American singer and actress. Born Jennifer Kate Hudson on September 12, 1981 in Chicago, Illinois. She grew up singing in the church choir and graduated from Dunbar Vocational Career Academy in 1999. After singing for a year on a Disney cruise ship, Hudson auditioned for the third season of FOX American Idol in 2004. As a finalist, she gained exposure and a fan base, then all but disappeared from the limelight until 2005. That year, Hudson beat out hundreds of competitors to win the role of Effie White in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Dreamgirls. Her scene-stealing performance earned the young singer several accolades including a Golden Globe, an Oscar, and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In September 2008, Hudson and her boyfriend, David Otunga, became engaged. Otunga, known as "Punk" on the TV reality show I Love New York 2, proposed on the singer 27th birthday. No wedding date has been disclosed, but it was announced in June 2009, that the couple is expecting their first child.
On May 30, 2008, Jennifer Hudson appeared in the hit movie, Sex in the City, and starred in The Secret Life of Bees in October of 2008 along with Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, and Sophie Okonedo. Her self-titled debut album was released in September 2008. Tragedy struck Hudson life when her 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, disappeared. The boy went missing shortly after Hudson mother and brother were shot in what appeared to be a double-homicide. On her Web site, Hudson thanked fans for their thoughts and prayers, and offered a $100,000 reward for King safe return. Police are still investigating the case, but in December 2008, they arrested Hudson brother-in-law, William Balfour in relation to the killings. Hudson made her first public appearance since the deaths of her family members when she sang the national anthem during Super Bowl XLIII. She is currently on tour for her new album.