The untold truth of Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood has come a long way since she first auditioned for American Idol, going on to become one of country music's most popular and successful stars. Fans have watched her get married and become a mother, all while growing into a seasoned performer who has confidently held her own alongside Nashville icons like Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton.

Meanwhile, Underwood's achievements on the music charts are nothing short of phenomenal. Her 2018 album, Cry Pretty, made history, reported Billboard, when it hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. Thanks to that album, Underwood became the first female country artist with four No. 1 LPs on the all-genre chart. Underwood is also a regular occupant on Forbes' annual list of highest-paid country artists, reportedly raking in $16 million during 2019 alone.

While Underwood frequently shares her life via social media (where she boasts 9.4 million followers on Instagram, 8.4 million on Twitter, and 11.1 million on Facebook), how much do fans really know about this talented entertainer? Keep reading to learn the untold truth of Carrie Underwood.

Carrie Underwood's American Idol experience counted as college credit

In 2005, Carrie Underwood became the fourth winner of American Idol, propelling her to a level of fame beyond her wildest dreams. Yet when Underwood auditioned for the judges and received her Golden Ticket to Hollywood, she was still a college student at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. When she began her Idol journey, she was just three credits shy of graduating, with just one semester to go.

According to People, Underwood promised she would return to Northeastern and complete her degree at some point, telling the magazine that first she was planning to capitalize on her newfound fame and all the opportunities it presented. "This is my time to see the world," she said. "Home will be there when I get back."

She made good on that vow in 2006, when she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in mass communications. Northeastern permitted her to use her time on Idol as an internship credit, making up for her missing semester and allowing her to graduate. "I've obviously done enough with television," she told People, as reported by PopCulture. "There was my internship right there!"

Carrie Underwood is a doomsday prepper

In a 2015 chat with Us Weekly, Carrie Underwood revealed 25 things that fans don't know about her, and one of these factoids was certainly an eyebrow-raiser. "I'm a bit of a doomsday preparer," she insisted. "Make fun of me, but we'll see who survives the zombie apocalypse."

If zombies do rise up, not only will Underwood be fully stocked with supplies, but she'll also know how to deal with them thanks to being a hardcore fan of AMC's The Walking Dead. Underwood has been vocal about her fandom of the show, such as when she tweeted her excitement at meeting Walking Dead star Norman Reedus in 2014. 

During a 2017 visit to Today, Underwood once again showed her love of The Walking Dead. After describing an awkward award show encounter with series star Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Underwood said she'd be open to doing a "walk-on" on the show, but would rather play a zombie than a hero. When guest host Nick Offerman informed her that special effects makeup requires "hours in a chair," Underwood quipped, "I do that anyway."

Carrie Underwood loves horror movies

Along with her devotion to The Walking Dead, Carrie Underwood is also a big fan of the horror genre in general. In a 2006 interview with Kidzworld, the singer was asked to name her favorite movie. "I love horror movies," she said, "so any old horror movie like any Halloween movies or Nightmare on Elm Street."

Underwood's appreciation of horror has made its way into her own artistic endeavors, with the music video for her single "Two Black Cadillacs" inspired by Stephen King's Christine. In the novel, which was adapted into a 1983 film, a haunted car terrorizes its victims in much the same way that a car commits murders in Underwood's video. In a behind-the-scenes interview about the making of her "Two Black Cadillacs" video, Underwood proclaimed, "I really don't know why I've always loved horror movies, but I know why I've always loved Stephen King. My mom was such a huge fan. ... I would borrow her books and read her books."

Before going ahead with her video, Underwood insisted on receiving King's blessing first. "I told him I would never want to do this if you didn't sign off on it first," she recalled. 

Carrie Underwood had a surprising crush on this Star Trek actor

Along with an affection for horror, Carrie Underwood is also a fan of science fiction — or at least the star of one particular sci-fi TV show. When she revealed 25 things fans didn't know about her to Us Weekly, one of the secrets that Underwood shared was that she has "a massive crush on Patrick Stewart," noting, "Always have, always will."

The Star Trek: The Next Generation actor caught wind of Underwood's crush, and he responded with a hilarious tweet, noting that her "words excite me more than the solid results of my recent bone density scan." Underwood replied with a completely over-the-moon tweet of her own, writing, "FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW!!! HE KNOWS I'M ALIVE!!!!!!! Play it cool, Carrie... play it cool..."

The actor behind Enterprise captain Jean-Luc Picard is apparently not the only thing about Star Trek that Underwood appreciates. In the same Us Weekly piece, she shared the one superpower she'd pick over all others. "I would choose the power of teleportation," she said. "Travel these days is so stressful. Beam me up, Scotty!"

Carrie Underwood and this Gossip Girl star broke up via text

In 2010, Carrie Underwood married hockey star Mike Fisher. Before she met Fisher, however, Underwood's famous beaus included Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Gossip Girl's Chace Crawford. Speaking with OK! magazine in late 2007, Crawford neither confirmed nor denied the two were an item, simply saying, "We're just hanging, having a good time, dating around. It's good."

Apparently the relationship didn't last long. In April 2008, Underwood confirmed the pair had split and they did so in an awkwardly modern way. "We broke up over text so... it's like 'peace out,'" Underwood told Extra. "I don't know why it's all out now, when you break up with somebody and then like two months later it comes out, it's like you're rehashing old stuff."

Shortly after, Underwood confirmed the split, telling People, "We've parted ways. I actually haven't spoken to him in over a month." She continued, "You date to figure out what works and what doesn't," adding, "You've got to go through a lot of doesn't before you find the one that does."

This is Carrie Underwood's surprising pick for favorite American Idol judge

When Carrie Underwood competed on American Idol, the show still utilized its original trio of judges: Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul. Of the three, Cowell was indisputably the most outspoken, earning the nickname "Mr. Nasty" for his blunt, unvarnished, and occasionally hurtful assessments of Idol winner wannabes. 

When Kidzworld asked Underwood in 2006 to single out her favorite judge of the three, her answer was unexpected. "Surprisingly enough, I think I'd have to say Simon," she confessed. "He was always in my corner. From past years, I always felt like he said what it was and that was it, but I respected his opinion a lot just because I felt he was paid to tell the truth."

More than a decade later, Cowell reunited with Underwood when she received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018. In his speech, as reported by Country Living, Cowell recalled predicting (correctly, it turned out) that Underwood would become American Idol's most successful alum. "I think it was after you sang 'Alone' that I made a prediction that you would become the best-selling Idol winner," he said, "which you are."

Carrie Underwood had never travelled on an airplane before Idol

Before her experience on American Idol, Carrie Underwood grew up in the small town of Checotah, Okla., with a population of about 3,200. Along with its current claim to fame as Underwood's hometown, Checotah is also the steer-wrestling capital of the world.

In Underwood's family, traveling was done with wheels, not wings, and, during a 2019 appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, she revealed that, up until she nailed her Idol audition and won a Golden Ticket to Hollywood, she had never been on an airplane. Admitting she was a little freaked out by air travel, Underwood told host Stephen Colbert that hadn't really changed. "It still freaks me out, to be honest," she said. "I'm 36 years old and I've been to lots of airports. But back then I was by myself, and there were lots of connecting flights to get there."

In fact, she missed her connecting flight to Los Angeles and feared she wouldn't make it there in time for the taping. "I'm on the phone with whoever our contact person was, and I'm, like, 'Please don't kick me off the show,'" she recalled.

The hilarious reason Carrie Underwood calls herself the black sheep of her family

Despite Carrie Underwood's massive fame and considerable wealth (Celebrity Net Worth estimates her net worth to be at $140 million), her parents have definitely not allowed their daughter's money go to their heads. "So they still live where I grew up in the house I grew up in," Underwood recalled to SiriusXM. "I remember one Christmas there was this generator my dad wanted for welding or something. ... I was like, 'I'll get it for him.' It was $400. I got in trouble." She added, "He was like, 'She doesn't need to be spending her money on me...'"

Underwood shared similar sentiments in a 2013 interview with Marie Claire, explaining that her parents refuse to let her spoil them, even a little. "My parents are really great people who want nothing to do with any of this," she admitted. She revealed that the last time she had performed in Oklahoma her father couldn't make it to the show — because it was hunting season. "I'm the black sheep of the family," she joked. "The black-crystal sheep. Swarovski."

Sometimes Carrie Underwood doesn't even realize when she's singing

In an interview with A Taste of Country, Carrie Underwood was asked if she ever finds herself with one of her own songs "stuck in her head." She admitted, "I do and that's embarrassing," adding, "Because I sing and I don't realize it if I'm like in the store or something. I'll whistle or I'll sing and I don't even realize that sound is being produced from myself." Whenever Underwood catches herself singing without realizing she's doing it, she said she becomes "horribly embarrassed."

When it comes to wanting to listen to her own music, she revealed that it really does depend on the song — and the situation. If one of her songs pops up on the radio while driving, for example, she said, "If it's the first time I've heard a new song on the radio, I turn it up, cause that's a moment. You remember where you were or where you were headed when — 'the first time I heard this song on the radio was...'"

That doesn't hold true for all her tracks, however. She explained, "But if it's like a song I've heard a million times, I'll probably change the channel."

The Carrie Underwood hit "Before He Cheats" was originally written for another singer

Carrie Underwood's hit single "Before He Cheats" became the breakthrough crossover hit that cemented her status as a bona fide country music star and not just a talented reality show winner. And while the song has become closely associated with Underwood, the songwriters behind "Before He Cheats" originally intended for the track to be recorded by another singer.

Speaking with The Boot, songwriters Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins revealed they were trying to pen an "edgy" track for singer Gretchen Wilson, who had burst onto the scene with her hit "Redneck Woman." "I never would've thought that Carrie Underwood would record it!" admitted Tompkins of the song, which is about a woman who takes a "Louisville slugger" to her cheating boyfriend's car.

"When we were writing it, we were actually trying to keep it humorous," explained Kear, "but when Carrie got hold of it, she just did it so well and really made it her own. We expected it would be a little more lighthearted ... but when we heard it, we thought, wow, she really drove it home!"

Carrie Underwood was once named PETA's "sexiest vegetarian"

Not only is Carrie Underwood a longtime vegetarian, but she's also a sexy one — or at least that was the verdict of a poll undertaken by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). They voted Carrie Underwood as PETA's "sexiest vegetarian" in 2005 and again in 2007. "I quit eating beef when I was about 13," she told PETA. "I do it because I really love animals and it just makes me sad. ... I don't like to watch commercials where they have meat. It weirds me out."

Underwood, who has transformed her body in the years since winning American Idol, elaborated in an interview with VH1's Behind the Music, as documented by A Taste of Country, that watching her parents castrate calves when she was a kid pretty much put her off eating beef for life. "I never made the connection until one day my parents were working out in the pasture...and they were banding calves," she explained. "I was horrified and sad, and I just couldn't believe that this was happening in our pasture." Makes sense why Carrie Underwood tries to keep a diet as close to vegan as possible, doesn't it?

The sad truth behind Carrie Underwood's hit "Cry Pretty"

In January 2019, Carrie Underwood and husband Mike Fisher welcomed their second child, son Jacob. They'd previously welcomed Isaiah in 2015. As she later revealed, there was some hidden heartbreak on the road to those happy arrivals: She had three miscarriages in the course of two years, as noted by USA Today

Speaking with The Guardian, Underwood revealed how that experience inspired her song "Cry Pretty" from the album of the same name. "I was still trying to do my job and put on a smiley happy face and be Carrie Underwood. And then I'd go home and fall apart," she said.

Singing "Cry Pretty" and other songs that were inspired by her miscarriages was "difficult" yet "therapeutic," she admitted. She noted that the experience was not something that she was easily able to shed. "I will always mourn those children, those lives that were a shooting star, a breath of smoke," she said. At the same time, she was also celebrating the birth of son Jacob, whom she described as "incredible" and "the sweetest little baby." She shared, "At the time it was awful, and it still hurts, but it's kind of like OK, I have this."

As a kid, Carrie Underwood was teased for her freckles

When fans see Carrie Underwood in concert or on television, she radiates confidence. However, in a 2017 interview with Peopleshe recalled growing up feeling hugely self-conscious about the way she looked — particularly her freckled face. "I had freckles on my face and they were in the exact same spot on both of my cheeks, so I felt like I got teased at school," she said. "I remember asking my mom if we could get rid of them." She added, "Well, I did get rid of them."

That wasn't the only self-esteem issue the youngster dealt with. "I had bad teeth, too," she added. "I had to get braces [more than once]. I actually had them on the bottom for like three months while I was doing red carpets, but no one knew — so I felt like I had a secret."

Underwood, who's now known for her top style moments on the red carpet, felt "pretty insecure" about herself when she was younger, but that insecurity is long gone. "Now, I would be better at embracing that uniqueness," she declared. "We're all human."

The surprising reason Carrie Underwood makes husband Mike Fisher sleep on the couch

In a 2019 piece with The Guardian ahead of her performance at the famed Glastonbury Music Festival, new mom Carrie Underwood — who'd welcomed second son Jacob months earlier — was described as enjoying a glass of cabernet sauvignon during her interview backstage after a show. She admitted it's "a treat for me because normally I go straight to my bus, and I have a crying baby."

As she explained, her husband, Mike Fisher, and their two sons joined her on tour. This, she explained, led to some unusual sleeping arrangements on the tour bus. "I actually kicked my husband out of the bed and he sleeps on the couch up front," she revealed. "It's just a lot easier to wake up in a moving bus and grab the baby and feed him."

At the interview's end, Underwood poured herself a glass of wine before heading to the bus, and she pointed out how women "do it all" and "in high heels." She continued, "I'll be waking up at God knows what time in the morning feeding my baby — no one else can do that, and I'm proud of that."