Katharine Hope McPhee (born March 25, 1984) is an American pop/R&B singer-songwriter, actress, model, and television personality. She gained fame as a contestant in the fifth season of the FOX reality show American Idol, finishing second to Taylor Hicks.

Personal Life[edit | edit source]

Born in Los Angeles, California, McPhee moved with her family to Sherman Oaks at age twelve. McPhee has been singing since the age of two. Her mother, Patricia Burch McPhee (stage name Peisha Arten), a vocal coach and accomplished cabaret singer, recognized her daughter's musical talent and decided to train her. Her father, Daniel McPhee, is a television producer. McPhee has an older sister, Adriana. McPhee is of Irish, Scottish, and German descent.

McPhee attended Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, where she performed in school plays and musicals. She graduated in 2002.

McPhee attended Boston Conservatory for three semesters, majoring in musical theater. She left the college on the advice of her manager and returned to Los Angeles to try out for television pilots. In a People news article, it was reported that she was rejected for "195 out of 200 auditions."

McPhee struggled with eating disorders in the past. She told People (magazine) that at age thirteen she began starving herself and exercising compulsively, and she became bulimic at age seventeen. McPhee gained weight in college due to her binging. After seven years of illness, she finally entered a three-month rehab program after successfully passing her American Idol audition; her rehab stint ended just before the Idol semifinals started in February 2006. During her run in American Idol, she lost thirty pounds due to eating better as part of her treatment. Now, as she told Teen Vogue in May 2007, "I eat whatever I crave—I'm just really careful about portions."

McPhee and her sister appeared in the debut of The Dr. Keith Ablow Show on September 18, 2006, to discuss her struggles with bulimia and her childhood fear of her father. In the show, McPhee stated that she was misdiagnosed with a learning disability during her middle school years but was finally correctly diagnosed with a vision problem that caused her to have troubles reading in class. McPhee claimed she was known as the "pretty, but stupid" girl in school because she had troubles reading.

Marriage and Scandal[edit | edit source]

On February 2, 2008, McPhee married her boyfriend, producer Nick Cokas, in a Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church. However, by October 2013, the couple was believed to be separated when scandal erupted as she was photographed kissing Smash director Michael Morris, who happens to be married to actress Mary McCormack. 

Despite an attempt at reconciliation, McPhee filed for divorce from Cokas after six years of marriage.

Engagement[edit | edit source]

McPhee announced on July 3, 2018 that she was engaged to music producer David Foster. They were married in London on June 28, 2019.

American Idol[edit | edit source]

McPhee was persuaded by Nick Cokas and her parents to try out for American Idol. She auditioned in San Francisco, and sang "God Bless the Child", originally performed by Billie Holiday.

After the first round of Hollywood week, she sang "I'll Never Love This Way Again" by Dionne Warwick which earned favorable comments from the judges. During the second round, she performed in a group, singing "I Can't Help Myself" by The Four Tops, forgetting the words, but the judges decided to advance the entire group. During the third round, she sang a capella of "My Funny Valentine" and advanced to the Top 40. She was mad when fellow group member Crystal Stark didn't make the Top 24. When she was told that she would be advancing, she kissed all three judges on the lips.

McPhee's run in American Idol led to the popular use of the term "McPheever", coined by Ralph Garman of Los Angeles radio station KROQ's morning show Kevin and Bean.

The inclusion of producer David Foster and singer Andrea Bocelli as guest mentors for Top 6 Week turned out to be a fortuitous introduction for McPhee, as she has worked on various music projects with both men post-Idol.

McPhee visited her former high school for her hometown celebration. Antonio Villaraigosa visited Notre Dame High School and proclaimed McPhee's visit as "Katharine McPhee Day."

Music Career[edit | edit source]

2006: After American Idol[edit | edit source]

On June 6, 2006, Sony BMG and 19 Entertainment announced that McPhee had signed to American Idol series creator Simon Fuller's 19 Recordings Limited and Sony BMG's RCA Records.

On June 9-11, 2006, McPhee performed with Andrea Bocelli at three of his California concerts. They sang duets of "The Prayer" and "Somos Novios".

McPhee performed at the J.C. Penney Jam: Concert for America's Kids in June 2006 (David Foster was the music director), soloing with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and performing a duet with Andrea Bocelli on "Somos Novios". The concert was telecast on CBS August 22, 2006 and J.C. Penney sold an exclusive CD/DVD of the concert.

McPhee's Idol single, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/My Destiny" was released on June 27, 2006 by RCA Records. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and "My Destiny" peaked at #60. Thirty-two weeks after its release, Somewhere Over the Rainbow/My Destiny had climbed to #4 on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales charts. It was the second-best-selling single of 2006 after Taylor Hicks's "Do I Make You Proud". "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/My Destiny" continued to chart for more than 58 weeks.

In July, McPhee missed the first three weeks of the American Idol Tour due to laryngitis and severe bronchitis. She joined the tour beginning with the July 28 show in Washington, D.C., singing only two songs, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree", instead of the usual four on doctor's orders to conserve her voice. At the August 1 concert in Charlotte, N.C., McPhee suffered a hairline fracture of her foot when she tripped backstage and was fitted with a walking boot cast. Once she recovered from the foot injury, she added "Think" to her concert set.

McPhee recorded a duet with Andrea Bocelli of "Can't Help Falling In Love" for his Under the Desert Sky album, which was released as a CD/DVD package on November 7, 2006.

2007-2008: Katharine McPhee[edit | edit source]

McPhee's self-titled debut album, Katharine McPhee, was released January 30, 2007 and sold 116,000 copies its first week, debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart.

The first single from the album was "Over It", which was officially released on the same day as the album and peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song's music video hit #1 on both TRL and VH1's Top 20 countdown, maintaining the top position on VH1 for three consecutive weeks. The video also hit #1 on MTV Asia's Pop 10 Chart for twelve consecutive weeks.

On May 22, 2007, RCA released "Love Story", the second single from McPhee's debut album. "Love Story" failed to crack the Billboard Hot 100, though it did reach #38 on the Canadian Hot 100, and its video stayed at #1 on MTV Asia for 5 consecutive weeks.

During the 2007 Christmas holiday season, McPhee released a Christmas single "O Come All Ye Faithful".

On January 11, 2008, Billboard.com reported that McPhee had been released from her contract with RCA Records, through speculation that the label was dissatisfied with lack of overall sales of her debut album. A spokesperson for the label confirmed this in a statement reading: "Katharine McPhee has moved on to support her other entertainment activities. She is going to record her next album on her own."

McPhee appeared on Idol judge Randy Jackson's album Randy Jackson's Music Club, Vol. 1, which was released March 11, 2008. McPhee recorded a duet of "Real Love" with fellow Season 5 contestant Elliott Yamin. "Real Love" was released as a second single, due to the high popularity of the song on Itunes.

On March 12, 2008, McPhee returned to the American Idol stage during the Top 12 results night of the seventh season of the competition. She performed the Beatles song "Something", with producer David Foster, on piano. After the performance, Foster confirmed that he and McPhee were collaborating on her second studio album.

McPhee took part in the David Foster tribute concert Hit Man: David Foster & Friends, which was filmed by PBS, in May 2008. She soloed on "Somewhere" and performed a duet of "The Prayer" with Andrea Bocelli. A CD/DVD of the concert was released in November 2008. The show was shown several times on PBS starting in December 2008 under their Great Performances title.

David Foster recorded a new song entitled, "I Will Be There with You" for Japan Airlines (JAL), with McPhee on vocals. Starting about June, 2008, it was used to promote the introduction of new aircraft to JAL's US flights.

On July 16, 2008, McPhee released a cover of the song "I Know What Boys Like", featuring the other cast members of the movie The House Bunny.

McPhee recorded a cover of the song "Connected" for the Mattel movie Barbie and the Diamond Castle. McPhee's version of the song was produced by Room for Two and a music video was also recorded to be featured on the movie's DVD. The video and song are available on the movie's website. The soundtrack CD and movie DVD and Blu-ray were released for sale in September 2008.

McPhee took part in the concert Chris Botti: Live In Boston, which was filmed by PBS, in September 2008. She sang "I've Got You Under My Skin" accompanied by Chris Botti on trumpet. The show was shown several times on PBS starting in January 2009. The CD/DVD and Blu-ray were released March 31, 2009.

McPhee recorded the song "Let Your Heart Sing" for the Disney movie Tinker Bell. The movie DVD and the soundtrack CD (featuring the song) were released in October 2008.

2009-2010: Unbroken and Christmas Album[edit | edit source]

It was announced January 27, 2009, that McPhee signed a new record deal with Verve Records (a label group under Universal Music Group) and that her album would be out by the end of the year. "The album she is working on will show many new sides to her talents as an interpreter and a songwriter, and show everyone just how special she is," Verve Music Group president/CEO Bruce Resnikoff says.

Unbroken was released January 5, 2010, and featured the song "Had It All", co-written by former Idol judge Kara DioGuardi. The album debuted at number 27 on the Billboard 200 and has sold 45,000 copies as of January 2011. McPhee also released a Christmas album, Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You, on October 12, 2010.

McPhee parted ways with Verve Records in 2011.

2011-Present[edit | edit source]

In 2011, it was reported that McPhee, who had landed a role in an NBC series called Smash, had signed a new record deal with Columbia Records. She returned to American Idol on March 28, 2013 to perform with the band OneRepublic on their song "If I Lose Myself".

McPhee's fourth album, Hysteria, was released September 18, 2015. The album's first single is called "Lick My Lips". Her fifth album, I Fall in Love Too Easily, was released November 17, 2017.

Acting Career[edit | edit source]

McPhee was cast (during the time she had dropped out of college and was auditioning in Los Angeles) in a mall-based MTV soap opera pilot entitled You Are Here, playing the older sister of a more popular younger sister. MTV never aired the pilot and didn't pick up the series.

McPhee had a small role as "Paramount Girl" in the 2007 musical film Crazy, based on the life of Hank Garland. McPhee filmed the role in early 2005, before she auditioned for American Idol.

In early 2007, McPhee guest-starred in the web series lonelygirl15 as an unnamed character in the episode "Truth or Dare".

McPhee made a cameo appearance as herself in the ABC show Ugly Betty in the episode "I'm Coming Out". The episode was broadcast Feb 1, 2007.

McPhee made her studio acting debut in the comedy The House Bunny (formerly known as I Know What Boys Like), co-starring as one of the few members of a misfit sorority. The movie starred Anna Faris as a playboy bunny who took the girls under her wing. It was directed by Fred Wolf for Columbia Pictures and Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions. The film was released in August 2008 and co-starred Rumer Willis, Emma Stone, Colin Hanks, and Tyson Ritter. The film was a hit, grossing over $70 million at the box office.

In 2009, McPhee landed a lead role in a romantic-comedy called You May Not Kiss the Bride. The budget was set at $6 million. The movie filmed for five weeks in March and April 2009 in Oahu, Hawaii. McPhee played the role of Masha alongside Dave Annable. The film was released on August 30, 2012.

McPhee next starred in the 2011 film Shark Night 3D, portraying a college undergraduate who, along with her friends, is being terrorized by sharks while on vacation. It was released September 2, 2011, and grossed $40 million at the box office.

McPhee guest starred in the CBS show CSI: NY in the episode "Prey" as a singer and stalker victim who murdered her stalker. The episode was broadcast April 8, 2009.

McPhee later filmed an ABC telelvison movie called In Your Dreams. It aired April 20, 2014.

McPhee starred in the CBS drama Scorpion from 2014 to 2018. She will next appear in the independent drama film Louisiana Caviar, which is directed by Cuba Gooding, Jr. She also co-anchors the news/viral video show RightThisMinute with Oli Pettigrew.

Smash[edit | edit source]

McPhee starred in the NBC series Smash, playing an aspiring actress trying to make it in New York City. After two seasons, the show was officially cancelled May 10, 2013.

Filmography[edit | edit source]


  •  Crazy (2007)
  •  The House Bunny (2008)
  •  You May Not Kiss the Bride (2011)
  •  Shark Night 3D (2011)
  •  Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding (2012)
  •  Louisiana Caviar (2018)


  •  lonelygirl15 (2007) (web series; guest role)
  •  Ugly Betty (2007) (guest role)
  •  CSI: New York (2009) (guest role)
  •  Community (2010) (guest role)
  •  Smash (2012-2013) (lead role; 32 episodes)
  •  Family Guy (2012) (guest role; voice over)
  •  In My Dreams (2014) (lead role; TV movie)
  • Scorpion (2014-2018) (lead role; 93 episodes)
  • The Lost Wife of Robert Durst (TV movie)
  • Builder's Showcase/Elijah Biswabic Outdoors (Black Raven Media series, producer, 1999-present)
  • RightThisMinute (co-anchor, 2018-present)

Discography[edit | edit source]


  •  Katharine McPhee (2007)
  •  Unbroken (2010)
  •  Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You (2010)
  •  Hysteria (2015)
  •  I Fall in Love Too Easily (2017)

External Links[edit | edit source]

Season 5
Taylor Hicks  · Katharine McPhee  · Elliott Yamin  · Chris Daughtry  · Paris Bennett  · Kellie Pickler  · Ace Young  · Bucky Covington  · Mandisa  · Lisa Tucker  · Kevin Covais  · Melissa McGhee
Gedeon McKinney  · Ayla Brown  · Will Makar  · Kinnik Sky  · Jose "Sway" Penala  · David Radford  · Heather Cox  · Brenna Gethers  · Patrick Hall  · Stevie Scott  · Bobby Bennett  · Becky O'Donohue
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