Raised on a farm in Oklahoma, Carrie Underwood was your typical all-American country girl. “I had a very happy childhood full of the wonderful, simple things that children love to do,” she has said. “I enjoyed things like playing on dirt roads, climbing trees, catching little woodland creatures and, of course, singing.”
She was a frequent performer at her local church, her voice earning her a lot of much-deserved attention. At 14, she landed an audition in Nashville with Capital Records. Execs there were blown away by her and prepared to sign the teen to a contract, but the deal ended up being canceled when the company changed management.
Disappointed, Underwood decided to give up on her dream of becoming a singer. “I had reached a point in my life where I had to be practical and prepare for my future in the real world,” she later said of the decision.
She enrolled at Oklahoma’s Northeastern State University, where she studied mass communication. But in 2004, during her senior year, Underwood decided to audition for season 4 of the TV phenomenon American Idol. A fan favorite from day one, she dominated the competition and walked away victorious with a recording contract.
Underwood’s first single, 2005’s “Inside Your Heaven,” took the country world by storm, making her the first country artist ever to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Her debut album, Some Hearts, was released that same year and became the best-selling album of 2006 in the U.S. in all genres. She went on to release five more successful albums: Carnival Ride (2007), Play On (2009), Blown Away (2012), Storyteller (2015) and Cry Pretty (2018). She was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008 and has won seven Grammys, 14 ACM awards, nine CMA awards and four CMT Artist of the Year awards.
But her biggest accomplishment to date, Underwood says, is being mom of sons Isaiah, 3, and newborn Jacob, whom she shares with former NHL player husband Mike Fisher. “My little guy is just the little sunshine in my world, every single day,” she has said of Isaiah. “He’s the best.”
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!