Aguilera poses nude on the cover of Rolling Stone (she also poses topless on the cover of Maxim). She says the image change better reflects her true personality. "I love experimenting with my sexuality," she tells a German newspaper. "I want to try out as much as possible. It would be wrong of me to hide this side of my personality. I have fun being sexy and tough at the same time."
After winning a Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for her "Beautiful" music video, Aguilera joins Spears and Madonna in a shocking performance of "Like a Virgin" and "Hollywood" at the MTV Video Music Awards. The trio raises eyebrows when Madonna passionately kisses both pop princesses.
Her third English-language album, Back to Basics, debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. The album, a two-disc set, covers her influences from '20s, '30s and '40s jazz and blues. While promoting the album, Aguilera steps away from her sex-kitten image, acquiring a more refined, Jean Harlow-type style.
Aguilera belts James Brown's "It's a Man's World" in a tribute to the late singer at the 49th annual Grammy ceremony. She also takes home a Grammy for best female pop vocal performance for "Ain't No Other Man" before kicking off her Back to Basics U.S. tour on Feb. 20.
At a packed Las Vegas club, Paris Hilton reveals that Aguilera and Bratman are expecting their first child. "Congratulations to the most beautiful pregnant woman in the world," Hilton announces on the microphone, as Aguilera, who has never confirmed being pregnant (despite a visible bump), appears shocked. In November, the pop star finally confirms that she will "enter into mommyhood," even posing nearly nude (á la Demi Moore) on the cover of Marie Claire.
Aguilera gives birth to son, Max Liron Bratman. In an exclusive PEOPLE cover story, the glowing mommy shows off her newborn and his decked-out nursery. "I'm head over heels in love. He's changed my life," Aguilera tells PEOPLE of her baby. "I'm simply in awe of him. It's a love unlike any I've ever felt before." That November, she releases her greatest hits compilation, Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade of Hits.
After nearly five years of marriage, Aguilera separates from husband Jordan Bratman. "Although Jordan and I are separated, our commitment to our son Max remains as strong as ever," the singer says in a statement before ultimately deciding to file for divorce.
Aguilera is spotted on a double date with Nicole Richie, Joel Madden and new guy Matthew Rutler, a set assistant from her upcoming movie Burlesque. "There's a love there, yes," she tells PEOPLE of their burgeoning romance. "I'm having fun, I'm dating and it's something I haven't had in a really long time."
Aguilera shares the silver screen with Hollywood legend Cher for her film debut in the movie musical Burlesque. "We were like old chatty girlfriends that could not stop talking," the singer says of her costar. "They had to drag us to set a few times because we were late just talking about love and relationships and life."
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): WENN; Kevin Mazur/WireImage; X 17; Kevin Mazur/WireImage; Reuters/landov; Splash News Online; Splash News Online; Stephen Vaughan/Screen Gems