Photo Credit: Dario Cantatore/Getty Images
Obviously, some American Idol contestants go on to staggering fame and success. Kelly Clarkson. Carrie Underwood. Chris Daughtry. Phillip Phillips. But many, many more jump from the FOX stage to a respectable (if modest) career singing and performing music. Justin Guarini, who finished in second place during Idol's first season, is seemingly in that second group.
When his albums didn't sell, he at least appeared to have found his niche -- performing on Broadway (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, American Idiot) and in regional theater (Rent, Chicago). He scored commentator and hosting gigs for the TV Guide network, NBC's Today, and various entertainment news shows. All seemed well.
Until this week, that is.
"There was a time when I wouldn’t have been concerned about the amazing expense of eating at place like Green Symphony," he wrote in a blog post on his website. "Now, I budget. I have spent days skipping meals in order to make sure I have enough. To make sure my children [William, 2, and Asher, 5 months], and my wife [Reina Capodici] have enough… I’m unafraid to say that I am terrified. I am struggling to make each day meet the next without breaking down and curling up. Sometimes I envy people who sit at a desk all day (at least you know where your next meal is coming from)."
Skipping meals so your kids can eat? Not knowing where your next meal is coming from? That sounds pretty dire, and the post's tone understandably attracted some media attention. "While his costar in the 2003 film From Justin to Kelly has gone on to win Grammys and sell more than 20 million albums worldwide, Guarini is having trouble making ends meet," reported People magazine.
But it wasn’t long before Guarini was back-peddling. After the People story hit the web, his blog post was briefly taken down, then put back up. And he sent out this tweet:
In fact, Guarini has another Broadway gig lined up. He's set to play Paris in an upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet, which stars Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad as the leads. Broadway salaries don't match the stratospheric earnings that go with TV and film, but surely a role in a high-profile play like this one will pay enough to put food on the table.
Guarini's problem? Here's a guess: He briefly tasted the lifestyle of the super-rich, and now it's over. We get it: Who'd want to return to a life where budgets are necessary? It's a lonely curse to know what you're missing. But it is also one that very few people can relate to.
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an iVillage contributing writer. Follow her on Google+.