She was raised in a remote Alaskan town, where she learned to sing and play guitar with her father. She lived in a van, busked on the streets, and survived on carrots and peanut butter. She wrote songs that touched millions of hearts, and became one of the most successful singer-songwriters of her generation. She is Jewel Kilcher, and this is her story.
Jewel’s life is a remarkable tale of resilience, courage, and creativity. From her humble beginnings in Homer, Alaska, to her meteoric rise to fame in the 1990s, to her reinvention as a poet, author, and philanthropist, Jewel has never stopped following her own voice and vision. She has sold over 30 million albums worldwide, won four Grammy nominations, and written two New York Times best-selling books. She has also founded a non-profit organization, Project Clean Water, that provides access to safe drinking water for people in need.
But behind the glittering success, Jewel has also faced many challenges and struggles. She has battled anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder. She has endured a painful divorce, a public lawsuit, and a cyberattack. She has learned to cope with fame, fortune, and fame’s pitfalls. She has never given up on her dreams, nor on her humanity.
In this article, we will explore the life and career of Jewel Kilcher, the woman behind the music. We will discover, how a girl who grew up in a cabin without running water or electricity become one of the most acclaimed and influential artists of her time? How does a girl who faced abuse, neglect, and poverty overcome her challenges and find her voice? How does a girl who lived in a van and sang for tips become a multi-platinum-selling singer, a best-selling author, and a humanitarian? This is the story of Jewel Kilcher, the girl who did all that and more.
Net Worth: How Rich is Jewel Kilcher?
Jewel Kilcher, also known as Jewel, is a versatile and accomplished artist. She has been a singer-songwriter, musician, actress and author for over two decades. Her music has reached millions of fans around the world, earning her four Grammy Award nominations. Some of her hit songs are “Who Will Save Your Soul”, “You Were Meant for Me”, “Foolish Games”, “Hands” and “Standing Still”. In 2021, she added another achievement to her resume: she won the sixth season of The Masked Singer as the Queen of Hearts. Jewel Kilcher has a net worth of over $30 M.
Jewel Kilcher, was born on May 23, 1974, in Payson, Utah, to Attila Kuno “Atz” Kilcher and Lenedra Kilcher, who were both musicians and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
When she was six years old, she moved with her family to Homer, Alaska, where they lived in a homestead without modern amenities. She grew up close to nature, learning how to hunt, fish, grow crops, and get water from the river. She also sang and yodeled with her father, who taught her the traditional songs of their Swiss ancestors.
Her parents divorced when she was eight, and she stayed with her father, who suffered from alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in the Vietnam War. He was abusive and violent towards her, while her mother was manipulative and neglectful. Jewel later said that she felt “abandoned by adults who were supposed to love me.” She found solace in her horses, poetry, and music.
At the age of 15, Jewel ran away from home and moved to a cabin by herself. She worked multiple jobs, such as waitressing, cleaning, and singing at bars. She also hitchhiked to town and attended high school, where she excelled academically and artistically. She received a partial scholarship to study operatic voice at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, where she graduated in 1992. Initially, Jewel wanted to become an opera singer however, during her two years in Michigan her tastes changed and she took up the guitar and began writing her own songs.
Early Struggle & Homelessness
At the age of 18, Jewel moved to San Diego, California, to pursue her music career, but faced many challenges and hardships. She was fired from a cafe job after rejecting the sexual advances of her boss, which led to her losing her apartment and living in her car. Later Jewel’s car was stolen, and she became homeless however she continued to perform at coffee shops and bars. She also suffered from health problems, such as kidney infections and lead poisoning, and was denied medical care at an emergency room. Jewel felt humiliated and dehumanized by the way people treated her as a homeless person. She said that people looked at her as if she was contagious, and that she felt like an animal, only concerned with survival. She eventually landed a gig at a coffee bar called the Innerchange, where she attracted a loyal fan base and the attention of Atlantic Records.
Breakthrough & Singing Success
Jewel was discovered by accident by a record executive, who offered her a deal with Atlantic Records. She was hesitant to sign it, fearing that she would lose her authenticity and integrity, but eventually agreed. In 1994, she signed a deal with Atlantic Records which gave her creative control over her music.
She released her debut album, Pieces of You, in 1995, which included live recordings from the Innerchange. The album was a slow-burner, but eventually became one of the best-selling debut albums of all time, with hits like “Who Will Save Your Soul”, “You Were Meant for Me”, and “Foolish Games”. She followed it up with Spirit in 1998, which reflected her social consciousness and personal growth with songs like “Hands” and “Standing Still”. She also branched out into acting with a role in Ang Lee’s film Ride with the Devil in 1999, and released a holiday album, Joy: A Holiday Collection, the same year.
In the early 2000s, Jewel experimented with different sounds and influences. Her fourth album, This Way, in 2001, featured singles like “Break Me” and “This Way”, which demonstrated her versatility and maturity as a songwriter. Her fifth album, 0304, in 2003, was a radical departure from her previous work, as it incorporated elements of dance-pop and electronic music. The album was inspired by her desire to create a positive and upbeat record in the wake of the September 11 attacks, and produced her highest-charting song on the Billboard Hot 100, “Intuition”.
In 2006, Jewel released her first live album, Goodbye Alice in Wonderland, which was a farewell to her musical persona of Alice, who represented her innocence and naivety. The album featured songs from her previous albums as well as new material. In 2008, she ventured into country music with her sixth studio album, Perfectly Clear, which debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. The album included singles like “Stronger Woman”, “I Do” and “’Til It Feels Like Cheating”.
In 2009, Jewel released her first independent album, Lullaby, which consisted of lullabies and children’s songs that she wrote for her son Kase. The album was well-received by critics and fans alike for its soothing and tender quality. In 2010, she released another country album, Sweet and Wild, which featured singles like “Stay Here Forever” and “Satisfied”. In 2013, she released her first greatest hits album, which included duets with Kelly Clarkson and Pistol Annies on some of her classic songs.
In 2015, Jewel returned to her folk roots with her twelfth studio album, Picking Up the Pieces, which was a bookend to her debut album, Pieces of You. The album was inspired by her memoir Never Broken and featured songs that she had written throughout her career but never recorded, as well as new material.
Poetry & Authorship
Jewel is also a published writer, with several books of poetry and memoirs to her name. Her first book of poetry, A Night Without Armor, was released in 1998 and became a bestseller. The book contains more than 100 poems that reflect Jewel’s personal experiences, emotions and observations.
In 2000, she published her first memoir Chasing Down the Dawn, which is a collection of stories and reflections that Jewel wrote while traveling around the world as a musician. The book captures her experiences in different places and cultures, from the Alaskan wilderness to the streets of Paris, from the backstage of a concert to the solitude of a hotel room.
Her second memoir Never Broken, published in 2015, is a New York Times bestseller that covers Jewel’s childhood in Alaska, her rise to fame, her marriage and divorce with rodeo star Ty Murray, and her journey as a mother to her son Kase. The book also shares Jewel’s philosophy of mindfulness and resilience, and how she overcame challenges such as homelessness, anxiety and betrayal.
Jewel Kilcher has been featured in various TV shows and films, either playing herself or a fictional character such as a judge on The Sing-Off, a performer on The Masked Singer, and June Carter Cash in Ring of Fire.
I Can See Your Voice (2022): A musical game show where Jewel was a guest panelist.
The Masked Singer (2021): A reality show which features celebrities who perform anonymously in elaborate head-to-toe costumes and are unmasked if they receive the fewest votes.
Alaska: The Last Frontier (2016-2017): A reality show about Jewel’s family and their homestead in Alaska, where Jewel made several appearances.
Fixer Upper Mysteries (2017-2018): A series of mystery movies based on the novels by Kate Carlisle, where Jewel played the lead role of Shannon Hughes, a contractor and amateur sleuth.
Ring of Fire (2013): A biopic about the life of country music legend June Carter Cash, where Jewel played the title role and earned an Emmy nomination for her performance.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2008): A crime drama where Jewel played a singer who was murdered by her husband.
Ride with the Devil (1999): A Civil War drama directed by Ang Lee, where Jewel played Sue Lee Shelley, a young widow who falls in love with a Confederate soldier.
Jewel Kilcher is a single mother who has had her fair share of romances. She was in a relationship with actor Sean Penn in 1995 after he spotted her performing on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. However, the relationship did not work. On the 7th of August 2008, Jewel married pro rodeo cowboy Ty Murray. The pair remained together for 6 years before getting a divorce on the 2nd of July 2014. During their time of marriage, the pair had a son, Kase Townes Murray who was born on July 11, 2011.
Following the divorce, Jewel returned to her roots in Alaska and has remained unmarried. She has custody of her son Kasey. And while Jewel is in touch with her father and brother, she is estranged from her mother whom she accused of embezzling over 100 million dollars during her time as her business manager.
Moving on and boyfriend:
Jewel began dating Charlie Whitehurst an American football quarterback in 2015. The pair met through a mutual friend in Nashville. The couple has kept their relationship low-key and private, but they occasionally shared glimpses of their romance on social media and in interviews. Jewel and Charlie made their relationship Instagram official in January 2016, when Jewel posted a photo of herself with Charlie and actor Robert Patrick at the Leonard Cohen Experience. Thereafter, they posted several photos of themselves enjoying various activities together. Jewel also gushed about Charlie in interviews, calling him a “smart and talented” man who is “very kind”. However, the relationship did not turn into marriage as the pair went their separate ways. Jewel is reportedly dating Kevin Costner, an Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker. They were spotted getting cozy at a tennis fundraising event in the British Virgin Islands in November 2023.
Family: Jewel Kilcher’s Relationship with Her Parents?
Jewel Kilcher is a renowned singer-songwriter, author, and activist who has faced many hardships and traumas in her life. One of the most painful and complex aspects of her story is her relationship with her parents, who divorced when she was eight years old.
After the divorce, Jewel moved with her father to a large homestead in Alaska, where they had no electricity or plumbing. She began singing and yodeling with her father in bars and taverns to make money, but she also witnessed violence and predators in those environments. She described her life as “terrifying” and “unsafe” in an interview with the Verywell Mind podcast.
“My dad was this volatile alcoholic that hit me, very easy to identify ‘bad guy.’ My mom seemed like the opposite. She was calm, she was soft, she never yelled, obviously never hit me. And I didn’t realize I was being abused in another way at the time,” Jewel said.
Jewel’s mother, whom she calls Nedra, was not a source of comfort or support for her. Instead, she manipulated and neglected her, making her feel unworthy of love. She also lied to her about many things, such as her family history and her health. Jewel only discovered the extent of her mother’s deception when she was in her 30s, and found out that her mother had embezzled over $100 million from her.
“I didn’t really realize what my mom was until I was 30-something…but I woke up and realized she embezzled all of my money, over $100 million. Then as I started investigating the truth about what my mom had told me in my life versus what was true, I had realized that pretty much everything I formed my reality on was fiction,” Jewel said.
Despite the abuse and betrayal she suffered from her parents, Jewel was determined to heal and forgive them. She used music, poetry, and mindfulness as coping tools, and shared her experiences in her memoir, Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story, and in several interviews. She also reconciled with her father after he got sober and did inner work.
“I was determined to heal: to let go, move on and figure out how I could be the one who changed those habits,” Jewel said in an interview with People.
However, Jewel still longs for a mother figure in her life, even though she doesn’t miss Nedra.
“I can’t tell you about the pain, and how my heart to this day screams to have a mom in my life. Every day I miss having a mom. But I don’t miss Nedra,” Jewel said in the podcast interview with Verywell Mind podcast.
Jewel learned to be independent and self-reliant from a young age, and chose to live alone rather than with someone who would hurt her.
“My dad and I had a difficult relationship, and I thought, ‘I could live in a cabin by myself or I could live in a cabin with a guy that isn’t that nice to me. So, why not go live in a cabin by myself?’”
Jewel’s story is one of courage, strength, and hope. She has overcome many challenges and obstacles and has become a successful and influential artist and author. She has also used her platform to raise awareness and support for mental health, homelessness, and education. She now helps at-risk youth through her Inspiring Children Foundation and website, JewelNeverBroken.com.
Jewel has a stature of 5 feet 5 inches keeping her in the weight range of 51.2 kg to 62.6 kg. Her other measurement such as her waist, bust & hip is not available for now. Jewel Kilcher has a unique dressing style that reflects her personality and music. She often wears dresses that are feminine, colorful, and embellished with beads, sequins, or embroidery. She also likes to accessorize with jewelry, scarves, hats, or boots. She has natural hazel eyes but experimented with different hairstyles and colors over the years, from long blonde waves to short brunette bobs. She has a natural beauty that shines through her outfits and makeup.