The Untold Truth Of Phillip Phillips

Raise your hand if you're an original "American Idol" fan. Before the era of Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie were the early-2000s days of the famed singing competition that produced the likes of Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler, and real OG winner Kelly Clarkson. The show — the brainchild of British producer Simon Fuller — was synonymous with brutal British judge Simon Cowell, the glorious Paula Abdul, and super chill Randy Jackson. To say that "American Idol" had a unique grasp on the reality singing competition environment is an understatement. And while the show has been revived as of late, so many of us look back on those early days with a nostalgic fondness.

Perhaps one of the most well-known winners of "American Idol" is Phillip Phillips, the sweetheart crooner who took the competition by storm in Season 11. It became apparent early on that Phillips had what it took to blow the rest of the competitors out of the water, and he became an overnight sensation (no surprise there). But the 2012 champ's post-show career has been anything but simple, and unlike "Idol" predecessors, he's fallen a bit off the radar. So what happened to the wonder kid, and what does his life look like now? Here's the untold truth of Phillip Phillips.

Phillip Phillips endured health struggles behind the scenes on American Idol

Despite being a successful "American Idol" star, Phillip Phillips — whose father's name is also, really, truly Phillip Phillips, according to Today — has faced some health battles. The star underwent a staggering seven surgeries for kidney stones during his season on "American Idol" alone, according to Entertainment Tonight.

Back in 2013, Phillips said, "It was horrible, because even when you're lying in bed you can't get comfortable. I tried to take my girlfriend on a date during 'Idol' and we got maybe 20 steps and I was like, 'I can't make it.'" His ongoing painful issues with kidney stones also forced him to cancel tour dates after he won "American Idol."

Regarding the year 2012, he told People, "It's the toughest year of my life, but it's going to be exciting, too." An eighth surgery, which lasted some five hours, ultimately helped the singer to regain his health, with Phillips saying, "This one's supposed to fix me."

The musician auditioned for American Idol in 2012 and scored some celebrity supporters

Not only did Phillip Phillips come to the "American Idol" audition stage with a memorable name, but the then 20-year-old heartthrob took the judges by storm at the Savannah, Georgia auditions. Singing iconic hits "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder and "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, Phillips proved in an instant that he was worth watching. "It's like you have electricity going through your body," then-judge Jennifer Lopez said, as Phillips stood in front of her in tattered jeans and flip-flops. "It's super special," she continued saying. And she wasn't the only celebrity to take notice of the young crooner's talents.

As Phillips' journey on the show captivated viewers across the country, other A-list celebrities took note of his special talents. Jessica Simpson jumped on the Phillips-fan train and even took to Twitter to express her support for the young singer. "Crossing my fingers for hot stuff Phillip Phillips!!" she tweeted. "I want his record NOW!!!" Her support was met with a chorus of fellow fans, scoring more than 1,800 retweets (remember, this was all the way back in 2012, so we may as well have considered this going viral).

Phillips took home the big American Idol win in a record-breaking vote

Remember calling in to shows like "Dancing With the Stars" and "American Idol" back in the day? There were no apps to count the votes, but rather viewers at home expressed their support the good, old-fashioned way: via phone. Well, if Phillip Phillips' audition was anything to go off of, it wasn't surprising at all that the young singer took the show's coveted title.

As noted by MTV at the time, Phillips beat singer Jessica Sanchez to the "American Idol" crown. But not only that, the vote itself made headlines. Host Ryan Seacrest announced to the audience and all the viewers at home that a "new world record" of votes had been cast among the two hopefuls to the tune of 132 million (via MTV). That's right, the "American Idol" vote surpassed that of a U.S. presidential race; that year's presidential election saw 126 million votes.

Phillips was visibly emotional after his win was announced, welling up while performing his song "Home" in front of the adoring crowd. His family later embraced him as he walked off stage, confetti and streamers releasing into the audience.

He has been embroiled with legal dramas involving his management

You'd think that given "American Idol's" track record with the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, Phillip Phillips would've embarked on an award-winning career rivaling the very best of the music industry. And while his talent is absolutely undeniable, the Season 11 winner's career halted as a result of "record label limbo," according to The Post and Courier. Phillips signed with 19 Entertainment, Simon Cowell's management company, like many other "American Idol" finalists. It shouldn't come as a surprise to learn, however, that 19 Entertainment scored a "more favorable" deal than a majority of other management companies, according to the report, and Phillips ultimately decided that the company wasn't for him.

After three years of back-and-forth negotiations, the "American Idol" winner faded from public consciousness. The Post and Courier noted that after Phillips had decided enough was enough with 19 Entertainment, he filed a lawsuit to get out of his contract. It was a battle, to say the least. In a statement provided to the newspaper, Phillips revealed that he was thrilled to be "[moving] forward in making music" and getting back to what he loves to do.

A young Phillip Phillips was determined to have fans like his music, not just his looks

Watching Phillip Phillips' "American Idol" audition back is like stepping back in time. The then 20-year-old was just adorable — his unassuming approach, his parents by his side, supporting his singing career — the whole thing was just heartwarming. But as his rise on the show began to escalate, Phillips made it clear that he was solely focused on the singing. He wasn't there for the looks or the charm, and he wasn't looking for love or life in the fast lane — he simply wanted to share his music and talent with the world.

If you think Phillips' win changed his perspective, think again. Shortly after taking home the "American Idol" title, Phillips told People that his girlfriend's support meant the world to him, and he wasn't looking to change the dynamic of his love life any time soon. "If a girl [voted] for me because I'm cute, and then gets mad that I have a girlfriend, then she doesn't really like the music," Phillips said in response to speculation about his romantic life. "I'm not some cute guy who is trying to be successful off that. I really want the music to come first."

The musician's debut album was a massive success

Think of the "American Idol" winners today. Carrie Underwood is making history in country music and is giving every personal trainer a run for their money. Kelly Clarkson is a judge on "The Voice" and has her own daytime talk show. Jordin Sparks still holds the show's record of the youngest winner in its history. However, none of these stars shattered the show's history quite like Phillip Phillips.

The Season 11 winner not only made history with a record-breaking vote sealing his fate, but his song "Home" went on to become the best-selling song in "American Idol" history (via YouTube Music). That's right, Phillips snagged that title and still holds onto it, and the details of his win and single are quite staggering.

"Home" was featured on Phillips' debut album, "The World from the Side of the Moon," which was released shortly after he won the coveted "American Idol" title. The album went on to chart on Billboard's Top 200 album chart of — wait for it – 61 weeks and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Talk about an achievement.

After having tasted success, Phillips thought his career was over

Phillip Phillips' management and legal dramas following his "American Idol" win undoubtedly put a dent in his career, which was on the rise following his win. Even the artist himself thought that his musical aspirations were no longer obtainable. In a 2018 interview with People, Phillips gave insight into the three years that he spent battling Simon Cowell's management company, and told the publication that he really suffered as a result.

"It was really tough," Phillips said. "I thought, 'Man, is this ever going to end? Will I ever be able to release new music?' [I was] a little depressed about it and also anxious trying to figure out what I can do to push things forward." People noted that while Phillips was battling it out with the management company, he was not allowed to release any of his work. However, that all changed in 2018 with the release of his album, "Collateral," which marked the first time he could put his music out into the world since the legal fight. "I had a lot to tell in these songs because so much happened in these past three years," Phillips explained.

He comes from a very musical family

When we met Phillip Phillips during his intro package for "American Idol," his life working at his dad's pawn shop and his parents' enthusiasm made people fall in love with him even more. Phillips came from a typical American family. Clad in his flip-flops, he was the boy next door who could sing his heart out. But what you may not know is that Phillips' family is also musically inclined.

The star detailed his musical childhood in an interview with Albany Uncovered. Phillips broke into the musical foray when he was just 14 years old and started playing due to the encouragement of his brother-in-law, Ben Neil. "Ben's an amazing guitarist, musician/producer and a best friend as well," Phillips said. The "American Idol" winner further detailed that his mom plays piano, and his dad and sisters are all singers too.

While Phillips set himself apart by picking up the guitar, his whole family contributed to the music scene in their home. Of course, not all of them have more than 600 million streams on Spotify...

He sourced inspiration from his personal life when he returned to music

While Phillip Phillips' life after "American Idol" hasn't been as smooth sailing as he maybe would've liked, 2018 marked a big turnaround for the Season 11 winner. After winning his legal battle against Simon Cowell's management company, Phillips released new music, made plans to go on tour, and opened up about his relationship with his wife, Hannah (who was his girlfriend when he competed on "Idol").

In a sit down with People discussing his future, Phillips shared that he sourced inspiration from his life with Hannah and their plans to simply enjoy each other throughout the life — and if you didn't absolutely love him before, you definitely will now. "I'll hopefully still be touring and putting out some music and just enjoying growing old together," Phillips explained. "We're not promised tomorrow, so you want to make the most of it."

Of his then-impending tour, Phillips shared that Hannah would be joining him on the road, and their dog would be coming along for the ride. "It's the first headlining tour I've done in a while. I'm a little nervous and it's kind of scary, but it's also really exciting," he said.

He made a name for himself at a young age in the Georgia music scene

Before Phillip Phillips made his way to Savannah, Georgia to shoot his shot in front of the "American Idol" judges, he had already made quite a name for himself in Albany, Georgia. As noted by Fox 31, Phillips won the Albany Star, his area's own local singing competition, in 2010. He went back to the amphitheater the following year to open the contest, with coordinator Roni Ware telling the outlet that the platform gave singers like Phillips the chance to get their name out there.

"This is our version of American Idol, we know we have talent here, we want to give the opportunity to showcase that and hopefully give someone a platform to jump off, like Phillip Phillips is kicking off for us today," Ware said.

Albany Star wasn't the only platform Phillips took advantage of during his early career. As noted by Albany Uncovered, Phillips was "booked for every weekend" and was essentially a local celebrity. No wonder he took the "American Idol" win so easily!

Phillips and his wife shared a beautiful musical moment at their wedding

If Phillip Phillips has proven anything in his career after "American Idol," it's that sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. But his stalled music and legal battles didn't stop Phillips from pursuing a fruitful, beautiful personal life. In 2019, he and girlfriend Hannah tied the knot. "I feel like when I met Phillip he was the answer to so many questions that I had," Hannah told People. "He just makes everything make sense for me and he's a calming presence, I just feel so safe and comfortable with him." Is your heart melting yet?

As if their love story couldn't be any more beautiful, Phillips wrote his song, "Dance with Me," for his new bride and the newly married couple danced to the track at their wedding. "She told me I have to play it at every show now," Phillips told People. "We love that song so much."

To say that Phillips and Hannah had each others' backs through thick and thin is an understatement, with Hannah telling People that they "had to keep a positive attitude" during Phillips' legal battle. She certainly was in his corner.

The singer welcomed a son in 2019

In November 2019, Phillip and Hannah Phillips welcomed their first child, a son, who clearly stole his father's heart from the start (via USA Today).

In a sweet Instagram post on November 14, the new dad shared, "Sunday morning our little boy made a fast entrance into the world. I cried more than he did." Phillips added details about his wife, writing, "Hannah was an absolute rockstar in delivery and she has been such an amazing mom these last four days." Phillips went on to stirringly share, "I'm forever in love with this little kid. He's changed me so much already. We can't take our eyes off of him. He's perfect. Our prayers were answered and this new journey has begun. Welcome, Patch Shepherd Phillips."

On his son's first birthday, the smitten father also shared on Instagram, "This little boy has hit me hard with a love that is so different than any other love I've felt. He really is the sweetest, funniest, and most expressive little guy I know."

Phillips returned to his hometown to raise money for COVID-19 relief

In an attempt to aid his own hometown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Phillip Phillips did what many musicians could and raised money through performing. As noted by Fox 31, Phillips put on a virtual concert from his home in May 2020 and raised more than $55,000 for the Phoebe Putney Health System in his hometown of Albany, Georgia.

"What a great experience," Phillips said as his virtual concert came to a close. "It's an amazing feeling to invite my fans and my neighbors into my home, to play some music and to see people from around the world pitch in to help out the healthcare heroes right here in my hometown. This is where I grew up. It's where I live. I know firsthand how important Phoebe is to this community."

Phillips went on to praise the health care system further, noting that he, Hannah, and their son Patch were all born through Phoebe Putney. "Being able to drum up some support by playing a few songs from my couch, it's an amazing feeling," he said.

The musician is touring with the likes of Train

The entire music industry was essentially put on pause when the coronavirus pandemic upended life in every way, shape, and form. For Phillip Phillips, his career and specifically his touring intentions were halted due to shutdowns. But as the pandemic starts to wind down (we hope), Phillips is heading back on the road. Per his official website, the "American Idol" winner is touring with Train and Thunderstorm Artis and has dates scheduled for August 2022.

Originally slated to perform in September 2021 — yes, 2021 — Phillips will be hitting the stage almost a year later at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Lake Tahoe and then will move on to the Arcadia Lions Pavilion in Wisconsin. Fans on Bands In Town are already raving about Phillips' performance chops, with one saying that the Season 11 winner's "raspy voice captures the attention of every ear." Here's to a fruitful future for the embattled star, who we're confident has shown us just a fraction of what he's capable of!