Jennifer Hudson in March 2004

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

American Idol
Jennifer Hudson's career in the public eye began with her stint on the third season of American Idol. She was one of the top seven finalists before being eliminated.

Jennifer Hudson in January 2006

Photo: Miguel Villagran/Getty Images

In 2005, Jennifer was cast in the movie Dreamgirls alongside Beyoncé Knowles, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy. She played the role of Effie White.

Jennifer Hudson holding her Academy Award with her mother in 2007

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Oscar® Winner
Jennifer won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Dreamgirls at the 79th Annual Academy Awards. Besides the Oscar®, Jennifer garnered many other awards for her performance as Effie White, including a Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, Teen Choice Award, BET Award and more.

Jennifer Hudson in 2008

Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Debut Album
Jennifer released her self-titled debut album in 2008. On the album, she worked with high-profile producers and songwriters including Ne-Yo, Missy Elliott, T-Pain and Timbaland. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and released three singles, including "Spotlight," which became Jennifer's first top 30 hit on the Billboard charts.

Jennifer Hudson with David Otunga in 2009

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Fiancé David Otunga 
Jennifer began dating David Otunga, a Harvard Law graduate and reality show contestant "Punk" from I Love New York 2, and became engaged to him on her 27th birthday—September 12, 2008.

The house of Jennifer Hudson's mother on October 27, 2008

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Family Tragedy
On October 24, 2008, Jennifer's mother Darnell Donerson, brother Jason and 7-year-old nephew Julian King were murdered inside her mother's Chicago home. The estranged husband of Jennifer's sister Julia, William Balfour, was indicted for the triple homicide and pleaded not guilty.

Watch Jennifer talk with Oprah publicly for the first time about the loss of her family.   

Jennifer Hudson singing at the Grammy Awards in 2009

Photo: Robyn Beck/Getty Images

Grammy® Winner
At the 51st annual Grammy Awards in February 2009, Jennifer was nominated for three Grammys for her debut album and won the award for Best R&B Album. She also performed during the ceremony.

Jennifer Hudson with her son

On August 10, 2009, Jennifer gave birth to her first child—a boy named David Daniel Otunga, Jr.

Jennifer Hudson on Oprah in 2011

Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios

A New Body
Eager to get her body back after having a child, Jennifer joined Weight Watchers and lost 80 pounds. She appeared on The Oprah Show in 2011 to talk about her weight loss journey and performed the world premiere of her newest single, "Where You At."

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