A memorable year at the Grammys, though not for the reasons you might think. Kelly Clarkson revealed in a recent interview that she was misdiagnosed with cancer the morning of the 2006 Grammy Awards — but like a true pop superstar, she soldiered through. Listen to her surprising story in the clip above!
In 2006, Clarkson, now 34, won her first Grammys, for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Since U Been Gone” and Best Pop Vocal Album for Breakaway. Additionally, the American Idol winner was set to perform her ballad “Because of You” during the show itself.
That morning, however, she was given some shocking news that she had to keep to herself throughout the big day.
“Well, not many people know this — not to be a Debbie Downer — but I was told that morning that I had cancerous results for something,” she told Billboard’s Pop Shop Podcast in an episode that aired on Tuesday, February 7. “Here’s the horrible part: I went the whole day crying. They redid my makeup, like, four times because I was like, ‘Wow, so young.’ I was just completely freaking out. Then when I won, I thought, ‘Oh, my God. This is like God giving me one more thing before something horrible happens.’”
Clarkson won in both of her categories, and the emotional “Piece by Piece” singer was visibly emotional, as seen in clips of her acceptance speeches that night.
“Um … oh, God! You know I’m terrible at speaking when I cry, so sorry!” she said after taking the stage to accept her award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance from music legends Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys. “Thank you so much. Ah! OK. Thank you to everybody that has supported me this year, including my record label and my management. … Thank you to my mom. Thank you so much, Mom. I’m sorry I’m crying again on national television! Thank you to the fans. Thank you to everyone that worked on my record. Yikes! Just thank you so much. You have no idea what this means to me. Thank you so much!”
The next day, Clarkson said her doctor delivered a bit of good news: The cancer diagnosis was a mix-up, and the singer was just fine after all.
“I was like, ‘You completely ruined my entire [experience],’” she said of her reaction to the doctor’s revelation. “The first time for an artist … as a kid watching the Grammys, that was a big dream! It was kind of the worst/greatest day. And the next day was also the worst/greatest day because I wanted to punch someone. I was like, ‘Who mixes up results? Why wouldn’t you test again?’ It was very much a roller coaster ride, that day, for me. So, it’s kind of unfortunate, but a lot of the moments got stolen from that mishap. But hey, I didn’t have cancer!”
This year, Clarkson is nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance for “Piece by Piece (Idol Version),” up against heavyweights like Beyoncé (“Hold Up”), Adele (“Hello”), Justin Bieber (“Love Yourself”) and Ariana Grande (“Dangerous Woman”).
The 59th Annual Grammy Awards will take place on Sunday, February 12, at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
Want stories like these delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter!