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How Kelly Clarkson used her small-town upbringing to navigate fame

The down-to-earth musician and talk show host candidly revealed her thoughts on fame and the moment she realized it wasn't going away.
/ Source: TODAY

Performer and TV show host Kelly Clarkson seems to have adjusted well to the spotlight since winning "American Idol" in 2002, but on Wednesday, she opened up about a moment in her life she realized there was no going back.

Clarkson said she once had a "mini breakdown" many years ago as she learned to navigate her newfound fame.

A fan asked the 37-year-old musician a personal question during an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, known as an AMA.

"You have always seemed so down to earth and positive to me, how have you coped with being in the spotlight for nearly two decades whilst still radiating this happy energy?" Reddit user pm_me_hedgehogs asked. "You were pretty young when you got your big break, it's remarkable that you've stayed so grounded!"

Clarkson frankly answered, revealing she once broke down when she realized she would never be able to be "un-famous."

"I had one moment in my garage in Texas (many years ago) when I had a mini breakdown and I was talking/crying with my brother and I just kept repeating 'I can't take it back,'" she explained. "And what I was meaning was I'm gonna be in the public eye forever now and that's something you can't take back once it happens and the weight/pressure of that thought, and the reality of it was so overwhelming, BUT it also put things into perspective for me."

Clarkson continued to explain that she used her experience growing up in a small town, Burleson, Texas, to reframe her approach of dealing with the pitfalls that sometimes come with fame.

"Who cares if everyone doesn't agree with what I think, sing, wear, or whatever," she continued. "I basically started looking at my career like the small town I grew up in. Everyone has something to say, or can be invasive of your privacy, and for whatever reason that calmed me because I grew up in that atmosphere and so I knew I could handle it."

Next, Clarkson shared her candid thoughts on the industry she has worked in since winning "American Idol" almost 20 years ago.

"At the end of the day, I don't care about being famous," she added. "I never have. That's why I've struggled with people I've worked with in this industry because a lot of people have always had different goals for me so I could be the most famous person ever or the most successful and that's never been my dream.

American Idol-Show
Clarkson performs in the finals of the first season of "American Idol" in Hollywood, California on Sept. 3, 2002.Kevin Winter / Getty Images

"I have always stuck to my path that I choose, regardless of what that may bring, because as far as I know we get this one life and I'm gonna make damn sure it's what I want and is as awesome as I can make it."

Clarkson ended her answer with a sentiment on what she thinks everyone, famous or not, should do to ensure they stay happy and healthy.

"Fame is just a spotlight," she concluded. "Spotlights can be hard to navigate if you aren't surrounded by the right people. It's all about the company you keep with whatever path you choose in my opinion."