Abdul rose to fame in the 1980s, starting as a dancer and choreographer for the Los Angeles Lakers dance troupe, known as the Laker Girls. She went on to choreograph for movies such as "Coming to America" and stars like Janet Jackson before recording her own demo tape for Virgin records.
According to the "American Idol" Web site, Abdul had sold over 30 million records, had six No. 1 singles, and had two No. 1 albums. She won a Grammy Award, two Emmy Awards and seven MTV Awards.
In 1992, Abdul married actor Emilio Estevez. But problems for Abdul arose the same year. She admitted to having an eating disorder and checked herself into a rehabilitation facility. She was also involved in an accident that year on a small private plane.
"Well, the first thing I remember is I lifted off my seat and I hit my head really hard and I passed out," Abdul said in an interview with Larry King last May. "When I came to, everyone was holding hands and saying their last prayers."
Whatever is happening behind the scenes -- or possibly in live interviews -- Abdul seems to have at least some of her prayers answered. In addition to "American Idol," the star will shoot her own reality show entitled "Hey, Paula!" for Bravo and is working on the new "Bratz" movie with Lions Gate Entertainment.
Continued success, though, comes from some basic principles.
"Being forthright and honest is so basic," said Huff, the crisis management specialist. "Being who you are and being consistent over time so they know that's the kind of person that you are. And just being human -- we all mess up, but just say so and move on. It has to ring true or there will still be that perception out there."