Kellie Pickler: Snapshot

Kellie Pickler
Date of Birth
June 28, 1986
Birth Place
Albemarle, N.C.
A set of stunning pipes and a Daisy Duke-like sex appeal propelled Kellie Pickler from country-girl obscurity to the Top Six of American Idol's fifth season. Her charming babe-in-the-woods persona also contributed to her post-Idol success, resulting in a near platinum-selling album and three CMT Awards.

Rising above the potentially damaging effects of a traumatic childhood in rural North Carolina, Pickler eventually managed to mature with both a steely core and a soft heart. Bolstered by the musical nurturing of a loving grandmother, the former roller-skating carhop may still be struggling to vanquish her Jessica Simpson-esque blonde stereotype, but Pickler's having the last laugh: her self-titled sophomore release topped Billboard's Top Country Albums chart in 2008 and she married songwriter Kyle Jacobs in January 2011. Making her return to reality TV, Pickler scored another feather in her cap in May 2013, when she took home the mirror ball trophy on Dancing with the Stars's sixteenth season.

Kellie Pickler: Video

PEOPLE Country

The Country Thunder USA star shows off her tour bus in Arizona. Plus: Joe Nichols and more (2:25)

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Kellie Pickler: Five Fun Facts

  1. Kellie Pickler quit her school choir after the first day because they didn't perform country music.
  2. Kellie Pickler's song, "My Angel," is a tribute to her late grandmother. "She was my grandmother, my mom and my best friend all wrapped into one," Pickler told the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle. "I like to look at her now as if she is my angel."
  3. Kellie Pickler would love to guest-star as a doctor on House. "Believe it or not, I used to take nursing classes," she told the Akron (Oh.) Beacon Journal.
  4. Tired of frequently being the brunt of "dumb blonde" jokes, Kellie Pickler once threatened to change her hair color. "I went to management, and I was like, 'I'm coloring my hair black,'" Pickler told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I want to be taken seriously as an artist."
  5. Kellie Pickler says her favorite part of being famous is the shoes. "Now I can afford my shoe addiction," she tells the Richmond (Va.) Times Dispatch. "But the hardest thing is finding a closet to fit them all! My dining room is my shoe closet right now."

Kellie Pickler: Biography

late 1980s

Kellie Pickler

A Rocky Start

When Pickler is only two, her mother, Cynthia, flees the alleged physical abuse of her husband, Clyde. Cynthia leaves Pickler with paternal grandparents – Clyde Sr. and Faye Pickler – who raise her. "I've been singing since I was a little girl‚" Pickler says. "My grandma had a collection of children's musical books‚ and we used to sing together all the time." While Pickler's father struggles with alcohol and drug addiction and serves a succession of prison stints, Cynthia is convicted for prescription forgery and charged with writing bad checks.


Kellie Pickler

Custody Tug-of-War

Pickler's mother reappears and is granted legal custody of Pickler. But mother and daughter don't get along. Pickler's grandparents allege in court that Cynthia abused Pickler, although a judge finds her not guilty. Still, Cynthia relinquishes custody, and in 1997, Pickler (pictured with her grandmother Faye) returns to her grandparents. "I'm not as bad as they say," Cynthia tells the Charlotte (NC) Observer. "I just made bad choices."


Kellie Pickler

January 17

Pick Pickler!

With her loveable babe-in-the-woods persona and powerful country pipes, Pickler cracks Idol's Top 10. But some skeptics feel Pickler's ditzy antics – blundering the pronunciation of "salmon" and admitting she's never heard of calamari – are a shrewdly calculated act. "I never think about what I say before I say it, and that always comes back to bite me in the ass," she tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I don't know how to be anything but myself."

Read More on Kellie Pickler's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Courtesy Kellie Pickler

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Courtesy Kellie Pickler; Courtesy Kellie Pickler; Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Edited by Julia Wang

Kellie Pickler

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