Upon graduating from high school, Clarkson was offered full scholarships to University of Texas at Austin, University of North Texas, and Berklee College of Music, but later declined them, explaining: "I've already written so much music and wanted to try a career on my own" adding, "you're never too old to go to college." After graduation, Clarkson worked several jobs to finance a demo, recording material and trying to market it to record labels, but received little response.Clarkson turned down two recording contracts from Jive Records and Interscope Records, stating "They would have completely pigeonholed me as a bubblegum act.It sold over 12 million copies worldwide and earned Clarkson two Grammy Awards.She took further creative control for her third album, My December (2007), by becoming the executive producer and co-writing the entire album. Since 2014, the rapper has been dating a woman named Shantel Jackson.Though Jackson wasn't wearing a ring in either picture, she captioned one post with "Reserved Forever! In another pic, Jackson appears to be holding her hand (out of frame), and captioned it with "What's Next Baby!!!! " Click through our gallery to learn more about Nelly's girlfriend, Shantel Jackson, and to check out some of her best pics.
Clarkson returned to the top of the charts with her more mainstream-oriented fourth album, All I Ever Wanted (2009).Her sixth studio album and first Christmas record, Wrapped in Red (2013), became the best-selling holiday album of the year, making her the first American female artist to achieve this feat.Her seventh and final album under RCA, Piece by Piece (2015), was her third album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200.She rose to fame in 2002 after winning the inaugural season of the television series American Idol, which earned her a record deal with RCA Records.Clarkson's debut single, "Before Your Love/A Moment Like This", topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and became the best-selling single of 2002 in the nation.In 2001, she traveled to Los Angeles, trying to pursue a career in music.