With five Grammy awards won and 75 million records sold around the world, Christina Aguilera is a force that has changed the music industry for good. Known for her powerhouse vocals and distinct belting tone, she has established her place in Hollywood as one of the best-selling and most iconic singers of all time.
It’s been more than 20 years since Christina first emerged onto the pop music scene, and though she’s been through a series of transformations and comebacks, she’s showing no signs of leaving the stage behind.
When she’s not touring around the world and performing for thousands of adoring and loyal fans, Aguilera spends time with her two children, Max Bratman and Summer Rain Rutler. Though it’s not easy, she’s found a way to withstand all the pressure that working moms (and moms in general) face and finds time both for her work and her family.
In addition to being full of talent, the ‘Fighter’ singer is full of wisdom and advice about juggling her home life and the persona she shows off in the spotlight.
Keep reading to find out these 20 little-known facts about Xtina’s life as a megastar and as a mom and wife.
20 She Started Singing As An Escape From Her Life
Originally, singing was a way for Aguilera to escape from the hardships she had to face in life. While she was growing up, her father made her feel unsafe until her parents divorced when she was six years old. The family escaped her father by moving in with her grandmother.
“Growing up, I did not feel safe,” Aguilera said (via Ranker). “Feeling powerless is the worst feeling in the world. I turned to singing as an outlet.” Although singing helped Aguilera to deal with her pain, it wasn’t until her fifth studio album that she was able to write and release music focusing on what she endured in her childhood.
19 Japan Played A Key Role In Finding Her Sound
Together with her mother, Aguilera moved to Japan in 1994 after her time as one of Disney’s Mousketeers. They stayed there for two years while Aguilera worked on her craft and explored her sound. In Japan, Aguilera recorded ‘All I Wanna Do’ with a Japanese pop star, as well as other demos that allowed her to find the sound that would one day make her a star.
Even today, Aguilera feels a connection with Japan. She has labeled it as “an inspirational place” and has even taken her own children there in the hope that they’ll experience some of the same magic.
18 And So Did Disney
Most stars don’t get to work with Disney until they’re established and already have stellar professional success behind them. But for Aguilera, her Disney stint came before the fame. Her manager, Steven Kurtz, sent the company a demo tape of her singing Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Run to You’, which she recorded on a boom box in her living room.
Unsurprisingly, Disney was impressed and invited Aguilera to sing ‘Reflection’ for the animated movie Mulan. ‘Reflection’ went on to entice many big names in the industry, including Ron Fair from RCA Records, who signed Aguilera to his own label in 1998.
17 She Uses An Alter-Ego To Excel In The Spotlight
Quite a few stars have spoken of relying on alter-egos to help them cope with living their lives in the spotlight. Alter-egos allow celebrities to show the world a character while keeping their private personalities to themselves. Aguilera’s was inspired by a 1962 movie called What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? which was about an aging child star who has to take care of her sister.
In order to get into the mode of adopting Baby Jane’s personality (who’s played in the movie by Bette Davis), Aguilera puts on red lipstick. Without her fiery crimson lips, she explains, she struggles to get into character and doesn’t perform in the same way.
16 Sometimes She Zones Out To Cope With Her Busy Life
Another way Aguilera copes with her super hectic life in the spotlight? Zoning out every now and then, just inside her own head.
The singer revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone that her “mind is always thinking.” She explained, “I’ll think about really crazy things, like being on top of that pole up there. Or I’ll get a lot of different weird visions. It’s my own little world. My life just revolves around giving and giving. So whenever I get those five minutes in a van or limo or wherever, those are special moments to just zone out and think and dream.”
15 She Hasn’t Always Reached Out To Support Her Fellow Artists
There have been one or two occasions when Aguilera has butted heads with some of the other powerhouses in the industry. One of her most notable frenemies is P!nk, who she performed with on ‘Lady Marmalade.' But now that both artists are a little more grown up, they’ve put aside their differences and have openly supported each other.
Aguilera also famously revealed her feelings about newcomer Lady Gaga in 2010. When she was asked what she thought of Gaga, Aguilera said, “This person was just brought to my attention not too long ago. I’m not quite sure who this person is, to be honest. I don’t know if it is a man or a woman.” Sounds like a diss to us!
14 But She Does Have A Lot Of Friends In The Industry
Even though she's had the odd tiff with other faces in the industry, Aguilera has also made a lot of friends during her time in the spotlight. Nicole Richie is one celebrity that Aguilera seems to have really connected with, and the singer leaned on the reality star in 2010 when she was going through a divorce from Jordan Bratman.
“It’s very clear through Christina’s music what a strong woman she is,” Richie told Redbook Magazine. “But to watch her as a mother only skyrockets the respect I have for her. She is the woman who’s recording until 4 a.m. and up at 7 to be with her son. Her dedication to Max is incredible.”
13 She Believes That Mothers Face Too Much Pressure
Being a parent herself, Aguilera feels firsthand how much pressure there is on mothers to meet the expectations of society. Huffington Post reported several of the singer’s most profound quotes on motherhood, which reveal that she is fed up with all the pressure mothers must face.
“Mothers are constantly expected to be the nurturers, the givers, the providers of a comfortable home,” she said (via Huffington Post). “We’re expected to be pregnant, have the kids, [nurse] once we have the babies. And we’re expected to look amazing after baby, right? Keep our husbands and boyfriends interested … There’s such a long list.”
12 Sometimes She Feels Guilty For Having A Life Beyond Her Family
With so much pressure on mothers to be perfect, it’s easy to see how women can feel guilty about having lives outside of their families once they have children. For someone like Aguilera, who has millions of adoring fans waiting for her to come back to work, the pressure is even worse, and the guilt is real.
“It’s hard to know you won’t have all the right answers at the right times,” she explained (via Huffington Post). “And, mom guilt is the worst thing ever. But, you have to surrender and let go, knowing you’re doing your very best and no one loves them, or wants what’s best for them, more than you.”
11 There Was Another Name She Was Thinking Of Calling Her Daughter
Aguilera’s daughter, Summer Rain Rutler, was born in 2014. She’s been known to join her famous mama on stage from time to time, so maybe the future will see her following in Xtina’s footsteps!
Though Aguilera and husband Matthew Rutler are happy with their choice of name, they were also thinking of another name before they settled on Summer. And as it turns out, it’s equally as cheery! “They both are the joy of my life,” the singer revealed. “I swear if I hadn’t called her Summer I would’ve called her Joy because she just lights up a room and she illuminates brightness and happiness.”
10 She Likes To Give Back As Much As She Can
Aguilera has led a life filled with struggles, but in many ways, she’s been blessed more than she can measure. As a pop star, she’s made millions of dollars, and she is serious about giving back through her work with various charity groups.
In the past, she has served as the Ambassador Against Hunger for the World Food Program, which saw her helping victims of the Haiti earthquake. She has also worked with AIDS awareness groups, as well as the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. In 2005, the singer donated her wedding gifts in support of victims of Hurricane Katrina.
9 Though She Lives In The Spotlight, She’s Scared Of The Dark
It’s a good thing Aguilera lives in the spotlight, because she’s not a huge fan of the dark. Literally. “In the big picture, I’m pretty fearless, but I am afraid of the dark,” she said (via PopCrush). “I sleep with the light on. Or the TV. It’s comforting.”
Aguilera went on to explain that this isn’t a fear that stems from childhood, but rather one that began after she found fame. “I wasn’t scared of the dark as a child. But as I got older and started spending time in hotel rooms, it was a comfort to keep the TV on so that you felt that you were not so alone.”
8 She’s Found Love In The Industry Before
During her more than two decades as a pop star, Aguilera has found love within the industry once or twice. Her current husband, Matthew Rutler, is a guitarist (we can only imagine the magic that happens when this couple gets together for a jam!).
In the past, she dated dancer Jorge Santos after working with him on her tours and in her music videos. Aguilera’s 2002 song ‘Infatuation’ was actually written about Santos, who told Belfast Telegraph that he and the pop star simply wanted different things. He explained that when they dated, he wasn’t ready for the kind of relationship she wanted.
7 Finding Balance Is One Of The Keys To Her Success
Being able to balance different areas of her life is one of the ways Aguilera manages to find success both at home and at work. She believes that finding balance is especially important for mothers, as it allows them to pay attention to both their families and their professions at once.
In particular, the singer practices yoga as a way of grounding herself and not getting caught up in the chaos of her life. “We all have breaking points and it’s hard sometimes to find patience and to find the energy when we’re exhausted,” she said (via Huffington Post). “It’s a really hard juggling act for working mothers and mothers who stay home.”
6 And She Keeps Her Personal And Public Lives Separate
We know Aguilera as one of the biggest pop stars in the world, but to her two children, she’s just Mom. The alter-ego stays on stage, and when she finishes her shows, she returns to being a regular mother to her children.
“There are two sides to me, which I like to keep very separate,” she explained (via Huffington Post). "There is a performing Christina, and then there’s me as a mom. [It’s] important for me to wear these different hats so I don’t bring work home with me.” When she’s at home with her kids, the singer revealed that she loves to lay in bed with them and watch classic Disney movies.
5 But Ultimately, Family Comes First
Aguilera has opened up about finding balance in her life and keeping her kids separate from her work. While there is space in her life for family and her job, her family will always be her priority. Although she’s one of the most famous women on the planet, she sees being a mom to her kids as more important than meeting the demands of fans and industry big shots.
“Touring is so frightening to me, because I am a mom first. It’s part of why I stayed in the position I was [as a judge on ‘The Voice’]. It’s easy to get comfortable and cushy in the same place and not have to worry about uprooting your kids.”
4 She’s Had To Work Hard To Love Herself
On the surface, Aguilera exudes confidence. Many fans are surprised to discover that, although she’s beautiful and successful, the ‘Unless It’s with You’ singer has struggled with her own insecurity issues, just like everyone else.
In an interview with Elle, Aguilera explained that becoming comfortable with who you are is “a process” and she didn’t get there overnight. “ … it’s important to embrace the things you might define as so-called imperfections—because something that you might call a imperfection, someone else might find so amazing and so beautiful,” she said in the interview. Eventually, she became confident enough to sing one of the most famous self-love anthems of all time, ‘Beautiful.'
3 She Has A Specific Goal For Her Daughter
Like most moms, Aguilera has a goal for her daughter, but it’s not what you might be thinking. As a successful pop star, some might wonder whether Aguilera is trying to convince her daughter to follow in her footsteps and pursue music. But instead, the singer just wants her daughter to be able to speak her mind.
“I want her to know that she always has a voice, that she should never be afraid to speak her mind and that her opinion is valid,” she said. She also wants her daughter “to know and feel more than anything that love surrounds her.”
2 She Left An Impression On The Next Generation Of It-Girls
Having been in the spotlight for as long as she has, Aguilera has influenced a whole new generation of it-girls and pop stars. The likes of Demi Lovato have reached out to show respect for Xtina, as has the youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, Kylie Jenner.
On Halloween 2016, Jenner dressed up as Aguilera from her famous 2002 ‘Dirrty’ music video. Jenner posted a photo of herself in the costume to social media, with the caption, “Can I be XTINA forever.” In December of that year, Jenner attended Aguilera’s birthday party, again dressing up and stealing a photo with the pop icon.
1 She Doesn’t View Getting Older As A Negative Thing
One piece of advice that Aguilera confidently passes on to other women is not to be afraid of getting older. She has opened up about actually appreciating the aging process, along with witnessing the miracle of pregnancy.
“Some people are afraid of change and [feel] that getting older is a bad thing, but I really love maturing and gaining wisdom,” she said (via Huffington Post). “And the experience of being pregnant and having a child and seeing what a woman’s body can do is amazing.” Rather than fearing getting older, she focuses on the benefits that come with it, and is enjoying life as it comes to her.
Sources: Ranker, Huffington Post, The Daily Mail, Rolling Stone, Redbook Magazine