Fantasia Monique Barrino-Taylor, known professionally by her mononym Fantasia, is an American R&B singer, songwriter, actress and author. She rose to fame as the winner of the third season of the reality television series American Idol in 2004. Following her victory, she released her debut single, “I Believe,” which debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Subsequently, she released her debut album, Free Yourself, which went on to be certified Platinum by the RIAA and earned Barrino three Grammy nominations in 2006. Take a look below for 33 more awesome and interesting facts about Fantasia Barrino.
1. Barrino was born to Diane and Joseph Barrino and raised in High Point, North Carolina.
2. She began singing at the age of five.
3. R&B duo K-Ci & JoJo are her first cousins.
4. Her uncles, The Barrino Brothers, were a 1970s R&B band.
5. Despite the travels, she attended Andrews High School in High Point, North Carolina.
6. Feeling embarrassed and harassed after she was raped by a classmate, she dropped out of high school.
7. She became pregnant at 16, and on August 8, 2001 she gave birth to her daughter, Zion Quari Barrino, with her ex-boyfriend, Brandel Shouse.
8. Barrino’s show was a heartfelt staging of the Porgy and Bess standard “Summertime” that left her in tears from “feeling the song” and earned praise from the judges and was named amongst the AOL’s 2004 list of greatest television moments.
9. Barrino participated in the U.S. tour with the other American Idol finalists and appeared in the 2004 Christmas special, Kelly, Ruben and Fantasia: Home For the Holidays as well.
10. Barrino’s brother auditioned for the eighth season of American idol but failed to make it to the Hollywood round.
11. After winning American Idol, Barrino signed to J Records with 19 Entertainment and began work on her debut album.
12. In 2006, Barrino was nominated for three Grammy Awards for her debut album. Though she did not win any awards, she performed at the 48th annual telecast with several artists including Aerosmith, Joss Stone, John Legend, Maroon 5, and Ciara in an all-star tribute to Sly and the Family Stone during the Grammy Award show.
13. In August 2006, Barrino played herself in a Lifetime Television film based on her autobiography Life Is Not a Fairy Tale.
14. Barrino had many musical collaborations during the fall of 2006 including a remake of The Clark Sisters’ “Endow Me” which featured Faith Evans, Lil’ Mo, and Coko of SWV, a remake of Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “I Wish” with Patti LaBelle and Yolanda Adams for the soundtrack to the 2006 computer-animated film Happy Feet, and most notably her duet with Aretha Franklin which was recorded at that time and later released in 2007.
15. She released her self-titled second effort, Fantasia, on December 12, 2006.
16. “When I See You” became her first single to top the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, remaining at the number one spot for eight consecutive weeks.
17. Barrino received two Grammy nominations for her sophomore release, Fantasia and subsequently began work on her third studio album in 2008.
18. Barrino was then cast by Oprah Winfrey as Celie in the film adaptation of The Color Purple musical, which began production after the release of her third album, as Barrino confirmed to MTV News on March 5, 2008.
19. In September 2005, Barrino published a memoir, dictated to a freelance writer, titled Life Is Not a Fairy Tale. In it, she revealed she was functionally illiterate and was unable to read the text of contracts she signed or to read to her then four-year-old daughter.
20. In 2006, following the release of her autobiography, Barrino’s father sued her for $10 million after she said unflattering things about him in the book that he claimed were false.
21. On December 9, 2008, Barrino’s 6,600-square-foot (610 m2), lakefront home in Charlotte’s Glynmoor Lakes at Piper Glen community was in foreclosure and would be up for auction. Her 4,500-square-foot (420 m2) home, also in Piper Glen, is unaffected.
22. An August 2010 divorce filing in Mecklenburg County District Court alleges that Barrino had a year-long relationship with Antwaun Cook, who was married, bringing up the subject of alienation of affection laws in North Carolina.
23. On August 9, 2010, Barrino was hospitalized in Pineville, North Carolina, due to overdosing on aspirin and an unknown sleep aid.
24. In late August 2010, the ex-wife of Antwuan Cook, Paula Cook, accused Barrino of knowingly pursuing a relationship with her husband despite knowledge of their existing marriage.
25. In December 2010, a North Carolina judge ruled in Barrino’s favor, stating the Cooks’ separation date was September 14, 2009, and not June 2010 as Paula previously claimed.
26. On August 1, 2011, Barrino announced a second pregnancy during a charity concert event in Jacksonville, Florida. She did not reveal the name of the father.
27. On September 13, 2011 it was confirmed that the singer would be having a boy. On December 13, 2011, she gave birth to a son, Dallas Xavier Barrino.
28. On July 18, 2015, she married Kendall Taylor, a businessman.
29. She dated former NFL player Michael Clayton, who was at the time playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
30. From 2008 to 2009, Barrino dated rapper Young Dro.
31. Barrino’s voice has been described as raspy, gritty and soulful.
32. Barrino has said from childhood she has been influenced by soul singers Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan and Tina Turner, as well as jazz singers Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway and Nina Simone.
33. Since winning American Idol in 2004, Barrino has sold over three million records and won numerous awards and accolades, including a Grammy Award, three Billboard Awards, three NAACP Image Awards and two ASCAP Awards.