Jennifer Hudson is a Grammy and Oscar winner -- and she's considered one of the most successful "American Idol" contestants in the history of the competition. Not bad for sixth runner-up! But life hasn't always been critical accolades and box office glory. The singer-actress has also faced major hardships and even family tragedy. In honor of J.Hud's 32nd birthday on Sept. 12, click through to see some of her most life-altering highs and lows.
Jennifer was born on the South Side of Chicago on Sept. 12, 1981, the third and youngest child of Darnell Donnerson and Samuel Simpson. The singer honed her pipes beginning at age 7 singing in the choir at Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist Church. She worked at the local Burger King while attending Dunbar Vocational High School, from which she graduated in 1999.