When Fantasia Barrino told America that she had "been through some stuff" upon winning the "American Idol" crown in 2004, she was putting it mildly. That didn't even include her most recent struggles with a drug overdose and being accused of breaking up a marriage.
On VH1's latest episode of "Behind the Music," which premiered Tuesday night (August 24), viewers learned that, although the spunky "Idol" winner has suffered several lows recently, she is on her way to a full recovery and proud of herself for being who she is.
The episode opened with a detailed account of Barrino's shocking overdose, in which she said she made attempted to end her life because she "didn't have any fight" in her. "At that moment I didn't care about anything. I just wanted out," she said, boldly admitting that the overdose wasn't at all an accident and that she was not happy when she woke up in the hospital and realized her suicide attempt "didn't work" — until her nurse, Melody, told her to get up and fulfill her destiny.
From there, the episode delves deep into Fantasia's North Carolina roots — beginning with when she began singing (at age 5), then tracing her first love (ex-boyfriend Brandel Shouse, the father of her daughter, Zion), which would later turn into an abusive relationship. "He was somebody I was crazy about," Barrino said. "The first guy who showed me attention."
Barrino recounted how in high school she started to crave attention in other ways, by wearing tight clothing, acting like she was already an adult, until her world was turned upside down after she was raped at her high school at age 14. "I didn't even cry my way home," she said of her feelings after the assault. "I was numb, very numb, confused, I just felt nasty. Disgusting."
Although she didn't press charges, Barrino said she was unable to continue going to school because of the taunts and harassment from her classmates, so she dropped out and then "turned into a rebel," until her hard-partying and careless ways landed her pregnant at 17. Unable to support herself and her daughter, Barrino began singing professionally, taking any gigs that paid, until she saw an episode of "American Idol" and fought her way into an audition.
The rest of Barrino's story is familiar to "Idol" fans: She was crowned the winner of season three, which she called "the best day of my life," signed to a record contract with Clive Davis and was the first new artist to have a single debut at #1.
Barrino's post-"Idol" career path wasn't smooth sailing, however. The young singer once again found herself nearly bankrupt after dealing with corrupt managers and legal woes, but she received new hope after being cast in "A Color Purple" on Broadway. From there, the episode delved into the star's recent lows — a scare with throat tumors, which she had surgically removed — and her relationship with Antwaun Cook and the lawsuit from his ex-wife, Paula, which led to her suicide attempt last week.
"I realize how people end up in the grave because of that one moment," she said of that dark day. "Feeling like they can't go on [because] it's too heavy, that's somewhere I never want to go again."
Fortunately, the episode ended on a high note, with Barrino proudly receiving her GED and walking in a graduation ceremony with the 2010 class of her former high school, St. Andrews.
"I know that I am beautiful and special," Barrino said. "I am who I am — and that's what makes me Fantasia."
What did you think about Fantasia's story on "Behind the Music"? Share your thoughts in the comments!