The Story Of A Superstar: Ruben Studdard’s Net Worth, Life And Career

Ruben Studdard’s net worth, life, and career are all worth looking at as the second winner of the singing competition American Idol has lived an interesting life. His victory has turned the Westlife song Flying Without Wings into a gospel hit as it was his winning song

While most people know him as a singer, he has also done some acting and ventures outside the music industry but is still related to music. Of course, his career wasn’t at the same level as Kelly Clarkson, the first winner of the American Idol, but his journey to becoming a superstar is worth knowing about. So, read on if you want to know more about him.

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Ruben Studdard’s Journey: From A Church Singer To An American Idol

Early Life   

On September 12, 1978, Ruben Studdard was born in Frankfurt, West Germany, to American parents while his father was stationed there with the US Army. His family eventually moved to Birmingham, Alabama, where he grew up and realized his singing abilities. He also joined the Rising Star Baptist Church’s choir, where his mother was a singer. He received an Alabama A&M University football scholarship while attending Huffman High School, where he got to train his singing skills more as a member of the Omicron Delta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, America’s men’s music fraternity.

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While he has been singing for some time, Ruben Studdard hasn’t fully considered pursuing a career in music until he started listening to his mother’s CD collection, which made him more familiar with gospel music and musicians such as Donny Hathaway and Fred Hammond. After that, he took up music with a major in voice studies at his university and became a member of Just a Few Cats, a popular local Birmingham jazz and R&B band. During this time, he started making demos and working to achieve his dreams just in time for his memorable audition for the second season of American Idol.

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Together (Radio Version) - song by Ruben Studdard | Spotify
Look at our American Idol. Source:

Ruben Studdard’s road to achieving his dreams officially started when he blew American Idol judges away with his acapella rendition of Stevie Wonder’s Ribbon in the Sky for his audition song. During the competition, he has earned fans who voted for him to remain in the competition until he reached the finale and won, with Clay Aiken as the runner-up. 

After the competition, the first song he released was his gospel cover of Flying Without Wings, which debuted at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Before physical copies of his debut album Soulful became available in stores in December 2003, advanced orders had already surpassed one million and reached number one on the Billboard 200 album chart in its first week.

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Since becoming the second winner of the then-iconic American Idol, Ruben Studdard has released another seven studio albums, which were all critically and financially successful. He has also released some hits that have received many accolades, including a Grammy Award nomination in 2003 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for his version of the 1969 song Superstar. It’s no wonder that Ruben Studdard’s net worth is $3 million, which is unfortunately slightly lower than Clay Aiken’s net worth of $4 million.

Ruben Studdard has also appeared in some films like 2004’s One on One and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, 2005’s life on a Stick and All of Us, 2011’s Lifted, and more. He has also started The Ruben Studdard Foundation for the Advancement of Children in the Music Arts, which aims to promote the importance of arts in education for the students, mostly in Birmingham. As for his runner-up in the competition, Clay Aiken has released six albums, one EP, and two compilation records and has pursued acting and politics. 

WATCH VIDEO: Ruben Studdard-Flying Without Wings

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Personal Life

Ruben Studdard dated and tied the knot with Surata Zuri, who he met in October 2006 while signing CDs at a Wal-Mart in Atlanta. The pair had a small, private ceremony in Mountain Brook, Alabama, on June 28, 2008, but unfortunately, they divorced in April 2012. 

As for Ruben Studdard’s runner-up, he has come out as gay and through Vitro fertilization, had his son. Jaymes Foster and Clay Aiken are officially the parents of the child they named Parker.

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Ruben Studdard Is Flying Without Wings

Ruben Studdard is an inspirational winner of American Idol.
Ruben Studdard continues to inspire by making music in different ways. Source:

While Ruben Studdard’s net worth may be lower than what you would expect it to be, especially as he has released eight studio albums and has done many other projects, it will continue growing since he is still making music. He may have released his last studio album in 2008, but he is reportedly going to lead music masterclasses for The University of Tennessee in 2022. And based on his Instagram posts, he is still performing, so you should be hopeful for some new music soon.

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Leonard hails from the Philippines and works as a freelancer, author, poet, and visual artist. He discovered his passion for writing and painting at an early age, leading him to pursue a degree in Mass Communications. He worked at a few places after college before landing what he thought was a "life-changing" writing career. He was also the lead singer and songwriter for a band. His career as an English teacher, poet, and visual artist took him to Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2018. You can see more of his work on Instagram at @anumalei.