Kelly Brianne Clarkson (born April 24, 1982) is a Greek-American/Welsh-American/English-American/Irish-American/German-American/Scottish-American actress, singer-songwriter & author. In 2002, she rose to fame after winning the first season of "American Idol". Since then, Kelly has been established as "The Original American Idol". Her debut single "A Moment Like This" topped the US Billboard Hot 100 and broke the record for the biggest jump to number one in the chart's history, becoming the best-selling single of the year in the country. In a career spanning over a decade, Kelly has accumulated ninety-one number ones on the Billboard charts and eleven international number one singles and has sold over 20 million albums worldwide. She is known for her vocal versatility and range. Her music has mainly dealt with themes of heartbreak, independence and self-empowerment for women & young teens. Apart from her work in music, Kelly has also ventured into television and film such as the movie "From Justin to Kelly," the NBC drama series "American Dreams" and the WB comedy series "Reba." She has also appeared on "The Voice" as a guest advisor & "Duets" as a judge & mentor.
Kelly has also gained numerous accolades, including three Grammy Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards, four American Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, two American Country Awards and a Women's World Award. In 2012, Kelly was ranked nineteenth on VH1's list of "100 Greatest Women in Music". In 2013, she was ranked number 105 on Joel Whitburn's "Top 500 Artists Of All Time", number 5 on both "Top Billboard 200 Female Artists" and "Adult Contemporary Artists", number 27 on "Top Billboard 200 Artists" and number 75 on "Billboard's "Hot 100: Top 100 Artists". Billboard also ranked Kelly as the 14th-best-selling artist of the 2000s and one of the top 200 album sellers of the Nielsen SoundScan era at number 187.
Kelly was born in Ft. Worth, Texas to Jeanne Ann Rose, a first-grade English teacher and Stephen Michael Clarkson, a former engineer. She is the youngest of three children with a brother, Jason (who appeared in one of her music videos) and a sister, Alyssa. She also has two younger half-brothers from her father's second marriage. Kelly's parents divorced when she was five years old, following which her brother lived with their father, she stayed with their mother and her sister went to live with an aunt. Her mother later re-married to Jimmy Taylor. Kelly's ancestry is primarily Greek (from a maternal great-grandfather) and Welsh, but she also lays claim to English, Irish, German, and Scottish descent. Her mother is a descendant of Republican state senator Isaiah Rose (whose life story was discussed on Kelly's episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" in 2013). Kelly was raised Southern Baptist. She has said: "I always grew up in church. I was the leader of our youth group. I’ve always grown up pretty close to church and with God. But I think I’ve just gotten a lot closer just because He’s the only One I can lean on." She later said of her upbringing: "My family was highly conservative; I had to go to church on Sunday and Wednesday." She attended Pauline Hughes Middle School. Kelly initially wanted to become a marine biologist, but she changed her mind after viewing the movie "Jaws." In the seventh grade, her school's choir teacher, Cynthia Glenn, overheard Kelly singing in a hallway and asked her to audition for the school choir. She told her that she had never received any professional vocal training. She graduated from Burleson High School, where she performed in several musicals, such as "Annie Get Your Gun", "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and "Brigadoon". Kelly sang at her high school talent show after which an audience member shared some inspiring words with her: "God has given you this gift. You've got to sing. You're destined to sing." Kelly continued singing and soon started classical training, hoping that music would be her ticket to a college scholarship. Upon graduating from high school, Kelly was offered full scholarships to The University of Texas at Austin, University of North Texas and Berklee College of Music, but she later declined them, explaining: "I've already written so much music and wanted to try a career on my own" and added "you're never too old to go to college."
After graduation, Kelly worked several jobs to finance a demo, recording material and trying to market it to record labels, but received little response. She turned down two recording contracts from Jive Records and Interscope Records, stating: "They would have completely pigeonholed me as a bubblegum act. I was confident enough that something better would come along." In 2001, she traveled to Los Angeles, trying to pursue a career in music. Kelly appeared as an extra in a few television series such as "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" and "Dharma & Greg." Kelly briefly worked with musician Gerry Goffin to record five demo tracks in trying to secure a record deal. Lack of other career opportunities and a fire incident in her apartment forced Kelly to return to Burleson where she worked at a movie theater, promoted Red Bull energy drink, worked as a telemarketer and as a cocktail waitress in a comedy club.
Marriage & familyEdit
Kelly began dating talent manager, Brandon Blackstock in February of 2012. Brandon is Reba McEntire's stepson through her marriage to Narvel Blackstock, who is Kelly's manager. In a May 2012 interview, she told the Daily Mail: "Brandon is my manager's son. I've known him for six years, but he was married. Then, suddenly, there he was at the Super Bowl and he was single." In December of 2012, Kelly & Brandon became engaged and they married on October 20, 2013 at the Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. Upon her marriage, Kelly became a stepmother to Brandon's daughter, Savannah and son, Seth from his previous marriage. On June 12, 2014, Kelly gave birth to her 1st child & Brandon's 3rd child, a daughter named River Rose Blackstock. On April 12, 2016, Kelly gave birth to her 2nd child & Brandon's 4th child, a son named Remington Alexander "Remy" Blackstock.
On December 29, 2011, Kelly posted on Twitter that she would vote for US Congressman Ron Paul as a 2012 presidential candidate, saying: "I love Ron Paul. I liked him a lot during the last Republican nomination and no one gave him a chance. If he wins the nomination for the Republican Party in 2012 he's got my vote. Too bad he probably won't." After stating her support for Paul, she came under fire on Twitter, due to her pro-gay rights views. She later apologized for the tweet, saying she did not intend to offend anyone. In 2012, Kelly stated she would vote for President Barack Obama again. She stated: "I can't support Romney's policies as I have a lot of gay friends and I don't think it's fair they can't get married." She also cited women's rights issues by saying: "I'm not a hardcore feminist, but we can't be going back to the '50s."
In April 2007, Kelly took part in "Idol Gives Back," a fundraiser for people in poverty in both Africa and the United States, performing "Up to the Mountain" along with Jeff Beck. She would also perform a five-song set later that year on the American leg of Live Earth concerts opting for environmental awareness about climate change. Kelly is currently an ambassador of "March of Dimes," raising money regularly and assisting in volunteer service, having walked for "March for Babies" for the cause of improvement of the health of mothers and babies. Additionally, Kelly got involved in the organization "Houses of Hope" who take care and build orphanages for children in South Africa who have been affected by HIV/AIDS, abuse and poverty. She has visited those children and also participated in "A Night for Hope" fund-raiser concert (held by Clarkson's background vocal singers, Jill and Kate), where she performed a song she wrote after her trip to South Africa, "You Still Won't Know What It's Like." Kelly also supports the charities Save the Children, UNICEF, "Do Something" and "STOMP Out Bullying" and music causes like the Save the Music Foundation. She has a ranch in Texas for unwanted animals which includes amputee goats, blind dogs and horses with colic; there are more than 80 animals at the sanctuary. Kelly helps provide veterinary care for them and finds them an adoptive family. Kelly performed in a benefit concert on March 1, 2013, supporting Omaha's based Opportunity Education Foundation (which is an organization that provides access to education for children around the world) stating: "Education was a key part of my childhood, and I am better for it. Anything for education I am really into and especially for kids. A lot of people don't have computers, and they can't afford them. Without education, you get far behind. As long as they have a chance, you know, I think that's important. I want every kid to have a chance." In 2013, she teamed up with State Farm Insurance to support teen safe driving as a part of "Celebrate My Drive" program. In 2013, Kelly supported Feeding America and its Child Hunger PSA Campaign which provides food for children facing hunger. Also in 2013, she participated in Green Mountain Coffee's Great Coffee, Good Vibes, Choose Fair Trade campaign by traveling to coffee farms in Peru to draw attention to the importance of being Fair Trade Certified. In December of 2013, Citizen Watch Co. announced that Kelly is their newest Brand Ambassador.
In 2013, Kelly purchased a turquoise and gold ring that had belonged to the British novelist Jane Austen. She paid £152,450 ($231,227) for the ring at auction house Sothebys, against a reserve price of £30,000. Kelly is a fan of Jane Austen's work and also bought a first edition of her 1816 novel "Persuasion." The ring is one of only three surviving pieces of jewelry known to have belonged to the author, and had remained in her family until the sale. The British government placed an export ban on the ring owing to its historic importance, describing it as a "national treasure." Jane Austen's House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire, eventually raised the money with the aid of an anonymous donor, to buy the ring by the export deadline. It was placed on display at the museum in February of 2014. Kelly had intended to wear the ring as her engagement ring. Brandon, who was her fiancé at the time, commissioned a replica of the ring for her, which she has been seen wearing on many occasions, most notably during the 2013 Grammy Awards and the Second inauguration of Barack Obama.
"God will never give you anything you can't handle, so don't stress."
"Everyone says I'm like the girl next door... Y'all must have really weird neighbors!"
"I'm so happy now. I love that I'm in a relationship right now... I want a life... The past five years or so I've found my groove and my balance."
"I'm actually not a big fan of the word hope. I think it's depressing word. I don't want to hope-I want to know. Like I don't hope that there's God, I know there is."
"I'm always going to live in Texas. Texas is my home- it'll be my home forever."