American Idol’s Biggest Superstar: Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood rose to fame after winning the fourth season of American Idol. Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Underwood is one of the few American Idol winners to make it such a high level of musical superstardom. TIME magazine recognized her as one of the 100 most influential people globally; Rolling Stone named her the female vocalist of her generation in any genre, and Billboard honored her as Country Music’s Reigning Queen.

Carrie Underwood / Carrie Underwood / Carrie Underwood / Carrie Underwood

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The singer has won multiple Grammys, Billboard Music Awards, American Musician awards, and even a Guinness World Record. She truly is one of the most successful and beloved artists of the 21st century. Here are some things you probably don’t know about the little country girl who could.

Living the Dream

As the fourth winner of American Idol, Carrie Underwood was launched into superstardom in 2005. She surpassed her wildest expectations and got the chance to live her dreams. But when she auditioned for the show and earned her golden ticket to Hollywood, she was just a regular college student attending Northeastern State University in Oklahoma.

Carrie Underwood performs on stage.

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She just had one semester to go and three credits left to graduate when she began her American Idol journey. Underwood told People that she promised to return to Northeastern at some point to finish her degree, but first, she wanted to capitalize on her newfound fame and opportunities.

American Idol Counted as College Credits

She knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and wasn’t going to waste it. “This is my time to see the world,” she told People Magazine. “Home will be there when I get back.” But she kept her promise, and in 2006, she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications.

Carrie Underwood performs on stage.

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Northeastern allowed her to use her time on Idol as an internship credit, which made up for that missing semester and permitted her to graduate: “I’ve obviously done enough with television,” she explained. “There was my internship right there!”

She’s Ready for Doomsday

In a 2015 interview with Us Weekly, Carrie Underwood revealed 25 things that fans don’t know about her, and one of these details was quite surprising. “I’m a bit of a doomsday preparer,” she explained. “Make fun of me, but we’ll see who survives the zombie apocalypse.”

Carrie Underwood attends an event.

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She has a point. We’ll see who’s laughing when the zombies rise up! We’ll all be frantic while Underwood will be fully stalked with supplies. She’ll also know how to deal with them since AMC’s The Walking Dead is a huge fan.

A Zombie Lover

Underwood has been vocal about her love for the zombie show. She even tweeted her excitement when she met Walking Dead star Norman Reedus back in 2014. When she stopped by Today in 2017, Carrie Underwood showed her love for the show once again.

A portrait of Carrie Underwood.

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The singer described an awkward show encounter with The Walking Dead Star, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and said she’d love to do a “walk-on” on the show but noted that she would rather play a zombie than a hero. When guest host Nick Offerman told her that the zombie special effects makeup takes “hours in a chair,” Underwood said, “I do that anyway.”

Big Horror Fan

With her love for The Walking Dead, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Carrie Underwood is a huge fan of the horror genre, particularly scary films. She was asked to name her favorite movie in a 2006 interview with Kidzworld and said, “I love horror movies, so any old horror movie like any Halloween movies or Nightmare on Elm Street.”

Carrie Underwood poses for the press.

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Underwood brought her appreciation of the horror genre into her own artistic endeavors. Her music video for the single “Two Black Cadillacs” was actually inspired by Stephen King’s Christine. In the novel, which was adapted into a film in 1983, a haunted car terrorizes its victims, and in the same way, the car commits murder in the music video.

Stephen King’s Blessing

During a behind-the-scenes interview about the creation of her “Two Black Cadillacs” video, Underwood exclaimed, “I really don’t know why I’ve always loved horror movies, but I know why I’ve always loved Stephen King. My mom was a huge fan… I would borrow her books and read her books.”

Carrie Underwood in a still from the video.

Source: YouTube

Before going through with the music video, Carrie Underwood insisted on getting King’s blessing first. “I told him I would never want to do this if you didn’t sign off on it first,” she recalled. As a huge horror fan myself, Stephen King’s approval is quite a compliment.

Her Celebrity Crush

With a love for the horror genre, it only makes sense that Carrie Underwood is also a fan of science fiction – or at least one of the actors in a specific sci-fi television show. During her chat with Us Weekly, where she revealed 25 things that fans didn’t know about her, one secret was that she has “a massive crush on Patrick Stewart,” clarifying, “Always have, always will.”

Patrick Stewart in Star Trek / Carrie Underwood attends an event.

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The Star Trek: The Next Generation actor found out about the singer’s crush and tweeted a hilarious comment in response, noting that her “words excite me more than the solid results of my recent bone density scan.”

Playing It Cool

Carrie Underwood replied with an over-the-moon Tweet of her own, showing off her excitement: “FREEKING OUT RIGHT NOW!!! HE KNOWS I’M ALIVE!!!!!! Play it cool, Carrie, play it cool,” she wrote.

A picture of Carrie Underwood on stage.

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The charming actor is not the only aspect of Star Trek that the singer appreciates. In the same Us Weekly interview, she was asked what superpower she would pick if she had the choice: “I would choose the power of teleportation,” she said. “Travel these days is so stressful. Beam me up, Scotty!”

Who’s Her Favorite Judge?

When Carrie Underwood was a contestant on American Idol, the vocal competition show still had its original trio of all-star judges: Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul. One of the three, Simon Cowell, earned the nickname “Mr. Nasty” because of how outspoken and harsh he could be.

Simon Fuller, Carrie Underwood, and Simon Cowell pose for a picture.

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Although his words are blunt and accurate, they can be hurtful to aspiring singers. When she was asked which of the three is her favorite judge, she answered, “Surprisingly enough, I think I’d have to say, Simon,” she admitted.

Simon Knew It

She continued, “He was always in my corner. From past years, I always felt like he said what it was, and that was it, but I respected his opinion a lot just because I felt he was paid to tell the truth.” In 2018, more than ten years later, Underwood and Cowell reunited when the singer earned her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Carrie Underwood and Simon Cowell attend a ceremony honoring Carrie Underwood.

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The tough judge recalled his prediction that Underwood would become American Idol’s most successful alumna in his speech. “I think it was after you sang ‘Alone’ that I made a prediction that you would become the best-selling Idol winner… which you are.” As usual, Simon was right.

Where Is Carrie Underwood From?

Before her adventure on American Idol, Carrie Underwood lived in the small town of Checotah, which has a population of just about 3,200. Checotah’s current claim to fame is that it is Carrie Underwood’s hometown, but it also happens to be the steer-wrestling capital of the world.

Carrie Underwood performs on stage.

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When Underwood appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2019, she revealed that she hadn’t ever been on an airplane until she nailed her American Idol audition and received a golden ticket to Hollywood.

Travels on Wheels, Not Wings

The singer admitted that she was a little scared of air travel. She told Stephen Colbert that the fear didn’t go away: “It still freaks me out, to be honest,” she confessed. “I’m 36 years old, and I’ve been to lots of airports. But back then, I was by myself, and there were lots of connecting flights to get there.”

A portrait of Carrie Underwood.

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In fact, she missed her connecting flight to Los Angeles and was so nervous she wouldn’t get there in time for filming: “I’m on the phone with whoever our contact person was, and I’m like, ‘Please don’t kick me off the show.’”

How Much Is Carrie Underwood Worth?

Despite Carrie Underwood’s unimaginable success, massive fame, and considerable wealth (an estimated net worth of $140 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth), her parents never allowed these big bucks to get to their daughter’s head… or their own heads.

Carrie Underwood holds two winning awards.

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“So, they still live where I grew up, in the house I grew up in,” the singer revealed. “I remember one Christmas there was generator my dad wanted for welding or something… I was like, ‘I’ll get it for him.’ It was $400. I got in trouble.”

Keeping Her Grounded

Underwood added, “He was like, ‘She doesn’t need to be spending her money on me…’” During a 2013 discussion with Marie Claire, she explained that her parents never allow her to spoil them. Not even a little.

An aerial picture of Carrie Underwood’s home.

Source: YouTube

“My parents are really great people who want nothing to do with any of this,” she explained. She mentioned that the last time she performed in Oklahoma, her father couldn’t make it to the concert – because it was hunting season. “I’m the black sheep of the family,” she joked.

Singing Her Own Songs

During a discussion with A Taste of Country, Carrie Underwood was asked if she ever gets her own songs “stuck in her head.” She confessed, “I do, and that’s embarrassing,” adding, “Because I sing and I don’t realize it if I’m like in the store or something. I’ll whistle, or I’ll sing, and I still don’t even realize that sound is being produced from myself.”

A photo of Carrie Underwood backstage.

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Whenever she catches herself singing her own songs without even noticing, Underwood said, she becomes “horribly embarrassed.”

The First Time Is Different

When it comes to listening to her own music, Underwood explained that it all depends on the song – and the situation. For example, if one of her songs comes up on the radio while she’s driving, she says, “If it’s the first time I’ve heard a new song on the radio, I turn it up ‘cause that’s a moment. You remember where you were or where you were headed the first time you heard the song on the radio…”

Carrie Underwood performs on stage.

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That’s not true for all her songs, though. She says, “but if it’s like a song I’ve heard a million times, I’ll probably change the channel.” As someone who has never heard their song on the radio, I can’t relate.

Before He Cheats

Carrie Underwood’s breakthrough single that turned her from a reality show winner to a bona fide country star was “Before He Cheats.” The hit song cemented her status in the music industry as soon as her American Idol journey ended. That’s why the song is closely associated with Underwood.

Carrie Underwood in a still from the song’s video.

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However, the song was intended for a different singer. Songwriters Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins explained that they were trying to make an “edgy” track for singer Gretchen Wilson, who had just jumped onto the scene with her hit song “Redneck Woman.”

She Killed It

What they didn’t expect was for someone else to sing it, especially the American Idol winner. “I never would’ve thought that Carrie Underwood would record it!” Tompkins admitted about the single, which is about a woman who takes a “Louisville slugger” to her cheating boyfriend’s car. He deserved it if you ask me.

Carrie Underwood performs on stage.

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“When we were writing it, we were trying to keep it humorous,” Kear added. “But when Carrie got hold of it, she just did it so well and made it her own. We expected it would be a little more lighthearted… but when we heard it, we thought, wow, she drove it home.”

PETA’s “Sexiest Vegetarian”

Carrie Underwood isn’t just a longtime vegetarian; she’s a sexy one at that – at least according to a poll that People took for the organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). In 2005 and again in 2007, Carrie Underwood was voted PETA’s “sexiest vegetarian.”

Carrie Underwood attends an event.

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“I quit eating beef when I was about 13,” she explained. “I do it because I love animals, and it just makes me sad… I don’t like to watch commercials where they have meat. It weirds me out.” The singer, whose body has been transformed since her time on American Idol, elaborated in an interview with a VH1’s Behind the Music.

She Tries to Stay Vegan

Underwood revealed that as a child, she witnessed her parents castrate calves, which pretty much put her off eating beef for the rest of her life. “I never made the connection until one day my parents were working out in the pasture… and they were banding calves,” she recalled.

Carrie Underwood poses for the press.

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“I was horrified and sad, and I just couldn’t believe that this was happening in our pasture,” she added. That’s a reasonable answer. No wonder Carrie Underwood tried to stick to a diet as close to vegan as possible.

She Was Teased About Her Freckles

Carrie Underwood radiates confidence when she performs. She has the good looks and talent necessary to be a star. But just like the rest of us, Underwood has her insecurities. In 2017, the singer told People that she was so self-conscious growing up – mostly about her freckles.

Carrie Underwood takes a photo of herself.

Source: Pinterest

“I had freckles on my face, and they were in the same spot on both of my cheeks, so I felt like I got teased at school,” she admitted. “I remember asking my mom if we could get rid of them,” adding, “Well, I did get rid of them.”

Overcoming Insecurities

But that wasn’t the only thing little Carrie was insecure about. “I had bad teeth, too,” she confessed. “I had to get braces [more than once]. I had them on the bottom for like three months while I was doing red carpets, but no one knew – so I felt like I had a secret.”

A fifteen-year-old Carrie Underwood performs on stage.

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See, even stunning, talented superstars have self-esteem issues! Underwood overcame her self-esteem issues, nothing that she felt “pretty insecure” when she was younger, but that feeling is gone now. “Now, I would be better at embracing that uniqueness,” she expressed. “We’re all human.”

Taking the Family on Tour

In a piece with The Guardian, before her 2019 performance at the famed Glastonbury Music Festival, new mom Carrie Underwood (who’d just given birth to her son Jacob months earlier) was described as enjoying a nice glass of cabernet sauvignon during her interview backstage after a show.

Carrie Underwood attends an event with her family.

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She explained how the glass of wine is “a treat for me because normally I go straight to my bus, and I have a crying baby.” She said that her husband, Mike Fisher, and their two sons went on tour with her. This, she explained, led to some unusual sleeping arrangements.

Super-Mom

Living on a tour bus makes the sleeping situation a little different. “I kicked my husband out of the bed, and he sleeps on the couch up front,” she revealed. “It’s just a lot easier to wake up in a moving bus and grab the baby and feed him.”

Carrie Underwood speaks on stage.

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At the end of her interview, the singer poured herself another glass of wine before she had to go back to the bus. She also mentioned how women “do it all” and “in high heels.” She went on, “I’ll be waking up at God knows what time in the morning feeding my baby – no one else can do that, and I’m proud of that.”

A Freak Accident

Sometimes, celebrities have freak accidents just like the rest of us. In November 2017, Carrie Underwood fell on the steps outside her Nashville home. She initially revealed that she suffered a wrist injury but kept that she injured her face a secret until 2018 when she posted on her fan club site.

A portrait of Carrie Underwood.

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“In addition to breaking my wrist, I somehow managed to injure my face as well. I’ll spare you the gruesome details, but when I came out of the surgery the night of my fall, the doctor told [Underwood’s husband] Mike [Fisher] that he had put between 40 and 50 stitches in,” she confessed.

Could Have Been Worse

The singer was worried about what fans would think if she looked different. “I am grateful that it wasn’t much, much worse,” she said. “My face broke my fall,” she joked a few months later. She completely recovered, though. Unless you live with her, it’s almost impossible to see anything wrong with her face.

Carrie Underwood and her husband are at home.

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However, appearances do matter in the entertainment industry, so Underwood dealt with a lot of anxiety during this difficult time. That fall was just one of the events that inspired her 2018 album, Cry Pretty.

The Truth About Cry Pretty

In 2015, Carrie Underwood had her first child, Isaiah Michael Fisher. On January 21, 2019, the singer welcomed another beautiful son, Jacob Fisher. But she opened up about the multiple miscarriages she had had before giving birth to Jacob. “2017 just wasn’t how I imagined it,” the singer explained on Sunday Morning.

Carrie Underwood performs on stage.

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She wanted to work on a new album and have another baby. But that didn’t work out according to plan. The singer revealed that between 2017 and 2018, she had three miscarriages. She was writing the Cry Pretty album and writing songs always helped her process her feelings.

A Miracle Baby

But one night, when her husband was away, the singer said she allowed herself to get angry with God because she thought she had had another miscarriage. She snuggled with her son and started sobbing. “I was like, ‘why on earth do I keep getting pregnant if I can’t have a kid?’” she cried.

Mark Fisher and Carrie Underwood attend an event.

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She prayed, “Do something. Either shut the door [to having a child] or let me have a kid.” She told God exactly how she felt and went to the doctor to confirm the latest miscarriage a few days later. But fortunately, she was told she was pregnant [with Jacob], and he was perfectly healthy.

Where Does Carrie Underwood Live?

Carrie Underwood was raised in the “single stoplight town” of Checotah, Oklahoma, as she explains in her song, “I Ain’t in Checotah Anymore.” She visits quite often and helped fund an animal shelter called Happy Paws.

An earlier photo of Carrie Underwood signing autographs.

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But she expressed to Sunday Morning that there is another reason she needs to visit home. “I feel like this is the only place that my soul can rest,” she said. “It’s just when I come here, I can turn off, and there’s no other place in the world that’s like that… I sleep when I’m here. Like, I sleep.”

Smiling All the Time Is Exhausting

Celebrities tend to feel pressure to appear happy and appreciative all the time. While Carrie Underwood is very grateful for her life, she revealed that it sometimes gets difficult to act, especially when dealing with heartbreaking miscarriages.

An image of Carrie Underwood during rehearsals at an Amphitheater.

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“I would have these horrible things on in my life and then have to go smile and like do some interviews or like do a photoshoot or something.” Pretending sounds like it can get quite exhausting. Lucky for Underwood, she can head over to Checotah whenever she needs a break.

Did Carrie Underwood Win American Idol?

On May 25, 2005, Carrie Underwood was crowned the winner of American Idol. She immediately rose to superstardom and gained fame and fans. Before she knew it, Carrie Underwood became one of the most well-known names in the country music world.

A picture of Ryan Seacrest and Carri Underwood on stage.

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But this singer wasn’t just some aspiring journalist who randomly decided to see how far her voice could take her in a singing competition. In 2019, she shared with The Guardian that she had a development deal with a record company when she was 15 years old, six years before her American Idol audition.

She Took a Shot

“I just got my braces off; my acne had cleared up recently… but we had no idea what we were doing,” she said, referring to herself and her band. Although she was able to record a few songs, nothing else really happened for her. It wasn’t a career-establishing opportunity.

A photo of Carrie Underwood backstage.

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Carrie Underwood didn’t want to wonder “what if?” forever. So, she decided to take a chance and sign up and then audition for American Idol, which was televised for millions of viewers watching from home. She never thought she would win the whole thing.

Who Is Carrie Underwood Married To?

Carrie Underwood refuses to blindly conform to the expectations that fans and the country music industry put on female artists. She is primarily vegan and never imagined she would marry a hunter. That is… until she met her husband, Mike Fisher.

Mark Fisher and Carrie Underwood attend an event.

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Underwood’s song “The Bullet” from her Cry Pretty album discusses the tragedy of mass shootings but doesn’t make assumptions about her political opinions because of it. The singer told Entertainment Weekly that it’s “timely but not political.”

Don’t Put Carrie in a Box

The songstress continued, “it doesn’t matter what the opinions or feelings are, it just matters that something happened, and it’s about the people that are affected by it at the end of the day.” She also mentions a shooting in her song called “Love Wins.”

A photo of Carrie Underwood backstage.

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“I know I have a couple of songs on this record that people try to make about something – it already happened,” the singer added. “If we don’t sing or write important songs, what’s the point?” She continued to take female opening acts on tour and not conform to the idea that she needed men to open up for her as a woman. “I hate being put in a box.”

The Text Message Breakup

As a famous singer, many of Carrie Underwood’s relationships have been public, as her romance with Tony Romo before she tied the knot with hockey player Mike Fisher on July 10, 2010. One of her ex-boyfriends, Gossip Girl star Chace Crawford, broke up with her through text.

Carrie Underwood reads a message on her phone / A portrait of Chace Crawford.

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But the breakup was mutual, so she didn’t have to announce it on Ellen like Taylor Swift infamously did when Joe Jonas broke up with her in a 30-second phone call. Why can’t these guys just do it in person?! Anyway, unlike Taylor, Underwood didn’t want to announce it at all.

Peace Out

“We broke up over text, so… it’s like ‘peace out,’” Underwood shared with Extra in 2008. “I don’t know why it’s all out now.” The singer also explained that being famous forced her to relive unpleasant memories that she had tried to put behind her.

Carrie Underwood poses for the press.

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“When you break up with somebody and then like two months later it comes out, it’s like you’re rehashing old stuff.” It’s understandably annoying. Lucky for Underwood, she is now happily married and probably won’t have another text message breakup in her near future.

She Was Almost Stacy Underwood

On Season Four of American Idol, you could have heard Ryan Seacrest announce that Stacy Underwood is your new American Idol – well, that is if her parents went with their original name choice for their baby girl.

Carrie Underwood performs on stage.

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During the Us Weekly interview where the singer shared 25 facts about herself, the singer confessed that her parents almost called her Stacy instead of Carrie. They made the right choice. I mean, “Stacy Underwood” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Her Hometown Celebrates a Vegetable

Carrie Underwood is all about fitness and keeping a healthy lifestyle. Maybe that’s because of her hometown. Every year, Checotah hosts a festival that celebrates okra, called Okrafest. The singer explained to Nash Country Weekly that her town admires the vegetable since it “was a mainstay in the area’s Native Americans and early settlers.”

A picture of Carrie Underwood ready to train at home.

Source: Instagram /@carrieunderwood

So, what does the American Idol Season Four winner think of her hometown’s favorite veggie? She loves fried okra! I have personally never tried okra, but now I kind of want to.

Her Childhood Pet

As we know, Carrie Underwood loves animals; it’s the main reason she keeps a vegetarian diet. She is currently a dog mom to two fuzzy pets, Penny and Ace. But her love of animals started at a young age. As a child, the future superstar had quite the unusual pet.

Carrie Underwood poses, holding Penny and Ace.

Source: Instagram /@carrieunderwood

“I had a pet duck when I was young,” Underwood admitted to Us Weekly. “His name was Drake. He liked to eat dog food and bite me.” I had a neighbor who had pet ducks… but Carrie Underwood had one that makes the pet much cooler.

The Sweet Smell of Skunk

You don’t usually encounter an animal that has a particularly good smell. As adorable as they are, animals tend to have that outdoorsy, needs-a-bath type of odor. But even though she has two dogs, Carrie Underwood enjoys the stench of a much different creature.

Carrie Underwood takes a picture with one of her dogs.

Source: Instagram /@carrieunderwood

The smell of skunk is probably the last thing that comes to mind when you think of a “good” smelling animal. However, Underwood feels the complete opposite. She confessed to Us Weekly that she loves the smell of skunk. I can’t attest. I have never smelled one and don’t plan to.

Not a Four-Wheeler Girl

Although she claims to prefer wheels over wings, don’t expect this country girl to hop on a four-wheeler and take it through a field anytime soon. She explained to Nash Country Weekly that she is terrified of riding the country fan’s favorite recreational vehicle.

A picture of Carrie Underwood.

Source: Instagram /@carrieunderwood

Not only is she scared to death of four-wheelers, but she is also scared of motorcycles. She said that all recreational vehicles are a big no for her. I wonder if she likes “pretty little souped-up-four-wheel-drives.” That would explain why she scratched the car in Before He Cheats.

She Does this Chore Everyday

As a busy woman, Carrie Underwood needs to stay as organized as possible to stay sane. If she doesn’t do one simple thing in the morning, she will not get through the day. She told Nash County Weekly that if she doesn’t make her bed in the morning, she “can’t function.”

Carrie Underwood attends an event.

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“It will be all I think about throughout the day until it’s made,” she clarified. Studies have shown that making your bed in the morning leads to a more productive day.