ARTIST PROFILE

Jennifer Hudson

Name: Jennifer Hudson

Birthday: September 12, 1981

Fav Dish: Peanut Butter

Jennifer Kate Hudson (born September 12, 1981) is an American singer, actress and spokesperson. She rose to fame in 2004 as a finalist on the third season of American Idol, coming in seventh place.

As an actress, she made her film debut portraying Effie White in Dreamgirls (2006), for which she gained worldwide acclaim and won the Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has also appeared in such films as Sex and the City (2008), The Secret Life of Bees (2008) and Winnie Mandela (2013). As a singer, Hudson won a Grammy Award for her debut album, Jennifer Hudson, released in 2008. The album spawned the hit single “Spotlight” and was certified gold by the RIAA, with sales exceeding a million copies worldwide. Her second album, I Remember Me, was released 2011 and was certified gold by the RIAA, producing the hit “Where You At”.

In October 2008, after Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew were killed in a shooting, Hudson stepped out of the public eye for three months. Hudson resumed her public appearances in 2009 and has since performed at Super Bowl XLIII, the Grammy Awards, American Idol, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Hudson has been described as a friend of President Barack Obama, who invited her to appear with him at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills in May 2009. She also performed at the White House at the “Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” event. Hudson has sold 1,280,000 albums and 2,237,000 singles in the United States as of February 2012. In 2013, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

In May 2008, Hudson appeared in the feature film Sex and the City as Louise, Carrie Bradshaw’s assistant. Filming finished in December 2007 and the movie was released on May 30, 2008. In October 2008, Hudson made her third film appearance in The Secret Life of Bees as Rosaleen, the mother figure of Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning). Also starring in the film are fellow Oscar nominees Queen Latifah and Sophie Okonedo, as well as Alicia Keys. The film opened on October 17, 2008, and grossed over $37 million at the box office.

The film won two People’s Choice Awards in January 2009 in the categories, Favorite Drama Movie and Favorite Independent Movie. The film also received nine Black Reel Awards nominations including three wins. Hudson was nominated for her performance in the film, but lost to Queen Latifah. The film also received eight nominations at the 2009 NAACP Image Awards, including a nomination for Hudson for her performance. In 2009, Hudson starred as Kathy Archenault in Fragments, a film based on the novel by Roy Freirich, with Dakota Fanning and Forest Whitaker. The name of the film was changed from “Winged Creatures” to “Fragments”.

It was released on DVD on August 4, 2009. In 2010, Hudson started filming the biopic film Winnie Mandela based on the South African politician Winnie Mandela starring alongside Terrence Howard and directed by Darrell J. Roodt. Andre Pieterse and Roodt and Paul L. Johnson based the film’s script on Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob’s biography, Winnie Mandela: A Life. The Creative Workers Union of South Africa have opposed this choice, stating they will push for a moratorium on the film if the casting is not reversed. Winnie Mandela has threatened legal action over this film, claiming she was not “consulted” about the film. Winnie Mandela was originally scheduled to be released in December 2011; the trailer was released in 2010.Image Entertainment released the film on September 6, 2013.

Hudson began dating James Payton in 1999, when she was 18. They separated in late 2007. Hudson met David Otunga, a professional wrestler in the WWE and a Harvard Law graduate, and the couple became engaged in September 2008. In August 2009, Hudson gave birth to her first child, a boy named David Daniel Otunga, Jr.

In October 2008, Hudson’s 57-year-old mother, Darnell Donnerson, and 29-year-old brother, Jason, were found shot dead inside the Chicago home Donnerson shared with Hudson’s elder sister, Julia.An AMBER Alert was issued for her 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, when Julia reported him missing. Three days later the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed a body found on Chicago’s West Side was the nephew; an autopsy indicated the death was due to “multiple gunshot wounds.” William Balfour, 27, Julia’s estranged husband, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of home invasion and was denied bail. In May 2012 he was convicted on all seven counts against him, including possession of a stolen vehicle. In July 2012, he was sentenced to three life sentences without the possibility of parole; served consecutively, followed by an additional 120 years for his other convictions. He is incarcerated in Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet, Illinois.

Hudson’s family announced creation of The Hudson-King Foundation for Families of Slain Victims, in honor of the three victims

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