Christina Aguilera has been famous for everything from her chart topping hits, to her judging spot on The Voice. Recently, the songwriter spoke to Health about her lifetime in the spotlight, and how the trauma of her childhood stardom has changed the way she parents her two children, 13-year-old Max and 6-year-old Summer.
Aguilera has been working since she was 7 years old, which is probably why she tries so hard to keep things as normal as possible for her children when she brings them on tour with her. Especially during her last tour, which wrapped up shortly before the COVID lockdowns took place.
“I had taken the kids with me. I’d hit the stage, then come back to the hotel,” she said. “If the kids were still awake, I’d read them a book after coming off an exhilarating show and then try to wind down before traveling the next day.”
That sounds both like good parenting and very exhausting. By contrast, Aguilera said this past year was a great time to be hunkered down with her kids, free of those external intrusions. All of the downtime also gave Aguilera time to read through her old diaries, which led her to discover that there were a lot of feelings and emotions tied up in those pages that she’s put off dealing with over the years. “As a child [entertainer], you’re all pitted against one another, and other children are all about that grind too.”
Which is probably why after a year of reflection, the star seems to be more in search of normalcy than ever. Especially when it comes to her children and the ever present paparazzi. “I’m currently in Miami, and the other day, I was outside with my daughter,” she said, adding that she had initially thought the two of them went completely unnoticed while they were out.
“Then, I saw these pictures of us come out. I was really emotional about it because I’ve really tried to be more private,” she said. “My previous house was right on the street, and tour buses would drive by and treat you like a zoo animal and talk shit about you. The guy on the microphone would read out whatever tabloid story about me right in front of my son’s bedroom.”
Aguilera went on to discuss her experiences growing up with domestic violence, which she has been very open about discussing in the past, and how that has shaped her. “But I think that was just part of my path. I’ve definitely had struggles in the past with depression and anxiety — it’s a constant battle to overcome a mind that is anxious, a mind that is always second-guessing,” she said. “I’m proud of my honesty. It’s a really hard thing to stick to in this business, especially when you’ve grown up under a microscope at a time when society was very critical of young women.”
That microscope, of course, has caused her to have to work through a lot of insecurities in front of the public eye. The superstar says she sometimes has a hard time looking at the early pictures of herself because she remembers feeling so insecure, but now she uses photo shoots to help instill confidence in her daughter.
“I am really careful if my daughter is there when I am doing photo shoots,” she said. “I want to make sure that when she sees Mommy in hair and makeup that she realizes that’s not what’s important. If she needs my attention, I stop everything and look into her eyes and listen to her. I want to make sure she understands that this is part of Mommy’s work, but that it’s what I create that matters more.”
Aguilera added that there’s no right or wrong way when it comes to her kids. “I just really try to encourage them to be their own selves.”
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