She turned down two full-ride scholarships to the University of Texas and the Berklee College of Music, and later turned down two record deals before winning American Idol.
In 2006, she won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the widely successful song "Since U Been Gone."
She was born to Jeanne and Joseph Clarkson, and has a stepfather named Jimmy Taylor as well as a brother named Jason and sister named Alyssa. She married Brandon Blackstock in 2013. The couple had a daughter named River Rose in June of 2014 and a son named Remington Alexander in April of 2016.
She and Carrie Underwood both gained fame after winning American Idol.