The Transformation Of Fantasia Barrino From 14 To 36 Years Old

Warning: This article contains mentions of sexual assault, domestic violence, and suicide.

Fantasia Barrino’s life may not have always been a fairytale, but clearly she is a success story and inspiration to us all. The R&B singer became a superstar after winning the third season of American Idol in the early 2000s. Although fame sometimes has its perks, it hasn’t been the easiest for Barrino. Even after achieving success after American Idol, Barrino faced several adversities. Regardless of what obstacles are thrown in Barrino’s way, she never fails to come back on top, which makes her ultimately relatable to anyone who feels there’s no way out of a rut. 

It’s safe to say that the “Bittersweet” singer has seen it all within almost two decades of her career. From her tragic childhood to American Idol to touring the world, Barrino’s journey has been exciting for her fans to watch. With that being said, keep scrolling to get a glimpse of Fantasia Barrino’s remarkable transformation inside and out.

Fantasia dropped out of high school for this reason

Like many singers, Fantasia Barrino discovered her talents at an early age. Per ABC News, Barrino discovered her singing skills at the tender age of five years old. Her father, Joseph, encouraged her to sing at public excursions, including weddings and family gatherings. Given she was raised by her mother and grandmother who were ministers, the singer spent her early years singing in the church. Barrino’s voice didn’t only move her family. She told O, The Oprah Magazine that she once was approached by a woman who said Fantasia’s voice “touched” her.

“When I was about 9, an elderly woman came up to me, crying, and said, ‘I want you to know that you touched me,'” She said at the time. “My mother later told me that God had given me a gift, but I had low self-esteem. I seemed so different from other kids; I grew up in church and felt a connection with God, and a lot of kids my age really didn’t understand that.”

Growing up, the singer spent most of her early years touring with the Barrino family, per Entertainment Tonight. While she may have been successful at the time, her constant touring took a toll on her studies and her social interactions with her peers. Additionally, she faced trauma after being raped by a fellow student in high school. With all those issues in mind, Barrino said “going back to school was hell” and she ended up dropping out of high school when she was “about 14.”

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit RAINN.org for additional resources.

Fantasia became a mom at age 17

Fantasia Barrino’s life after dropping out of high school came with a few caveats. At the time, Barrino lived with her then-boyfriend, whom she revealed to O, The Oprah Magazine was abusive. At 17, she became pregnant — a time which the “When I See U” crooner describes as “everybody seemed to give up on me.” The North Carolina native told the magazine, “I was the girl who could sing and was supposed to grow up and do something with my life. But when I moved out, started hanging out with the wrong people, and got pregnant, people were like, ‘She ain’t goin’ nowhere now.’ I’d lost myself.”

Barrino, who dropped out around her freshman year of high school, struggled with finding a job due to her having a hard time counting and she “wasn’t a strong enough reader.” Unable to make ends meet solely from government assistance, Barrino had to make sacrifices such as shoplifting to provide essentials for her daughter Zion, such as diapers and milk. Despite facing those adversities, she said it motivated her to want more for herself so she could provide for Zion.

“At Christmas I stole a couple of educational toys for Zion because I didn’t want her to turn out like me—I tried to teach her everything I could,” she recalled. “Even now I want to get all the education I can so that when she gets home from school, I can help her with her homework. But living like that was hard.”

American Idol marked the start of Fantasia Barrino's professional career

Feeling as if the odds were against her at the time, Fantasia Barrino felt as if she “had given up on herself,” as she recalls to O, The Oprah Magazine. However, she says she was inspired to keep pushing towards her goals after watching the journey of Alabama singer Ruben Studdard, who won season two of American Idol. With that motivation in mind, Barrino took a leap of faith to pursue her dreams. She took her brother’s car and drove to Atlanta to audition for the competition.

She made it through the first round of auditions, but faced an obstacle at the time of her second round audition. The doors of the audition site were locked when she first got there, but after sparking conversation with a security guard, she managed to get in and get the opportunity of a lifetime. “Out of more than 40,000 people, I was the last person to audition. I’ve never seen that security guard again, never even knew his name,” she said in retrospect. “I talk about him in interviews, thinking he’ll pop up and say, ‘That was me.’ He never has.”

From that day on, the 19-year-old Barrino at the time stole our hearts with her vocal range, despite facing negativity for being a single mother. She told MTV News in 2004, “I’m a strong woman now. I fought so that my child can have the best. Don’t look down on me, pray for me.”

Fantasia Barrino's marriage to Kendall Taylor had everybody talking

Throughout her career, Fantasia Barrino faced a lot of drama. Between speculations of her allegedly having an affair with a married man, losing her fortune, and overdosing on sleeping pills and aspirin in 2010, Barrino entered a depressive state The singer told Good Morning America (via ABC News) that her suicide attempt was a result of six years of everything, of me holding all that stuff on the inside and not letting it out,” adding, “I got very, very tired.”

Barrino triumphed despite these issues, but she later made headlines after marrying her husband Kendall Taylor in 2015, per Essence. The public wasn’t too thrilled about Barrino’s marriage, given the circumstances of which she met Taylor. Taylor, who is a former felon, turned his life around and became a businessman. Barrino married Taylor after knowing him for just three weeks. Ignoring the criticism from the public, Barrino stands by her man and publicly defended their relationship on The Breakfast Club. During the interview, she made controversial comments about women being submissive to their lovers. Barrino is happy with Taylor, and we love to see it!

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

The real reason why Fantasia gave up touring

After almost two decades of giving us sweet vocals and memorable love songs, Fantasia Barrino announced that she would be stepping away from constant touring. During her 2019 appearance on The Real, the Grammy-winning artist said that she “can’t continue to [perform] every night,” per Urban Hollywood 411. In the meantime, Barrino says that she spends quality time with her son, Dallas, and daughter Zion — who just so happens to favor the singer.

Fame never changed Barrino. Given all she’s been through, the singer remains dedicated to being a supermom in her loving family. On an episode of Yes Girl! podcast, she revealed she regularly volunteers at Dallas’ school. She later explained, “I don’t want my kids to ever grow up and be like, ‘my momma was never there for this, for that.”

Music remains dear to her heart, but acting is one of the many things in Barrino’s future. Previously, she’s starred in a few roles: playing herself in Life Is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story, guest roles on American Dreams and The Simpsons, and a role in Soul Kitten Cabaret. Additionally, she became the first American Idol winner to star on Broadway, per Playbill. While there’s no word on when we’ll see her in another role, she revealed to CNN in 2019 that she is working on something she can’t provide details for. Life may not be a fairytale, but Fantasia Barrino surely knows how to find a fairytale ending.

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