Christina Aguilera went from being a Mouseketeer on Disney's The Mickey Mouse Club to wearing chaps and a striped bikini in her risqué music video for "Dirrty." She was the antithesis of the squeaky clean pop star image that flooded the early 2000s, and it was her ability to carve out her own rebellious niche that helped her soar to the top of the charts, eventually snagging five Grammy awards by 2014.
Despite her success and her ability to look practically flawless each and every time she hits up the red carpet, Aguilera has always been open about her imperfect upbringing, which began with a less-than-idyllic childhood. If you listen closely, the hellish events that shaped her life can be found within the lyrics of some of her most emotional songs. From allegations of domestic abuse to a crippling divorce that did a number on her emotional wellbeing, this is the tragic real-life story of Christina Aguilera.
Dealing with a series of traumatic incidents during her formative years meant Aguilera was forced to find an outlet to help her cope. She told Women's Health, "My whole life has been about 'fight or flight,' but yoga has helped me to appreciate the moment and be okay with the now."
Her ability to combat her fight or flight instincts — a physiological reaction that prepares your body to deal with a threat or flee for safety — came in handy when she became a witness of alleged domestic violence. "No matter what chaos is around me, it gets me back into my body. [I've learned that] the stronger you get within yourself, everything else just bounces off," she said.
These days, she has turned a negative situation into a positive one by lending her time to various causes that help victims of domestic violence. After partnering with Verizon Wireless and the company's HopeLine initiative in 2006, the singer told Forbes magazine, "I know I am not the only person who has experienced such pain and betrayal caused by abuse and violence. That is why I feel it's so important now to use my voice to support efforts to spread awareness and encourage engagement against domestic violence."
Since the start of her career, Aguilera has spoken out about the abuse she witnessed within her family and around her neighborhood in Staten Island, N.Y. The songstress told Paper, "I watched my mom have to be submissive [to my father], watch her Ps and Qs or she's gonna get beat up," she said. She stated that she knew she had two options in life: "You can either be, unfortunately, so damaged by it that you take a turn for the worse, or you can feel empowered by it and make choices to never go down that route."
At an early age, she made it her mission to become a survivor and to raise her children, Max and Summer Rain, in a loving household. But she has never swept the abuse allegations under the rug.
She's thankful for the 'darkest' timesBehind the Music documentary gave fans a close look inside the lives of some of their favorite musicians. In 2010, the program featured the "Reflection" singer, and, in her candid interview, she not only touched on the alleged domestic abuse, but she also made a startling confession. "I do battle with depression. It's something that is always right below the surface. And it's almost seductive to go to a place of sadness and darkness. I'm truly thankful for the darkest times in my life," she said (via Cosmopolitan).
She may be thankful for those experiences, but those in her inner circle may not agree with her coping mechanisms. The singer's way of dealing with life stressors has reportedly teetered toward the edge of destruction, with Aguilera saying in the documentary, "I definitely don't choose the safe way of living or expressing myself but I wouldn't have it any other way."