'The Color Purple' Star Fantasia Barrino Says She “Lost Everything” After Winning ‘American Idol’

"I just trusted and believed everybody that came into my life.”

Fantasia Barrino says she "lost everything" after winning 'American Idol.'
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former American Idol star Fantasia Barrino is opening up about the challenges she endured following her rise to fame and how she found her way back into the spotlight and—most importantly—back to herself.

In an exclusive interview with People, Barrino said that in the wake of her 2004 American Idol win, she "lost a lot."

"I lost everything," she told the publication.

Two years after she won season three of the beloved reality television franchise, Barrino's father filed a $10 million libel lawsuit claiming the singer's 2005 memoir contained "false, exaggerated, sensational, intentional and malicious untruths," as CBS reported at the time. Four years later, she survived a highly publicized overdose.

Fantasia Barrino attends THR Presents Live: The Color Purple at Crosby Hotel on December 11, 2023 in New York City.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

She also revealed that as the newly-appointed American Idol winner, she was "very green" when it came to fully understanding the financial ins-and-outs of the entertainment industry.

“You have to become a businesswoman and you link up with great business partners, but it doesn't have a lot to do with love. It took me a long time to figure that out,” Barrino told People in the same interview.

“I didn't know anything about contracts,” she added. “I didn't know anything about checking your money and making sure every day your stuff was where it was supposed to be. I just trusted and believed everybody that came into my life.”

Fantasia arrives at "Q 85: A Musical Celebration for Quincy Jones" presented by BET Networks at Microsoft Theater on September 25, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Barrino has not shied away from her past now that she's officially in her "comeback era" with the recent release of the newest adaptation of The Color Purple.

"I was about to run from this," the actress and mother of three told CBS in a recent interview. "I remember playing her on Broadway, and it wasn't as easy on Broadway. My life was a bit crazy as well, so I felt like I was carrying my cross and Celie's cross, and that was overload.

"I relate to her in a lot of ways, but stepping into her shoes is very taxing and it is not easy," she added. "Plus, she code-switches a lot ... to come in and play with all of those energies is not easy. It's not easy at all."

The Color Purple smashed box office expectations, raking in $18 million on opening day—the largest Christmas Day opening for a film since 2009, according to Variety.

Yeah, folks: She's back.

Danielle Campoamor
Weekend Editor

Danielle Campoamor is Marie Claire's weekend editor covering all things news, celebrity, politics, culture, live events, and more. In addition, she is an award-winning freelance writer and former NBC journalist with over a decade of digital media experience covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mortality, gun violence, climate change, politics, celebrity news, culture, online trends, wellness, gender-based violence and other feminist issues. You can find her work in The New York Times, Washington Post, TIME, New York Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, TODAY, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, Mother Jones, Prism, Newsweek, Slate, HuffPost and more. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two feral sons. When she is not writing, editing or doom scrolling she enjoys reading, cooking, debating current events and politics, traveling to Seattle to see her dear friends and losing Pokémon battles against her ruthless offspring. You can find her on X, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and all the places.