There are few things members of the media like doing more than taking one potentially scandalous quote and turning it into a larger story, even if it goes against the basic spirit of the larger interview or blog post or life situation. American Idol runner-up Justin Guarini is not living in poverty or wasting away, despite his claim to have “missed some meals” to make sure his family had enough. Instead, he’s living the life of a performer, scrapping and clawing one day at a time.

The rumblings began two days ago when Guarini hit up his official website to reintroduce himself to fans, as he is now, as opposed to the person he was when he coasted to the finale on American Idol, only to lose to Kelly Clarkson. In his long and sometimes touching essay, he admitted he now takes the subway like other performers. He rents a house rather than owns and yes, has occasionally missed meals when he was in between gigs.

Here’s the actual quote that got everyone so worked up…
There was a time when I wouldn’t have been concerned about the amazing expense of eating at place like Green Symphony.
Now, I budget. I have spent days skipping meals in order to make sure I have enough. To make sure my children, and my wife have enough.

There’s a huge difference between being homeless and destitute and looking for your next gig/ job as a performer and trying to make the savings stretch a little longer, as he’s made very clear in the last day or so on his Twitter account. That’s the life he picked, however. He freely admits in his essay that it would be easier and sometimes he actually contemplates taking a desk job and finding more stability, but in the end, he wants to get out there and entertain. That’s great. For most performers, however, that means a life of ups and downs, especially if you don’t save diligently during the ups.

Don’t feel bad for Justin. His status might not be as lofty, but he’s still doing what he loves. Now, he has people around him worth supporting too.
”I have a wife whom I love and who loves me (me!) and who lifts me up. Children who give me cherubic-lippped kisses before I leave for work and who are the most delicious morsels of joy and peace and prosperity.”

That peace and prosperity should wash over into his professional life for the next half year too. Guarini recently booked the role of Paris in the new Broadway version of Romeo & Juliet starring Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad. That part won’t net him incredible riches, but it should be more than enough to keep his family clothed and happy until at least January when his contract runs out. You can check him out starting on August 24th.

I have no idea where Justin’s life will take him. I have no idea if he’ll ever find a record contract again, but here’s to hoping he continues working just as hard.

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