Who is American Idol winner Ruben Studdard and where is he now?
RUBEN Studdard captured viewers’ hearts when he won the second season of American Idol.
But who is the Grammy-nominated singer and where is he now? Here’s everything you need to know.
Who is Ruben Studdard?
Ruben Studdard is an American Idol winner, singer and actor.
He was born in 1978 to American parents in Frankfurt, West Germany.
His father was stationed in the country with the US Army, but the family moved to Birmingham, Alabama, before the Berlin Wall fell.
Ruben excelled as a high school football player, earning a scholarship to Alabama A&M.
However, he found his passion singing in the gospel choir for the Rising Star Baptist Church and, at college, joined the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity for male musicians.
He majored in voice studies and sang with a local jazz band called Just a Few Cats before taking the leap to put himself up for a TV talent show.
When was Ruben Studdard on American Idol?
Aged just 24, Ruben entered the second season of American Idol, which aired in 2003.
In his audition, he sang Stevie Wonder’s ‘Ribbon in the Sky’ and went on to wow the judges week after week.
His performances gained him praise from music icons including Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross and Gladys Knight.
He also became a fan favourite, gaining fame for wearing shirts printed with the number 205, the area code of Birmingham.
Ruben’s silky voice and cuddly appearance earned him the nickname Velvet Teddy Bear.
He went on to win the competition, beating Clay Aiken in the final.
Where is Ruben Studdard now?
Ruben has enjoyed a successful career since appearing on American Idol.
He was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2003 for his cover of Luther Vandross hit ‘Superstar’.
He has also won a Teen Choice Award and two Billboard Music Awards.
He has released seven albums, the most recent of which came in 2018.
Away from music, he appeared on the fifteenth season of weight-loss show The Biggest Loser, which saw him lose over 100lbs.
He made his Broadway debut in late 2018, reuniting with Clay Aiken on a joint Christmas show.
They are running another show in 2023 to celebrate 20 years since their American Idol final.
Other acting credits include a cameo in Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleased and a commercial for a car dealership in his hometown.
He married Surata Zuri McCants in 2006, but the couple divorced in 2012.
The singer met his second wife, Kristin, in 2018 and they share a son.