Kelly Clarkson is happy in the skin she's in... but that wasn't always the case.
Clarkson became an overnight sensation after winning the first season of "American Idol" 15 years ago. But, as her sophomore album, 2004's Breakaway took off, Clarkson was put under immense pressure to lose weight and look as "skinny" as her peers. The "Since U Been Gone" singer, who battled bulimia in high school, knew she was fighting a losing battle.
"When I was really skinny, I wanted to kill myself. I was miserable, like inside and out, for four years of my life," she says in Attitude magazine. "But no one cared, because aesthetically you make sense."
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Clarkson, who was signed to Clive Davis' RCA Records at the time, calls it a "very dark time" in her career. "I thought the only way out was quitting. I, like, wrecked my knees and my feet, because all I would do is put in headphones and run," she says. "I was at the gym all the time."
The singer says realized she needed to regain control of her life--and her career. She famously fought with Davis over the songs featured on her third album, 2007's My December, and she later fired her manager, Jeff Kwatinetz. "There's a song on My December called 'Sober.' There's this line--'picked the weeds but kept the flowers'--and I just live my life by that, because you are who you surround yourself with. I was around some really negative people, and I got out of it because I had a lot of great people there, too," says Clarkson, who signed a deal with Atlantic Records last spring. "It was a case of turning around, facing them and walking toward the light."
These days, Clarkson would rather talk about her new music than her appearance. Her eighth album, Meaning of Life, is out Oct. 27. "I don't obsess about my weight, which is probably one of the reasons why other people have such a problem with it. There are just some people who are born skinny and with a great metabolism-that is not me," Clarkson told Redbook two years ago. "I wish I had a better metabolism. But someone else probably wishes they could walk into a room and make friends with everyone like I can. You always want what someone else has."