Kelly Clarkson celebrates 20th anniversary of winning ‘American Idol’

Some people wait a lifetime for a life-changing moment like the one Kelly Clarkson experienced exactly two decades ago.

And on Sunday, the first-ever “American Idol” winner commemorated the special anniversary with an emotional statement shared via Instagram.

“20 years ago today I won American Idol and it forever changed the course of my life,” the powerhouse vocalist — who went from winning the reality TV singing competition to earning three Grammy Awards — began her post.

“That moment was the door that opened up so much access and opportunity, and creative partnerships that I will be grateful for all of my days. The family and friendships I have created over these 20 years in music and tv are priceless to me,” the “Kelly Clarkson Show” host, 40, added.

Kelly Clarkson singing on "american idol" the night she won
Kelly Clarkson celebrated the 20th anniversary of winning “American Idol” Season 1 on Sunday.
Getty Images

Though the “Since U Been Gone” singer feels “abundantly blessed” for the “successes and failures” she’s experienced since 2002, she is “most proud [of] and grateful for” the friends who “have become family.”

The recently divorced mother of two went on to thank those special few “for their arms that have held [her] when [she] needed it and their hearts that listened to [her] when [she] felt lost.”

“Without them I would not be where I am. I would probably not be here at all,” Clarkson noted.

Kelly Clarkson wearing a red dress on her titular talk show
The three-time Grammy winner said she’s “most proud” of the friends who “have become family.”
Helen Healey/NBC via Getty Image

The Texas native, who managed to win over not only America but also icy judge Simon Cowell, made sure to acknowledge “every single person that voted 20 years ago!”

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” she gushed. “I hope all of you have people in your lives that fill you with laughter, and hope, and happiness, and if you don’t feel like you have that, then keep searching because I promise you they’re looking for you too. ”

Kelly Clarkson singing during the 2022 NBCUniversal Upfronts in New York City
The talk show host made sure to thank “every single person that voted 20 years ago!”
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Despite her massive post-“Idol” success, Clarkson managed to remain mostly out of the limelight until she filed for divorce from Brandon Blackstock, 45, in June 2020 after nearly seven years of marriage.

The two settled their particularly bitter divorce earlier this year, with Clarkson being granted primary custody of their two children: daughter River, 8, and son Remington, 6.

The “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” hitmaker, who has not released non-holiday music since 2017, recently promised fans that a new album was on the horizon.

“I’m just navigating what I’m comfortable with releasing,” she explained in June, adding, “I’ve never had this difficult of a project.”

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