Celebrities Who Were Bullied And Drove Them To Greatness

High school can be a pleasant dream for some and for some a nightmare. As adolescents, we go through numerous changes beyond the hormonal fluctuations that our body undergoes. We go through miscellaneous social changes, which are essentially attributed to our high school experiences as these offer microenvironments where students have to abide by unrecorded rules. There’s immense social pressure on students to come across as the coolest kid on the block and earn the approval of fellow students. It is a stage where kids try to accepted in the society, which at the time is limited to their school mates and faculty members. Those who aren’t a part of the favorable category have to face undesirable consequences. Their classmates often tease them. This has always been the case, no matter which era or society we reside in.

It is a fact that we all have to go through a difficult phase at high school in general and youth in particular. Each individual’s personal experiences may differ as they may be lucky not to face bullying in high school or face it on a daily basis. So the experience can be pleasant or unpleasant for people. We simply can’t avoid teasing in our lives at any given stage, but it is probably the worst in high school. And it isn’t something associated with us only because even celebrities whom we regard as perfect in every way have dealt with bullying when they were in high school. Today, you will learn about twenty famous celebs who were harassed as students but are enjoying fame, recognition, and glory worldwide. We will take you to the time when no one believed in their star power or charm- the most challenging phase of the lives of our favorite celebs.

Kate Was Tortured By Mean Girls

Photo: Pintrest / Daily Telegraph

Kate was a target when she entered Downe House, a prestigious boarding school for rich girls. Kate however was a she was a ‘day girl,’ that meant that she was dropped off at school during the day but would come home every night. That alone reason was enough to make Kate’s life miserable. The high society offspring who had already formed cliques years ago picked on Kate because she was the ‘new girl’ and a head taller than everyone else. Kate was also quite the sportswoman, excelling in hockey but unfortunately, Down House only had a team for Lacrosse, a sport that Kate did not play…. so yes, for Kate attending Downe House was a nightmare.

Most girls who get bullied at school for one reason or another kept quiet. Some girls are so ashamed and confused that they take measures into their own hand and resort to violence, to the girls who bullied them or to themselves. We often hear of young girls taking their own lives because of bullying at school…and now with social media, they just cannot escape the misery.

Kate luckily took measures and told her parents about the bullying and toxic environment of her school, she was then transferred to a school that was more suitable to her…a school where she developed life long friendships. This is the reason why the world loves Kate… she can relate to someone who have been bullied. We have seen her grown from a private citizen to a graceful royal, taking in her responsibilities and her duties as a royal, gracefully, elegantly and without controversy.

Rihanna Got Bullied For Being Light Skinned

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Exceptional charm, persona, and irreverence are some of the few things that cross our minds as soon as we hear the name, Rihanna. Another thing that strikes us all is she isn’t the type of woman one would dare to offend. However, surprisingly, for all of us who know RiRi even a little bit, she had to deal with mistreatment as a student. In 2008, Rihanna revealed in an interview with Allure that her classmates used to tease her a lot because of her skin tone and complexion at school. Rihanna didn’t understand why she was taunted for being too light-skinned.

“I did not understand, I just knew I saw people from all different shades and I was light” and that her classmates ridiculed her as she was very “white.” As per Rihanna’s bio on Wikipedia, the turning point in her career came back in 2005 when her first album titled Music of the Sun was released. It is still popular among music lovers primarily because it featured hits like Diamonds, Work, SOS, Unfaithful, and Umbrella. In 2017, Rihanna’s net worth was $230 million. This leaves little doubt that Rihanna got her fair share of appreciation from the world. The moral of the story- Success is the Best Revenge!

Ed Sheeran The Infamous Redhead

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Ed Sheeran is one of music industry’s most famous redheads. He’s donned many hats throughout his career as he is not only a singer but a record producer, and songwriter all at once. As per his Wikipedia page, Ed Sheeran achieved international recognition when he met his guardian angel Jamie Foxx in 2010. The two met in Los Angeles after Ed received an invitation from Foxxhole, the actor’s club. Ed performed at the club, and Foxx was quite impressed by his performance, so he invited him over to his house and Sheeran happily accepted the invitation. The rest is history.

But, it seems like the road to success was a bumpy one because our beloved redhead has to go through his share of ups and downs right from a young age. The singer revealed that during his student life, he was bullied by children in school because of his hair color. He was mocked by the students and regarded as weird.

In 2015, at the American Stuttering Gala, Ed Sheeran spoke about that troubling phase of his life in these words:

“I was a very, very weird child. Very weird child. And I had a port-wine stain birthmark on my face that I got lasered off when I was very young, and one day they forgot to put the anesthetic on, and then ever since then I had a stutter. And I also had very, very big blue NHS glasses. And I lacked an eardrum on one side of my face—one side of my ear—so stuttering was actually the least of my problems when I went to school.”

Taylor Swift Was An Uncool Singer

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Taylor Swift is the reigning queen of music and melody. Her worldwide fame and fortune show that nothing can stop you from achieving your goals when you have the talent and passion. Swift has proven how versatile a singer/composer she is, time and again. There’s no doubt that she is the pop goddess of the modern era. However, what disturbs us the most is that this incredibly gifted singer has had a messy love life and problematic teenage. 

On several occasions, Swift informed the world how differently kids at school treated her. She revealed that her classmates always mocked her singing and music. She longed to become a part of the group of cool students in high school but she was rejected, which made her life even more miserable. In 2009, while giving an interview to Teen Vogue, the pop princess explained that she liked country music a lot during her teens, but her classmates made fun of her choices.

“The kids at school thought it was weird that I liked country [music]. They’d make fun of me…They showed up, wearing my T-shirts and asking me to sign their CDs. It was bittersweet because it made me realize that they did not remember being mean to me and that I needed to forget about it, too.”

This gorgeous blonde proved them all wrong by achieving success in the music industry through her outstanding preferences in music. Swift explained in the same interview that after she became successful, and visited her hometown for the first time, she was surprised to see the same girls who bullied her requesting her for an autograph. 

Christian Bale’s Overnight Stardom

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We fail to imagine anyone else fitting the frame of Hollywood’s most desirable male other than Christian Bale. It is unbelievable that this handsome hunk was teased in school. But, that’s the reality- Bale was teased by his classmates. Bale has given us one hit movie after another, including Empire of the Sun, The Machinist, American Psycho, and the wildly famous DC-Comics fame Batman series comprising Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises.

You must have noticed that Bale’s first brush with success happened way back in 1987 when he appeared in Steven Spielberg directorial venture Empire of the Sun. Christian was just 13 years old at the time, and when he returned to school, he was bullied by jealous classmates. While speaking with Digital Spy, Bale revealed how everyone at school singled him out because he earned fame and they hadn’t.

“It was not a great time, I was a victim of bullying and had other kids kicking and punching me every day. It was an early lesson in how making a film can set you apart. If you do not want to live with the consequences, then do not make the film…But that did not help at the time. I was confused about other people’s reactions to me, both good and bad.”

But Bale admits that everyone’s reaction wasn’t the same and that their reactions were both good and bad.

Kylie Jenner Was Targeted Because Of KUWTK 

Photo: Instagram

It is unbelievable that a diva like Kylie Jenner was also the victim of bullying in high school, but that’s indeed the truth. As an adolescent, Kylie was mocked by her classmates because of the fame she and the Kardashians had earned during those times. Jenner is the youngest member of her family, and her experience was bittersweet after she became famous. In an interview with Interview Magazine, Kylie revealed a few details of the miserable time in school.

“Yeah, pretty much ever since I was nine since the show started, there’s been so much bullying towards me…Growing up, I’ve heard the worst things anyone could ever say about me, and bullying was such a big part of my life, with the whole world judging me and stuff.”

Kylie revealed some more details of her student life in her interview with Wonderland and claimed that she heard the worst things about herself in school. The reality TV star further added that she started looking towards others dealing with bigger and more serious issues than hers to stay motivated.

“So I started to look towards people with, like, I think, bigger, more real issues than I have. They inspired me because I was like, I’m getting bullied all the time, but they’re just haters, and [these people] deal with real-life issues,” Kylie explained how she coped with that problematic phase. 

Daniel Radcliffe Didn’t Feel Wary Of His Bullies

Daniel Radcliffe jumped to fame in the early 2000s when he played the titular role of Harry Potter, famous adaptation of author J. K. Rowling’s bestselling Harry Potter series of novels. Right from the first outing of this franchise, this young but bright actor was a show stealer. Not just the book fans but people around the world quickly accepted him as the protagonist from the books. He was just 11-years-old at the time. Sadly, his worldwide fame didn’t make Daniel immune from getting bullied. According to Anita Singh, Showbusiness and Telegraph UK editor, Daniel revealed some details of the years in high school when his classmates bullied him. In his interview with Singh, Radcliffe said that he wasn’t a popular kid in his school and wasn’t part of the cool club of kids.

“I was not the most popular kid in school, because I’d been with some really genuinely witty people over the last few years, I could turn round to these idiots and at least try and tear them apart. They did not like that I’m not saying I was Oscar Wilde at 14, but I had a line for anything they could throw at me.” 

“I’d never been one of the cool kids [but] you realize that all the kids that were really cool at your school were actually scuzzy and horrible and boring. The nerds are the ones that make the films and do loads of other really cool stuff in their life,” Radcliffe added.

Chris Colfer Was Punished For Not Being Cool

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Chris is a widely acclaimed American singer and actor. Colfer achieved fame after he played Kurt Hummel in famous TV series Glee. He was part of the show between 2009 and 2015. However, like other celebs featured here, Colfer also was a victim of bullying when he was studying in school. But, Colfer claims that he never thought about trying hard to become a part of the cool kids club, and neither was he inclined to deal with bullies because he had a plethora of other issues to resolve. In fact, Colfer revealed that the worst thing about dealing with bullies was his internal struggles.

Entertainment Weekly interviewed Chris Colfer, in which he explained bullying experiences in school at length. When he was in his teens, Colfer said that he was so lean and ‘tiny’ that he often found himself trapped in the locker.

“I was very tiny. I spent most of my time stuffed into lockers. Thank god for cell phones, or I’d still be in there.”

Referring to his character in Glee, Colfer said that he “went to school a lot worse than McKinley.”

Demi Lovato: From Isolation To Partying She Saw It All!

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Disney star Demi Lovato, rose to fame after appearing in the hit film Camp Rock alongside the Jonas Brothers, one of the most famous boy bands of recent time. Her career jumped right from that point, and her flight has only ascended higher and higher ever since, especially in the field of music. Demi Lovato has a reputation for openly sharing her past experiences in life. She never shies away from opening up about her life with her fans. In a documentary titled Simply Complicated, Lovato explained how she dealt with bullies in school. She was only 12-years-old when she had to face her bullies, which led her to develop social anxiety.

“When I was 12, I was bullied, I developed a social anxiety where I didn’t trust other girls my age.” She learned to cope with her bullies after hanging out with one of the cool kids in her school. Demi didn’t have to do much as everything changed for the better on its own. She asked her friend how she managed to become friends with so many cool kids, and she told her that the key was to part a lot. “One day, I asked her ‘how do you have all these friends?'” and the girl asked her “Do you party?” With her friend, Demi said, she “experienced a lot of stuff together, drinking and using, and growing up.”

At the moment, Demi Lovato is well settled in her career and life in general. Those days of bullying are long gone, and she has proved her mettle in music. She has stayed sober for over six years and is often seen advocating for self-love, tolerance, and being comfortable in the skin one is born with.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson Had to Change School Due To Bullying

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Jesse Ferguson, an actor of American origin, is well-known for playing the role of Mitchell Pritchett, the lead in the hit TV show Modern Family. He also participated in numerous television series and movies like Ice Age: Collision Course, So You Think You Can Dance, Ugly Betty, and Project Runway. However, this much-loved TV actor also went through a dark phase as an adolescent as he too had to deal with bullies in school. Tvguide.com reported that Ferguson revealed this troublesome stage of life and confessed that he changed many schools to avoid being bullied.

“Four years is a really long time when you’re a kid and being bullied, but to knew that I had 50 or 60 years outside of high school where I was going to live the life I was going to live and not worry about bullies was huge for me.”

The thing that disturbed Tyler the most was that he was constantly called a sissy. It irritated him a lot.

“One of the things that the other kids called me, amongst many things, was sissy. It obviously really bothered me, but there was a piece of me that thought, ‘Someday I’m gonna be able to take this back and really own it.'”

“It’s just not OK to treat anyone like that,” Ferguson concluded. He has advice for kids who become the victim of bullying. Jesse says that kids should just leave other kids alone and let them live their lives. “If you feel like you can’t be friends with them, don’t let the response be to kick them in the face,” he added.

Kate Winslet Was Criticized for her Looks

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Kate is regarded as a timeless beauty. She is among the most cherished Hollywood actresses of recent times. Her popularity skyrocketed after she essayed the role of Rose in 1997 blockbuster movie Titanic. Her pairing with the heartthrob Leonardo Dicaprio was loved by all. Kate’s career has been relatively stable as she has given many hit movies, including Sense and Sensibility, The Holiday, Finding Neverland, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Revolutionary Road, to name a few.

Dailymail UK reported that at the WE Day UK celebratory event held at Wembley Area, London, Kate Winslet explained the difficult time she faced in high school. In her speech, Kate revealed her feelings when kids teased her and criticized her looks. She used to feel insecure about her weight and body. Talking about that phase of her life, Winslet noted that:

“You see, I had been bullied at school. They called me Blubber. Teased me for wanting to act. Locked me in the cupboard. Laughed at me. I was not the prettiest, I had big feet.” But, she managed to achieve so much in her life because she believed in herself and didn’t let this negative attitude impact her self-esteem. “You have to be indestructible to do what you love, and BELIEVE that you are worth it. And sometimes that’s the hardest part,” Kate said.

Justin Timberlake – He was Weird

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Justin Timberlake doesn’t need any introduction as he is regarded as one of the greatest musicians of our time. The American singer, composer, and actor became famous at a young age. Timberlake participated in show The Mickey Mouse Club with other kids of his age, including Ryan Gosling, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera. Interestingly, all these kids went on to become great celebrities. Justin’s big break in his career arrived when he joined the boy band NSync in 1995. He was associated with the band until 2002. During this time, the band churned out many soulful hits and stole the hearts of millions worldwide. When NSync split, Timberlake was already quite famous and started his career as a solo artist and tried his hand at acting as well.

Nonetheless, Justin Timberlake’s celebrity status didn’t prevent him from getting bullied by his classmates. In 2015, Justin revealed the difficult time he experienced in school when he attended iHeartRadio Awards to receive The Innovator Award. Justin said in his acceptance speech that nobody in the school believed that he could be an innovator, and he was dubbed weird. Here’s what he told about his school days in his speech:

“Growing up in school, no one ever called me anything close to an innovator, they called me different, they called me weird, they called me a couple of other words I cannot say on TV. So thankfully, my mother taught me that being different was a good thing, that being different meant you could actually make a difference, so tonight, I want to thank my mom. “

Lady Gaga Was Bullied for Not Being Different

Photo: ET

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, whom we know as Lady Gaga, shot to fame between 2007 and 2008, and became a household name when her first album The Fame was released. Her music was regarded as a breath of fresh air. Stefani quickly established herself in the industry and gave us many memorable hits like Bad Romance, Million Reasons, and Poker Face.

Access Online reported that Lady Gaga discussed her school days and being bullied in an interview with The View. The singer revealed that she often got picked on in school, which had a lasting impact on her.

“I got really bullied. I had a nice group of friends, but getting picked on in school – it sticks with you for life and I do not think I realized how much it affected me until I started to get more and then there’s lots of pressure and you have to be a role model,” Lady Gaga stated.

“I had to look inside myself and say, ‘Well, what do I have to offer?’ Because for so many years, I felt like I did not have much to offer,” she added. But eventually, she learned to cope with pessimism and that’s how she was able to achieve her dream of making it big in the world of music.

Barack Obama Was Mocked for Having Big Ears

Photo: Wiki Commons / Public Domain

Barack Obama broke many records in his political career. He was inaugurated as the United States president in 2008 and made history for being the 1st and only person of color to become president to date. Moreover, Obama is also the 1st and only president born outside of the country’s 48 contiguous states. This African-American premier was elected twice and served the country from 2009 to 2017.

It isn’t too surprising that during his adolescence, Obama was also bullied. The Washington Post reported that at the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, President Obama shared his opinion on why preventing bullying in educational institutions was so important. The former US president declared during his speech that he was bullied for having big ears. 

“As adults, we all remember what it was like to see kids picked on in the hallways or in the schoolyard…I have not said with big ears and the name that I have, I was not immune, I did not emerge unscathed.” 

However, Barack Obama stayed focused and concentrated on his career. He completely ignored the haters and became an example for all of us to stay determined against the odds.

Jennifer Lawrence Was the Target of Mean Girl Gang

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Jennifer Lawrence became famous for her award-winning performances in movies like The Hunger Games, X-Men: First Class, and Mother. This young American actress is also famous for her quirky personality and outspoken nature. You can always expect her to speak her mind out loud. That’s why it’s surprising that someone like Jennifer Lawrence also faced bullying when she was in school. However, it is a fact that she was ridiculed in school. Fox News reports that Lawrence didn’t have a good experience in high school. The actress acknowledged that she changed her school multiple times due to some mean girls.

 “I changed schools a lot when I was in elementary school because some girls were mean. They were less mean in middle school because I was doing all right, although this one girl gave me invitations to hand out to her birthday party that I wasn’t invited to.”

In an interview to The Sun, the actress said that she was bullied throughout her youth, but that helped build her character and made her who she is today.

“I just hocked a loogie on them and threw them in the trash can. Don’t worry about the bitches. That could be a good motto because you come across people like that throughout your life.”

Michael Phelps- The One with Giant Ears

Photo: Pintrest/ Sport Illustrated

Acclaimed swimmer and one of the most successful athletes in the Olympic games, Michael Phelps, is another victim of high school bullying on this list. It is hard to believe that someone so strong and courageous like Phelps, who won around 28 medals, could suffer bullying. The American athlete even broke the record of first seven places in the Olympics, which was made by Mark Spitz in 1972. 

More.com reported that his parents parted ways when he was only nine years old. He took swimming as a way to escape from the harsh realities of life and found it incredibly beneficial as well.

In 2012, Michael confessed while speaking with Yahoo Sports that children in school used to mock him because his ears were too big. 

“It was very frustrating at the time.” He had his revenge later when he returned home. They’ll try to talk to me, and I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, why are you talking to me now? You were picking on me then.”

Miley Cyrus Felt Lonely in her School

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Miley Cyrus was a cultural icon of sorts after receiving fame and public acceptance as the quirky Hannah Montana in Disney Channel’s TV series that aired from 2006 to 2011. After the show, Cyrus dedicated herself entirely to music. But she also wrote a book titled Miley Cyrus: Miles to Go, in which the actress-turned-singer revealed details about her problematic teen years when the girls gave her a tough time in her school. Miley described this phase as a miserable one when she felt lonely and outcasted. The Disney star revealed that while studying in a school in Tennessee she was bullied so severely that she feared getting beaten up.

According to Miley, her classmates mocked her, and their conflicts often escalated to physical harassment from verbal. She wrote that the girls were very mean to her, and she felt vulnerable because of her tiny frame.

“The girls took it beyond normal bullying; they were big, tough girls, I was scrawny and short, they were fully capable of doing me bodily harm.”

In fact, she was once locked in a bathroom by the bullies, and there was even an Anti-Miley Club. The club members challenged her to a fight, and the school principal had to intervene to stop it.

Prince Harry Was Teased to be Royal Ginger

Photo: DailyMail

Prince Harry of Wales, whom we all fondly call Prince Harry, probably is the least likeliest of all individuals to feature on this list. After all, he is a prince and who can bully a prince. And although he was born into ‘greatness,’ he really hasn’t done anything other than married and b actress and caused a lot of controversary. However, it is true that this rebellious British Royal family member suffered bullying in school. Prince Harry recently made headlines for spilling the beans on the secret life of the royals and the treatment of his wife Meghan after their marriage in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Surprisingly, Prince Harry’s life as a student was not as perfect and blissful as we expected it to be. It makes us feel that this handsome and charming prince never had anything the easy way. The Daily Mail UK reported that other kids in school regularly teased the prince because his hair color was different. The Sun also reported that soldiers nicknamed Harry as Ginger Bullet Magnet. The bullying was so intense that they used to wear ginger tinted wigs when they were in Iraq and joked that the insurgents wouldn’t be able to find out who was the prince.

It is also reported that Prince Harry had dyslexia, and while studying in Eton, he was ridiculed for picking up rubbish from around his school. He had picked this habit from his father as a way to keep the environment clean. Moreover, Harry didn’t enjoy being in the class and waited to join the armed forces after finishing his gap year.

Jessica Alba’s Dad Defended Her Daily

Photo: ET

Like most of the Hollywood celebs, Jessica Alba also ventured into the industry as a child. In her bio on IMDB.com, she got her big career break after getting selected for Fox channel’s science fiction show Dark Angel. From that moment on, Jessica continued to keep her audience captivated with her staller performances. She appeared in many blockbuster movies, including Sin City, Some Kind of Beautiful, Honey, Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World.

Mom.me reported that Jessica Alba told Daily Mail about her tormenting middle school phase. She said that it wasn’t a wonderful experience for her to talk about because she was bullied very badly. Recalling that phase of her life, Jessica said: “I was bullied so badly my dad used to have to walk me into school so I didn’t get attacked. I’d eat my lunch in the nurse’s office so I didn’t have to sit with the other girls. Apart from my being mixed race, my parents didn’t have money, so I never had the cute clothes or the cool backpack.”

Today, she is among the richest celebrities around and a cultural icon. Alba co-founded The Honest Company in 2011 and turned entrepreneur. The company sells household products and baby gear. She has also featured on several lists of the world’s most beautiful women, including Vanity Fair, Men’s Health, and FHM.

Chris Rock Is Thankful to his Bullies

Photo: ET

Ace actor, comedian, director, and producer, Chris Rock, became famous after joining the Saturday Night Live cast back in the 1990s. The American actor also appeared in many outstanding movies, including Head of State, Down to Earth, Grow Ups, the Madagascar franchise, and Grown Ups 2, etc. Rock also wrote Everybody Hates Chris, a hit comedy show aired between 2005 and 2009. Not many know that it was based on Chris’s life as a student.

Talking to James Lipton, Bravo’s Inside the Actors Studio host, in 2007, Rock said that he had to deal with bullying, but it eventually made him who he was today. “My mother and father wanted me to go to a better school, so I was bused to this poor, white neighborhood…I was the only black boy in my grade for most of the time. I was a little guy, too, a skinny runt,” revealed Rock.

Regarding bullying as his life’s “defining moment,” Rock explained that he thanked those who teased him badly in school for the bad experiences. Chris shared a group of boys who used to kick him, spit in his face, and once even kicked him down the stairs. But, he was grateful to them because this phase turned him into a highly motivated person. He wanted to become successful and prove his worth to everyone and get into a position where no one can bully him. “I just read the Steve Jobs book. There’s no way you can tell me that guy wasn’t beat up in school! And what happened? He used that pain to make sure he’d be in a position where he would never be bullied again.”

Christina Aguilera A Fighter and Survivor

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Christina Aguilera ventured into the world of entertainment with Justin Timberlake. They both were on The Mickey Mouse Club and other celebrities. As per her Wikipedia page, Aguilera rose to fame after singing the theme song for the Disney blockbuster 1998 film Mulan. That song earned her a singing contract with the famous RCA Records. The following year, she released Genie in a Bottle, a hugely hit single that topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts at the time.

According to Daily Mail UK, Aguilera’s life as a student was not too fantastic. As a student Christina was bullied by children. In an interview she gave in 2012, Christina Aguilera shared her bullying experiences. She confirmed that she experienced all forms of bullying and her bad experiences compelled her to write songs like Fighter and Beautiful.

“I have definitely experienced forms of bullying, and that’s why it’s so important for me to write songs like “Beautiful” and  “Fighter.” On this current record, Lotus is all about being an unbreakable flower that survives the test of time,” she said. In 2009, Aguilera told E! that singing became a way to feel empowered as she didn’t feel safe due to bullying. “Growing up, I did not feel safe. Feeling powerless is the worst feeling in the world. I turned to singing as an outlet. The pain at home is where my love for music came from.”