Christina Aguilera

In August 1999, Christina Aguilera's self-titled debut album entered the music charts at number one and stunned the music industry worldwide. But the sultry singer's voice is such that it was only a matter of time before it came to the attention of legions of teenyboppers.

Born December 18, 1980, Christina grew up with her violinist mum Shelly Kearns, sister Rachel, and her step-dad in an unglamorous steel town near Philadelphia. Her biological father, Fausto an Ecuadorian native and sergeant in the US Army broke with the family when Christina was just seven years old. Although father and daughter met up recently in New York to get reacquainted and time seems to be healing old wounds, that early breach gave the youthful Christina's singing an emotional depth beyond her years. "The only way I was able to bring myself out of all that negativity was to lock myself in my room and sing," she once said.

Christina's path to stardom was that of many teen sensations. Paying her dues on the US variety show Star Search, she then joined The Mickey Mouse Club a veritable teen icon training camp whose roster included Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake but returned home heartbroken shortly after, when the show was cancelled.

With a voice often compared to that of Mariah Carey - who reportedly threatened to back out of the music video channel VH1's prestigious Divas 2000 concert when producers offered a slot to Christina - the Pittsburgh songbird was unlikely to stay silent for long, however. In 1998 she was called to do a voice test for the themetrack of the Disney animation Mulan. The result, Reflection, was impressive on disc, but the big question was, could the teenager reproduce her soaring vocals live? Any such doubts were categorically laid to rest when, during a TV show to promote the film, Christina belted out a sterling rendition.

Since her debut album went platinum several times over, she has entertained former US President Bill Clinton, beaten off competition from front-runners Macy Gray and Britney Spears for a Best New Artist Grammy, and performed at the Superbowl opposite Latin heart-throb Enrique Iglesias. RCA executive Ron Fair calls her the next Barbra Streisand, suggesting that this young star has the potential for something her contemporaries don't longevity.

Christina is no stranger to controversy. She is often criticised for her revealing outfits, and was involved in a highly publicised feud with controversial rapper Eminem, who had less than kind words to say about the singer on his single The Real Slim Shady. As for the bubblegum babe's love life, she was briefly - and incorrectly - linked to Carson Daly, host of MTV's popular Total Request Live programme, and had a lengthy relationship with one of her back up dancers, Jorge Santos. In November 2005 she wed music exec Jordan Bratman in a romantic sunset ceremony in California's Napa Valley.

The couple became first-time parents in January 2008, when they welcomed the birth of a baby son, Max Liron Bratman, but just two and a half years later their relationship broke down. "Although Jordan and I are separated, our commitment to our son Max remains as strong as ever," she told a US magazine.

 

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