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.
WATCH: Carrie Underwood's New Sunday Night Football Theme Is Here
For the ninth straight year, the country singer has opened NBC's coverage with a video that finds her trading scenes with the NFL's biggest stars.
Carrie Underwood Lowers Flag to Half-Staff on 9/11 Anniversary
She still remembers exactly where she was when she heard the news.
Carrie Underwood Sunday Night Football Song's Controversial Past
Easily forgotten are the three years she riffed on a Miranda Lambert song in place of "Waiting All Day for Sunday Night."
WATCH:Jason Aldean + Carrie Underwood If I Didn't Love You Video
The air is as stale as the love ...
School's Back in Session! See Country Stars' Yearbook Photos
A photo gallery of country stars' yearbook pictures.
What Jobs Did Country Stars Have Before They Got Famous?
Country stars live glamorous lives, but it hasn't always been glitz and glory for your favorite artists.
Carrie Underwood, Dan + Shay Team for 'Dear Evan Hanson' Song
The movie 'Dear Evan Hansen' (due out on Sept. 24) is a film adaptation of the Tony Awards-winning Broadway musical.
Going Greek: Country Stars Who Pledged Fraternities and Sororities
Did you know these country stars are former fraternity and sorority members?
See Teaser of Carrie Underwood's New 'Sunday Night Football' Open
Clips of some of the NFL's biggest stars (Patrick Mahomes, Derrick Henry, Russell Wilson and more) are spread throughout the preview video