Fantasia Barrino went from a girl from High Point, NC, to America’s Idol when she won the popular competition show, signed a record deal that would put forth many albums with Simon Cowell and Clive Davis at the helm, a best selling book, a movie on her life, and then some. But with all the highs that came, who would’ve thought that there would be a lot of lows that came along with the fame.
The “Free Yourself” singer said it best herself: Life Is Not a Fairytale. The phrase was the title of her 2005 memoir, but tragedies would just begin for the American Idol winner. She was sued by her father for “writing false, exaggerated, sensational, intentional and malicious untruths,” according to CBS News.
Then, in 2010, her fans were rocked with the news that she had attempted to take her own life. Life had started to get hard tumultuous for the singer but began to spiral when she became involved with Antwaun Cook, a married man, and she began to live in the headlines for the affair (which she claimed to believe they were separated), she overdosed on aspirin and sleeping pills. “I just sat in the closet and looked at the mirror and took all the pills in the bottle,” the singer revealed. “I knew exactly what I was doing. You can’t accidentally take a whole bottle of pills.”
Thankfully she survived and shared with The Real that the attempt had little to do with Cook, and more to do with “quieting the noise in her life”, but that if she had one regret, it was that moment. “When I tried to just get away from the world, some will say commit suicide,” she explained. “I didn’t think it was me trying to kill myself. I just wanted to be away from all the noise. If I could do that over, I would. I would change that.”
Within that time period, she suffered some tough financial hardships as well. She sat down for an interview with RadioFree KJLH where she further discussed her financial journey, and she revealed that she had lost her money not once, but twice. The singer talked about a time where she lost her house that she purchased for $1.3 million, a matter she also discussed years ago on CNN saying, “At the time I had a lot of different lawsuits, people just trying to come after me and for a while, I went without management. I did have a lawyer, but I guess, I don’t know if it was a money situation or the lawyer just had too much on his hands, I don’t know, but he wasn’t showing up for court…”
She later added within the same interview, “The courts put both of my homes up for auction, so there was no foreclosure. It wasn’t that we weren’t paying the bills or didn’t have money. I guess when people heard I was doing ‘The Color Purple’ [on Broadway] they thought I had ‘Color Purple’/Oprah Winfrey money.”
Her stint in The Color Purple on Broadway was a special yet super hard time for the singer, who juggled “musical achievements, tours, a best-selling book and a movie about her life,” plus the Broadway gig, according to an interview with Oprah. “I was on Broadway for a year. Toward the end, I kind of lost control. Everything was going down the drain,” she said. She soon became overloaded and felt overwhelmed, and her weight also became affected as she gained an extra 30 pounds, while the show had to refund about half a million dollars after so many missed performances.
The newfound success made Barrino feel like she could take care of the family, as she is a giving person. “When I won [American Idol], I just wanted to see all of my family happy. And I created that monster,” the singer recalled to Oprah. “When I began to give, give, give, everybody was like: ‘Hey, this is the good life. I can sit back home.'”
She continued, “I was young, fresh in the game, and I just wanted to sing, without really understanding that you still have to watch after everything that you have going for you.” She knew that things were REALLY bad when her card declined while trying to pay for a pizza. “At that point, I knew that I had been mishandled. Because there should have been no way that there wasn’t any pizza money,”
Luckily she was able to pull herself out of the financial rut. “You have to take care of your money,” she states. “You have to meet with your lawyers and look over your schedule and figure out what it is that you have going on… People could just be running you and using you and abusing your gift.”
Barrino also credits friends who have helped her along the way. She spoke on the sad truths that many artists face with Tammi Mac on KJLH. “A lot of artists that you see, they look like they have it, and we smile and we come out and we put on a good show, but in real life, some of them are struggling and we don’t have it.”
She credits Tyler Perry as the friend that would make sure that she was good and encouraged her. “He would call and check up on me. He was one of the ones, when I lost everything, he came and blessed me. And I thank him for that,” she recalled. Barrino claims that Perry helped her to better understand her financial challenges when she needed a trustworthy individual who had only her best interests at heart. “You look around and you could be working for 10 years, you’ve got all these people on your team, you’re paying this person, that person, and you look up, and you don’t have no money in the bank because you’ve given it to everybody else.”
She now aims to show people that although you fall, you can be assured that you can get back up, and she wants to continue to pay it forward. The singer also has much to celebrate as she and her husband, Kendall Taylor, announced during a recent Instagram Live session that they are expecting a new bundle of joy. “Listen to me, a little Taylor baby on the way in these streets,” Taylor said while giving his wife Fantasia a kiss on the belly. The singer also shared a post on her Instagram with the caption that revealed that doctors told her she had fertility issues. “God I want to thank you! You gave us a seed even when the doctor said that one of my tubes were closed you said different. @salute1st I love you king and I can’t wait to see who he or she acts like,” she wrote.
BIG announcement 💜🎉 pic.twitter.com/z8zJAZNZUU— Fantasia • #SketchbookOutNow (@TasiasWord) November 25, 2020