Singer, songwriter Christina Maria Aguilera was born on December 18, 1980 in Staten Island, New York. Aguilera began her career as a cast member on the Mickey Mouse Club where her rapid rise to stardom and hit single Genie In A Bottle earned her a Grammy award for Best New Artist.
Other hit singles include What A Girl Wants, Come on Over Baby, Lady Marmalade, and the sexually charged Dirrty.
Born Christina Maria Aguilera on December 18, 1980, in Staten Island, New York, to parents Fausto Xavier Aguilera and his wife, Shelly Loraine Fidler. Her early home life was troubled. Christina's father, an Ecuadorian immigrant and sergeant in the U.S. Army, was an abusive husband. It wasn't until Aguilera was 6 that her mother managed to end the marriage and move her two daughters (Christina and her younger sister, Rachel) to a new life in Rochester, Pennsylvania.
From an early age Aguilera loved music, a gift she no doubt inherited from her musical mother, an experienced violin and piano player. By the time she was in elementary school, Aguilera's big voice had swept through a number of local talent shows, causing harsh envy from her schoolmates and even some parents. It became so bad that eventually Christina's mother made the decision to home-school her daughter.
Still, Christina continued to perform, and in 1990 she earned a spot on the nationally syndicated television program, Star Search. There, the 9-year-old prodigy wowed audiences with a mesmerizing rendition of Etta James' "A Sunday Kind of Love," to take home second place.
In 1993, Aguilera earned more national attention when she landed a spot as a Mouseketeer on The New Mickey Mouse Club. Her fellow cast mates were a collection of future stars that included Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling, and Keri Russell. Aguilera's time on the program lasted just two years before the ambitious singer moved with her mother to Japan to record the hit single "All I Wanna Do" with Japanese pop icon Keizo Nakanishi. More success soon followed.
In 1998 Aguilera was tapped to sing the song "Reflection" on the soundtrack for the Walt Disney film, Mulan. A year later, Aguilera made her concert debut at the all female concert festival, Lilith Fair and signed with RCA Records. She released her self-titled debut album in 1999, a successful record that would go on to sell more than 8 million copies thanks to two big Billboard hits: "Genie in a Bottle" and the No. 1 single "What a Girl Wants." The album earned Aguilera Best New Artist honors at the 2000 Grammy Awards.
With her fellow Mouseketeer mates Spears and Timberlake also lighting up the charts with their respective music, Aguilera became one of the leading faces of a group of teen pop stars. But Aguilera was not comfortable maintaining the squeaky clean image this sort of role foisted upon her. After teaming up with Pink, Mya and Lil' Kim for the popular single "Lady Marmalade" Aguilera released her second album, Stripped, in October 2002. As its title suggested, the pop superstar had embarked down a new path. Highly sexualized and more commanding, the album featured a number of hit singles, including "Dirrty," "Beautiful" and "Make Over."
Coupled with a series of new piercings and tattoos, the new music startled some critics, endeared her to others, and sold more than 4 million
records. Aguilera, for her part, was unapologetic about the music or her look.
"I knew it was a bold move, and I knew a lot of people would not be ready for it," she told The New York Times.
In 2006 Aguilera changed course again with the release of Back to Basics, a two-disc collection of influential standards from the 1920s through the 1940s. Like she'd done with her previous album,Aguilera used the music to help define her style. For a time she adopted a classic Jean Harlow look.
As Aguilera's career continued to blossom, her personal life took off as well. In November 2005, she married her longtime boyfriend and record producer Jordan Bratman. In January 2008, Bratman and Aguilera became parents with the birth of their son, Max.
Along the way, Aguilera showed her compassionate side, working with AIDS awareness campaigns and affiliating herself with the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. In early 2010, she took on the role of Ambassador Against Hunger for the World Food Program, a responsibility that soon led her to Haiti to help earthquake victims there.
In recent years, Aguilera's personal and professional life has been a bit of a roller coaster. In late 2010, she and Bratman separated. Not long after, Aguilera suffered through a couple of very public stumbles. The first of those came at the Super Bowl in February 2011, where seemed to forget some of the lyrics to the National Anthem. Not long after, the pop star was arrested for public intoxication. Both incidents sparked a wave of stories concerning Aguilera's possible alcohol problems.
Her success as a singer, however, will no doubt continue. In all Aguilera has sold more than 25 million albums, and has collected three Grammy awards.