Carrie Underwood is one of the most famous American Idol contestants of all time, but she definitely had plenty of help, especially from her parents. The country music superstar recalls the heartwarming ways both her mom and dad supported her when she got her start on the reality TV talent show.
“The summer before my senior year [of college], I was home one day, watching TV — the one in the living room — and saw a news segment about people auditioning for the show American Idol. I checked online. The closest auditions were being held in St. Louis,” Carrie recalled in an essay she shared with Guideposts.
“How far away is St. Louis?” I asked my mom,” she recounted, adding that her mom told her it was six or seven hours away by car, which Carrie thought would be out of the question. But when she told her mom why she was asking, her response was unexpected.
“I’ll take you,'” Carrie remembered her saying. “Just like that.”
Carrie earned one of the coveted golden tickets to Hollywood, but she wasn’t entirely confident she should even leave her hometown of Checotah, Oklahoma to fly to California.
“I was so distracted that when Mom and Dad were driving me to the airport to go to Hollywood, I realized I’d forgotten lip liner,” Carrie recounted. “We stopped at a grocery store, and Mom dashed inside to buy some. All at once, it was just too much. Going out to Los Angeles by myself, competing with all those other people who were so talented. I burst into tears.
“My dad turned to me in the backseat. ‘Carrie,’ he said, ‘we can go home right now, and we don’t ever have to talk about it again,'” the singer shared. “I took a deep breath. ‘No,’ I said at last. ‘I’ll go.'”
Carrie has had nonstop success since her time on Idol, but at her core, she says she is still a small-town girl, trying along with her husband, Mike Fisher, to raise their sons, Isaiah and Jacob, in much the same way that she was raised.
“I might be one of those stars myself these days, but Mike and I do all we can to raise our two boys with values like the ones I grew up with in Checotah,” Carrie revealed. “Down-to-earth, church on Sundays, plenty of grass and trees and space outside for them to roam. At night, when we put the boys to bed, we pray out loud with them. Just talking to God, letting them know he hears their every word.”