Christina Aguilera's Tragic Real-Life Story

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 well-being, this is the tragic real-life story of Christina Aguilera.

Christina Aguilera experienced 'pain and betrayal'

Dealing with a series of traumatic incidents during her formative years meant Christina 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," Aguilera said.

These days, the singer 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, Aguilera 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."

Domestic violence damaged her, but she's a survivor

Since the start of her career, Christina 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 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, Aguilera 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 has let out her emotions through many of her tunes, including the 2002 emotional ballad, "I'm OK," in which she sings, "Hurt me to see the pain across my mother's face / Every time my father's fist would put her in her place / Hearing all the yelling I would cry up in my room / Hoping it would be over soon."

"I definitely wrote that song not to badmouth [my father] at all, but one, for a healing process for myself, and two, to give people hope or a voice to relate to. To know that you can get through it and that it will be OK," Aguilera told MTV News.

Christina Aguilera's thankful for the 'darkest' times

VH1's Behind 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, Christina Aguilera not only touched on the alleged domestic abuse, but she also made a startling confession about her mental health. "I do battle with depression," she said (via Cosmopolitan). "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."

Aguilera 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."

Does Christina Aguilera have an alcohol problem?

TMZ reported the "Lady Marmalade" vocalist's friends and business associates were begging her to enter an alcohol treatment center back in March 2011 after she was arrested for public intoxication. During the incident, Christina Aguilera's fiancé, Matthew Rutler, was arrested for driving under the influence, as reported by MTV News

Years later, in December 2015, Aguilera was a guest at Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane's Christmas party, and she reportedly became a "boozy Grinch" when she allegedly fell into a decorative Christmas tree after consuming too much alcohol (via Page Six). "She was a mess," a witness told the publication, before stating that Rutler and a friend had to carry the singer out of the party by the end of the night. "She was wearing 6-inch custom [Christian] Louboutins. She was literally wobbling."

Aguilera has yet to address any of the allegations about her drinking, but, if she is suffering from a problem, we certainly hope she's working on it in private for the sake of her children.

An ex's secret left Christina Aguilera heartbroken

As if her childhood drama wasn't enough, Christina Aguilera also felt intense betrayal by the hands of an ex-boyfriend, who was later revealed as her former backup dancer, Jorge Santos.

During an episode of RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked (via People), Aguilera was asked about the inspiration behind her 2002 song, "Infatuation." With lyrics, such as, "I am full blood boricua / Reads the tattoo on his arm / He tells me 'Mami, I need you' / And my heartbeat pumps so strong," it'd appear clear that Aguilera was blissfully in love with her Latin lover. 

But that all changed when she reportedly found out his hidden secret. Without mentioning Santos by name, she told the reality series, "It was heartbreaking because I found out he played for your team, not mine." In other words, she was alluding to her ex-lover allegedly being gay. And this wasn't the last time the singer dealt with heartbreak...

Divorce took a toll on Christina Aguilera

By the time Christina Aguilera filed for divorce from her ex-husband, Jordan Bratman, in October 2010, she knew her marriage had run its course. But that didn't mean she left her relationship unscathed. TMZ reported it was Aguilera's alleged infidelities that ruined their marriage. However, other gossip outlets claimed the then-couple had an open marriage and that Bratman may have grown tired of Aguilera reportedly bringing home other women to "play with."

With her then-marriage in ruins and rumors spreading about her personal life, Aguilera told Redbook magazine, "It's not easy, and there have been a lot of tears and sadness." She also stated that, although she had her mom and a close group of friends constantly by her side during that tough period, the emotional turmoil got the best of her. 

"On days when it feels impossible to even get out of bed, much less function as a mother, their support and encouragement have kept me moving forward," she said.

Christina Aguilera's learned from her past

When it came time to put an end to her marriage, Christina Aguilera didn't second-guess her decision, telling People magazine, "I knew I had to end it." After the "constant arguments" had inundated her once-happy home, it left things "unhealthy and unhappy" for the both of them and caused their humble abode to be "filled with a lot of tension."

"I knew what I was doing was the right thing for my child because I strongly believe it's better to have two homes filled with love than one filled with tension. That's one thing I learned as a child," Aguilera told the magazine. When she was asked what it was like to grow up in such a strained environment, she responded, "My mom tried for years to stay in a marriage that she was not happy in. I would watch her torture herself emotionally." The singer went on to reveal that she finally started to feel "more loved and secure" the day her parents finally separated.

Christina Aguilera's father 'hurt' her

Christina Aguilera sat down with W magazine to speak about her life and career in a 2011 cover story (via HuffPost). As she dove deep into her childhood, which was far from picture-perfect, she made a heartbreaking revelation. "I felt caged by my childhood. And unsafe: Bad things happened in my home; there was violence," she said.

As vocal as she has been about the alleged abuse, it was only a matter of time before her father, Fausto Aguilera, spoke out about the allegations. He told Us Weekly, "I never abused them in any way, and they know that" (via NY Daily News). Christina later appeared to issue him an apology via her track, "Hurt," where she sings, "I'm sorry for blaming you, for everything I just couldn't do / And I've hurt myself by hurting you."

But as of March 2018, the father and daughter continue to have a fractured relationship, as reported by Radar Online

Christina Aguilera's pain makes hit records

Christina Aguilera doesn't just crank out danceable, body-moving tracks that blare from the speakers of nightclubs across the globe. The Grammy Award-winning singer also uses music to share the pain she has endured throughout her life.

Sitting down with Dateline NBC (via the Daily Mail), she was asked if she ever felt bullied. Aguilera responded, "I have definitely experienced forms of bullying, and that's why it's so important for me to write songs like 'Beautiful' and 'Fighter.'" She also wrote her 2012 album, Lotus, in hopes that it would be a source of inspiration for those who may be in a similar situation. "Lotus is all about being an unbreakable flower that survives the test of time ... Throughout the roughest of surroundings and harshest weather conditions it remains strong and thrives," the singer explained.

But while Aguilera is committed to being a beacon of hope for others, she still has to deal with...

Christina Aguilera has faced intense criticism

As a public figure, Christina Aguilera is constantly scrutinized. She has been criticized for almost everything, from flubbing the words of the National Anthem at the 2011 Super Bowl to her spray tan malfunction at legendary singer Etta James' 2017 funeral. However, the most harsh judgement has been directed towards her weight, which has fluctuated since the start of her career.

What many fail to realize is that Aguilera was a pre-teen when she first entered the entertainment business as a star on Disney's The Mickey Mouse Club. So, naturally, her body would change as she matured. But that hasn't stopped people from bashing her figure and using every opportunity to put her down about her weight — including fellow celebrity Kelly Osbourne, who once called Aguilera a "fat b**ch" during an episode of E!'s Fashion Police (via Us Weekly).

"Being too thin. Being bigger. I've been criticized for being on both sides of the scale," Aguilera told Marie Claire. "It's noise I block out automatically. My son is healthy and happy, so that's all that matters to me." Amen, sister.

Christina Aguilera muddled through a bunch of career problems

While Christina Aguilera has suffered numerous personal setbacks, her career has been consistently successful ... up until a series of unfortunate events in the 2010s. In 2016, Aguilera left The Voice, later telling Billboard (via Business Insider), "I didn't get into this business to be a television host." But according to a source cited by Radar Online, she may have actually been fired: "It seems Christina couldn't take the fact that she was no longer sitting well with the audience, but she did it to herself. Her attitude on and off-set was such that no one wanted to work with her anymore."

Free to make more music again, Aguilera released Liberation in 2018, her first album in five years. It utterly flopped, selling just over 68,000 copies in its first week, and falling off the Billboard 200 album chart after just two weeks. The three singles from the record — "Accelerate," "Fall in Line," and "Like I Do" – didn't even crack the Billboard Hot 100.

A tour in support of Liberation similarly tanked. According to Radar Online, Aguilera reportedly struggled to fill venues in Hollywood, Fla., Chicago, and Atlantic City. Other shows — like ones in Ontario and Detroit — didn't even take place after Aguilera lost her voice and was unable to perform. Not long after those mishaps, a concert in Indio, Calif. was called off due to what Aguilera said were "production related safety concerns."