Carrie Underwood is America's country music sweetheart -- the one hand-picked by audiences across the U.S. as the winner of Season 4 of American Idol in 2005 -- and she's continued to win the hearts of listeners around the world. From Idol to icon, Underwood's career has given her superstar status.

Underwood grew up in Checotah, Okla., as the youngest of three sisters. She performed in local talent shows, and even earned the attention of Capitol Records when she was just 14 years old (though she never actually signed a contract). After becoming salutatorian of her high school class in 2001, Underwood attended Northeastern State University, majoring in mass communications, and graduated magna cum laude in 2006.

When Underwood was auditioning for American Idol, judge Simon Cowell predicted she would outsell every previous winner of the competition -- and he was right. She remains the best-selling contestant on the show, with more than 14 million albums sold in the United States.

From super-glamorous to ultra-casual, Underwood has mastered every look imaginable, setting herself up as a fashion icon in addition to a musical star. Flip through the photo gallery above to see pictures of Underwood through the years:

WATCH: How Well Do You REALLY Know Carrie Underwood?

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