Whitney Dawn Church (born January 10, 1981) is an American singer-songwriter and actress. Church first came to prominence with her 1999 debut single, "Candy" from her first album, So Real (1999), and has since released five studio albums though none have reached the same commercial success. She branched into acting with her film debut as Cosette in the 1998 production of Les Miserables, and is best known as the voice of Rapunzel in the Disney franchise Tangled which she will reprise in the announced 2017 Disney channel television series by the same name.early life
Whitney Dawn Church was born on January 10, 1981 in Los Angeles, California. Her mother, Evelyn James, is a high profile talent agent, and her father, William Church, is a respected producer of television and film. She is the eldest of three children with a younger brother, [open], and a younger sister, Embry James, an established actress of film and television.career
Church began writing her own music at the age of thirteen, having taken an interest in the field of entertainment in part due to the influence of her well connected parents and exposure to the industry from infancy. She performed in many local productions in the Los Angeles metro area until she reached the age of sixteen and her mother encouraged her to jumpstart her career. She auditioned for the film adaptation of Les Miserables in the effort of expanding her experience to a more professional level and was cast as Cosette.
Once the production was complete, Church was faced with choosing her path between music and acting and ultimately sought out a producer for an album, leaving her passion for acting momentarily on hold. Later that year, she was successfully signed, wherein she began work on her debut album, So Real, released the following year. "Candy", her debut single, peaked at number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was followed with two additional singles, "Walk Me Home" (1999) and "So Real" (2000). The album went on to receive a platinum certification from the RIAA in response to sales exceeding one million copies in the United States alone.
Church was already back in the studio with material for her second album before promotions were completed for her first, and released her first single from her upcoming second album by the same name, "I Wanna Be With You" only one month after the release of the last single off So Real. It surpassed her previous Billboard ranking with "Candy" by reaching number 24 during it's sixteen week stay. I Wanna Be With You received a Gold certification and led to Church winning the Kid's Choice Awards for Favorite Rising Star in 2000.
By late 2000, she continued her ambitious streak and was back in the studio recording her third album, though publically stated her dislike in the "formulaic, bubblegum" sound associated with her music to that point. Her first single explored a "club" sound quite different from her previous singles, but failed to chart on the Top 100. Whitney Church was released two months later in mid 2001, and was more influenced by European and Asian music trends with a pumping , high-energy sound, and received generally mixed reviews. At it's debut, it peaked at number 35 on the Billboard 200 chart, and received Gold certification. It fared best internationally, specifically on the ARIA charts in Australia. Her second single, "Crush" peaked at number 35.
With her albums faring less well sequentially, Church's mother encouraged her to turn to the acting world for a boost of publicity. This came in the form of a supporting role in The Princess Diaries as Lana Thomas where she performed "Stupid Cupid" on stage during the film, notably a very "bubblegum" song. While the film received generally mixed reviews, Church further pursued other roles, hoping to be taken seriously as an entertainer, and landed her first starring role, as Jamie Sullivan in the romantic Nicholas Sparks novel adaptation, A Walk to Remember. She performed musically in the production, which went on to win a number of awards and nominations. To further promote the film, she released her third single from Whitney Church, featuring her costar.
For her work in A Walk to Remember, Church won the Breakout Female Performance award at the MTV Movie Awards, as well as the Teen Choice Awards, where she also picked up the award for Choice Movie Chemistry with her costar. Later that year, she won the Superstar of Tomorrow and in 2003, Unstoppable Vision from the Young Hollywood Awards. Additionally, she won Choice Crossover Artist at the MTV Movie Awards in 2003.
In the vein of furthering her title as an unstoppable vision, she returned to the studio in later 2002 and spent the following year pursuing both her vocal and acting talents. She was cast in the supporting role of Joan Brandwyn in Mona Lisa Smile while working on her fourth studio album, Coverage. Released in late 2003, Allmusic described it as a "leap to musical maturity", and it debuted at number 14 on the Top 200, her best performing album to date in terms of charting. However, it is also her worst performing in terms of sales and failed to reach RIAA certification. Two singles were released for Coverage including a cover of John Hiatt's "Have a Little Faith in Me" and "Senses Working Overtime", neither of which were successful in charts.
2004 was a big year for Church, as she chose to sever ties with her label, citing creative differences, and went on to star in the box office hit, The Notebook, another Nicholas Sparks film adaptation. With this came a number of Teen Choice Awards including Choice Movie Actress in a Drama, Choice Movie Chemistry for the second time, Choice Movie Liplock and Choice Movie Love Scene.
With this came a number of Teen Choice Awards including Choice Movie Actress in a Drama, Choice Movie Chemistry for the second time, Choice Movie Liplock and Choice Movie Love Scene. After the dissolution of the business relationship between Epic records and Church, the record label chose to release two compilation albums, The Best of Whitney Church (2004) and Candy (2005). During this time, Church focused on her acting career, cast as Chloe in Cellular and Claire Colburn in Elizabethtown.
In a late 2005 interview, Church announced she had signed with a different label and that she would be returning to music with an upcoming fifth studio album. She was involved in a recurring television role as FBI Agent Audrey Hanson while she recorded Wild Hope, released in mid 2007 featuring a number of collaborations with other vocalists. It debuted at number 30 in the US and is her third-highest deburing album, however only selling a mere 25,000 copies in it's first week. With it's poor success, Church chose to stay focused on her musical career and spend the next year traveling through Europe and Asia while she began the writing for her sixth studio album.
Recording began in late 2008, and the first single, "I Could Break Your Heart Any Day of the Week" was released for promotion in March of 2009 and failed to make any waves, but didn't stop Church from visiting talk shows to perform it and interview about the year of travel she had taken to "clear her head." The album, Whitney Dawn was released in June of that same year, and while it didn't fare well commercially, Time magazine commented that it was "impeccably recorded" and Paper claimed Church "is a far better musician than she's often given credit for."
Church's luck changed when she auditioned for the voice role of Rapunzel in the Disney franchise Tangled in which she was cast. Her musical career was indefinitely put on hold while she threw her efforts wholly into the acting circle. Tangled was a massive success, earning the title of 17th highest-grossing animated film, and eighth highest-grossing of 2010. Church's acting career gained traction quickly and she was cast in the highly anticipated 2011 prequel X-Men: First Class as Moira MacTaggert as well as Rachael in the comedy 50/50.
Tangled is said to have saved Church's career from irrelevance as she has reprised her role of Rapunzel in a number of media including three video games (Disney Infinity (2014), Disney Infinity 3.0 (2015), and the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III), a film sequel (Tangled Ever After (2012)) and two television productions (Sofia the First: The Curse of Princess Ivy (2014), a television movie, and Tangled (2017), the announced television series taking place between Tangled (2010) and Tangled Ever After (2012).)
Church will also reprise her role of Moira MacTaggert in the X-Men: First Class sequel, X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016. There have been talks of another attempt at a studio album by Church but these rumors have yet to be confirmed.personal life
Church has defined her sexuality as two on the Kinsey scale. She purchased a high-rise apartment in Marina del Rey shortly after the initial success of Tangled in 2011. She has stated she shares a residence in Paris with her younger actress sister, Embry James.
Church has been linked to several of her male costars including [open] of A Walk to Remember and [open] of The Notebook, though she never confirmed the nature publically. In June 2009, Church was seen with married producer, [open], and rumors were circulating of an affair though nothing was confirmed by either party.