Jennifer Hudson is an American singer, actress and spokesperson.
Let’s find out some intriguing facts about her!
1. Jennifer Kate Hudson was born September 12, 1981 in Chicago, Illinois.
2. She is the third and youngest child of Darnell Donnerson and Samuel Simpson.
3. She was raised as a Baptist in Englewood and attended Dunbar Vocational High School, from which she graduated in 1999.
4. She cites Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, and Patti LaBelle as her overall biggest influences and inspiration.
5. At the age of 7, she got her start in performing by singing with the church choir and doing community theater with the help of her late maternal grandmother, Julia.
6. She enrolled at Langston University but she left after a semester due to homesickness and unhappiness with the weather, and registered at Kennedy–King College.
7. In January 2002, Hudson signed her first recording contract with Righteous Records, a Chicago-based independent record label.
8. She was released from her five-year contract with Righteous Records so that she could appear on American Idol in 2004.
9. Hudson received the highest number of votes in the “Top 9” after her performance of Elton John’s “Circle of Life” on April 6, 2004, but two weeks later was eliminated during the “Top 7” show after performing Barry Manilow’s, “Weekend in New England.”
10. The bottom three consisting of three African-American females led to controversy.
11. In May 2009, MTV listed Hudson as the sixth greatest American Idol and noted her exit was the most shocking of all time.
12. In May 2010, the Los Angeles Times claimed Hudson to be the third greatest Idol contestant in the history of the show, placing behind season one winner Kelly Clarkson and season four winner Carrie Underwood
13. As an actress, she made her film debut portraying Effie White in Dreamgirls, for which she gained worldwide acclaim and won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress.
14. She has also appeared in such films as Sex and the City, The Secret Life of Bees and Black Nativity.
15. She has made numerous television appearances, including guest roles on Smash, Empire and Inside Amy Schumer.
16. In 2015 she made her Broadway debut in the role of Shug Avery in the 2015 revival of The Color Purple.
17. As a singer, Hudson has released three studio albums. Her debut album Jennifer Hudson, released in 2008, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold by the RIAA, with sales exceeding a million copies worldwide.
18. The record was nominated for four Grammy Awards, winning the 2009 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. Her second album I Remember Me, released in 2011, also debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold by the RIAA.
19. Her third and most recent album JHUD peaked in the top ten and featured the Grammy-nominated track “It’s Your World”.
20. She also became the principal singer of The Color Purple musical album, which earned her the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program (shared with the cast of The Color Purple).
21. In October 2008, after Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew were killed in a shooting, Hudson stepped out of the public eye for three months.
22. Hudson resumed her public appearances in 2009, with high-profile performances at Super Bowl XLIII, the Grammy Awards, American Idol, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
23. Hudson has been described as a friend of former President Barack Obama, who invited her to appear with him at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills during his first term in May 2009.
24. She also performed at the White House at the “Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” event.
25. In 2013, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
26. In 2016, Hudson was announced as a coach on the 2017 Series of The Voice UK.
27. Hudson began dating James Payton in 1999, when she was 18. They separated in late 2007.
28. Hudson met David Otunga, a professional wrestler in the WWE and a Harvard Law graduate, and the couple became engaged in September 2008. In August 2009, Hudson gave birth to her first child, a boy named David Daniel Otunga, Jr.
29. In October 2008, Hudson’s 57-year-old mother, Darnell Donnerson, and 29-year-old brother, Jason, were found shot dead inside the Chicago home Donnerson shared with Hudson’s elder sister, Julia. An AMBER Alert was issued for her 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, when Julia reported him missing. Three days later the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed a body found on Chicago’s West Side was the nephew; an autopsy indicated the death was due to “multiple gunshot wounds.”
30. William Balfour, 27, Julia’s estranged husband, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of home invasion, and was denied bail.
31. In May 2012 he was convicted on all seven counts against him, including possession of a stolen vehicle.
32. In July 2012, he was sentenced to three life sentences without the possibility of parole; served consecutively, followed by an additional 120 years for his other convictions. He is incarcerated in Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet, Illinois.
33. Hudson’s family announced creation of The Hudson-King Foundation for Families of Slain Victims, in honor of the three victims.