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Despite not technically winning the competition, Jennifer Hudson won our hearts on season three of “American Idol.” She has continued to prove herself as a powerhouse in acting and singing, as well as entrepreneurship, over the last 17 years. Something that makes Hudson truly unique is that iconoclast Aretha Franklin chose Hudson to play her in “Respect,” the biopic of Franklin’s life that was released on August 13.
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JHud, as she has been nicknamed, has received multiple accolades for music and acting, including an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and a couple of Grammy Awards. She was listed as one of the most influential people of 2020 by Time magazine.
Hudson tends to keep a low profile in regards to money she earns and purchases she makes. She is said to have a net worth of $30 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. While she acts, sings and has served as a spokesperson for Weight Watchers, her specific earnings from those endeavors remain vague.
Her film debut as Effie White in “Dreamgirls” (2006) grossed over $155 million at the international box. Her co-star Beyonce took in $12.5 million for the film, according to Showbiz CheatSheet, though Hudson’s salary was not publicly reported. She has since starred in “Sex and the City” (2008), “The Secret Life of Bees” (2008), “Winnie Mandela” (2011), “Black Nativity” (2013), “Sing” (2016), and “Cats” (2019). She also guest starred on the television shows “Smash” (2013) and “Empire” (2015) and appeared in the TV movie “Confirmation” (2016).
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While her talent as an actress is undeniable, Hudson is best known for her music. Her musical clout began early, when she placed seventh in the third season of “American Idol.” She was signed to Arista Records, where in 2008 she released her self-titled debut studio album, which sold over a million copies and earned her the 2009 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album.
She also received critical and commercial success with her next albums, “I Remember Me”(2011) and “JHUD “(2014). In the meantime, she continued to gain support by performing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLIII and by participating in fundraisers for President Barack Obama and lending her vocal talents to the “Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement.” In 2013, Hudson received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Hudson earned additional accolades for her performance of Prince’s “Purple Rain” at the BET Awards in June 2016. At about the same time, she was signed by Epic Records and was described by then-chairman L.A. Reid as being a defining voice along the lines of Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin, Billboard reported.
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She also took a turn on Broadway in “The Color Purple” and later on in NBC’s “Hairspray Live,” where she portrayed Motormouth Maybelle
In the animated film “Sing,” Hudson sang “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight,” and she also sang the duet version of “Hallelujah” with Tori Kelly. In addition, Hudson played Grizabella in the 2019 film version of “Cats.”
Hudson was born in 1981 and was raised in Chicago, IL. She credits her musical beginnings as having started in the church choir when she was seven years old. At about the same time, she caught the acting bug by performing in local theater. While she had achieved a recording contract by 2002, she was able to get out of it in order to be eligible to compete on “American Idol.” Although she did not win, she is regarded as one of the most successful contestants in the show’s history. Before “Idol,” Hudson worked as an entertainer for Disney Cruises — a job that currently pays about $2,400 per month.
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Hudson was on an upward trajectory following “American Idol,” but it wasn’t until 2008 that she released her self-titled debut album. “Jennifer Hudson” won Best R&B Album at the 2009 Grammy Awards. At the same time, she was nominated for two more awards in the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals categories.
Hudson released “I Remember Me” in 2011 and “JHUD” in 2016.
Acting and Spokesperson Roles
Hudson took her place alongside celebrity powerhouses Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy and Beyonce in 2006 for the film adaptation of” Dreamgirls.” She took home 29 different awards, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, Celebrity Net Worth reported.
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Hudson appeared in many hit films, but she chose not to go public with her salary or details of her deals.
Hudson became a spokesperson for Weight Watchers in 2010. She was reported to have lost 80 pounds.
Hudson had a long-term romance and engagement with David Otunga, a Harvard graduate and WWE professional wrestler she began dating in 2008. Hudson gave birth to their son, David, in August 2009. In the midst of their 2017 split, the couple engaged in a legal battle over custody of David and Otunga’s request for support. Details of their eventual agreement remain private, E Online reported in 2019.
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Hudson owns a 12,000-square-foot-home valued at more than $3 million in Chicago suburb Burr Ridge.
Hudson experienced tragedy when her mother, brother and nephew were killed in a shooting in 2008. After time away from the public eye, Hudson and her family created The Hudson-King Foundation for Families of Slain Victims and, in honor of her nephew, the Julian D. King Gift Foundation.
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