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Ex American Idol judge Paula Abdul: her career journey, relationships and family revealed

The TV star has had an amazing career!

paula abdul
Eve Crosbie
Eve CrosbieTV & Film Writer
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The Masked Dancer returns tonight for its second episode and we couldn't be more excited!

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While we wait to see which new celebrities will be unveiled from behind the wacky but seriously impressive masks, why not get to know panellist Paula Abdul? Keep reading for everything you need to know about the panellist and performer...

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Paula Abdul relationships

Paula married actor Emilio Estevez in 1992 split two years later as Paula wanted children, while Emilio, already a father of two from a previous relationship, did not. "It was very hard for him to admit that he couldn't handle having kids again," Paula told Entertainment Weekly. "It was heartbreaking for us both."

paula and Emilio Estevez© Photo: Getty Images

Paula was married to Emilio Estevez from 1992 to 1994

She tied the knot again in 1996 with clothing designer Brad Beckerman, but separated in 1998, after 17 months of marriage.

It is not known who the 58-year-old TV personality is now dating.

Paula Abdul career

Paula made a name for herself as a singer, dancer and choreographer after being discovered at the age of 20 by the Jacksons. She went on to choreograph many music videos and dance sequences in films, including the giant keyboard scene involving Tom Hanks's character in the 80's film, Big.

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Paula was one of the original judges on American Idol, and appeared on the show up until its ninth season in 2009. She went on to appear as a judge on The X Factor, Live to Dance and So You Think You Can Dance.

More recently, Paula has returned to her roots as a performer and choreographer. In 2017, she co-headlined the Total Package Tour alongside New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men, and in 2019 she embarked on her first Las Vegas residency, which ran up until January 2020.

In 2023 she sued Nigel Lythgoe, former American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance producer and judge, for sexual assault. She claimed he sexually assaulted her twice during filming of the two shows.

READ MORE: Paula Abdul sues former American Idol, Popstars producer Nigel Lythgoe for sexual assault - all we know

american idol© Photo: Getty Images

Paula left American Idol in 2009

In an interview with Elle magazine at the time, Paula revealed her decision to return to the stage after two decades away was down to "many reasons".

She explained: "I always wanted to get back on stage, because I missed it. I wanted to get back in close contact with the people who have supported me all throughout my career and be able to see them again. Plus, I was getting asked all the time if I would ever do it again! I finally said, You know what, I want to and I'm going to make it a priority."

paula abdul insta© Photo: Instagram

The TV personality said she was "ecstatic" to be joining the panel of The Masked Dancer

Paula Abdul The Masked Dancer

In October it was announced that Paula would be joining the judging panel for The Masked Singer spinoff series, alongside Ken Jeong, Ashley Tisdale and Brian Austin Green. Taking to Instagram to share her excitement at the news, Paula wrote: "SURPRISE!! I am ecstatic to be joining @MaskedDancerFOX this December."

She continued: "My favorite time of the week is guessing who the voices are behind the masks on #TheMaskedSinger, new episode airs tonight at 8|7c on @foxtv, so I'm thrilled to get behind the judges panel for a new show centered around my biggest passion...with a fun twist!! I'm excited to begin this new adventure with all of you."

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