All About Kelly Clarkson
Clarkson, 22, has become quite svelte in the past few months. What's her secret? "She isn't dieting, she's not working with a trainer. She's just eating healthy," says her rep about Clarkson's slimmed-down body (in 2003, left, and last November).
"Throw something at me, I dare ya," says Clarkson, after going through the American Idol experience. "Nothing can be as hard as when I didn't sleep for four days and was singing live on TV." The singer's newest challenge: a 35-city tour to support her platinum-selling album Breakaway.
Clarkson is extremely close to her mother, Jeanne Taylor, an elementary-school teacher. "There were always worries financially," says Clarkson of being raised in a single-parent household (her mom and dad Steve, a car salesman, split when she was in grade school). But since her post-Idol fame, she's been able to help mom buy a house in Texas.
Clarkson gets traditional in Thailand for the MTV Asia Aid event, which benefited the Southeast Asian tsunami victims (in February). Now she travels the world and is a multiplatinum-selling artist, but Clarkson says that before Idol, she "was sending out demos, getting doors slammed in my face."
BLING'S THE THING
"There are no rivalries between me and Clay. It's like a sibling relationship," says Clarkson (accepting her platinum album award, for her debut Thankful, from Aiken and second season winner Ruben Studdard in 2003). Last spring, the two Idol vets hit the road for their 32-city Independent tour. What did Aiken learn about Clarkson while sharing a bus? "Don't wake Kelly up in the morning, because she wants to kill you."
Clarkson says that during her first Idol audition she had "flat hair and no makeup," but now she's a glamorous red-carpet presence (from left, at the World Music Awards in September; center, at an L.A. premiere in August; right, at the "Women Rock!" concert in September).
"I don't think I'll find anything more difficult" than winning American Idol, says Clarkson (celebrating her victory in 2002).
With her hectic schedule, Clarkson (hobnobbing with Hilary Duff at a Las Vegas party in September) says she has no time for a relationship: "I'm so busy, it would be unfair." But who would be her ideal man? "Hugh Jackman, because he is tall, dark and handsome. He can sing, he has everything – but he is married!"
She's come a long way, baby: Since her Idol days, Clarkson has changed her appearance dramatically. She sports a girlish look at the Teen Choice Awards (left, in 2002), while she shows off a more sophisticated side at an appearance last month.
"I can sing in front of millions of people and not be nervous at all," says Clarkson (performing at the Orange Bowl's halftime show in Miami in January). Her philosophy: "If you can't have fun, why bother?"