It’s been two decades since Kelly Clarkson‘s life-changing American Idol victory, and she’s marking the occasion with gratitude and an emotional message of hope and love for everyone who supported her during her Idol years.
On social media, the singer shared a lengthy message reflecting on the ways in which Idol jump-started her career and continues to impact her to this day.
“That moment was the door that opened up so much access and opportunity, and creative partnerships that I will be grateful for all of my days,” Clarkson writes.
“The family and friendships I have created over these 20 years in music and TV are priceless to me,” she continues, going on to highlight the relationships she formed along the way during her career.
“We only get so many trips around the sun and while I am proud and feel abundantly blessed of the successes and failures that I have learned from, I am most proud and grateful for those friends that have become family, and for their arms that have held me when I needed it and their hearts that listened to me when I felt lost,” Clarkson says in her reflection.
She concludes her message with an emotional statement of gratitude for those who supported her at the beginning — “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” she says — and tells her fans that she hopes all of them have, or soon will find, a community just as supportive as the one she’s found in the music business.
“I hope all of you have people in your lives that fill you with laughter, and hope, and happiness,” the singer writes, “And if you don’t feel like you have that, then keep searching because I promise they’re looking for you too.”
Clarkson auditioned for the very first season of American Idol in May 2002. She earned a “Golden Ticket” to the Hollywood rounds of the show, but she wasn’t featured on television until the second episode of the show. That September, after a season helmed by judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, she was named the very first Idol champ, beating out runner-up contestant Justin Guarini.
As part of a busy and multi-faceted career that includes work as a touring and recording artist as well as a hosting gig on her very own the Kelly Clarkson Show, Clarkson has returned to her televised singing competition roots by taking on a coaching role on The Voice. She’ll sit out the show’s 2022 season after many years of being a Voice coach in order to take some time off and focus on her family. She has not revealed whether she plans to rejoin The Voice for future seasons.
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