Ruben Studdard

Nadine Caridi

Quick Facts

Date of Birth September 12, 1978
Nationality American
Profession Singer
Working for R&B, pop, and Gospel Singer
Ethnicity Black
Marital Status Married
Spouse Surata Zuri McCants
Married on 2008
Name on Birth Christopher Theodore Ruben Studdard
Divorce Yes
Height 1.91 m
Weight 220 Pounds
Age 43 Years

Ruben Studdard is an American R&B, pop, and gospel singer. He rose to fame as winner of the second season of American Idol and received a Grammy Award nomination in December 2003 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "Superstar." In the years following Idol, Studdard has released five studio albums, including his platinum-selling debut, Soulful and the top-selling gospel follow-up, I Need an Angel. He is most well-known for his recording career, which has produced hits including "Flying Without Wings," "Sorry 2004" and "Change Me," but he has also segued into television and stage work. Most notably, he toured with Robin Givens in the comedy-drama Heaven I Need a Hug and in 2008 starred as Fats Waller in a national tour revival of Ain't Misbehavin', which spawned a Grammy-nominated soundtrack.

Studdard is currently appearing on the fifteenth season of The Biggest Loser. He is signed to Verve Records and will release his newest album, "Unconditional Love," on February 4, 2014.

Early Life

Born Christopher Theodore Ruben Studdard on September 12, 1978, in Frankfurt, Germany, singer Ruben Studdard raised to fame as a contestant on American Idol. He was raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Around the age of 3, Studdard began singing in his local church choir.

At Alabama A&M University, Studdard put aside a possible career in football to major in music. After graduating from A&M in 2000, he auditioned on a whim for American Idol, FOX's hit television talent search show, in 2002.


With a voice as big as his much-discussed girth, this soulful singer became the second American Idol winner in 2003. Raised singing gospel music, he attended college on a football scholarship before switching his focus to showbiz. Markedly different from his AI competitors — particularly freckle-faced runner-up Clay Aiken — the affectionately nicknamed "Velvet Teddy Bear" won over viewers with his smooth style and easygoing attitude. His post-show career was not the juggernaut everyone anticipated: The tracks and release date of his first album, Soulful, changed many times, while his second, I Need an Angel, smartly featured Studdard doing what he does best: gospel tunes. He also branched out into acting with a string of sitcom guest shots. In 2010, he reunited with his AI cast mate Aiken for a summer tour. Studdard founded The Ruben Studdard Foundation for the Advancement of Children in the Music Arts to promote and support music programs in the Greater Birmingham, AL area.

In the years following Idol, Studdard has released five studio albums.

Studdard has worked as an actor in several roles, including single-episode appearances on the television series 8 Simple Rules, Life on a Stick, All of Us, and Eve, as well as a cameo appearance in the film Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. He has also appeared on a television commercial for a Birmingham-area Kia dealer.

During a guest appearance on the Today show, Studdard expressed feeling very fortunate for his Biggest Loser spot: "I most definitely want to be around for a long time," he said, adding that, for him, the show was "a second chance."

Unfortunately, Studdard ended up being eliminated from the competition in early November. He discussed his exit from the show in a blog post for Parade, writing: "I gave all I had ... but it just wasn't enough to keep me on the ranch. I'm glad that I had the courage to come to the ranch and show the world that you're never too far away to turn and go right. I may not be the 'Biggest Loser,' but I am a champion!"

Personal Life

Studdard met Surata Zuri McCants in October 2006, when he was signing CDs at a Wal-Mart in Atlanta. On June 28, 2008, Studdard married McCants in a short, private ceremony in Mountain Brook, Alabama.

On November 16, 2011, Studdard's attorney announced that Studdard was in the process of a divorce. "Ruben Studdard and Zuri McCants Studdard have separated, and they are in the process of seeking dissolution of their marriage," said Byron Perkins. Studdard's divorce was finalized in April 2012.

He lost almost 110 pounds in weight, from his previous weight 358 pounds.

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