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Beyond 'American Idol'

Fantasia Barrino's New Tome


Fantasia Barrino

There is life beyond "American Idol." Just ask Constantine Maroulis and Fantasia Barrino. While Maroulis is set to try his acting chops, another 'Idol' has opened up about the dark secrets of her past. In her new memoir, "Life Is Not a Fairy Tale," Fantasia Barrino, winner of the third season of the talent contest, reveals that she was raped as a ninth grader by a boy on whom she had a crush.

Barrino told ABC's "20/20" that after the sexual assault occurred, she went home and crawled into her bed. "And my mom comes upstairs and she says, 'Something is wrong with you.' I wouldn't even talk. She says, 'Have you been touched?' I still said nothing," Barrino said, in an interview scheduled to air Friday. "I laid in that bed for two days. I wouldn't even go to school."

The singer also revealed that she can not read or write, but that she hid that fact during her 'Idol' stint by listening to lyrics until she had them memorized. "You're illiterate to just about everything. You don't want to misspell," Fantasia told "20/20" of her struggles. "So that, for me, kept me . . . in a box and I didn't, wouldn't come out."

Barrino said she is opening up about her past in order to show others that problems can be overcome. "I want people to just to see, all you got to do is have a little faith," she said. "Have a little faith. Don't give up."

The 'Idol' winner said she is currently working with tutors to learn to read so that she will be able to understand legal documents such as record contracts, as well as read books to her 4-year-old daughter, Zion. Barrino is currently gearing up for her North American tour with Kanye West and Common, which kicks off October 11 in Miami, Florida.

Constantine Maroulis' New Stage


Constantine Maroulis

He may not have won 'Idol,' but Constantine Maroulis is far from idle. The Pray for the Soul of Betty rocker is ready to return to television, this time to star in an upcoming sitcom that's being developed for him by ABC and Kelsey Grammer's production company, reports People magazine.

The project is in the very early stages of development, with the details still being hammered out and no writer yet attached, according to Steve Stark, president of Grammer's Grammnet Prods. banner. There's no word on what the sitcom will be about or what character Maroulis will portray, but the singer said he is confident about his future. "My name is out there," he told People magazine. "I'm not nervous about the window closing."

Grammnet brought Maroulis to ABC, which then signed a talent holding deal with him, said Stark. Maroulis' pact with ABC gives the network the option of casting him in another project, comedy or drama. Stark said they have a lot of faith in the 'Idol' rocker noting that Maroulis has a background in theater, having trained at the Boston Conservatory.

Stark called Maroulis a "showman" with a "bigger-than-life personality" who stood apart from the rest of the 'Idol' Season 4 contestants. "We saw something in him that was very unique, as did ABC," Stark said. "Collectively, we are trying to figure out the best way to showcase him in a half-hour series."

Maroulis, who finished sixth in the fourth season of "American Idol," said he is also at work on a solo album. The show is the "best thing that's ever happened to me," Maroulis said. "I'm not cursed with that stigma of being the 'American Idol.'"

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'American Idol' Judges Favor Fantasia


'Idol' Judge Favorite Fantasia Barrino

Move over, Kelly. Take a back seat, Ruben. The judges for "American Idol" say their favorite winner is Fantasia Barrino, the North Carolina native who won season three of the Fox contest show.

Kelly Clarkson was the first winner and Ruben Studdard was the season two champion. But judges Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell, who were in Greensboro for auditions Thursday, October 6, said Barrino was their favorite.

"If we had to choose one American Idol to go out to dinner with, it would be Fantasia," Cowell said. "There are no airs and graces about her. ... I like her."


'American Idol' Judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and

Simon Cowell with Host Ryan Seacrest.

Barrino recently disclosed that she is functionally illiterate. The singer discusses her illiteracy in a new memoir, "Life is Not a Fairy Tale," which she dictated to a freelance writer.

The judges also had high praise for the new contestants they heard sing this week. "We saw a young girl we all thought was fantastic," Cowell said. That alone was "worth the trip," he said.

The judges, who were joined by show host Ryan Seacrest, bantered affably, usually at the expense of Cowell, who was celebrating a birthday but still managed to live up to his reputation as a man not afraid to insult. After someone sang "Happy Birthday" to him, he said, "That was very nice, but you have a terrible voice."

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'Idol' Fantasia Confronts Her Demons


'Idol' Fantasia Barrino

Winning "American Idol" shot Fantasia Barrino to instant fame. And things become even sweeter when you consider the darkness from which she escaped. Fantasia talked exclusively to Access Hollywood about the worst day of her life.

"I said, 'You know what, I'm going to tell my story so I can help a lot of people,'" Fantasia told us. It is a hopeful but often painful journey that unfolds within the pages of her book, "Life Is Not A Fairy Tale." And Fantasia holds nothing back, including the fact that, as a ninth grader, she was raped in her school auditorium.

"I couldn't sit and die," Fantasia told Access. "I couldn't sit and blame myself for everything. I had to tell myself, 'No, no, no - you deserve respect. You are a queen, no matter what they say. No matter how they touch you, no matter. You are special.'"


Fantasia Barrino

At a New York book signing, Fantasia probably gave out as many hugs as she did autographs, ever mindful she might be talking to someone who's been through a similar experience. "When they go through that, it messes with you mentally. It messes with you and they feel like, 'It's over.' And I want to say to them, that 'No, it's not over,'" said the 'Idol' winner.

Though now a successful recording artist, the urgency in getting her message out remains. Perhaps it's because her alleged attacker never stood trial. Fantasia says she dropped the case because of threats by his friends. "We all fall down but we can get back up. We can dust ourselves off and be whatever we want to be," Fantasia told us.

She's determined to be a great role model, while making the best life she can for her now 5-year-old daughter, Zion. "I want when Zion grows up for her to be able to go back and read my book and say, 'Dang ma, you did it. I respect you, you accomplished a lot.'"

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  • 6 months later...


No False Idol: Fantasia Stars in Life Story

The Season 3 winner of American Idol is starring as herself in the Lifetime Original Movie Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story, it was announced Friday. Starting production in New Orleans on May 17 and aimed for an August premiere, the pic is being directed by Debbie Allen and will costar Loretta Devine (as Fantasia's grandmother), Viola Davis (as her mother) and Kadeem Hardison (as her dad, making me feel really old). "Fantasia made America fall in love with her through her astounding voice, but few people know the obstacles she went through to get where she is now," previews Lifetime exec Trevor Walton. Will a bottle of Zoloft be playing Paula? Greg Kinnear as Ryan?

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'Idol' Fantasia Portrays Herself in TV Bio


'Idol' Fantasia Barrino

"American Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino will play herself in a Lifetime Original Movie that will show how the teenage single mother overcame poverty, sexual abuse and illiteracy to win the hit talent show. The movie, tentatively titled "Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story," will premiere in August on the women's cable channel.

Debbie Allen will direct from an adaptation of Barrino's autobiography, "Life Is Not a Fairy Tale." Choreographer-actress-director Allen's directing credits include NBC's "A Different World," the WB Network's "The Jamie Foxx Show" and UPN's "All of Us" and "Girlfriends."


Jamia Simone Nash will be playing the young Fantasia

Newcomer Jamia Simone Nash will play the young Fantasia. Jamia Simone Nash was born in 1996 and started singing at the early age of 2. Her guest appearances include "My Wife and Kids," "7th Heaven," "Half and Half" and "Romeo!" To hear this talented young performer, click on Jamia Simone Nash.

Viola Davis and Kadeem Hardison will portray her parents, Diane and JoJo Barrino, while Loretta Devine has been cast as her grandmother, Addie Collins. Tony winner Davis' screen credits include "Traffic" and "Get Rich or Die Tryin'." Devine recently appeared in the Oscar-winning film, "Crash." Hardison, best known for playing Dwayne Wayne on "A Different World," also appeared in "Biker Boyz."

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  • 6 months later...


Fantasia Gets Down With Missy and Diane Warren

by Jolie Lash


Fantasia Barrino

"American Idol's" Fantasia Barrino has once again teamed up with Missy Elliott for several tracks for her self-titled second album, due December 12. Barrino worked with Elliott at the hip-hop star's new New Jersey pad, coming up with cuts "No Stoppin'" and "Bump What Ya Friends Say."

"Missy gets me," Barrino tells AOL Music. "She always knows what I need, what I like, what I want." The third Elliott contribution to Barrino's record is a festive number called "Turn This Party Up," which the 'Idol' says harkens back to the days of a certain teenage pastime.

"She gave me a very '80s song. It's like a skating song -- one of those songs you'd hear at the skate arena and you'd have no other choice but to get on the floor," she says. But the singer's new album isn't just full of hot jams.

Barrino also found herself working with super-balladeer Diane Warren for the song, "I Feel Beautiful." Barrino notes, "It's a song dedicated to my mother. Me and my mom should be the same person, or twins, because we always go through the same things or the same phases."

Barrino continued, "In 22 years of living, this is the first time [i've seen my mother] feeling happy and beautiful. She glows. She's like a brand-new person."

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