Carrie Underwood grew up in Checotah, Okla., as the youngest of three sisters. She performed in local talent shows, earning the attention of Capitol Records when she was just 14 years old, although she never actually signed a contract. After becoming salutatorian of her high school class in 2001, Underwood attended Northeastern State University, majoring in mass communications, and graduated magna cum laude in 2006, one year after being crowned the Season 4 winner of 'American Idol.' When Underwood was auditioning for 'Idol,' judge Simon Cowell predicted she would outsell every previous winner of the competition -- and she remains the best-selling contestant on the show, with more than 14 million albums sold in the United States.
Country Music Memories: Carrie Underwood Joins the Opry
On May 10, 2008, Underwood was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.
Carrie Underwood Singing With Son Is the Mother's Gift You Need
It's the most adorable thing you've ever seen or heard!
They Got It From Their Mamas! See Country Stars With Their Moms
Mom, Mother, Mama, Mommy -- whatever she's called, she's played an integral role in these country stars' lives.
Country Music Memories: Carrie Underwood Graduates From College
On May 6, 2006, Underwood graduated from Northeastern State University, one year after winning 'American Idol'.
Yup, Carrie Underwood and Zach Swon Went to College Together
Underwood and the Swon Brothers' relationship goes way back to their college days.
Musical Smartypants: Country Artists Who Graduated College
In the notoriously volatile entertainment business, no one can argue with having an education to fall back on.
20 Great Father-Daughter Dance Songs for a Country Fan's Wedding
A bride's father is the second most important man at a wedding, and he's deserving of a song that brings significance to his role.