Singer-songwriter Christina Aguilera was born on December 18, 1980, in Staten Island, New York. Aguilera began her career as a cast member on The All New Mickey Mouse Club. She rapidly rose to stardom following the release of her hit single, "Genie in a Bottle," which earned her a Grammy Award for best new artist. Her other hit singles include "What a Girl Wants," "Come on Over Baby," "Lady Marmalade" and the sexually charged "Dirrty." In recent years, Aguilera has served as a coach and mentor on the singing-competition show The Voice.
Christina Maria Aguilera was born on December 18, 1980, in Staten Island, New York, to father Fausto Xavier Aguilera and his wife, Shelly Loraine Fidler. Aguilera's early home life was troubled. Her father, an Ecuadorian immigrant and sergeant in the U.S. Army, was an abusive husband. It wasn't until Aguilera was 6 that her mother managed to end the marriage and move her two daughters (Christina and her younger sister, Rachel) to a new life in Rochester, Pennsylvania.
At an early age, Aguilera developed a deep love of music—a gift she no doubt inherited from her musical mother, an experienced violinist and pianist. By the time she was in elementary school, Aguilera's big voice had swept through a number of local talent shows, causing harsh envy from her schoolmates and even some parents. It became so bad that Aguilera's mother eventually made the decision to home-school her daughter.
Still, Aguilera continued to perform, and in 1990, she earned a spot on the nationally syndicated television program Star Search. There, the 9-year-old prodigy wowed audiences with a mesmerizing rendition of Etta James's "A Sunday Kind of Love," placing second in the competition.
In 1993, Aguilera earned more national attention when she landed a spot as a "Mouseketeer" on The All New Mickey Mouse Club. Her fellow castmates were a collection of future stars, including Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling and Keri Russell. The ambitious singer lasted just two years on the program before she moved with her mother to Japan, where she recorded the hit single "All I Wanna Do" with Japanese pop icon Keizo Nakanishi. More success soon followed.
In 1998, Aguilera was tapped to sing "Reflection" on the soundtrack for the Walt Disney film Mulan. The singer made her debut at the all-female concert festival Lilith Fair the following year, and signed with RCA Records. Also in 1999, she released her debut album, Christina Aguilera, which went on to sell more than 8 million copies thanks in part to the chart-topping hits "Genie in a Bottle" and "What a Girl Wants." The album earned Aguilera the 2000 Grammy Award for best new artist.
With fellow Mouseketeers Spears and Timberlake also lighting up the charts with their respective music, Aguilera became one of the leading faces of a group of teen pop stars. But she wasn't comfortable maintaining the squeaky clean image this sort of role foisted upon her. After teaming up with Pink, Mya and Lil' Kim on the popular single "Lady Marmalade," Aguilera released her second album, Stripped, in October 2002. As its title suggests, the pop superstar had embarked down a new path. Highly sexualized and more commanding than its predecessors, the album featured a number of hit singles, including "Dirrty," "Beautiful" and "Make Over."
Coupled with a series of new piercings and tattoos, Aguilera and her new music startled some critics while endearing her to others. Stripped went on to sell more than 4 million copies, and Aguilera, rightly so, was unapologetic about the music or her look. "I knew it was a bold move, and I knew a lot of people would not be ready for it," the singer said of the album in an interview with The New York Times.
In 2006, Aguilera changed course again with the release of Back to Basics, a two-disc collection of influential standards from the 1920s through the '40s. Like she'd done with her previous album, Aguilera used the music to help define her style. She also adopted a classic Jean Harlow look for a time.
In 2010, Aguilera returned to record stores with Bionic. She experimented with a more electronic-edged sound with this album, which featured collaborations with Le Tigre and M.I.A. While Bionic nearly reached the top of the charts, it failed to spawn any major hit singles.
That same year, Aguilera made her film debut in the musical Burlesque, co-starring alongside Cher. Aguilera also contributed several songs to the movie's soundtrack, including "Show Me How You Burlesque"—a minor hit. While the film was highly anticipated by many, it was ultimately maligned by critics and largely ignored by movie-goers.
Aguilera appeared to be stumbling professionally and personally around this time. At the Super Bowl in February 2011, she seemed to forget some of the lyrics to the National Anthem. Not long after, the pop star was arrested for public intoxication. Both incidents sparked a wave of stories concerning her possible alcoholism.
By the spring of 2011, however, Aguilera had gotten back on her feet with a full-time spot on a new television competition, The Voice. Aguilera served as a judge/coach for singers while competing against teams led by fellow musical talents Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. While some rumors circulated about behind-the-scenes drama between Aguilera and her team members, the pop star proved to be a strong supporter of her protégées. Following The Voice's Season 3 finale in 2012, Aguilera announced that she would be leaving the series for a time. She was replaced by Shakira for the show's fourth season.
Around the time she left The Voice, Aguilera released the album Lotus. The record received a lukewarm reception. She fared much better as a featured vocalist on rapper Pitbull's single, "Feel This Moment," which the duo performed together on the Season 4 finale of The Voice. Around this time, Aguilera announced that she would be back for the show's fifth season, and she later returned to the judge's chair for Season 8.
Proving her vocal abilities remained among the best in the business, Aguilera in 2015 won a Grammy Award with A Great Big World for their ballad "Say Something." That year, the veteran pop star also returned to her early television roots with a recurring role on the country music drama Nashville.
While filming Burlesque (2010), Aguilera became romantically involved with set assistant Matthew Rutler. The singer has a son, Max, from her previous marriage to record producer Jordan Bratman; the couple married in 2005, separated in 2010 and finalized their divorce in 2011. Aguilera and Rutler welcomed their daughter, Summer Rain, on August 16, 2014.
Outside of her performance career, Aguilera has showed her compassionate side, working with AIDS awareness campaigns and affiliating herself with the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. In early 2010, she took on the role of Ambassador Against Hunger for the World Food Program—a responsibility that led her to Haiti, where she helped earthquake victims.
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