Kelly Clarkson: Snapshot

Name
Kelly Clarkson
Date of Birth
April 24, 1982
Birth Place
Fort Worth, Texas
In 2002, Texas native Kelly Clarkson was just one of 10,000 contestants in the first season of FOX's little talent competition, American Idol. Her powerful voice and girl-next-door appeal earned her 58 percent of the final vote against Justin Guarini and immediately marked her as a pop-music phenomenon.

Her debut single, "A Moment Like This" – the first of her six Top 10 Billboard hits – smashed sales records in its first week, and her debut album, Thankful, went double platinum. Her 2004 sophomore album, the more rock-oriented Breakaway, did even better, selling more than 10 million copies worldwide, earning Clarkson two Grammy Awards. In 2007, she struggled for artistic control on her third album, My December – which she coproduced and wrote entirely – but it failed to reach the heights of her previous two discs.

Four years later, the singer bounced back with her fifth album, Stronger, and scored a best pop vocal album Grammy Award. The year only got better from there, when Clarkson wed Brandon Blackstock in October and announced she was expecting her first child a month later.

Kelly Clarkson: Video

Star Talk

Kelly Clarkson answers reader questions about being a role model, comments about her weight and her own style secrets.

(02:38)

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Kelly Clarkson: Five Fun Facts

  1. Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway was on Billboard's Top 20 chart for 61 consecutive weeks, a distinction shared in the last 25 years by Celine Dion and Shania Twain.
  2. What is the first album she ever owned? "I actually bought three at the same time," Kelly Clarkson told Teen People. "Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction, some Boyz II Men discs and Reba McEntire. I love everything." In fact, she once said, "Meeting Reba is right up there with winning the Grammy."
  3. Kelly Clarkson won standing ovations in junior high for her choir solos and rave reviews in high school for her golden-throated Fiona in the musical Brigadoon. It was no surprise when her senior classmates voted Clarkson "Most Talented."
  4. When a sugar craving calls, Kelly Clarkson reaches for one of her favorite treats: frozen grapes.
  5. Before Idol, Kelly Clarkson passed on two recording-contract offers. "They would have completely pigeonholed me as a bubblegum act," she told Time. "I was confident enough that something better would come along."

Kelly Clarkson: Biography

1994

Kelly Clarkson

September

A Moment Like This

After hearing her singing in the school halls, a teacher pressures Clarkson to join the school choir. "Singing gave me confidence," Clarkson tells the Orange County Register. "Friends at school were nervous because they didn't know what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives, but I had a peaceful feeling inside, because I knew. I knew that I would make a living at this since a seventh-grade assembly."

2002

Kelly Clarkson

May 05

Up All Night

A friend encourages Clarkson to try out for the talent show American Idol at the Dallas open call. The night before her audition she is so nervous she can't sleep. "I didn't have a clue what I was walking into," Clarkson tells Teen People. She blows the judges away and earns a place to compete in L.A.

Kelly Clarkson

September 04

Million-Dollar Baby

In a two-hour Fox special, Clarkson captures 58 percent of 15.5 million votes with her teary-eyed performance of "A Moment Like This," securing the first American Idol title. "In the end, I couldn't hear them say I won," she tells Teen People. "I actually found out when Justin Guarini hugged me and said, 'Congratulations.'"

Read More on Kelly Clarkson's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Mary Ellen Matthews/Celebrity Pix/Corbis Outline

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Classmates Yearbook Archives; Rob Daly; Fred Prouser/Reuters/CORBIS

Edited by Julia Wang

Kelly Clarkson

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