8 Things We Learned From Kelly Clarkson's Howard Stern Interview: American Idol, Breakdowns and More

Singer opens up about American Idol and more

By Kendall Fisher Nov 01, 2017 6:28 PMTags

Kelly Clarkson has been in the spotlight now for 15 years, but that doesn't mean we know everything about the first American Idol winner.

She stopped by The Howard Stern Show on Wednesday to promote her eighth studio album, Meaning of Life, which just came out last week. But despite seemingly knowing about her life as we've listened to each of her albums over the years, she managed to open up a bit about a few of the things we might not know—including her childhood, her various career choices (and some of the things she didn't choose) as well as her days during and after the craziness of American Idol

Here are 8 things we learned about the 35-year-old singer:

1. She Realized Her Talent at 13: She told Stern that she was walking in the hallway at school and singing when someone told her to join choir. She brushed it off at first because she wanted to learn how to play an instrument, but when it came to deciding between band or choir—she had to pick one or the other for an elective—she said she was "too poor" to afford to pay for an instrument. Thus, she chose choir.

2. She Didn't Go to College: After starting on her path in singing, Clarkson decided not to go to college. Instead, she moved to Los Angeles and sent every record label and agency her demo tape, using an old school phone book to do so. LOL!

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

3. She Had a Very Strict American Idol Contract: Clarkson was signed to Sony Music's RCA Records after winning American Idol in 2002. In order to fulfill the contract, she had to complete six records with the label, which she finally did by 2013—11 years after her win. After her seventh album, Piece by Piece, was released in 2015, she decided it was time for a change. She signed with Atlantic records in 2016.

4. Her Days on American Idol Were Much Different Than They Are Today: She told Stern there was no audience until the top 5 round. Instead, the competitors sang on a stage in front of a red light. "We were ghetto Idol," she recalled, laughing.

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5. She Had No Idea American Idol Was Ending: When Clarkson sang on Idol's finale, she was pregnant with her second child and had no idea it was the last show. "In all honesty, when I was on the show, I was pregnant with my son on the finale," she recalled. "And they had mentioned, like, 'Don't say it's over…" and I was like, 'Wait what? We're on the finale?'"

6. She Knew She Wouldn't Be a Judge for the New Show: "We had already been talking to The Voice, and I had already been on The Voice," she explained. "I had already been doing stuff so by the time they came around I was like sorry…I gave them 15 years."

Trae Patton/NBC

7. She Once Had a Breakdown Over Milk: And not even spilled milk. The singer recalled her rise to fame after American Idol and how the constant attention eventually got to her. 

"I was in my garage in Texas and my brother was like 'code red' because I was just sort of crying and I couldn't stop," she recalled.  "I went to the grocery store, and I wanted milk, and I just couldn't get milk without someone talking to me. And I love talking to people, I really do. I'm a people person, but it was just the height of it, and I broke down about getting milk."

She continued, "It was really weird. I think it clicked that I could never have [my old life] back. It was one of those decisions that clicked at a very young age."

8. There's a Reason She Doesn't Dance: "I'm not hating on anyone's success, but I think the part that makes me mad is when I'm compared to [performers who dance]," she explained. "It's like, you know, she can do four shows in a row, and I'm like, well that's because she's dancing real pretty. That's a different ball game."

She continued, "I love dancing. They tried to get me to do it in the beginning, but I'm a different singer. Beyoncé can really sing, but she loves dancing, that's her thing...When she's doing what she's doing, it's hard to hate on that."

Check out more from her Stern Show interview here.