Kelly Clarkson won the very first season of American Idol in 2002, though she recently revealed that her experience surrounding the reality competition wasn't always the best. During an episode of her eponymous talk show in January, the Texas native shared that celebrities were "so rude" to her and her fellow contestants, except Jennifer Love Hewitt. Clarkson shared the story with Hewitt when she appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show, telling the actress that she hasn't forgotten their interaction.
"You probably don't remember this, but it stuck with me so long, almost 20 years now," Clarkson told Hewitt. "It was at some kind of MTV Awards, VMAs or something, I don't know what it was, but you ran up to me. It was right in the final three of Idol, we were so slammed and everything was happening in a whirlwind and people were really mean to us because we're from a talent show and it was the first season."
She continued, "Everyone was so rude to us, like on the carpet, at the show. It was so bad; it was a horrible experience. [But] you came up to me, ran up to me out of nowhere and were like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm really rooting for you.'" Clarkson added that the actress gave her some advice she took to heart. "You told me, 'Please, keep the ones you love so close. It'll end up being a few people in your life, unfortunately, but this business can be really hard,'" she recalled. '"And just remember to keep those people that really love you.'"
"You just gave me this advice that was really kind in such an unkind time for me, personally, so thank you so much," the singer told Hewitt. "It meant the world to me, you were so nice and I've been looking forward to interviewing you." Hewitt replied, "That's really nice, thank you."
Clarkson is now helping other reality TV contestants find their shot at stardom as a coach on The Voice, a position she took on in 2018, around the time it was revealed that American Idol was being rebooted. "Here's the thing; let's keep it real," Clarkson told Ellen DeGeneres in 2017. "I thought [Idol] was ending." After producers told her they would bring the show back, Clarkson explained, "But I thought, 'When? In five or 10 years. I didn't know. But I didn't know they meant the next year." "I had already been in talks with The Voice," she continued. "I gave [Idol] 15 years; I was there every season."