Paula Abdul Biography

Paula Abdul is an eminent singer, songwriter, actress, choreographer and dancer. This biography profiles her childhood, life, career, achievements and timeline.

Paula Abdul
Quick Facts

Birthday: June 19, 1962

Nationality: American

Famous: Quotes By Paula Abdul Jewish Singers

Age: 57 Years, 57 Year Old Females

Sun Sign: Gemini

Also Known As: Paula Julie Abdul

Born in: San Fernando

Famous as: Singer-songwriter, Choreographer, Dancer, Television Personality

Height: 5'0" (152 cm), 5'0" Females


Spouse/Ex-: Brad Beckerman (m. 1996–1998), Emilio Estevez (m. 1992–1994)

father: Harry Abdul

mother: Lorraine M. Abdul

siblings: Wendy Abdul

U.S. State: California


More Facts

education: Van Nuys High School, California State University, Northridge

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Paula Abdul is known to the world as the controversial yet internationally acclaimed choreographer who hit it big during the music videos era in the early 1980s. Even though she had to struggle in her life both professionally and personally, she has come out as a stronger person and has seasoned over time akin to great wine. From the time she released her debut pop album, ‘Forever Your Girl’ to judging a few episodes of the hit dance reality competition, ‘So, You Think You Can Dance?’ or the music competition show, ‘American Idol’, Paula Abdul has come a long way from the pretty cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers to one of the most illustrious entertainment personalities in the world. Her career kicked-off when she was discovered by ‘The Jacksons’ who believed in her never-say-die spirit and her captivating persona. The success of her choreography for ‘The Jacksons’ music videos, set her on a launch pad and she soon began releasing her very own dance work-out CDs. Her exceptional dancing and singing abilities caught the attention of the pop-music industry and being the diva that she is, captivated and spellbound countless with her riveting screen presence coupled with her fresh energy.

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Paula Abdul
Childhood & Early Life
  • Paula Julie Abdul was born on June 19, 1962 to Harry Abdul and Lorraine M. in San Fernando, California. Her family is of Jewish descent and their ancestors came from Russia and Ukraine. She has an older sister, Wendy.
  • She studied at Van Nuys High School and graduated from there in 1978. As she was an ardent dance enthusiast from a very young age, she had made up her mind that she wanted to enter the world of showbiz. She learnt ballet, jazz and tap and was largely inspired by Debbie Allen, Bob Fosse and Fred Astaire.
  • She was a cheerleader and an honor student in school and at the age of 15, she received a scholarship to attend a dance camp, following which she appeared in the musical, ‘Junior High School’.
  • She enrolled to California State University at Northridge, where she majored in broadcasting.
  • During her freshman year, she was selected from over 700 candidates to become a professional cheerleader or a ‘Laker Girl’ for the Los Angeles Lakers NBA team. The same year, she was made the head choreographer of the Lakers Cheerleading Squad. This is when she realized her true calling and soon left university to pursue a career in dance and choreography.
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  • During one of the games, Abdul was spotted by some of the members of ‘The Jacksons’ while she was cheerleading and was immediately offered a chance to choreograph their single, ‘Torture’, which became a huge success.
  • Through the 1980s, she was asked by a number of celebrities and singers to choreograph their music videos. She was the official choreographer for ‘The Jacksons’ ‘Victory’ tour.
  • In 1988, she released her debut pop album, ‘Forever Your Girl’, which became a Billboard smash hit. Three years later, she released her next music album, ‘Spellbound’, which also became one of the highest-selling albums of the time.
  • In 1995, she released another pop-album, ‘Head Over Heels’ under Virgin Records. Some of the singles from the album became hit club anthems.
  • In 1995, she released a dance-workout video, ‘Paula Abdul’s Get Up and Dance!’ and three years later, she released a second video entitled, ‘Cardio Dance’, which also became a grand success.
  • She took a break from the music industry and began choreographing sequences for a number of theater and film productions such as ‘Reefer Madness’ and ‘American Beauty’.
  • In 1998, she appeared in an episode of ‘Sabrina, the Teenage Witch’ and in the TV film, ‘The Waiting Game’ as herself. The following year, she was seen in an episode of ‘Family Guy’ and as ‘Sasha’ in ‘The Wayans Bros’.
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  • In 2000, she entered the music industry with a bang and released the album, ‘Paula Abdul: Greatest Hits’, a compilation of all her songs to date.
  • From 2002 to 2009, she appeared alongside Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson, as the lead judge for the hit American reality series by Simon Fuller, ‘American Idol’. During this time, she released her second greatest-hits CD titled, ‘Greatest Hits: Straight Up!’ and also started her own jewelery line, ‘QVC’.
  • In 2009, she hosted a cheerleading reality competition on MTV called, ‘RAH!’ and came up with the single, ‘I’m Just Here for the Music’. The same year, she confirmed that she would not be returning as a judge for ‘American Idol’.
  • In 2011, she was taken on board CBS’s dancing reality show, ‘Live to Dance’, where she was the judge, creative producer and mentor. The same year, she re-joined Simon Cowell for the show, ‘The X-Factor’. Singer Nicole Scherzinger and music executive L. A. Reid were the other two judges on the show.
  • In 2013, she appeared as a guest-judge for season 10, on the dance reality show, ‘So, You Think You Can Dance?’ and appeared as judge for ‘X Factor Around The World’.
Major Works
  • Paula Abdul’s debut album, ‘Forever Your Girl’, which released in 1988, took nearly 64 weeks to touch the no.1 position of the Billboard 200. However, it went on to produce some of her most successful singles including ‘Straight Up’, ‘Cold Hearted’ and ‘Opposites Attract’. The album was certified ‘multi-platinum’ and went on to sell 12 million copies worldwide.
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  • ‘Spellbound’ is her second album that released in 1991. An internationally acclaimed album, it catapulted her fame enormously, with the hit singles, ‘Rush, Rush’, ‘the Promise of a New Day’ and ‘Blowing Kisses in the Wind’. A triple platinum album, it reached the no.1 position on the Billboard 200 after its release.
Awards & Achievements
  • In 1987, she won the MTV Video Music Award for ‘Best Choreography in a Video’ performed by Janet Jackson titled, ‘Nasty’.
  • In 1989, she won the MTV Video Music Award for ‘Best Choreography in a Video’ for her single, ‘Straight Up’.
  • In 1990, she won the American Music Award for ‘Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist’.
  • She won a Grammy Award for ‘Best Music Video, Short Form’ for her single, ‘Opposites Attract’, in 1991.
  • She got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in 1991.
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Personal Life & Legacy
  • After a cheerleading accident, she suffered from reflex sympathetic dystrophy.
  • She has claimed that she never abused prescription drugs and had to be on heavy medication after a car crash and a plane crash that required a number of surgeries and painkillers.
  • In 1992, she married Emilio Estevez, but divorced him two years later.
  • In 1996, she married Brad Beckerman and the duo divorced two years later again.
  • She has been at the apex of a number of controversies, including her alleged affair with ‘American Idol’ contestant, Corey Clark, her issues with bulimia, her relations with co-host Simon Cowell and a younger restaurateur, J.T. Torregiani.
  • She is an ardent dog lover and has raised awareness for the ‘National Guide Dog Month’ for blind people.
  • She is a former vegetarian.
  • This famed choreographer and singer of ‘The X-Factor’ fame was about to step on her pet Chihuahua, but in order to save him, she took the fall, broke her toe, nose and also tore a bit of her cartilage.


Primetime Emmy Awards
1990 Outstanding Choreography The 17th Annual American Music Awards (1990)
1989 Outstanding Choreography The Tracey Ullman Show (1987)
Grammy Awards
1991 Best Music Video, Short Form Paula Abdul: Opposites Attract (1989)
MTV Video Music Awards
1989 Best Female Video Paula Abdul: Straight Up (1989)
1989 Best Dance Video Paula Abdul: Straight Up (1989)
1989 Best Choreography in a Video Paula Abdul: Straight Up (1989)
1987 Best Choreography in a Video Janet Jackson: Nasty (1986)

See the events in life of Paula Abdul in Chronological Order

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Last Updated
- September 27, 2017

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