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Full name: Paula Julie Abdul
Date of birth: June 19, 1962
Hometown: San Fernando, California
Education: Attended California State University at Northridge, but dropped out to focus on her choreography and dancing career
Boyfriend: Record label executive Jeff Bratton
Ex-husband: Emilio Estevez (married from 1992 to 1994)
Resume highlights: Dancer, choreographer, singer
Bet you didn't know... When Paula graduated from Van Nuys Junior High School in 1980, she was voted "girl with the funniest laugh."
Paula Abdul Links:
- More on Paula Abdul's Latest Boyfriend
- Photos! Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul's Weird Relationship
- Fashion Hits and Misses: Paula Abdul's Zaniest Looks
We wonder: Did Paula Abdul do her famous seal clap when she was a little girl growing up in California's San Fernando Valley? Paula, who was raised by a Canadian mother and a Syrian father, started dancing when she was only 8 years old. After high school, where she wasn't one of the popular girls, Paula went on to college at Cal State. However, the talented dancer and choreographer dropped out of school after joining the L.A. Lakers cheerleading squad, opting to pursue her passions full-time.
Fortunately for Paula, she made it big — real big. During the '80s, she worked with popular artists like Janet Jackson and George Michael and choreographed a string of hit movies. As if that wasn't enough, Paula launched a solo singing career in the late '80s, which catapulted her to worldwide fame with hit songs like "Opposites Attract" and" Straight Up." After her music career fizzled, Paula went on to choreograph high-profile events, including the Academy Awards and American Music Awards.
Alongside Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson at the American Idol judges' table, Paula became known as the sweet, ditsy, and hard-to-understand member of the power trio. She also sparked her share of controversy: First there was the rumored affair with a Season 2 contestant, and then there were reports of painkiller addictions. Despite the criticism, Paula remained popular with viewers until she left the show in 2008 after a contract dispute.
In 2010 Paula landed her own CBS dance competition show, Live to Dance. She served as executive producer, coach, and mentor during the show’s one (and only) season. But we’re not shedding any tears: On April 28, it was confirmed that she and Simon would rekindle their judges’ table chemistry — this time for The X Factor.