Ruben Studdard from "Biggest Loser 2013" is one of the contestants in Season 15 of the NBC reality weight-loss competition series.

It has been a decade since Ruben Studdard was crowned the winner of the second season of FOX's reality singing competition "American Idol" and launched a successful music career. Now he returns to television on a very different stage, hoping to lose weight and learn how to live a healthy lifestyle. Born in Germany and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, with an older brother, Ruben recalls being overweight since the age of 10. He received a football scholarship to Alabama A&M University, where he studied music, but continued to struggle with his weight as an adult due to a poor diet. "When I turned 34, I realized I wasn't young anymore," he says, "and that I wanted to live a long time. It was time for a change."

Now 35 years old and 462 pounds, Ruben suffers from sleep apnea and high blood pressure. Professionally, the Velvet Teddy Bear (as nicknamed by Gladys Knight for his smoothly soothing vocal style) is a Grammy-nominated artist with a number of gold and platinum albums. His urban radio hits include "Sorry 2004," "Superstar," "Make Ya Feel Beautiful" and "Change Me," and he also scored a No. 1 gospel hit with the song "I Need an Angel."

In addition, he created The Ruben Studdard Foundation for the Advancement of Children in the Music Arts, promoting the arts in education through learning initiatives for students in the Birmingham area. After all his accomplishments, Ruben now hopes to achieve success in the weight-loss arena, and most looks forward to shopping for clothes and going to an amusement park after he loses the weight.

Ruben Studdard's post "American Idol" fame has been somewhat diminished by the fact that he has been considerably overshadowed by the runner-up Clay Aiken. Despite not winning the formal contest, Aiken has gone on to be the most successful artist associated with the second season of "American Idol."



Studdard released his first single album with the hit song "Flying without Wings," produced by the Underdogs and Face a month later. In December 2003, advance orders for his album "Soulful" topped the one million mark before it was released into stores. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart that month, selling over 400,000 copies in its first week and attaining the highest first-week sales of any American Idol winner. The single "Sorry 2004" from this album reached #9 in the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart.

Studdard received a Grammy Award nomination in December 2003 for best R&B male vocal performance for his version of "Superstar," nominated with his idol Luther Vandross who won that category. The song peaked at No. 2 on the R&B chart. In March 2004, Studdard won the NAACP Best New Artist award.

Studdard then released the gospel album "I Need an Angel" in November 2004. The title track was a cover of a 2002 single performed by R&B singer Daniel DeBourg and written by R. Kelly. The album sold over 96,000 copies in its first week. It also entered the Gospel charts at #1, opened at #20 on the Billboard 200 chart, and has since sold over 500,000 copies. It was also #1 on the 2005 Billboard Year-End Gospel Albums Chart. As of July 2005, Studdard is the fourth-best selling "American Idol" performer with more than two million albums sold in the U.S.

Studdard's next album, "Love IS," helmed by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, was released through a joint venture with Hickory Records and 19 Recordings. The album is a collection of love songs featuring original recording as well as covers of classic hits.




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FACTS

How tall is he? How old is he? Where does he live? Find out here.

Age: 38 years old
Birthday: September 12, 1978
Height: 6' 3"
Nickname: Ruu
The Velvet Teddy Bear
Chris
Full Name / Real Name: Christopher Ruben Studdard
Birthplace: Frankfurt, West Germany
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Current Residence: Birmingham, AL
Wife: Surata Zuri McCants (6/28/2008, filed for divorce)


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