OnlyOnAOL: How Fantasia learned to love herself

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Fantasia On "The Definition Of..."

By: Donna Freydkin

Fantasia Barrino greets you with a hug, the kind of embrace that envelopes you in her effusive personality. She's the former "American Idol" winner who's had her ups and downs: heralded Broadway performances, fame, fortune plus hit songs and albums, coupled with financial turmoil and a suicide attempt. Today, she's happily married to Kendall Taylor; they're raising three kids together.

Learning to love herself was a process. "It took a lot of time. Thank god for my husband too. I knew that whatever man came into my life would build me up," says Barrino. "Growing up in North Carolina, I was this skinny girl with big lips. I could always sing. I felt like I needed to look a certain way, like the girls I saw in magazines."

All that has changed. Barrino is confident, outspoken, and immensely proud of her new album, "The Definition Of...".

"I look in the mirror and tell myself I am beautiful. I try to pass it on to my kids. I see it," she says.

She played lead role of Celie from April 10, 2007, to January 6, 2008 in "The Color Purple," and returned to Broadway in 2013 in the musical "After Midnight," which was a turning point.

"I did a seven-month fast. For me that was long. I went without drinking, partying, talking to any guys. That was a bit much for me. I needed something different. I began to let go of the bad relationships, the hurt. I had to let it all go. As soon as I got off the fast, I met my husband," she says.

The two share an obvious connection. "Every morning he tells me I am beautiful. It took a while to get here. But I share that with young girls," she says.

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HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: American Idol Season 15 winner Trent Harmon performs coronation song onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: American Idol Season 15 winner Trent Harmon (R), host Ryan Seacrest (L) and finalist La'Porsha Renae speak onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: American Idol Season 15 winner Trent Harmon (C) performs coronation song with cast of Season 15 onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: American Idol Season 15 winner Trent Harmon (R) and finalist La'Porsha Renae embrace onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
George Huff performs at the "American Idol" farewell season finale at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
Trent Harmon, winner of "American Idol" The Farewell Season celebrates with fellow contestants during the season finale at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
Ryan Seacrest, left, and Carrie Underwood speak at the "American Idol" farewell season finale at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
Kris Allen performs at the "American Idol" farewell season finale at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
William Hung performs at the "American Idol" farewell season finale at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: (L-R) Season 1 judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson and the cast of Season 15 present host Ryan Seacrest with a gift onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 7: Judge Jennifer Lopez performs onstage at FOX's American Idol Season 15 Finale on April 7, 2016 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ray Mickshaw/FOX via Getty Images)
Phillip Phillips performs at the "American Idol" farewell season finale at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artists Keith Urban (L) and Carrie Underwood perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Host Ryan Seacrest (L) and Brian Dunkleman speak onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: (L-R) Recording artists Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban enter onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Actress/singer Jennifer Lopez greets fans onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Singers Trent Harmon (L) and La'Porsha Renae perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Host Ryan Seacrest (L) and Brian Dunkleman speak onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Singers Trent Harmon (L) and La'Porsha Renae perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Fans attend FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: (L-R) Recording artists Pia Toscano, Kimberley Locke, Allison Iraheta, Jordin Sparks and Tamyra Gray perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: (L-R) Recording artists Jordin Sparks, Allison Iraheta, Tamyra Gray and Justin Guarini perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist Jordin Sparks performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist Pia Toscano performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist Jordin Sparks performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artists Justin Guarini (R) and Jordin Sparks perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist Colton Dixon performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artists Kimberley Locke (L) and Allison Iraheta perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist Chris Daughtry performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Singer Bo Bice performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: (L-R) Recording artists Caleb Johnson, Constantine Maroulis, Chris Daughtry, James Durbin and Bo Bice perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artists Constantine Maroulis (L) and James Durbin perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist James Durbin performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: (L-R) Recording artists Bucky Covington, Ace Young, Constantine Maroulis and Scotty McCreery perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist Jessica Sanchez performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Singer Carly Smithson performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artists Katharine McPhee (L) and Casey James perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 7: Judge Jennifer Lopez performs onstage at FOX's American Idol Season 15 Finale on April 7, 2016 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ray Mickshaw/FOX via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Singers Marley Fletcher (L) and Harry Connick, Jr. perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist Fantasia performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Singer Candice Glover performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Host Ryan Seacrest speaks in the audience during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: American Idol Season 15 winner Trent Harmon (R), host Ryan Seacrest (L) and finalist La'Porsha Renae speak onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: American Idol Season 15 winner Trent Harmon (R), host Ryan Seacrest (L) and finalist La'Porsha Renae speak onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artists Keith Urban (L) and Carrie Underwood perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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