Photo Credit: Craig Barritt/WireImage
For Christina Aguilera, the past year has been dramatic -- to put it mildly. The 30-year-old singer divorced her husband of five years, Jordan Bratman, then tried to reinvent herself as a Lady Gaga-esque pop singer (with the album Bionic) and a movie star (in the film Burlesque). Both the film and the album flopped, and Aguilera continued in what appeared to be a downward spiral, flubbing the lyrics to the national anthem at the Super Bowl and getting arrested for public intoxication alongside boyfriend Matt Rutler. Now that the singer is back on top as a judge on NBC's The Voice, she opens up to W magazine about the events of the past 12 months, beginning with her divorce.
In the interview, Aguilera even hints that both she and Bratman had affairs during their marriage. "At one time or another, we were both not angels. It got to a point where our life at home was reminding me of my own childhood," says the singer, who has admitted to growing up in an unhappy and sometimes abusive home. "I will not have my son (Max, 3) grow up in a tension-filled home."
"I knew there would be a be a negative reaction in the press to my divorce, but I am not going to live my life because of something someone might say," she continues. "That goes against everything I sing on my records. I have to be myself."
With her new boyfriend Matt Rutler, whom she met on the set of Burlesque, Aguilera felt secure again. And yet it was after a celebratory dinner with Rutler that she was arrested for public intoxication, on March 1. According to Aguilera, the arrest was entirely without merit -- as proven by the fact that the case was dropped for "insufficient evidence."
"It should never have happened in the first place," Aguilera says. "I don't mean to martyr myself, but I think I was a victim of celebrity. I don't drive, I wasn't driving and I committed no crimes, but they put me in jail. They called me a 'political hot potato.' They said, 'What are we going to do with this woman?' I think they were bored that night."
The arrest came directly on the heels of some other public embarrassments: She tripped on her dress onstage at the Grammys, she reportedly drunkely hit on actor Jeremy Renner at a party (not true, says Aguilera) -- and of course, there was that Super Bowl incident.
"Everything on the field at the Super Bowl was vividly bright, and I was having a moment," recalls Aguilera, who had sung "The Star-Spangled Banner" dozens of times at sports events as a child. "I got lost in the emotion of being there and I messed up the lyrics to the song... I went to dinner after the Super Bowl with Matt and I laughed about how I'd made myself into a Trivial Pursuit question: 'In 2011 what female singer flubbed the lyrics to the national anthem?'"
Despite these setbacks, Aguilera is back on top, garnering praise -- and ratings -- for her inspired coaching and live performances on The Voice. She says that her aspiration is to be "that old lady on stage shaking her hips and singing her greatest hits." For now, she just keeps smiling.
"I laugh a lot lately," says the singer. "People expect me to cry, but I always laugh when things go wrong."