Happy birthday, Kelly Clarkson! It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly two decades since this pop-rock legend high-noted her way into our lives and into our hearts. From America’s sweetheart to American Idol, we’re so grateful to have this powerhouse vocalist and superstar and her chart-topping hits in our lives. Clarkson turns 38 today, and we’re celebrating everything she’s brought to the table. From unforgettable songs like “Since U Been Gone” and “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” to her new, totally charming talk show, this multi-talented lady can’t stop racking up the wins.
But how much do you really know about Clarkson? This Texas-born celeb is currently hunkered down in Montana, on lockdown with husband Brandon Blackstock and their two kids, River Rose and Remington “Remy” Alexander. (Her step-kids, Seth and Savannah from Blackstone’s previous marriage, aren’t currently with them.)
Clarkson is a proud mom and loves her family, and she’s managed to build a dream career on top of it, recently launching The Kelly Clarkson Show and cementing her status as an iconic TV personality. She’s always had an unabashed and no-holds-barred attitude, whether she’s clapping back on social media or asking the hard-hitting questions on-air, and Clarkson seems to be coming more into her own every year.
So, we all know that Clarkson has the voice of an angel and a hilarious and candid personality — but there are plenty more little-known facts that will only make you love her even more. Ahead, some fun, obscure and totally lovable facts you need to know about about Kelly Clarkson.
A version of this story was originally published in April 2019.
You can call her Clarkson, but she’s officially changed her name
Following her divorce from Brandon Blackstock, Clarkson was ready for a whole new chapter, and marked it by making a major change. In mid-February, reports surfaced that the American Idol winner was changing her legal name to Kelly Brianne. By late March, speculation was officially put to rest when she finally made the change a reality.
On March 29, E! reported the singer was granted her name change by a judge. “There being no objections, the petition for change of name is granted,” court documents obtained by the outlet read. “The Decree is signed and filed. The Petitioner’s name is changed from KELLY BRIANNE CLARKSON to KELLY BRIANNE.” While the change is official, we’re sure she’ll still entertain the stage name Kelly Clarkson — how could you not?!
She’s had huge success as a talk show host
Kelly Clarkson had an incredible first few years as the host of The Kelly Clarkson Show, seeing ratings that matched reigning talk show queen Ellen DeGeneres by 2020 and landing the highest ratings for a new talk show in daytime in seven years. That’s Clarkson power, y’all!
She’s a children’s book author
Clarkson has written a series of children’s books about a character inspired by her daughter, River Rose.
She’s not sure she wants to get married again
Clarkson opened up to guest Gwyneth Paltrow in March 2021 when she came on her talk show as a fellow divorcée — but one who had gone on to marry again. For Clarkson, just nine months after separating from Brandon Blackstock, another marriage didn’t necessarily seem in the cards.
“You’ve been married for two years,” Clarkson said to Paltrow. “Coming from someone who’s literally amidst a divorce, I can’t even imagine doing it again.”
She’s a record-Breaking Grammy winner
Before Clarkson, no one had ever won more than one Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album. This singer won for both Breakaway and Stronger.
She turned down two full-ride scholarships
Before appearing on American Idol, Clarkson was offered bull-ride scholarships by both the University of Texas at Austin and the Berklee College of Music. She also turned down two record deals prior to her Idol stint.
Her ‘My December’ album was almost put on hold
When My December was due for release, Clarkson clashed with manager Clive Davis over the direction she was taking, and ended up firing him as a result rather than rework the album as he wanted.
She used to work as a cocktail waitress
Here’s one pop star we know is a good tipper — before she hit it big, Clarkson worked as a server at a few comedy clubs around Texas.
She met her husband at the Super Bowl
Though they kind of knew of each other before, the two really hit it off at the Super Bowl in 2012, where Clarkson was performing.
“When I finally confessed that, ‘I really dig you,’ He was so shocked because he thought I hated him,” the songstress said in an interview with People. “I hadn’t let on that I liked him. Inside I was like, ‘Ask me out!’ but outside I was like, ‘I love being single and coming home every night alone. It’s awesome.'”
“I was so nervous because it wasn’t that I didn’t want to suck for the millions of people watching, I didn’t want to suck because I was trying to impress a guy,” she joked. “I wanted him to be like, ‘Damn.’ It had nothing to do with the Super Bowl!”
She ruined ‘Frozen’ for her daughter
Clarkson voices one of the lead characters in the upcoming ‘UglyDolls’ animated feature, so when her daughter River Rose watched the trailer, Clarkson accidentally ruined her love of all things Frozen.
“I’m like, ‘Look, this is mummy’s voice!’ I show her the trailer and she was kinda not getting it,” Clarkson hilariously recalled in an interview. “I was like, ‘You know like how Elsa and Anna…’ and all of a sudden I was like, ‘Did I just ruin that for my daughter?’ So now she knows that Elsa and Anna are like, real humans and not (just cartoons).”
Yikes! But also, LOL.
She’s not afraid to personally shut down rumors
After yet another bad gossip piece pitting Clarkson against Carrie Underwood went viral, The Voice actor decided to take things into her own hands and shut. it. down.
“Someone just sent me this & I’m like why does she get the good pic & I have the worst expression I’ve ever made w/zero muscles being used in my face ha!” Clarkson quipped. “I officially have a feud w/whoever used this pic! At least give me a good pic if y’all are gonna be lying is all I’m sayin.”
Show ’em how it’s done, Kelly!
She has a unicorn
OK, so it’s not a real unicorn. But Clarkson does, indeed, have a horse named The Unicorn.
She was in ‘Sabrina, the Teenage Witch’
Long before Kelly Clarkson’s American Idol days, she spent some time working as an extra and even appeared for a brief moment on the TV show Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. She’s the girl looking over her shoulder in this shot.
She made Keith Urban cry
During American Idol‘s final season in 2016, a very pregnant Clarkson appeared on the show to perform her song “Piece by Piece.” It got so emotional that Clarkson herself started crying. She even had judge Keith Urban bawling, too.
Clair Huxtable was her childhood idol
In an interview with Us Weekly, Clarkson said she wanted to be Clair Huxtable from The Cosby Show when she was growing up. She also said she admired Dixie Carter from Designing Women.
Her dreams were crushed by ‘Jaws’
When she was growing up, Clarkson aspired to become a marine biologist, but she gave up the dream after watching Jaws.
No Doubt is one of her all-time favorite bands
Clarkson loves No Doubt's music and often counts them as one of her favorite bands of all time. She's even covered some of their songs.
She has 13 tattoos & counting
Clarkson has 13 tattoos — that we know about — including a cross on her wrist and a puzzle piece on her shoulder blade. The Japanese symbol on her neck means "blessed."
She is Reba McEntire’s stepdaughter-in-law
Clarkson is married to Reba McEntire's stepson Brandon Blackstock. McEntire was married to Brandon's father, Narvel, for 26 years, Though McEntire and Narvel divorced in 2015, Clarkson and McEntire still remain close. Clarkson has even referred to McEntire as the "coolest mother-in-law."
She has a concealed carry license
You never know what might be hiding in Kelly Clarkson’s purse. Turns out, she has her license to carry a concealed handgun.
She practices ear candling
Clarkson really likes clean ears. It’s, like, a thing for her. So much so that she goes beyond Q-tips and has even tried ear candling, a process that involves using a candle flame to draw impurities out of the ear canal.
She wrote the One Direction song “Tell Me a Lie”
Clarkson initially wrote the song “Tell Me a Lie” for her 2011 album Stronger. However, she eventually decided to pass it on to the guys of One Direction because she said it didn’t fit with her album.
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