Kelly Clarkson Looks Back on Winning 'American Idol' 18 Years Ago

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Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this. It was 18 years ago when a 20-year-old Texas native named Kelly Clarkson won the first season of American Idol. Fast forward to present time, and the singer is a multi-GRAMMY award-winning and Daytime Emmy-winning artist with her own successful talk show and slew of other accolades.

On Friday, Clarkson took to social media to look back at the moment that changed her life.

"18 years ago today was the finale of the first season of American Idol and it changed my life!" Clarkson, 38, wrote. "I’m still hustlin 18 years later because I know I am blessed to have the opportunities and I still love my purpose!"

She concluded by encouraging her fans to "Find your purpose! Seek out what keeps that fire in you burning 🔥❤️."

Last September, the "Miss Independent" singer orchestrated an epic reunion of the original American Idol judges -- Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson -- on her talk show.

The three praised Clarkson for her contribution to making the competition series such a success.

“I actually, genuinely do not believe that we would have been sitting here today if you hadn’t entered the show,” Cowell expressed. “We had to find a star who was going to sell records.”

Clarkson also shared that when she auditioned for the show, she wasn’t even aware it was a TV program. 

“When I walked in, I’ll tell you, I knew nothing,” she admitted. “I didn’t know it was a TV show until I walked into the audition and was in front of y’all. I was like, ‘Paula Abdul’s here. Some Simon dude, some English dude.’”

ET was with Clarkson in 2002 just moments after her emotional American Idol win.

"I am so disoriented right now!" she told ET. "Everybody keeps asking me, 'How do you feel?' and I'm like, 'I don't even know?!' I have so many feelings. It's just so amazing."

See the throwback video, in the player above.

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