If you had told Kellie Pickler that she would one day walk the red carpet, she probably would have laughed it off. Although she dreamed of being the next Dolly Parton, she never thought she would become famous at a young age. Yet everything aligned so well that by the time she turned 19, she already had a record deal with Sony. She has gone from singing, to dancing, acting, and endorsing products, all of which have increased Kellie Pickler’s net worth to $7 million. The multi-talented television personality has set her sights on the stars and is working hard to achieve her goals. Let’s help you understand her journey by taking you back to her childhood.
Shirley Temple Inspires Her to be a Singer
Pickler’s childhood was not sunshine and rainbows. When she was only two years old, her parents split up. Her mother, Cynthia, could no longer take the abusive relationship with Pickler’s father, Clyde. Therefore, Cynthia left Pickler in the care of Clyde, who was always on the wrong side of the law. Consequently, Clyde’s parents took Pickler in while Clyde spent most of the time incarcerated. According to an interview with Medium, the singer disclosed that her grandmother loved listening to music, especially by Shirley Temple. For this reason, Pickler hoped to become a singer, and her grandmother instilled in her a love for singing as they sang hymns together. Life with her grandparents was difficult because they were old and should have retired. Her grandmother was disabled as she suffered from gout and rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, Pickler’s grandfather had to work in his old age, and Pickler had to take on the huge responsibility of being the homemaker. Despite such challenges, when Cynthia wanted custody, Pickler said she would rather die than live with her mother. While her relationship with her mother faded, the country music singer stayed close with her father when he was in prison by exchanging letters. Unfortunately, her grandmother died before Pickler could graduate, leaving her to be raised by her grandfather. The inspiration to continue pursuing music never died. Pickler entered any beauty pageants she could find for the chance to showcase her vocals. She explained that since she came from the small town of Albermarle, there were few opportunities to present her talents; thus, she took whatever came her way. She must have been good at singing because she won the pageants. During her high school graduation, she was asked to sing. However, life had to go on, and she got a job at Sonic Drive-In as a roller-skating waitress. According to Taste of Country, she loved working there because she never wondered what to put on every morning; the uniform was always ready for her to report to work.
Getting a Start in Reality Shows
The dream to become the next Dolly Parton was engraved in her heart. Thus, Pickler auditioned for the fifth season of “American Idol.” Her grandfather accompanied her, and when Pickler saw the big crowd that came out to audition, she was intimidated. She told her grandfather they should leave because no one would take a second look at her, but her grandfather insisted she should stay because she had nothing to lose. Pickler reasoned all she could lose was the Sonic Drive-In job, So she hung on and won the judges over with her bubbly personality. While some thought she was pretending to be naïve to win the audience, Pickler admits growing up in a small town meant she did not have lots of exposure; she could not even pronounce salmon and calamari right. Nevertheless, she was eliminated but continued promoting the show. In 2006, as Today published, the country musician signed her first record deal with BNA Records and 19 Recordings. She was only 19 and could barely understand the contract, and later said she felt like she was being pulled in 100 different directions. Although it is unclear how much the deal with Sony was, she must have been getting a raw deal. In 2014, 19 Recordings filed a lawsuit against Sony because they underpaid the artists by choosing royalty options that were only beneficial to Sony. They were barely even promoting her album; her debut album sold 800,000 copies, her sophomore album sold 400,000 copies, but her third album sold only 74,000 copies. It is no wonder that in 2012, she cut ties with Sony after being frustrated. Pickler decided to sign with Black River Entertainment.
Endorsement and Her Reality TV Show
According to Entertainment, when Pickler worked at Sonic Drive-In, she made $2.15 an hour. Never in her wildest dreams did the singer think that she would go from roller-skating burgers for a living to being seen across the globe on millions of television sets. Her luck changed, and so did her bank account balance. Besides earning from the sale of her music, she also starred in her reality television show “I Love Kellie Pickler,” which ran for three seasons. It may not come close to “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” where in 2017 the sisters and their mother received $4.5 million each per season, but it still helped to rake in some dollars to Pickler’s account. Besides, she was also on “Dancing with the Stars,” where the starting salary for celebrities is $125,000. Since she won, she took home around $300,000. Pickler also started landing endorsement deals as soon as she became famous. In 2009, she signed on as a celebrity spokesperson for Sexy Hair products in a multi-million dollar deal. In 2014, Pickler became the first person from the world of entertainment to endorse Rockin’ Refuel, a line of protein beverages. She was named one of the United States Service Organization’s global ambassadors where she has been actively involved since the first tour in 2007. Therefore, it is safe to say she is compensated for her efforts.