"Everyone was so rude to us" for being contestants on a talent show, she said.

Kelly Clarkson
Credit: Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank, Getty Images

When American Idol was in its heyday, winners like Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, and Carrie Underwood were instantly shot to stardom. But at what cost? According to Clarkson, who won the first season of American Idol, mainstream celebrities were "so rude" to her while she was on the brink of sudden fame.

"You probably don't remember this, but it stuck with me for so long, like for almost 20 years now," Clarkson said during a conversation with Jennifer Love Hewitt on the January 14th episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show. "You ran up to me, and it was right when the final three of Idol...and people were really mean to us," she said of her fellow Idol contestants, "because we're from a talent show and it was the first season. Like, everyone was so rude to us."

"It was so bad. It was a horrible experience," she said of the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. "And you came up to me...and you told me, 'Please keep the ones you love so close, and it'll end up being a few people in your life, unfortunately, but this business can be really hard,'" Clarkson recalled to Love Hewitt.

She said, "You just gave me this advice that was really kind at such an unkind time for me, personally."

In a 2019 interview with USA Today, Clarkson mentioned that a few of the celebrities who were mean to her shortly after her American Idol win have ironically gone on to become judges on several different talent shows, despite their original feeling as though talent show winners didn't deserve the same respect as other mainstream celebrities.

"The first three years of my career was me just paying for winning a talent show," Clarkson told USA Today. "I got real bitter. I was just looking for anyone to talk to who knew what I was going through."

That bitterness toward others in the industry was a driving factor in her joining the panel of The Voice. "It's actually healed that bitterness I used to carry, being able to be that for somebody else," she said.

Whoever was mean to Clarkson, no matter how long ago it was...an apology would be appreciated.