pill made the 21-year-old superstar, Alanis Morissette, the youngest ever to take home a Grammy for Album of the Year, and it seemed like she was poised for a long career with plenty of follow-up albums. We haven't seen much from her lately, but that doesn't mean she hasn't been busy. So, what has she been up to?

She's tried hosting her own podcast

It's no secret that Jagged Little Pill is filled with some pretty dark stuff — that's why it spoke to a whole generation, after all. After the album hit — and made countless people feel not-so-alone — Morissette started to turn to other things that would help people heal. On October 11, 2015, she launched the first in her self-help podcast series, called Conversation with Alanis Morrisette. It's still up on iTunes, even though a message posted on June 22, 2016 indicated she was going on hiatus.

According to the podcast's description, she planned to speak with a series of experts from fields that included things like spirituality, music, feminism, and relationships of all different kinds. There were only eight episodes, and commentary from The Independent hinted at just what had gone wrong with what was a pretty lofty project to begin with. According to them, the podcasts were laden with buzzwords and compliments but not much that would actually help someone, making it entirely possible that her intended audience just didn't follow when she tried to take on too much at one time.

She was involved in a strange lawsuit

In March 2014, Morissette and her husband, Mario Treadway, found themselves in court over a bizarre incident involving one of their dogs, a Chihuahua/pug mix they had originally adopted when they found him wandering the streets alone. According to TMZ, the lawsuit claimed that when they fired their housekeeper, Maria Garcia, she asked for permission to keep the dog as a part of her severance. They said no, and she took the dog anyway.

Morissette and her husband sued for $25,000 and their dog back, and in response, TMZ found that the former housekeeper claimed that she had been voluntarily given the dog because they were sick of all the behavioral problems that came with it. She also claimed that Morissette had only seen the dog once over the course of the previous year, and that she'd even offered to give him back. About a month later, TMZ reported further, saying now there was a certain amount of panic over the dog, and that they were afraid the high-profile case would make him a target for dog-napping. Fortunately, TMZ found that the pup was returned in mid-April of the same year.

She's been working with the Esalen Institute

The Esalen Institute describes itself as an "Olympics of the mind, heart, body, spirit, and community", and says people attend their various workshops for reasons like searching for wisdom and discovering "intellectual freedom to consider the systems of thought and feeling that lie beyond the constraints of societal norms." Morissette is among their list of faculty, and they cite her "shamanistic tendencies" as just one of the reasons she's suited to teaching a seminar and workshop called Hurtling Toward Wholeness.

The seminar is designed to help someone connect to their deeper self, and according to her, the idea of wholeness is a deeply personal thing. She says, "For me, the wholeness journey is all about being human — about calling back parts of myself that were lost or hidden or denied or calling forth parts that are latent. It is a process of defining 'self' and taking relationships up on their ability to heal us."

Heavy stuff, right? In her interview with Esalen, she went on to say that she came across the idea that she could really make a difference in people's lives when she noticed that instead of her music or her fame, people were truly responding to her views on psychology, spirituality, and relationships. That part of her was off the world's radar but still very much alive, she says, and now she's taking the opportunity to focus on that aspect of her own life.

She's worked as an advice columnist

In January 2016, The Guardian announced that Morissette was going to be their new weekend advice columnist. For her part, she took the opportunity to say it was a job she had been born to do, as she had long been the "family therapist" of her clan. "Parents, brothers, even extended family members, that was the role I took on, because I suppose I had this combination of intuition and empathy. I cut my teeth, basically, listening for a living." She went on to say that some time in 2006 she realized her life wasn't where she wanted it to be, and knew she had to take the opportunity to reach out and help others in a way that went beyond her music.

When she spoke to The Guardian on why she was choosing podcasts and columns over releasing more music, she didn't hesitate. "I was getting bored with just one medium," she said. "Songs are my favorite, let's be honest. But there's a limitation: it's just three or four minutes. In a podcast, or in a column, there's an intimacy and vulnerability on my part and the questioner's part. We're going for it, and there's no hiding."

For the first half of 2016, Morissette was busy answering questions from Guardian readers, weighing in on issues like whether or not exes can still be friends, and what to do about things like freeloading friends, family disputes, drinking problems, and disagreements on whether or not to have children. Her last column ran on June 3, when she noted she was going to take a break from giving advice to concentrate on her own new baby.

Jagged Little Pill may become a musical

Decades on, Jagged Little Pill is still her most well-known work. In 2015, she appeared at the ELLE Women in Music Celebration and performed a few songs for what would be the 20th anniversary of the iconic album. E! News was there, and talked a bit about what was going on with a musical that they had first announced in 2013. At the time it was announced, there were tentative plans to debut the musical — which would feature every song from Jagged Little Pill — in 2014. The same team that adapted Green Day's American Idiot was on board, but things didn't go as planned... and no musical happened.

When she was asked about it in 2015, it seemed clear that while it wasn't off the table yet, it was slow to get started. "We're just in the beginning phases of it so I can barely share anything about it, because we haven't created it yet," she said. "[...] the story is going to be fictionalized and then at some point down the next 10 years, I can envision myself creating a one-person show where I can really get into the subtleties and the stories, but for this particular musical it will be a fictionalized story and we'll add songs and change lyrics."

She's been working on writing

Along with working on writing a musical, she's also been hard at work on a self-help book called Perpetual Becoming. The book, to be released in 2017, promises an intimate look into her own journey through celebrity and fame, while she speaks honestly about her experiences with things like addiction, trauma, and figuring out just who she really is.

She spoke to Vogue in 2016 about her complete immersion in the world of wellness, and according to her, she really found her calling beginning in 2011. "It's been a slow coming-out of sorts over the last five years for me," she said. "But I've always been oriented toward psychology, trauma recovery, addiction recovery."

She also told Vogue that she hadn't entirely turned away from songwriting as a creative outlet, and added that while she had about 13 songs that were in various stages of being complete, her priority was the book. She was "holding my next record hostage until this book is finished," leading us to believe that we haven't heard the last of Morissette's music.

She hides from the internet

When Morissette spoke to The Guardian in 2016 about her life and her career, they touched on the elephant in the room: irony. The long-running joke is that she had no clue what the word actually meant, and they brought up just what kind of impact the ridicule had.

"If somebody brings it up to shame me for the 450,000th time, it's not the most pleasant experience," she said. She'd had a co-writer on the song, and she says that since they never expected it to go 1990s viral, they decided to have fun with it rather than subject it to complete scrutiny. Did she regret it? A bit.

In 2015, Billboard chatted with her about her performance with Demi Lovato, and asked her not only whether or not she would be open to more collaborations (she would), but also whether or not she had seen any of the internet's responses. She said that she hadn't, and that was for a very good reason: it terrified her. "My survival strategy from, frankly, when I was 15 years old, was not to expose myself, because if I get too wound up in the positive feedback, it's inevitable that I'll get wound up in the negative feedback. [...] in general, I kind of hide. It's a self-preserving mechanism." She says that while her closest friends and family will tell her if there's something good she needs to read, she is — for the most part — opting out of the potentially damaging internet.

She's been making guest appearances with other stars

Morissette has been appearing on stages, the difference is that today, she's sharing those stages with the younger generation. In 2015, Entertainment Weekly put the spotlight on her duet with Taylor Swift, when she joined the pop star for a rendition of "You Oughta Know" during her 1989 tour. Billboard reported on her duet with Demi Lovato, as well as the video she made promoting one of Justin Bieber's albums. And in 2015, she joined James Corden to give "Ironic" an update with all new lyrics and the same fun spirit.

She told Billboard that it's not just fitting in appearances where she can, but that it's a way for her to pass the torch to the next group of superstars. "It's just so sweet," she said of her appearance with Lovato, "because for me, it's a marking of both generations supporting each other: honoring from the current generation and then just me tipping my hat to them for continuing the flame."

She's been dabbling in acting

While her most famous role might be in Kevin Smith's 1999 classic Dogma, she's been occasionally popping up in other places, too — and more recently. In 2009, she auditioned for and won the role of an obstetrician on the Showtime comedy Weeds, and according to USA Today, it wasn't a random audition. "Weeds was my solace and respite in the back of the bus on tour," Morissette said. "I was in the middle of detoxing at the time, and it was my replacement addition for food. Weeds helps me. The irony is hilarious." That came three years after she appeared on another show playing a doctor's love interest: she was in three episodes of Nip/Tuck.

And in 2016, she appeared as a Parisian singer in a period drama about the love affairs that had been set against the backdrop of the French Riviera in the 1920s. Her scene was a surreal, minimalistic sort of song in French, and not only was it a chance for her to do something completely different, but it's so different that she's easy to miss. The Hollywood Reporter was less than kind during their review of The Price of Desire, and called Morissette "underused".

Her work has been showing up on soundtracks

Morissette's new songs are out there, you just have to know where to look: on soundtracks, like the one for The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Let the end credits play, and you're listening to her "Wunderkind". She did the song for the end credits of Prince of Persia, too, and her IMDb lists nearly 100 soundtrack credits to her name.

In addition to contributing the occasional song to a soundtrack, she's also the lead artist on the soundtrack for Awake: The Life of Yogananda. The documentary, which examined the life of Paramahansa Yogananda, the swami who brought yoga and meditation to the US in the 1920s, is absolutely in line with Morissette's other beliefs and practices and her road to wellness.

At the other end of the spectrum, the music that originally made her famous is still being used, too. In 2016, "Ironic" was featured alongside other decade-making hits in Black Mirror's time-hopping episode "San Junipero".

She's been doing some charity work

In 2001, Morissette was honored by the Friends of the United Nations when they presented her with the Global Tolerance Award. According to Billboard, the award was in recognition of her work in promoting equality and tolerance throughout the artistic world, citing her performances in places like the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and her cultural exchange and outreach with Cuba.

That's definitely no small honor, and Morissette continues to work with a series of eight charities whose work and commitment are acknowledged on her website. They include organizations like Equality Now (women's and children's rights), Relationships First, the National Eating Disorder Association, Girls Not Brides, Attachment Parenting International, P.S. Arts (focusing on keeping arts in schools), MADRE (social justice for women), and Days For Girls International (which supplies hygiene kits to girls in need). According to Samaritan Mag, she was even on hand for the launch of Relationships First in 2015, an organization dedicated to helping people build better relationships through therapy and support.

She's been seen participating in charitable events, too, like the 2009 New York City Marathon. She — along with team members Anthony Edwards and Ed Norton — ran the marathon to raise money for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation trust, and according to US Magazine, she finished with a time of 4:28:45.

She's been going through some heavy financial conflict

Deadline Hollywood reported on some heavy happenings that went on in Morissette's financial world, saying that the whole thing started in 2013 when she sued then-manager Jonathan Todd Schwartz for stealing more than $4 million. It wasn't until January of 2017 that he was found guilty of embezzling a total of $6.5 million from various clients over the years, with the majority of it coming from Morissette. By the end of the trial, they revealed he had swindled her out of $4.8 million. The deception netted him a maximum sentence of 23 years in federal prison, with a likelihood of serving four to six years.

According to The Guardian, it was Morissette that discovered the theft when she switched financial managers, and her new manager discovered the missing money. They then went after Schwartz, who later admitted the thefts had been going on from May 2010 to January 2014, and that he had used the money for his own personal spending. He said had simply made withdrawals from her accounts and listed them as "sundry/personal expenses" to cover his tracks. The money was eventually repaid by Schwartz's firm.

She's been devoting time to her family

Fortunately for Morissette, all that 90s angst has led to a happy 21st century, and part of the reason for her silence is that she's spending some quality time with her family. She announced her marriage to Mario "Souleye" Treadway in 2010, about a year after they were first photographed together (via Jezebel). Since then, they welcomed a baby boy (Ever Imre) and a little girl (Onyx Solance), and in 2015 she spoke to People about just what it is that makes a marriage a happy one. "Flirting," she told them. "Flirting is nice... dates, gifts, and compliments." On a more serious note, she adds that sometimes, "You just cross your fingers behind your back and you hope you don't blow it."

They're also proving they can work together, too, collaborating on a video for his song, "Snow Angel." Fuse spoke with Treadway about the collaboration, quoting him as saying, "It was an honor to work with my wife on this song. Not only does she inspire me as an artist, but she ceaselessly fluffs my ego. She is also hilarious, so we were having a blast together."

While she hasn't been in the public eye in the same way as she was at the height of her career, her refocused energy means that she's still making music and touching lives.