paula julie abdul was born on june 19, 1963, in san fernando, california. her parents, henry and lorraine, raised her and her sister, wendy, in hollywood a perfect place to begin a career as an international pop diva. the road to success was paved with pom-pom's for abdul, who started off as a professional cheerleader for the los angeles lakers. catching the eye of a music industry insider, she was invited to choreograph a video for the jackson five. that lead to subsequent work with pop music's reigning dynasty, choreographing several videos for janet jackson's "adult debut", control. credited with bringing the baby jackson to the forefront of the music scene, abdul became a highly visible and highly sought-after choreographer to the stars. working with the music industry's biggest divas aretha franklin, the pointer sisterslead to screen work, choreographing films such as coming to america and television programs such as the tracy ullman show. the later earned her an emmy award, as well as making her a natural to choreograph such awards programs as the american music awards.
it wasn't until 1988's release of forever you girl that abdul got to use her star-making choreography skills on herself. producing one chart-topping hit after another, forever your girl made paula abdul the first woman in history to every achieve number one status four times over with a debut releasea record that has not yet been broken. sales of the album proved so positive that it spawned a remix album called shut up and dance. perhaps more significant than her sales, was the effect she had on the music industry. decades after the death of the american musical, paula abdul reintroduced us to dance. in fact, artists such as abdul, jackson and madonna made dance a prerequisite in pop music, sending would-be artists, such as new kids on the block, to dance school. unfortunately, abdul was also allegedly caught up in another trend prevelent in the mid-1980's music industry vocal dubbing. recoiling from the musical debacle that was milli vanilli, industry critics began to closely scrutinize artists whose vocal acumen was not up to par. using artists such as whitney houston and anita baker as yardsticks, lesser singers were accused of stealing vocals from back-up singers or singing over tapes of themselves in concert to enhance their own feeble voices. the later crime was considered far less severe since artists who committed it generally did so to allow for dance-intensive aerobic performances. the former, however, could destroy careers or, at the very least, generate law suits. such was the case with c+c music factory and black box (who were later sued by martha wash), and such was the case with paula abdul. back-up singer yvette marine sued virgin records, claiming that it was, in fact, her vocals mixed with abduls that produced the lead vocals heard on the songs "i need you" and "opposites attract". marine's suit, unlike wash's, failed.
tabloid scandal gave way to further record-breaking success with the release of paula's sophomore effort, spellbound. the album, which debuted at number five before stealing the number one spot for two consecutive weeks, produced the hit "rush, rush" which held the number one spot for five weeks (a feat that had only been accomplished by madonna's "like a virgin", to that point). four more singles were released from spellbound with only "the promise of new day" matching the success of the first. in april of 1992, paula abdul's release of "will you marry me" heralded her wedding to actor emilio estevez. unable to evade the scrouge of junk journalism for long, abdul experienced a very public split from estevez and an even more public bout with bulimia. plagued by unflattering media accounts of her figure, the petite but muscular diva let a poor self-image get the best of her. caught between the musculature of a dancer and a public that often confuses singers for supermodel's, paula abdul lost weight only to suffer accusations that she had photographs and videos carefully doctored to slim her thighs and waistline. hitting bottom, abdul admitted herself to a center for the control of eating disorders in kansas to get help.
after a four year hiatus from recording, paula returned with the release of head over heels. the first single, "my love is for real", teamed abdul with international diva ofra haza and reached #36 on the charts. only two other singles were released from the album before paula's october 25th marriage to brad beckman. while continuing her recording career, abdul has dabbled in acting, adding episodes of the single guy and cybil, as well as the abc movie touched by evil, to her resume. as one would expect, this very active entertainer has a healthy obsession with keeping fit. abdul has combined her passion for dance with her interest in fitness by starring in two dance-focused aerobic videos, 1994's get up and dance and 1998's cardio dance. a greatest hits album including new materials is slated to close a contract with virgin records prior to the release of a studio album, though no dates have been confirmed for either.
for weathering the slings and arrows of a fickle industry, and reintroducing us to an artform, the magic of which had almost been forgotten, paula abdul is to be commended. for battling and learning to control bulimia, she is to be congratulated. for the openness and strength that has not only allowed her to continue, but to also speak openly of her struggles in hopes of sparing others the pain she's endured, paula abdul is truly a diva. though her girl-next-door personality and bubbly pop music have earned her much criticism, abdul is a near perfect example of what an entertainer should be. one of the world's best dancer/choreographers, her professionalism and dedication are unparalleled.