Life was not always easy for Fantasia Barrino, but she's not a quitter. Born to a musician family who performed and recorded songs for a local label, she had a rough year, especially in high school, while growing up in High Point, North Carolina. She was once raped by a classmate and dropped out of school as a result. She was pregnant at 16 and gave birth to her daughter with ex-boyfriend Brandel Shouse.
In an effort to start fresh, she packed her bags and moved to neighboring Greensboro. She then auditioned for "American Idol" in Atlanta. Surviving eliminations after landing on the bottom three twice, she was eventually crowned the winner in a finale that drew the highest finale vote in the show's history until 2007 when Jordin Spark won the title.
In 2004, Fantasia released her debut single, "I Believe", which entered at the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100. Subsequently, she released her debut album, "Free Yourself", which went on to be certified Platinum by the RIAA and garnered her four Grammy nominations in 2006. She performed at the live telecast with Aerosmith, Joss Stone, John Legend, Maroon 5 and Ciara in an all-star tribute to Sly and the Family Stone.
While preparing for her sophomore set, Fantasia expanded her career into acting world. In August 2006, she played herself in a Lifetime Television film "Life Is Not a Fairy Tale" based on her autobiography. It got overwhelmingly good response and became Lifetime's second most viewed program of all time back then. She later went to Broadway, taking the lead role on "The Color Purple" and received rave reviews for it.
In 2006, she released her second album, "Fantasia", which featured the number-one R&B hit "When I See U". The album was certified Gold by the RIAA and received three Grammy nominations in 2008. Two years later, "Back to Me" was released as her third effort. It was followed by her first-ever solo concert tour in the fall of 2010.
Unfortunately, her personal life was not as smooth as her career. In a divorce filing, she's accused of having a year-long affair with a married man Antwaun Cook, but she vehemently denied it insisting that they dated after Cook split from his wife. Amid the alleged scandal, she was hospitalized due to overdosing on aspirin and an unknown sleep aid, which she later confirmed as a suicide attempt.
A year later, she announced her second pregnancy but did not reveal who the father was. She gave birth to a baby boy in December 2011. After her second child was born, she was hard at work finishing her next studio installment. "Side Effects of You" came out in 2013 as her fourth studio album. Featuring BIG K.R.I.T, Kelly Rowland and Missy Elliott, it soared to No. 2 on Hot 200.