Justin Guarini confessed that he was a little “full of” himself during the hype surrounding his time on “American Idol.”
“Being taken with yourself in some way, shape or form is unavoidable in that situation,” the “From Justin to Kelly” star exclusively told Page Six at the American Theatre Wing 2023 Gala Monday.
Justin — who recently wrapped up a turn as a prince in the jukebox musical “Once Upon a One More Time,” which is based on songs popularized by Britney Spears — credits his parents, Eldrin Bell and Kathy Guarini, for keeping him on an even keel.
“I was very lucky to have parents in the media, so I got to watch what made people rise, what made people fall,” he explained, referring to his mom, who was a CNN reporter.
“Again, I’m a human being, I may have gotten full of myself at a couple of points and I was humbled by life and I took my lessons and learned,” he continued.
Justin and Kelly Clarkson were one of two finalists vying to win the first season of “American Idol” in 2002. He ended up losing to the “Stronger” singer, 41, in a finale that was watched by over 30 million viewers.
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After coming in second on the reality competition show, Justin co-starred opposite Clarkson in the movie “From Justin to Kelly,” which bombed in theaters. He also released an album that fared poorly.
Meanwhile, Clarkson released a string of hits, including “Since U Been Gone” and “Because of You,” and now hosts her own talk show.
Despite Clarkson’s success, Justin refuses to be bitter, saying that she deserved to win and have the career she has.
“I consider myself very lucky to have been at the top of the charts and then also been practically forgotten about it because I find myself somewhere in the middle having learned the lessons you need to learn at both ends and that’s why I’m still here,” he shared.
That’s not to say that Justin hasn’t had dark moments.
“Have I suffered moments of severe doubt, have I wanted to give up, have I wanted to bemoan my fate?” he asked rhetorically. “Sure, but I’ve allowed myself those moments and then I move on and just pick myself up and I keep going. And the more I’ve done that, the more I’ve proven to myself, again, business just keeps coming back around, and around.
“If I do good work and be kind to people, most of all myself, I can’t lose.”
Justin, who also teaches, said that he imparts three things to his students, the first rule of which is to do good work.
“I’ve been offered tens and tens of thousands of dollars a week to do some reality TV show that has nothing to do with anything and I’ve said no because I believe in doing good work that represents who I am and be proud to show my children,” the “Fast Girl” actor told us.
The second is “being kind to people, not just because you see people on the way down as up but because it’s just the right thing to do” and lastly to always “stay in the game” because “this business is cyclical.”
Other celebs at the gala, which celebrated the “Unsung Heroes of the Theatre Industry,” included “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Patti LuPone, Lin-Manuel Miranda and recent Tony winner J. Harrison Ghee.