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Kelly Clarkson marks 18th anniversary of ‘American Idol’ win: "It changed my life"

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Kelly Clarkson may be involved with a different singing competition these days, but she’ll never forget the one that first put her on the map.

“18 years ago today was the finale of the first season of American Idol and it changed my life!” she tweeted on Friday. “I’m still hustlin 18 years later because I know I am blessed to have the opportunities and I still love my purpose!”

“Find your purpose! Seek out what keeps that fire in you burning,” Kelly urged her fans, adding fire and heart emojis.

Kelly won the first season of American Idol in 2002, when she was just 20, beating Justin Guarini for the crown — and she’s certainly come a long way from belting out “A Moment Like This” while Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson looked on.

In the past 18 years, Kelly’s released seven studio albums and one holiday album, won armloads of awards — including three Grammys and a Daytime Emmy Award — scored a string of hits, lent her voice to several animated films, and written two children’s books. 

In addition, Kelly’s sold over 25 million albums worldwide and is now a fixture on TV, hosting The Kelly Clarkson Show and serving as a coach on NBC’s The Voice

Until a few months ago when she filed for divorce, Kelly was married to her manager, Brandon Blackstock. She shares two children with him, and also considers his two children from his previous marriage her own kids.

By Andrea Dresdale
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