Kelly Clarkson on American Idol (2002)

Kelly Clarkson has had an incredibly successful career since she first hit the scene in the early 2000s. Aside from being a Grammy-winning singer, she’s also become an actress and popular talk show host. Of course, her journey all began with her stint on American Idol’s debut season, which saw her emerge as the series’ first-ever winner. The road wasn’t always easy for Clarkson though, as she recently revealed that some celebrities were “really mean” to her and her fellow Idol alums while they were filming that first season. But Clarkson actually got a bit of encouragement from a surprise source -- Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Jennifer Love Hewitt recently appeared on an episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show and, when kicking off the conversation, Clarkson recalled meeting Hewitt for the first time at an awards ceremony years ago. According to the host, she and the other American Idol stars who attended were treated poorly:

People were really mean to us because we're from a talent show, and it was the first season. Everyone was so rude to us, like, on the carpet, at the show… It was so bad. It was a horrible experience.

But Kelly Clarkson recalls that things that evening took a positive turn when she was approached by Jennifer Love Hewitt. The actress showed Clarkson some kindness and gave her some keen advice for her rising career:

You came up to me, ran up to me out of nowhere and were like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm really rooting for you.' You told me, 'Please keep the ones you love so close. It'll end up being about a few people in your life, unfortunately, but this business can be really hard.' You just gave me this advice that was really kind in such an unkind time for me personally... It meant the world to me. You were so nice.

The fact that Jennifer Love Hewitt went out of her way to express love and support for a young Kelly Clarkson is really sweet. And based on Clarkson’s sentiments on the show, the advice really stuck with her in the years that followed.

Speaking of years, it’s honestly hard to believe that it’s been over 18 years since Kelly Clarkson was crowned the first American Idol. Last year, Clarkson marked the anniversary with a sweet social media post that likely made plenty of people nostalgic.

Clarkson seems to hold generally positive feelings about her time on the reality competition show, and she even returned to give a powerful performance a few years ago. Still, she has expressed her hopes that her kids don’t find their way into the music industry and compete on a show like American Idol. This mostly stems from the difficulties that come with the industry.

Luckily, Kelly Clarkson has made it through just fine with her skills and the encouragement of people like Jennifer Love Hewitt. One can never underestimate the power of kind words and, in times like these, they’re definitely needed.

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