Fantasia is an R&B star made famous after winning season 3 of American Idol. While she never reached the global success of winners like Kelly Clarkson or her season three sister Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia has forged a well-respected career in soul music, Broadway, and reality television. She has faced some financial hurdles over the years and has opened up about them at various points. Let’s take a look and Fantasia’s financial troubles.
Fantasia was prepped for stardom the moment she walked off the American Idol stage. Her prize was a recording contract with Simon Cowell’s label and access to the biggest and brightest producers and songwriters in the industry. Fantasia’s 2004 debut album Free Yourself included contributions from Missy Elliot, Rodney Jerkins, Jermaine Dupri, Ciara, Jazzy Pha, and The Isley Brothers. It debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200. Its follow-up Fantasia housed her biggest single to date, 2007’s “When I See You.” The song became a sleeper hit, shooting to #1 on the R&B charts. At one point, she had a net worth of over $1 million.
The album’s success overlapped with her Broadway debut in The Color Purple, a project she would become synonymous with. One review at the time read, “There is some elemental quality to Barrino that is either greatness or something close to it.” A tumor on her vocal cords derailed the remainder of her shows however, and Fantasia had to leave The Color Purple before her run was officially over. “I was on Broadway for a year. Toward the end, I kind of lost control. Everything was going down the drain,” she told Oprah around the time. The show cancellations resulted in over $500k in ticket refunds.
Not too long afterward, Barrino hit her first major financial hurdle in a lawsuit where she was “accused of defaulting on a $58,000 loan from Florida-based company, Broward Energy Management.” This would lead to housing issues that would result in her losing her house in 2013. Fantasia tried to sell the house for 800k after purchasing it for 1.3 million in 2007. Fantasia was also paying for her entire family and could not keep up financially. She hit rock bottom, and the combination of financial and relationship woes lead to her attempting to overdose.
Fantasia is more transparent these days about finances. While interviewing with Tammy Mac, Fantasia shut down any ideas that she had it better than the radio host after Tammy joked that Fantasia had money. “I lost everything twice,” she informed the radio host. Fantasia said that a lot of celebrities do not like to be honest about their finances and wishes everyone was more truthful. She admits to not even liking the term “celebrity,” before calling herself “regular” and admitting a lot of celebrities are broke. “We don’t have it,” the singer stated.
Fantasia said she received help from Tyler Perry. “He would call and check up on me. He was one of the ones when I lost everything; he came and blessed me. And I thank him for that,” she recalled. Fantasia says that Perry taught her how to better manage her finances and helped her get back on her feet.
Fantasia is now touring regularly and gearing up to return to the Color Purple musical, but this time on the big screen.