For one family, Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” is more than just a massive hit: Magda and Russel Newman welcomed their first son, Nathaniel, into the world 13 years ago — and the touching ballad became a lifeline, as ABC’s 20/20 explores in this week’s episode.
Born with a rare cranio-facial condition called Treacher Collins Syndrome, Nathaniel had no cheekbones and ears and almost no jawbone, leaving the parents devastated and alarmed. But as the Grammy Awards of that year were playing in their hospital room, Aguilera’s performance of “Beautiful” inspired them to, as they say, “treasure the inner beauty in their son, and help the world see it, too.”
Over 60 surgeries later, Nathaniel’s story recalls Auggie Pullman’s, the fictional protagonist of R.J. Palacio’s book Wonder. A new film adaptation stars Jacob Tremblay as Auggie and Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as his parents and appears in theaters on Friday.
Now, thanks to ABC, the Newmans got to see Aguilera sing “Beautiful” in their own living room — and EW and PEOPLE have an exclusive clip of the touching moment from this week’s 20/20.
In the video above, watch the pop star meet the family she inspired so many years ago, and catch the full 20/20 episode chronicling their journey on Friday at 10:01 p.m. ET on ABC.