Lauren Alaina's Journey From 'American Idol' to 'Dancing With the Stars'
It's been nearly a decade since we were first introduced to Lauren Alaina, the bubbly country singer who stole our hearts during the tenth season of American Idol. Though she was only 16 years old at the time, Lauren has grown up quite a bit since taking runner-up on the singing competition show.
Today, she's found herself competing once again — this time for a Mirror Ball trophy. Week after week, the singer has been impressing the judges (and fans watching at home) on Dancing With the Stars. But a lot has happened since her time on Idol for Lauren to get to where she is today, including a broken engagement and the loss of her stepfather.
Read on for everything you need to know about Lauren's life in 2019.
Is Lauren Alaina dating anyone?
The singer announced in July 2018 that she and longtime boyfriend Alex Hopkins had gotten engaged. “Being yours forever has a nice ‘RING’ to it,” the singer posted on Instagram in a photo that has since been deleted from the platform. "WE ARE ENGAGED. EEEK. 💍❤️ #HoppilyEverHopkins."
But things quickly crumbled for the couple, who confirmed in January 2019 that they had decided to go their separate ways.
In a joint statement, the couple shared, “Over the last several years, you have been so supportive of us through all of our ups and downs, including personal struggles with health and family, and we couldn’t be more grateful. You share your lives with us, and we always want to be open with you in return. We want to let you know that we have decided to call off our engagement. While we still have love for each other, we’ve grown into very different people over the last six years. We are now in a place where we are each looking forward to starting our own fresh, new chapters of our lives. We both love and respect each other and hope you all will do the same. This has not been an easy decision, but we both feel it is the right decision. Thank you always for your love and support.”
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After the split, the "Doin' Fine" singer moved on with comedian John Crist, but their relationship fizzled out shortly before she joined DWTS. She confirmed on The Bobby Bones Show that she's now single. "I mean, there’s, like, no big story," she said. "We were like, best friends before we dated, and we’re still best friends. It just didn’t work out. I guess that’s how dating goes, right?"
What happened to Lauren's stepfather?
As she detailed on Episode 6 of Dancing With the Stars, the 24-year-old sadly lost her stepfather to cancer in 2018. In the episode, she performed a Contemporary dance to her own song, "The Other Side" which she penned in his honor.
"I wrote this song so he could live on and he would never be forgotten," she said.
On the day of his death, the singer shared an emotional post on Instagram. "My stepdad, Sam, went to heaven at one o’clock this morning. He was the purest example of how to love and live life fully. His last few hours were some of the most amazing moments I know I will ever have the privilege of witnessing. He opened his eyes last night. They shined the brightest I’ve ever seen anyone’s eyes shine, and he said, 'Jesus.' We said, 'What do you see Sam?' He said, 'It’s so beautiful.' Mom asked him who he saw and he told her a bunch of people, including his mama. He later said, 'I love you all. I found it.' My mom asked him what he found and he said, 'Heaven. I’ve got to go.' An hour later he went to be with the Lord."
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On the anniversary of his death, she shared a series of photos with her stepfather, writing, "He was always my champion. He was always my number one fan. Now he’s my guardian angel."
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He was always my champion. He was always my number one fan. Now he’s my guardian angel. I can’t believe my stepdad has been gone a year today. This is going to be an extremely hard day for my family, but I know Sam is with us and is so proud of us all. I am dancing for you tonight Sammy. I’m giving mom all the biggest hugs she deserves. We miss you. See you on The Other Side.
Has Lauren released any new music?
Though the past few years have had their difficult moments for Lauren, she hasn't let it slow her down. Back in September, she released her first single since 2018 called "Getting Good".
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"Once I get a house that I can hang my hat on, I bet I’ll want to build a bigger one if I could," the lyrics read. "I’m thinking, once I learn to grow right where I’m planted, maybe that’s when life starts getting good."
Aside from her new music, Lauren is focused on DWTS and determined to make it as far in the competition as possible along with her pro partner Gleb Savchenko. And the grueling hours in the dance studio have paid off in more ways than one — she recently admitted that she's lost 25 pounds since the summer. "None of my clothes fit!" she told People.
Dancing With the Stars, Mondays, 8/7c, ABC