29-year-old Chicago-born R&B and soul singer, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jennifer Hudson[/lastfm], has a long resume of accomplishments–and she’s only been active in the public eye for seven years since her audition on American Idol.

In that time span, Hudson has won an Academy Award, befriended huge public figures like President Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey, become the face of a giant advertising campaign for Weight Watchers, and tragically lost her family–including her brother and mother–to a senseless murder.

Hudson has been through a lot, which makes her live performances even more magical and powerful, especially her free streaming Live on Letterman concert from the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, on June 13th at 9 PM ET. You can watch the entire concert, live right here!


1 jennifer hudson peter kramer getty images Live on Letterman: Jennifer Hudson Year by Year Since American Idol

Photo by Peter Kramer//Getty Images

  • Hudson auditions in Atlanta singing [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Aretha Franklin[/lastfm]’s “Share Your Love With Me.” Previously, Hudson was a Disney cruise ship singer.
  • Hudson makes it to the “Top 7,” but gets voted off, allegedly due to a power outage in her hometown of Chicago.


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  • About a year and a half after her appearance on American Idol and after a pretty quiet year, Hudson is cast in November 2005 as Effie White in Dreamgirls alongside stars like [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Beyoncé Knowles [/lastfm]and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jamie Foxx[/lastfm].
  • Hudson wasn’t just handed her eventual Oscar-winning role–she had to beat out hundreds of other singers and actress, including F[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]antasia Barrino[/lastfm] who won her season of American Idol.


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Photo by Bryan Bedder//Getty Images

  • Filming of Dreamgirls started on January 6th, 2006.
  • Hudson sang her first single, “Over It,” off her debut album on the Fox Chicago Morning News in September 2006.
  • In November 2006, Hudson is signed to Arista Records.
  • Dreamgirls went into limited release December of 2006.


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Photo by Vince Bucci//Getty Images

  • Dreamgirls goes into national release January 2007.
  • Hudson’s version of the lead song from Dreamgirls, “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on January 13th and became Hudson’s first top 10 hit on Hot Adult R&B Airplay chart.
  • In late February, Hudson tells Tyra Banks that she recorded a song called “Stand Up” for her new album. The song ended up becoming a bonus track.
  • Hudson wins a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, a BAFTA for Best Supporting actress, an Academy Award for Beset Supporting Actress and over twenty other awards for her performance as Effie White in Dreamgirls.
  • On March 6th, the Mayor of Chicago declares that day “Jennifer Hudson Day.”
  • Hudson films her role as Louise in Sex and the City.


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Photo by Frazer Harrison//Getty Images

  • In January 2008, Hudson goes back into the studio again to work on her début album.
  • That May, Hudson appears as Louise in the Sex and the City movie–which includes some new tracks from the artist.
  • A month later, in June, Hudson’s first official original single called “Spotlight” is released and reaches #24 on the Billboard Top 100.
  • On September 15th, Hudson becomes engaged to  David Otunga, who was at that time known as Punk from I Love New York.
  • Fifteen days later, on September 30th, Hudson’s self-titled début is released.
  • On October 17th, The Secret Life of Bees was released into theatres. Also starring [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Queen Latifah[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Alicia Keys[/lastfm], and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Dakota Fanning[/lastfm], Hudson was nominated for her role by the Black Reel Awards but lost to Queen Latifah.
  • On October 24th, Hudson’s 57-year-old mother, Darnell Donnerson, and 29-year-old brother, Jason Hudson, were found murdered by gunshot in her mother’s home. Hudson’s 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, from her sister Julia, was also found murdered after he was declared missing. Julia’s estranged husband and Julian’s father was indicted for the murders in December 2008.


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Photo by Jamie Squire//Getty Images

  • In February 2009,  Jennifer Hudson makes her first public appearance after the murders to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl.
  • Hudson tours with British R&B singer, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Robin Thicke[/lastfm].
  • Her debut self-titled album won her three 2009 Grammy Award nominations including Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “Spotlight”, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for “I’m His Only Woman” with Fantasia Barrino, and Best R&B Album for Jennifer Hudson. She won for Best R&B Album.
  • Hudson sang “I Will Be There” at Michael Jackson’s memorial service on July 7th.
  • In August, Fragments, an indie film based on a novel, gets released to DVD. The movie is Hudson’s fourth film appearance.
  • A Christmas special airs on December 2009 called Jennifer Hudson: I’ll Be Home for Christmas.


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Photo by Andrew Walker//Getty Images

  • In 2010, Hudson started filming an upcoming biopic film Winnie, a movie based on the South African politician Winnie Mandela. However, South Africa and Winnie Mandela herself threatened legal action over this film because Mandela wasn’t consulted.
  • In April 2010, Hudson announced that she was the official spokesperson for Weight Watchers, telling Oprah that she lost 56lbs. Hudson would later go on to lose about 80 lbs.
  • Hudson starts working on her second album.


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Photo by Rob Kim//Getty Images

  • On March 22nd, Hudson releases her sophomore album called I Remember Me. Debuting at number two, some of the contributors to I Remember Me include [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Swizz Beatz[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Alicia Keys[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Rich Harrison[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Ne-Yo[/lastfm],[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] R.Kelly[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=””]Harvey Mason[/lastfm], Jr., [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Ryan Tedder[/lastfm], and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Diane Warren[/lastfm].
  • It was recently announced that Hudson is going to play a nun in Farrelly brothers film version of The Three Stooges, released in 2012.

[Source: Wikipedia]


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