An alcoholic father and a tough childhood – X Factor judge Kelly has had to fight to succeed every step of the way
Born Kelendria Trene Kamasia Rowland, Kelly had a far from perfect childhood.
At seven years old, she and her mother Doris were forced to flee their family home to escape her abusive and alcoholic father Christopher.
‘I remember him being drunk and aggressive towards my mum, but not me,’ says Kelly.
‘It took courage for her to get away.’
The pair moved to a poor district of Houston, where Doris juggled several jobs to make ends meet.
At eight, Kelly auditioned for local rap and dance group Girl’s Tyme.
Through this she met Beyoncé Knowles and her dad Matthew, who’d change Kelly‘s life for ever.
Three years later, buckling under the strain of being a single mum, Doris made the difficult decision to let Kelly move in with Matthew and his wife Tina, who became Kelly‘s legal guardians.
‘It was real difficult for my mum to get me to rehearsals and it was easier for me to live with the Knowleses,’ says Kelly, 30.
But she paid tribute to Doris in an open letter to her on Mother’s Day in 2008, saying: You came by every day and cooked dinner – we’d all eat as a family.
‘It was because of your strength and sacrifice that I was able to dream so big.’
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