Between her 80s radio classics and her wacky antics on one of America's favorite TV shows, Paula Abdul has danced her way into our hearts. She was born June 19, 1962 in California's San Fernando Valley, and as a child she was inspired by dancer/choreographers Gene Kelly, Bob Fosse and Debbie Allen and started taking dance lessons when she was eight. She was a cheerleader at Van Nuys High School and at 16, she appeared in the low-budget musical Junior High School. After graduating from high school, she attended California State University, Northridge and studied broadcasting. During her first year of college, she was selected from a pool of 700 candidates for a position on the Los Angeles Lakers' famed cheerleading squad, the Laker Girls. Within three months, she ascended through the ranks and became head choreographer and soon left school to focus on her budding career as a choreographer. She went on to choreograph routines for Janet Jackson and other artists, as well as sequences for films such as Big, Coming to America and Jerry Maguire. She has won two Emmys for her work - one for The Tracey Ullman Show and the other for the 17th Annual American Music Awards in 1990. Possibly influenced by Janet Jackson, she released her first album, Forever Your Girl in 1988, which spawned five top three singles including the title track, Straight Up and Cold Hearted. Her follow-up, Spellbound, was released in 1991 and had successful singles in 'Promise of a New Day' and 'Rush Rush,' the video for which starred Keanu Reeves. In April of 1992, Paula married actor Emilio Estevez and the pair divorced in May of 1994. Paula had issues with eating disorders in the early 1990s and returned in 1995 with Head Over Heels, which failed to match the success of her two previous albums. After the icy reception to her third album, Paula took a break from the music industry and stayed out of the spotlight until 2002, when she became a judge on the reality singing competition American Idol. Since then, her often erratic behavior and rapport with fellow judges Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell have kept audiences tuning in. In June of 2007, Paula's own reality series Hey Paula debuted. That same year, she also launched a successful line of jewelry on QVC. With all of her ventures, Paula Abdul continues to dance - and entertain us - like there's no tomorrow.
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