In 2002 Kelly Clarkson was catapulted to fame after winning the very first American Idol, since then, she has been a household name. Disappointingly, her voice has not been the only topic of conversation – her body was instantly a focus for tabloids and viewers.
Her debut single ‘A Moment Like This’ became the best-selling single of the year in the U.S. She released her first album, Thankful, in April 2003, which went platinum. In the two decades following, she’s had success after success: from hit albums, to become a judge on The Voice. In 2019, The Kelly Clarkson Show began and has won multiple Daytime Emmy Awards. Throughout all of this, Clarkson has been the victim of rampant and unrelenting body shaming.
In 2021, Clarkson spoke to GLAMOUR about the pressures she’s faced to look a certain way: “I felt more pressure from people actually when I was thin, when I was really thin and not super healthy because I just was worn out, just working so hard and not keeping healthy habits.” She continued: “But I felt more pressure. It was more of magazines shoved in front of you and, ‘This is what you’re competing with and we’ve got to compete with it.’ I can’t compete with that. That’s not even my image.”
Speaking with Ellen DeGeneres on her show in 2015, Clarkson said: “I think what hurts my feelings is that I’ll have a meet-and-greet after the show and a girl who’s bigger than me will be in the meet-and-greet and be like, ‘Wow, if they think you’re big, I must be so fat to them’. It’s like, you’re just who you are. We are who we are. Whatever size, and it doesn’t mean that we’re gonna be that forever.”
Clarkson has always backed herself and responded eloquently in the face of body-shaming: “The media has always been obsessed with [my size]. And I have felt conflicted over the years. Do you address it? Do you talk about it? Because then you just add to the noise,” she told the Daily Mail in 2017. “But people like me [need] to talk about it, so I don’t really mind carrying that flag. I love that people come up to me and say: ‘Because you are comfortable in your skin, you have made me more comfortable in mine.’ That’s the best compliment ever.” In the same interview, she said: “Too skinny, too fat, too blonde—so much blah. This is who I am and I’m happy. Happy looks different on everyone.”
The latest body shaming and invasive questions about her weight have come this month, in the form of social media commenters speculating whether or not she has taken Ozempic.
Ozempic, the injectable diabetes drug that can help people lose weight, has become a popular topic of conversation in Hollywood, with speculations around who is (and isn’t) dominating discourse. It’s murky moral terrain, and by no means a clear cut topic. However, the way the drug’s existence is being used as a free-pass to comment on women’s bodies is unacceptable.