Fantasia Barrino had a daunting journey to motherhood, marked by abuse, teenage pregnancy, relationship upheavals, and infertility struggles. But the survivor went through it all, emerging on the other side as a happily married mother of three.
Before she was a singer, Fantasia Barrino was just one more teenage mom struggling through motherhood on the streets of North Carolina.
After a period of hardship, abandonment, and self-doubt, the star decided to set her life on track, beginning with her grand win on the third season of American idol.
While she has remained unstoppable ever since her journey since then has not been without strife. In fact, the birth of her first child, Zion, only marked the beginning of Fantasia Barrino’s rough road to motherhood.
For Fantasia her less-than-fairy-tale life commenced over 37 years ago, when her mom, Diane Barrino, took in at nineteen. The then-teenager, best described as a church girl with a pastor for a mom, knew her pregnancy meant giving up on her dreams as her mom always warned.
Yet she held strong, welcoming her first child Kassim Von Rico Washington months later. Diane ended up marrying her son’s dad, Joseph Barrino, with whom she had three more kids, Joseph Barrino Jr. Fantasia Barrino, and Xavier Barrino.
Fantasia became part of the story following her birth on July 30, 1984, in North Carolina. Her parents, married so young, had to work odd jobs to sustain the family and their kids.
Hence, things weren’t always rosy during her childhood years. However, the one thing that stayed the same was her family’s love for music, which led to her parent’s meeting, and eventually, her rise to stardom.
The Deal Breaker
Like every other kid growing up, Fantasia had dreams. Though not clear at the time, she knew those dreams, like her mom’s, would center around her love for music.
Naturally, she knew she had to be wary of her choices lest she ended up like her mom whose dreams got cut short post-pregnancy. So she led the good life, like a church girl.
However, things took a bad turn during her high school days. The songstress recalled getting raped at fourteen at the school auditorium of Andrews High School by a classmate she had a crush on.
The perpetrator received due punishment after she reported his actions, but that did little to abate her trauma. Unable to deal with the accompanying harassment she faced at the hands of his friends and classmates, the then-14-year-old was forced to drop out of school.
Life On The Lose
It turned out quitting school was not exactly the best decision Barrino made, as it began her downward spiral. She became mixed up with the wrong people, and entered relationships she should have avoided.
In fact, her earlier traumatizing experience at the school’s auditorium left Barrino with the idea that sex translated to love.
Hence, in her quest for real love, she gave so much of herself, eventually getting pregnant at seventeen from then-boyfriend Brandel Shouse. That moment felt like a replay of her mom’s story.
At that point, everyone gave up on the youngster, assuming she could no longer pursue her dreams. She moved out of her parents’ house and found herself living with an abusive boyfriend. Losing herself she calls it.
She struggled to find work which was a heckle due to her borderline illiteracy. The teenager soon found herself living off government assistance, admitting living like that was hard. She even resorted to shoplifting at some point.
But that was all she could settle for until the birth of her daughter, Zion Quari Barrino in August 2001. She soon secured a job in her grandmother’s daycare facility, making her able to earn some extra cash to fend for her daughter.
Another Taste Of Motherhood
Providing for her daughter became Barrino’s driving force. Hence, when she saw her chance to participate in the third season of “American Idol,” at nineteen, she did not hesitate.
She ended up winning the trophy, and along with it, the hearts of millions of Americans. That win marked proved to the star that she could still pursue her dreams despite being a teenage mom. She never looked back afterward, even in the face of her numerous tragedies and scandals.
One of her biggest scandals was her relationship with Antwan Cook, a married man at the time. The love triangle, resulting lawsuits, and public backlash brought up the issue of alienation of affection in North Carolina.
Notably, during her affair with Cook, she conceived again but chose to abort the child. Fantasia Barrino further worsened the case when she admitted this to the world.
But that didn’t stop the singer and actress from conceiving again in 2011. She welcomed her second child and only son Dallas Xavier Barrino, whom she shares with Cook.
Ready To Exhale
On July 18, 2015, Fantasia tied the knot with husband of six years and counting, Kendall Taylor. Ultimately, she became a stepmom to his son, Treyshaun who made her a grandmother at thirty-two.
While her blended family enjoyed happiness and success, Barrino knew sharing a child with the love of her life would make them happier. However, try as she may, the 37-year-old could not conceive despite previously having two kids.
A visit to the doctor confirmed she had a blocked fallopian tube. Thus began her three-year journey to becoming a third-time mom.
The Grueling Fertility Struggle
Fantasia Barrino, the “When I See You” crooner, has been open about her grueling struggle with fertility. She recalled feeling apprehensive when she could not conceive naturally, tormenting herself with an endless series of negative pregnancy tests until she received the doctor’s diagnosis.
At that point, many advised the couple on various available options, including in-vitro fertilization. However, the duo remained steadfast, deciding to take a break, and “let God be God.”
Their faith paid off eventually, as Barrino finally conceived naturally in 2020 when she least expected. In an interview following her pregnancy announcement, the icon divulged:
“At first we thought we were going to have to do things differently… This is a three-year journey we’ve been on.”
Their daughter, Keziah Taylor arrived in May 2021. While a blessing, Keziah’s birth represented another hard hit in Fantasia Barrino’s motherhood journey as the child was born several weeks early.
Luckily, the baby girl was a born-fighter, and after weeks in NICU, returned home with her family, joining siblings Xavier, Zion, and Treyshaun.
Inspiring Other Teenage Moms
Having overcome the most difficult phase of her life, Fantasia Barrino now spends her time inspiring other teenage moms to keep pushing.
In 2005, the “American Idol” alum released the track, “Baby Mama,” which sang odes to all the single moms out there. The song spurred criticism across media platforms, from those who believed the star was promoting pregnancy out of wedlock.
However, Barrino explained she was not exalting single motherhood, but simply wanted to reach out to girls like her, and inspire them to keep chasing their dreams.
While her disheartening story had a somewhat happy ending, Fantasia Barrino maintains she’d do things differently and wait to conceive the right way if she could go back in time to relive her motherhood journey.