Jennifer Hudson is living the dream, but she's also lived through a nightmare.
Sunday night on "Oprah's Next Chapter," Hudson sat down in her posh Chicago high rise with Oprah Winfrey to talk about her life.
The 7th place "American Idol" runner-up has not only won a Grammy and an Oscar (take that, Simon Cowell!), but she's shed 60 pounds and started a family with longtime fiancé David Otunga. Along the way, however, she dealt with epic tragedy following the brutal murders of her mother, brother and nephew in 2008.
But while the past few years of her life have been lived in the headlines, there's still plenty about "Jenny" that you may not know.
She's about to launch a clothing line for QVC
The Jennifer Hudson Collection premieres this month on the home shopping network. Hudson told Oprah that when she was a little girl she loved to come up with dress designs and even sketched her own prom dress.
Her life-changing "Dreamgirls" audition lasted nearly eight hours
But the payoff was huge. Hudson won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Effie White.
She went from size 16 to size 6 after becoming a spokesperson for Weight Watchers
Hudson never considered herself a "big girl," and was confused when a red carpet reporter asked her about size. (She was a size 12 at the time, a size she considers "normal.") Sixty pounds later, she's still on the plan. "It's a lifestyle," she said.
Her full lips are natural
Although she did have to have a lip injection for "Dreamgirls' due to a dent in her lip, her doctor said he hated to do it because "people come in here and pay to have the lips you have naturally."
Her longtime fiancé (and father of her three-year old son), David Otunga, is a Harvard educated lawyer, but he doesn't practice law
Otunga followed his own dream and became a professional wrestler and actor instead. "I'm young… I'll always have my Harvard degree," he told Oprah. " I'm going to chase my dreams and if I fail I can always go back and be a lawyer."
There is a wedding date
Otunga and Hudson have been engaged for several years, but a wedding is in the works and Oprah's on the guest list.
Hudson never trusted William Balfour, her sister's ex-husband and the man who was convicted of killing her mother, brother and nephew
When Balfour went to jail shortly after graduating from eighth grade, it didn't surprise her. But Hudson has forgiven him. "I feel like for the most part it's not his fault...it's how he was taught, how he was brought up," she said.
She was supposed to be at her mother's house on the night of the murders
Hudson's bags were packed for a visit to her mother's Chicago home, but at the last minute she joined Otunga at a wrestling gig in Florida. If she had gone to her mother's, she is certain she too would have been murdered.
The grieving process has been difficult
Hudson said she hasn't been back to her family's grave sites since the funeral, although she does intend to do so soon. "There were so many shocks involved in it," she said of the murders. "Like, who I do grieve for first or who do I start with?"
The next part of her dream is to have a baby girl
"We definitely want one of each," Otunga said, while Hudson revealed that their 3-year old son keeps asking for a baby sister.
"Oprah's Next Chapter" airs on Sunday night at 9/8c on OWN.
More From This Contributor:
- Arts & Entertainment
- Jennifer Hudson
- Oprah Winfrey
- David Otunga