Aside from being known for her vocal ability, music videos and image, musically, she includes themes of dealing with public scrutiny, her childhood, and female empowerment in her music. Apart from her work in music, she has also dedicated much of her time as a philanthropist for charities, human rights and world issues which include her work as a UN ambassador for the World Food Programme. She made her feature film debut in the musical Burlesque (2010), earning Christina Aguilera a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song. Aguilera's work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, four Grammy Awards and one Latin Grammy Award, amongst seventeen and three nominations respectively. Rolling Stone ranked her number fifty-eight on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, ranking as the youngest and only artist on the list under the age of thirty. She was ranked the 20th Artist of the 2000–09 decade by Billboard and is the second top selling single artist of the 2000s behind Madonna. Aguilera's albums sales are estimated at around 50 million units worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
1980–98: Early life and career beginnings
Christina Aguilera was born in Staten Island, New York, to Fausto Wagner Xavier Aguilera, a sergeant in the US Army at the time, and Shelly Loraine (née Fidler), a Spanish teacher. Aguilera's father was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and her mother is of German, Irish, Welsh, and Dutch ancestry. Her father was stationed at Earnest Harmon Air Force Base in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador and Japan. Aguilera lived with both her father and mother, up until their divorce when she was seven years old. Aguilera then lived with her mother, and her younger sister Rachel, at her grandmother's home in Rochester, Pennsylvania, a town outside Pittsburgh. According to both Aguilera and her mother, her father was very controlling, as well as physically and emotionally abusive. In an interview with Rolling Stone Aguilera revealed, "there was so much domestic violence going on when I grew up with my dad travelling in the military. I think the reason that my drive was so strong and I was so passionate about music was because I grew up in an environment of domestic violence." She later sang about her difficult childhood in the songs "I'm OK" on Stripped, and "Oh Mother" on Back to Basics. Even though he has made several attempts to reconnect with her, Christina Aguilera ruled out any chance of a reunion. Since then, her mother has married a paramedic named Jim Kearns, and has changed her name.
As a child, Christina Aguilera aspired to be a singer. She was known locally as "the little girl with the big voice", singing in local talent shows and competitions. She attended Rochester Area School District, Marshall Middle School near Wexford and North Allegheny Intermediate High School. On March 15, 1990, she appeared on Star Search singing "A Sunday Kind of Love", but lost the competition at number 2. Soon after losing on Star Search, she returned home and appeared on Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV's Wake Up With Larry Richert to perform the same song. Throughout her youth in Pittsburgh, Aguilera sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Pittsburgh Penguins hockey, Pittsburgh Steelers football and Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games, including during the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals. Her talent was kept a secret to avoid bullying of other children. Following her television appearances Aguilera experienced resentment and bullying including an incident in which her peers slashed the tires on her family's car. Following several incidents Aguilera was later home schooled. Christina Aguilera recalls, "doing what I did and maybe being a little smaller, I was definitely picked on and bullied for the attention that I got. It was definitely unwanted attention and there was a lot of unfairness about it."
2010–present: Bionic, Burlesque and The Voice
Aguilera's sixth studio album Bionic was released on June 8, 2010. The album's producers included Tricky Stewart, Samuel Dixon, Polow da Don, Le Tigre, Switch, Ester Dean, songwriters Sam Endicott, Sia Furler, Claude Kelly, Linda Perry and collaborations with M.I.A., Santigold, Nicki Minaj, and Peaches. Two of the album's three singles, "Not Myself Tonight" and "You Lost Me" peaked at No.1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Charts but were unsuccessful elsewhere. "Woohoo", featuring rapper Nicki Minaj, was also released as the album's second single. Bionic's material consisted of many mainstream and pop records along with electronic and dance music. The album was released to mixed reviews from music critics, with Jon Pareles of The New York Times writing that the singer's new music direction "makes her sound as peer-pressured as a pop singer can be." Allison Stewart of The Washington Post described the album as being "noisy, robotic and overstuffed" adding that the disc's "greatest disappointments" is its "virtual abandonment" of Aguilera's voice. She concluded that Aguilera attempts "to do it all," which was to try to "revel in her newfound domesticity, to wrest her crown from Gaga and to reestablish her sex kitten bona fides." Dan Martin of the NME wrote, "Perhaps best of all is ‘Monday Morning.' Written with Santigold and The Bravery’s Sam Endicott, it’s a Day-Glo disco jam that sounds like Gwen Stefani doing "Borderline". Sales of Bionic were underwhelming in the US compared to her previous releases selling 110,000 copies in its first week landing at No.3 and has sold 280,000 units in the US to date. Shortly after the album's release, further promotion ended and a scheduled summer tour for the album was cancelled due to "inadequate rehearsal time". "You Lost Me" was her first single to not chart the Hot 100 while Bionic was her first English studio album not to receive a Grammy nomination. Christina Aguilera later responded in an interview saying, "I was really proud of that record. I think there was a lot of promotion issues, coming from a standpoint of how everything resulted. Nothing is ever a setback. If anything, it just motivates you for what’s next."
Christina Aguilera announced that she and Bratman had separated, saying in a statement, "Although Jordan and I are separated, our commitment to our son Max remains as strong as ever." Aguilera filed for divorce from Bratman on October 14, 2010, seeking joint legal and physical custody of their son, and specifying September 11, 2010 as the date of separation. They later reached a settlement agreement and custody deal, details of their agreement were private. Their divorce was finalized on April 15, 2011. The following month, Aguilera appeared as herself on the Entourage season seven finale as a client/friend of Ari Gold. On November 15, 2010, Aguilera received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In November 2010, Aguilera appeared in her first feature film, the musical Burlesque. She portrayed a small town girl, Ali Rose, who finds love and success in a Los Angeles neo-burlesque club. Aguilera performed eight of the musical numbers on the film's soundtrack released on November 22, 2010 and co-wrote a number of the tracks working with producers and writers including Tricky Stewart, Sia Furler, Samuel Dixon, Linda Perry, Claude Kelly, Danja, and Ron Fair. The remaining two tracks were sung by Cher, who co-starred alongside Aguilera. Distributed by Screen Gems, the film was directed Steve Antin who also wrote the script. Antin wrote the role of Ali specifically for Aguilera. Aguilera's co-stars also included Cam Gigandet, Eric Dane, Kristen Bell and Stanley Tucci. Several critics praised Aguilera's performance. A review in TIME states, "Aguilera might not be to your taste, or mine, but in terms of sheer power, she's impressive. If Ali were real, she'd have already been discovered on American Idol." While Variety wrote, "Aguilera, while undeniably entertaining when her character is onstage, cannot spin the slight backstory into anything resembling a full-blooded person." Though Burlesque was released to mixed reviews from critics, the film received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy and earned Aguilera, writer/producer Sia Furler and Samuel Dixon, a nomination for Best Original Song for the track "Bound to You". The soundtrack also earned Aguilera a Grammy nomination for Best Compilation Soundtrack. Burlesque has grossed over $90 million worldwide.
Following the release of Burlesque, Aguilera collaborated with rapper T.I. on the track, "Castle Walls" which is included on his album No Mercy. Aguilera performed the U.S. national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner", during the Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 and created embarrassment when she omitted a line of the anthem and messed up the song's lyrics. She later apologized, telling CNN that "I got so caught up in the moment of the song that I lost my place. I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through." The following week, Aguilera, alongside Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride, Yolanda Adams, and Florence Welch opened the 53rd Grammy Awards paying tribute to Aretha Franklin.
Aguilera began dating musician and production assistant, Matt Rutler whom she met during the filming of Burlesque. Her personal life was the subject of scrutiny; and reports over out of control behavior, excessive drinking, and a reported confrontation with her co-star Julianne Hough. On March 1, 2011, Aguilera was arrested for public intoxication in West Hollywood as her boyfriend was arrested for DWI. She was later released on bail and no charges were filed. Although the L.A. Sheriff's office stated Aguilera's mug shot would not be released to the public, E! News obtained the mug shot which circulated social networks and the media shortly after her release. Rutler's DWI charge was dismissed due to insufficient evidence, after his BAC at the time of arrest was determined to be at .06%, below the legal limit in the state of California.
In May 2011, Christina Aguilera stated that she is recording a new studio album in an interview at Live with Regis and Kelly. Aguilera told RTL: "It's going to be a very heartfelt, deep-rooted and introspective record for me" and that she's hoping for release in spring or summer 2012.