Kelly posted an homage to "American Idol" Sunday ... marking a big anniversary ... "20 years ago today I won American Idol and it forever changed the course of my life. That moment was the door that opened up so much access and opportunity, and creative partnerships that I will be grateful for all of my days."
As you know Kelly won the competition in Season 1, helping launch the show into orbit and cementing her status as a star.
She went on ... "The family and friendships I have created over these 20 years in music and TV are priceless to me. We only get so many trips around the sun and while I am proud and feel abundantly blessed of the successes and failures that I have learned from, I am most proud and grateful for those friends that have become my family, and for their arms that have held me when I needed it and their hearts that listened to me when I felt lost. Without them I would not be where I am. I would probably not be here at all."
There was a time Kelly didn't want to be connected to the show, reportedly because she had become such a big star she didn't want folks to think of her as a contestant. Makes sense, but for the last several years she's embraced the show.