Gwen Stefani says that shortly after she signed on to be a coach on "The Voice," she freaked out.
"It all kind of happened at one time -- starting the show, picking advisers," the No Doubt singer and fashion mogul says over lunch recently with reporters at a midtown Manhattan restaurant. And when her husband, Bush's Gavin Rossdale, agreed to be one of the show's mentors, Stefani says it all came to a head.
"I was like, 'I don't know if you should do it! I don't know if I should do it myself!' she recalls. "We literally got into a fight the night before."
"It was awkward," Stefani adds. "We've only collaborated on making babies together."
However, after she got over the initial nervousness of working with Rossdale, they had fun with the contestants on "The Voice's" seventh season, which starts Monday night at 8 on NBC/4. "When Gavin and I got in the room with them and heard them sing their songs right there at the piano . . . it's like, 'Wow!' I'm blown away by them," she says. "It's really neat to watch them grow."
Stefani says that she never planned to do "The Voice." She says her son Apollo was only 1 month old when she learned coach Christina Aguilera was pregnant and unable to do the season.
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"I hung the phone up and said, 'My life is so weird,'" she says. "It was just perfect timing. . . . I said, 'OK, if you build me a zip line from my house to the lot, because it's totally right there, I could totally do it.'"
Her fellow "Voice" coaches, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, say that Stefani and the other new coach, Pharrell, had a different approach to the show from that of previous coaches.
"Pharrell and Gwen came in just totally nice," Shelton says, adding that they didn't stay sweet for long. "After so much prodding and things that get said, by the time we got to the knockout rounds, they were firing some missiles."
Stefani says the good- natured banter between the coaches is way worse than what can air on TV.
"I get the X-rated version -- which is super-funny," Stefani says, laughing. "Adam has taken it so far -- and I've been a band member my whole life with all guys -- that I've almost felt injured by some of the things he's said."
"You're inappropriate," she tells Levine.
"I am wildly inappropriate," he acknowledges.