Happy birthday Jennifer Hudson: The singer turns 32 on September 12

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Jennifer Hudson, one of the most successful performers ever to cross the "American Idol" stage, turns 32 on Thursday, Sept. 12. In honor of this special day, let's take a look back at some of Hudson's previous years. Hopefully, this happy birthday will bring one of the singer's best years yet!

Highs or lows, here are some of the big moments in Jennifer Hudson's life:

  • 1981: Jennifer Kate Hudson was born in Chicago.

  • 2002 (age 20): Hudson signed her first record deal with Chicago's Righteous Records. The label later released her from her contract so she could perform on "Idol."

  • 2004 (ages 22-23): Jennifer Hudson placed 7th on "American Idol" Season 3.

  • 2006 (ages 24-25): The singer made her film debut, playing Effie White in "Dreamgirls."

  • 2007 (age 25): Thanks to her "Dreamgirls" role, Hudson won Best Supporting Actress Golden Globes, Broadcast Film Critics, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA and Academy awards.

  • 2008 (age 26): Hudson co-starred as Carrie Bradshaw's assistant in the "Sex and the City" movie.

  • 2008 (ages 26-27): Her debut album, "Jennifer Hudson" was released and ended up selling over 1 million copies around the world.

  • 2008 (age 27): The Democratic National Convention invited Hudson to sing the national anthem.

  • 2008 (age 27): A tragic shooting left Hudson's mother, brother and nephew dead.

  • 2009 (age 27): At Super Bowl XLIII, Hudson sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the game. It was her first public performance since the shootings.

  • 2009 (age 27): Hudson performed at a California fundraiser for President Barack Obama.

  • 2009 (age 27): Nominated for three Grammys, Hudson won the Best R&B Album award for "Jennifer Hudson."

  • 2009 (age 27): Hudson's first child, David Daniel Otunga, Jr., was born.

  • 2010 (age 28): Weight Watchers picked Hudson as a celebrity spokesperson. The singer has since claimed to have lost over 80 pounds on the program.

  • 2011 (age 29): Hudson's second album, "I Remember Me," was released, eventually selling over 500,000 copies in the United States alone.

  • 2012 (age 30): Following the death of Whitney Houston, Hudson sang "I Will Always Love You" at the Grammy Awards.

  • 2013 (age 31): Accompanied by the Sandy Hook Elementary School chorus, Hudson performed "America the Beautiful" at Super Bowl XLVII.

  • 2013 (age 31): The second season of "Smash" featured Hudson in a recurring role.

  • 2013?: "Winnie Mandela" is supposed to be released at some point. The most recent date for this -- Sept. 6, 2013 -- has however passed. Mandela herself has threatened to sue the production.

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images