By Sandra Gonzalez
Updated August 25, 2010 at 12:22 PM EDT

Image Credit: VH1I’ll be honest: I probably wouldn’t have watched last night’s Behind the Music episode had it not been for Fantasia’s intense personal struggles the past few weeks. As a casual fan of the singer — I’ve never read Fantasia’s autobiography about her rise from rags to riches or watched her VH1 reality series, though I do enjoy her music — I was partly interested to hear about her troubled past (which was as heartbreaking as I had expected), but I had mostly tuned in to hear her talk about her Aug. 9 suicide attempt. The special, which was completed earlier this month before the singer’s public troubles, had been updated to include a new interview.

As it turns out, if you watched the singer’s appearance on Good Morning America, there wasn’t much new information on last night’s one-hour special. She reiterated that leading up to her hospitalization, she had been struggling to cope with the media attention surrounding her relationship with a married man and she also spoke about the mounting pressure of dealing with supporting her family. But the special did provide some perspective.

I knew Fantasia through Idol eyes, meaning I knew only what they had told me about her. I didn’t know about her rape at age 14, her struggle to overcome abusive relationships, and her strained relationship with her father. When a large part of an artist’s appeal is their ability to overcome the odds, I tend to naively believe the hard part is over for them. I supposed that is why it is so sad and shocking that this American Idol winner with an inspiring story has yet to escape all of her personal demons. In a segment of interview done before the media storm, she admitted to struggling with her insecurities.

Cynics have their opinion of the singer and her personal life — as she said last night, that can’t be helped. I won’t touch on that because I’m more curious as to how she will rise above all of this. Before Fantasia’s struggles caught your attention, did you know she was coming out with a new album, which was released yesterday? Sadly, I didn’t, and that got me thinking. How can the singer prevent her personal life from overshadowing the music? She did, after all, win Idol to make music — not tabloid covers.