Gwen Stefani landed the January 2013 cover for American Vogue. The 43-year-old rock star sparkles on the cover wearing a Saint Laurent Spring 2013 ensemble shot by Annie Leibovitz.

In the rest of the editorial she wears more Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane and A.L.C. There were no fancy ball gowns or bewitching fairytale locations – just Gwen in her element in a studio wearing rocker threads and staying true to herself.

The singer opens up to Vogue about everything from motherhood to her music.

This issue hits newsstands on December 25. Here are some highlights to keep you going until then.

On being pregnant while recording her first album: “I did my first solo record and went on tour while I was pregnant. I would want to throw up during certain songs. Certain outfits would make me sick. It was torture. I toured until I was four and a half months pregnant, showing. I came home and had Kingston, and when he was eight months old, I went back on the road. I nursed him for fourteen months, so I would literally do my hair and makeup, go back to the bus, nurse him, put him down, and walk out onstage. And I did that for 100 shows.”

On motherhood:
“It’s super fun being a mom, but it’s not what you think it’s going to be. And it’s really gradual. At first, your life is totally the same. You have this cute little thing that you get to drive around everywhere and you’re so proud and it’s amazing. And as they grow older, it really does start to change your life. Like, Oh, my God, they have school, they have to get through first grade, they have to learn to read. It starts getting so serious, and you’re like, Aaaaaaah!”

On her band, No Doubt:
“I feel like we’ve always been in our own little lane. Never fitting in. Never a nineties grunge band, never a pop girl band. And it’s the same now. I did the solo thing, but I felt like I was trying to play a character in a way, this Alice in Wonderland pretend version of myself. But this, being in No Doubt, is really who I am.”

On what inspires her music: “There has to be some kind of saga going on. . . . Ten years ago, I had started L.A.M.B. because I was preparing myself, knowing that the music thing was going to end. Who knew that ten years later, I’d be doing a No Doubt record, be married, have two kids, have three clothing lines? All at one time! It would be ridiculous to do that. And it is ridiculous. It’s impossible. . . . That’s what this whole record was: trying to balance it, trying to be my creative self but also be the new me.”

Credit: Annie Leibovitz for Vogue US