Jennifer Hudson Biography

(Singer & Actress Known for Her Role in the Musical 'Dreamgirls')

Birthday: September 12, 1981 (Virgo)

Born In: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jennifer Hudson is an American award-winning actress and singer. She gained worldwide popularity for her roles in movies, such as ‘Dreamgirls,’ ‘Sex and the City,’ ‘The Secret Life of Bees,’ and ‘Black Nativity.’ After making her film debut in 2006 with the musical drama film ‘Dreamgirls,’ Hudson achieved popularity in a short period of time. Her role in the film earned her several awards, including an ‘Oscar.’ After the success of her first film, she appeared in ‘Sex and the City,’ an American romantic comedy. She then went on to appear in the drama film ‘The Secret Life of Bees.’ One of her major film roles was in the drama film ‘Chi-Raq,’ which was directed and produced by Spike Lee. Throughout her career, she has also made numerous appearances in television programs, such as ‘Smash,’ ‘Empire,’ and ‘Confirmation,’ a television film. As a singer, three studio albums have been released by her to date. Her self-titled debut album was released in 2008. Debuting at number two on the ‘Billboard 200,’ it became a huge hit.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Jennifer Kate Hudson, J.Hud

Age: 42 Years, 42 Year Old Females


father: Samuel Simpson

mother: Darnell Donnerson

siblings: Dinah Simpson, Jason Simpson, Julia Simpson

Partner: David Otunga (2008–2017), James Payton (1999–2007)

Born Country: United States

Actresses Soul Singers

Height: 5'9" (175 cm), 5'9" Females

City: Chicago, Illinois

Notable Alumni: Langston University, Kennedy-King College, Dunbar Vocational High School

U.S. State: Illinois

More Facts

education: Langston University, Kennedy-King College, Dunbar Vocational High School

Childhood & Early Life

Jennifer Hudson was born on 12 September 1981, in Chicago, Illinois, USA, to Samuel Simpson and Darnell Donerson. She grew up with 3 siblings, 2 sisters named Dinah and Julia, and a brother named Jason.

Hudson was raised a Baptist. During her childhood, she used to sing in the church choir. She attended ‘Dunbar Vocational High School,’ completing her graduation in the year 1999.

After finishing school, she enrolled at ‘Langston University.’ However, she left the university after a semester as she started to feel homesick.

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Jennifer Hudson signed her first recording contract in 2002 with a record label named ‘Righteous Records.’ She had a five-year contract. However, she was released from it as she had to appear on ‘American Idol’ in 2004.

After surpassing hundreds of other contenders, she landed her first film role in ‘Dreamgirls’ in 2006. Her fantastic performance as ‘Effie White’ won her several awards, including an ‘Oscar’ for ‘Best Supporting Actress.

She next appeared in ‘Sex and the City,’ a 2008 American romantic comedy, which was directed by Michael Patrick King. The film premiered in London on May 12, 2008. Hudson’s role as a tech-savvy assistant was much loved by the audience.

In 2008, she also released her debut studio album, which was named after herself. It turned out to be a huge hit, and debuted at No. 2 on the ‘US Billboard 200.’ Selling 217,000 copies within the first week itself, it earned her several awards, such as the ‘NAACP Image Award’ for ‘Outstanding New Artist.’

Jennifer Hudson continued appearing in several movies, such as ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ (2008), ‘Winged Creatures’ (2008), ‘Black Nativity’ (2013), and ‘Lullaby’ (2014).

Her second album ‘I Remember Me’ was released on 22 March 2011. Like her first album, it also turned out to be a success, debuting at No. 2 on the ‘US Billboard 200.’ It sold 165,000 copies in its first week itself and earned mostly positive reviews.

In 2014, she released her third album ‘JHUD’ for which she worked with several songwriters and producers. It debuted at No. 2 on the ‘US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums’ chart and sold 165,000 copies within the first week. It received mostly positive reviews from critics.

She then appeared in the 2015 movie ‘Chi-Raq,’ which was directed and produced by Spike Lee. It was a commercial success and received positive reviews from critics. It also earned Hudson a nomination at the 47th ‘NAACP Image Awards’ for ‘Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture.’

Hudson signed with ‘Epic Records’ on June 28, 2016. The following year, she was cast as singer ‘Courtney Clarke’ alongside Adam Sandler in the film ‘Sandy Wexler.’ That same year, Hudson debuted in ‘The Voice’ as a coach in the sixth season of ‘The Voice UK.’ She also released the song ‘Remember Me’ on March 3, 2017.

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In June 2018, she returned to ‘The Voice UK’ for her second season as a coach. The following year, she was cast in the musical fantasy film ‘Cats’ where she played ‘Grizabella.’ In 2020, she made an appearance in the Christmas special ‘Mariah Carey's Magical Christmas Special.’

Hudson portrayed ‘Aretha Franklin’ in the 2021 American biographical musical drama film ‘Respect’ directed by Liesl Tommy. The film received mostly positive reviews from critics and garnered a 68% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2022, she came out with her syndicated daytime talk show, ‘The Jennifer Hudson Show.’ The show was renewed for a second season in January 2023. She also starred in the 2022 American–Italian anthology film ‘Tell It Like a Woman’ where she played the role of ‘Kim Carter / Pepcy.’

In 2023, she voiced ‘Mane’ in the episode: "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow" of the animated television series, ‘Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.’ Hudson will be next seen in the upcoming thriller action-adventure film ‘Breathe’ directed by Stefon Bristol.

Major Works

'Dreamgirls,' a 2006 American musical drama film, directed by Bill Condon, can be regarded as the most significant work of Jennifer Hudson. The story, which is narrated from the viewpoint of a musical group known as ‘Dreams,’ focuses on the history and evolution of American Rhythm and Blues music during the 1960s and 1970s. Hudson’s role earned her numerous awards, including an ‘Oscar’ for ‘Best Supporting Actress.’

Hudson appeared in a supporting role in the popular American romantic comedy film ‘Sex and the City,’ which was released in 2008. The film is a sequel to a comedy series of the same name, which aired on HBO from 1998 to 2004. It starred actors, such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, and Kristin Davis in lead roles. The film was a commercial success and grossed over $415 million worldwide.

She appeared in the lead role in the 2011 biographical drama film ‘Winnie Mandela,’ which was based on the life of Nelson Mandela’s wife. The film was criticized for several reasons, including the fact that Winnie Mandela was not consulted before making a film about her life.

'Black Nativity' (2013) is an American musical drama film in which Hudson played a supporting role. The film was directed by Kasi Lemmons and starred mostly African American actors, including Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Tyrese Gibson, Mary J. Blige, and Jacob Latimore. The film received mixed reviews from critics.

‘Chi-Raq,’ a 2015 American musical drama, is one of her significant works. The film was directed and produced by Spike Lee. Along with Hudson, it starred Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Teyonah Parris, and John Cusack. The film received mostly positive reviews, with some critics even claiming it to be the greatest film of the year.

Awards & Achievements

Jennifer Hudson’s debut film ‘Dreamgirls’ earned her numerous awards, such as the ‘Academy Award’ for ‘Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role,’ ‘Golden Globe Award’ for ‘Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture,’ and ‘Satellite Award’ for ‘Best Supporting Actress.’

She has won several other awards, which include a ‘Grammy’ for her debut self-titled album.

She won the ‘Grammy Award’ for ‘Best Musical Theater Album’ for ‘The Color Purple’ in 2017.

Personal Life

Jennifer Hudson started dating James Payton in 1999. They broke up in 2007.

Later, she met wrestler David Otunga to whom she got engaged in 2008. The couple welcomed a boy named David Daniel Otunga, Jr. in 2009. Hudson and Otunga separated in November 2017.

A great tragedy befell her family when her mother, brother, and nephew were killed in a shooting in 2008. The incident had a major impact on her and she stayed away from public life for a few months before making public appearances.

Jennifer Hudson Movies

1. The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete (2013)


2. The Secret Life of Bees (2008)


3. Dreamgirls (2006)

  (Musical, Music, Drama)

4. Lullaby (2014)


5. Chi-Raq (2015)

  (Comedy, Musical, Drama, Crime)

6. Winged Creatures (2008)

  (Crime, Drama)

7. Sex and the City (2008)

  (Romance, Comedy, Drama)

8. Sandy Wexler (2017)


9. The Three Stooges (2012)

  (Family, Comedy)

10. Black Nativity (2013)

  (Family, Music, Drama, Musical)


Academy Awards(Oscars)
2007 Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Dreamgirls (2006)
Golden Globe Awards
2007 Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Dreamgirls (2006)
BAFTA Awards
2007 Best Actress in a Supporting Role Dreamgirls (2006)
Grammy Awards
2017 Best Musical Theater Album Winner
2009 Best R&B Album Winner
2008 Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media Dreamgirls (2006)

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