Jennifer Kate Hudson (born September 12, 1981) is an American singer, actress and spokesperson. She rose to fame in 2004 as a finalist on the third season of American Idol, coming in seventh place.
As an actress, she made her film debut portraying Effie White in Dreamgirls, for which she gained worldwide acclaim and won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also appeared in Sex and the City, The Secret Life of Bees, and Black Nativity. She has made numerous television appearances, including guest roles on Smash, Empire, and Inside Amy Schumer. In 2015, she made her Broadway debut in the role of Shug Avery in the revival of The Color Purple.
As a singer, Hudson has released three studio albums. Her debut album Jennifer Hudson, released in 2008, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold by the RIAA, with sales exceeding a million copies worldwide. The record was nominated for four Grammy Awards, winning the 2009 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. Her second album I Remember Me, released in 2011, also debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold by the RIAA. Her third and most recent album JHUD peaked in the top ten and featured the Grammy-nominated track "It's Your World". She also became the principal singer of The Color Purple musical album, which earned her the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.
In October 2008, Hudson stepped out of the public eye for three months after her mother, brother, and nephew were killed in a shooting. She resumed her public appearances in 2009, with high-profile performances at Super Bowl XLIII, the Grammy Awards, American Idol, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Hudson has been described as a friend of former President Barack Obama, who invited her to appear with him at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills during his first term in May 2009. She also performed at the White House at the "Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement" event. In 2013, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2016, Hudson was announced as a coach on the 2017 series of The Voice UK, where she became the first female coach to win. The following year, Hudson was announced as a coach on the thirteenth season of the U.S. version of The Voice.
On January 27, 2018, Clive Davis, who signed Hudson and promoted her as the new Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin following her departure from American Idol, disclosed that Hudson had been handpicked by Franklin to portray her in an upcoming bio-pic.