With a voice as big as his much-discussed girth, this soulful singer became the second American Idol winner in 2003. Raised singing gospel music, he attended college on a football scholarship before switching his focus to showbiz. Markedly different from his AI competitors — particularly freckle-faced runner-up Clay Aiken — the affectionately nicknamed "Velvet Teddy Bear" won over viewers with his smooth style and easygoing attitude. His post-show career was not the juggernaut everyone anticipated: The tracks and release date of his first album, Soulful, changed many times, while his second, I Need an Angel, smartly featured Studdard doing what he does best: gospel tunes. He also branched out into acting with a string of sitcom guest shots. In 2010, he reunited with his AI cast mate Aiken for a summer tour. Studdard founded The Ruben Studdard Foundation for the Advancement of Children in the Music Arts to promote and support music programs in the Greater Birmingham, AL area.
- Was a member of Alabama-based gospel group God's Gift.
- Nicknamed the Velvet Teddy Bear by Gladys Knight, who served as a guest judge on American Idol.
- Alabama governor Bob Riley designated March 11, 2003, Ruben Studdard Day.
- Winner for Season 2 of American Idol (2003); runner-up was Clay Aiken.
- Launched his own label, Real Music Records, at the close of 2003.
- Had a cameo in the 2004 movie Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.
- Played Fats Waller in a 2008 revival tour of Ain't Misbehaving, opposite fellow AI alum Frenchie Davis.
- His cover of "Celebrate Me Home" was used as the exit song for AI season 7.
- Hattie Williams — Grandmother
- Emily Studdard — Mother
- Kevin Studdard Jr. — Half Brother
- Surata Zuri McCants — Wife (separated)
- Kevin Studdard Sr. — Father
- Attended Alabama A&M University, Normal, Alabama, United States
- Birth Name: Christopher Ruben Studdard
- Birth Place: Frankfurt, West Germany
- Profession: Singer
Trending TonightSee all »
Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner, American Gods and more