Antonella Barba, former American Idol contestant, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl on Tuesday, July 30, 2019, according to a statement from federal prosecutors.
According to an interview, Antonella Maria Barba was born on November 26, 1986 in Santa Monica, California. She was raised by her parents Vincenzo and Valerie Barba in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. Antonella’s parents have been married for 27 years. She also has three siblings and two pets.
Valeria Barba is a general and cosmetic dentist. According to her website, Valeria believes that we are all part of the greater whole in our community and share in the responsibility of enriching other’s lives, helping each other out, and providing a better quality of life for all the people we touch. She actively participates in the music ministry at St. Peters Church, where she is the Leader of Song and a choir member.
In addition to being very close with her mother, Antonella attributes much of “who she is today” to her father, Vincenzo. “If you’ve ever wondered where I got all that Italian from, or why I drive a Jeep (stick shift only!), or how I got so old-school with my values, it’s because my dad taught me everything I know, always in sports analogies, of course (mainly football) ? Thanks Dad ☺️” Barba wrote on Instagram in 2015. “The only thing he didn’t give me was his blue eyes (not fair!) but….he did always teach me that life’s not fair. (Dad ended up being right about a lot of things ?) I’m lucky to have such an amazing person for a father. I love my dad so much.”
The 32-year-old singer has been in the public eye since her unforgettable run on the sixth season of American Idol.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Antonella is a Singer & Appeared on American Idol
Barba and a friend from high school auditioned for American Idol in East Rutherford, New Jersey, at the age of 19. For her audition, Barba performed Deniece Williams’ 1976 single “Free,” after which she became a contestant on the sixth season of the reality singing competition in 2007.
As she advanced through the competition, Barba sang hits including Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” and Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me.” According to Time, her fans called themselves “Fantonellas.” Barba made it to the top 16, however she was eliminated after her performance of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On.” Jordin Sparks went on to win the top prize.
Barba appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live for an American Idol All-Star Reunion Performance skit. She shared the experience with her 11,000 followers on Instagram.
After her appearance on American Idol, Barba continued to sing. She has performed the National Anthem at several Los Angeles Dodgers games, which she has documented on her Instagram.
2. Semi-Nude Photos of Antonella Were Leaked During Her Time on American Idol
Barba’s first time in the spotlight did not come without consequences. During her stint on the popular music reality show, photos of the singer began to circulate which resulted in harsh criticism.
Barba had previously posed for semi-nude photos in front of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. She was wearing a white T-shirt and posing in a fountain.
According to Barba, the photo scandal became the most searched topic on the internet. She said that the attention she received was very unwanted. In a post on Instagram, Barba thanked Playboy founder Hugh Hefner after his death in 2017 for defending her during interviews on the red carpet outside of the Playboy Mansion amid the controversy.
“I’ll never forget the day I came home & turned on the TV to find you interviewing on the red carpet at the Playboy Mansion while defending me to the media,” Barba wrote to Hefner. “You were 1 of the ONLY celebrities to come to my defense during a time where the whole world was tearing me down, & I’ll never forget your kindness.”
3. Antonella Went Back to College After American Idol
The singer wrote on her LinkedIn page, “Antonella Barba, the former American Idol star, continues to pleasantly surprise the industry. She avoided shortcuts early in her career by returning to school and earning a B.S. in Architecture.”
Barba graduated from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. in 2008. with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. However, Barba never actually pursued a career in that field.
While her page has not been updated since 2015, it indicates that she was involved with charity work. Barba was a brand ambassador for UNICEF, a United Nations organization that works to benefit children around the world. In 2014, Barba was one of many artists and actors that appeared on the Unicef Imagine Campaign. The participants covered the John Lennon song “Imagine” for the music video. You can see a snippet of the video above.
4. Antonella Was Charged With Shoplifting in 2010
Unfortunately, Barba is no stranger to legal trouble. According to the New York Post, on December 29, 2010, she was accused of stealing from an Urban Outfitters store in Manhattan.
Barba apparently tried to walk out of the store with a pair of gloves worth $18.81, which triggered the alarm system. A security guard reportedly went through her purse and found the gloves.
A judge reportedly charged Barba with two misdemeanors and she was ordered to complete one day of community service.
5. Antonella Pleaded Guilty to Drug Distribution Charges on July 30, 2019
Court documents state that Barba was parked in downtown Norfolk at approximately 11:05 p.m. in October 2018. She was approached by law enforcement who screened her rental vehicle with a drug dog. The officer subsequently searched Barba’s rental vehicle and discovered a shoebox in plain view on the front passenger floorboard, which contained a plastic bag holding a large quantity of a white, rock-like substance, according to the documents.
A statement from federal prosecutors says that the substance seized from Barba’s rental car was sent to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Savannah Laboratory for forensic analysis. A forensic scientist determined the substance to be 830.9 grams of fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance.
Barba faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison when sentenced on November 21, 2019, according to the statement. It is worth noting that actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.