First ‘Idol’ Runner-up Justin Guarini on Life After Fame: Skips Meals to Feed Kids

From one of the times The Ashley met Justin. I cut myself out. Didn't want to scare the kiddies.
From one of the times The Ashley met Justin. I cut myself out. Didn’t want to scare the kiddies.

In the early 2000s, Justin Guarini seemed to have it all. After finishing second on the very first season of American Idol (behind Kelly Clarkson), Justin was picked up by RCA Records and immediately released the so-horrible-it’s-fantastic movie “From Justin To Kelly.” (No joke, this is legit one of The Ashley‘s favorite movies. Don’t judge me. The awfulness makes me feel all tingly every time I watch it.) He then went on to host various ‘Idol’ related shows like Idols Live and Idol Tonight, and judged the show American Juniors.

In the touching blog post on his website (which is currently down), Justin admitted that he’s struggling to meet ends meet.

“I have spent days skipping meals in order to make sure I have enough,” he wrote. “To make sure my children, and my wife have enough.”

“There was a time when I could have thrown down cash for a house, and had any number of lovers in and out the door. A flashy car and clothes to match. An ego to trump them all,” he said. “Now I rent a home filled with love. I have a wife whom I love and who loves me (me!) and who lifts me up. Children who give me cherubic-lipped kisses before I leave for work and who are the most delicious morsels of joy and peace and prosperity.

“I am struggling to make each day meet the next without breaking down and curling up,” the post continued. “Sometimes I envy people who sit at a desk every day (at least you know where your next meal is coming from).”

In this recent interview with Oprah, Justin revealed some very shocking–and sad–stories about his Hollywood ride. He claims he was a millionaire by 23, but suffered from such depression from the ridicule he endured from the press and public that he often couldn’t get out of bed.

“I found out that I was dropped by the record label, and simultaneously the management company that comes with ‘American Idol’ via ‘Saturday Night Live,'” Justin said. “I found out when Tina Fey made a joke about me…it seemed at every turn there was someone putting me down.” (I recommend you watch the whole interview, very gripping stuff. You also get to hear him sing at the end. The Ashley had forgotten how beautiful his voice actually is.)

The Ashley actually met Justin a few times at the height of his fame. Each time, he was very nice, kind and appreciative to his fans. He will be in a Broadway play this summer, and continues to audition.

He did not expect his post to cause such a media storm. He tweeted that People magazine’s reporting that he was living in poverty were not accurate.



One Response

  1. Yeah, I was gonna say– He’ll be making Equity minimum which is over $1500 a week. Of course, the work isn’t steady. But Justin was fantastic in another musical he did a few years ago and I hope he continues to work here on Broadway.

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