Childhood & Early Life
Charice Pempengco was born on May 10, 1992, in Cabuyao City, Laguna province, Philippines. When she was a child, her mother Raquel left her abusive father and took her and her younger brother, Carl. to live with her grandmother.
Charice’s mother, a former singer who worked at a garment factory, discovered Charice’s singing talents when she was only four years old. Charice, who already helped her mother with household chores at the age of six, started participating in local singing competitions when she was seven.
The financial struggle of her family continued for a few more years, during which they were even homeless for a while. However, the prize money she won from singing contests eventually helped them move into an apartment in which she had her own room.
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In 2005, Charice Pempengco took part in the talent show 'Little Big Star' in Philippines, in which she reached the finals and secured the third place. Two years later, a fan of her, Dave Duenas, uploaded the video of her performance on the YouTube channel 'FalseVoice', which gained worldwide attention and made her an international star within a short time.
One of the first calls she got was from a Swedish record company named Ten Songs/Productions, which offered her a demo-recording in June 2007. She recorded seven songs with the company, including an original song called 'Amazing'.
On October 13, 2007, she was invited to the South Korean talent show 'Star King' to perform as a foreign act. The video of her rendition of 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going' from the Broadway musical 'Dreamgirls' became viral on YouTube.
Impressed after watching one of her performances on YouTube, Ellen DeGeneres invited Charice on her talk show, 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'. Along with her mother, Charice flew to America for the first time to appear on the show on December 19, 2007.
On December 28, 2007, she made a second appearance on 'Star King' as the 'Most Requested Foreign Act' of the show. In April next year, she went to London, England, to appear as a guest in an episode of 'The Paul O'Grady Show'.
She released her debut EP 'Charice' from Star Records in May 2008. The EP, containing six cover songs and six backing tracks, became Platinum certified in the Philippines.
In May 2008, Oprah Winfrey invited her on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' to take part in the episode 'World's Smartest Kids'. After she charmed the audience with her rendition of Whitney Houston's 'I Have Nothing', Oprah asked Grammy-winning record producer and star-maker, David Foster, to be Charice’s mentor.
On May 23, Charice Pempengco performed alongside Foster at the concert, 'Hitman: David Foster and Friends' in Las Vegas. Andrea Bocelli, who was a singer at the concert, invited her to Italy to perform a duet with him on July 20 on his birthday concert, 'The Cinema Tribute'.
She appeared on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' for the second time on September 9, 2008 on the episode 'Dreams Come True' and performed her idol Celine Dion's song 'My Heart Will Go On'. Following her performance, Oprah surprised her by arranging a satellite call with Dion, who invited her to perform a duet with her during her 'Taking Chances Tour'.
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On May 1, 2009, Charice Pempengco released a Philippines-exclusive full-length studio album titled 'My Inspiration'. The album contained 12 tracks including one original song called 'Always You', and featured a duet performance with her mother Raquel, covering the Helen Reddy song 'You and Me Against the World'.
Her first international studio album, 'Charice', was launched on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' on May 11, 2010. Following the success of the album, she bagged the role of Sunshine Corazon in the musical drama series 'Glee' on its second season.
Her second international studio album, 'Infinity', was released early in Japan on October 5, 2011, but was not released in America due to differing standards. In 2012, she served as a judge on the Philippine version of 'The X Factor'.
The album 'Chapter 10', which consisted of cover versions of modern songs, was released on September 6, 2013.
After she came out as lesbian in 2013, she has totally changed her style and has released one rock album titled 'Catharsis' in October 2016.
Personal Life & Legacy
Charice Pempengco's father, Ricky Pempengco, a construction worker, died in October 2011 after being stabbed at a grocery store. Despite being separated from her father since she was a child, she grieved his death stating "He's still my Dad after all."
She came out as a lesbian during an interview with Boy Abunda at 'The Buzz' in the Philippines on June 2, 2013. She subsequently donned a "boyish" look with short hair and tattoos, and revealed in an interview with Oprah that her "soul is male". However, she is not interested in gender transition surgery.
She has been in a live-in relationship with girlfriend Alyssa Quijano for a long time. The couple reportedly broke up amiably in May 2017, almost four years after they announced their relationship in June 2013
One of Charice Pempengco's earliest childhood memories is from when she was three. She witnessed her father pointing a shotgun at her mother, but the neighbours broke in at the right moment and saved them.
In June, 2009, singing legend Michael Jackson's lawyer contacted her, inviting her to be a guest performer on his tour. Unfortunately, Jackson died later that month, following which she revealed that she was supposed to perform the song 'Billie Jean' with him in two weeks.