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Sanjaya's Secret Heartache!
Sanjaya Malakar's off-key performances have been rudely labeled "very weak and a little weird" by Simon Cowell, snidely mocked on Saturday Night Live, and even made the subject of a barrage of ridicule from shock jock Howard Stern! And that's not to mention the ribbing the 17-year-old singer's taken for his ever-changing, occasionally rooster-like hairdos! But given that the Washington state native had already lived through his parents' divorce and near-poverty during his early childhood, his toughness in the face of all that criticism shouldn't come as a surprise!

Sanjaya's History
Sanjaya's world fell apart in October of 1992, when he was just 3 years old - and his sister Shyamali, another Idol contestant, was 5 - after his father, Vasudeva Malakar, 44, filed for divorce from their mother, Jillian Recchi, 41. According to documents obtained by Star from Snohomish County (Wash.) Superior Court, the parents, who had separated a year before the divorce filing, were followers of the Hare Krishna movement.

When the divorce was filed, the family had almost no money coming in. Jill and the children were living in a Seattle apartment, and her only income was $531 a month from welfare. Dad Vasudeva, meanwhile, listed his yearly income as zero, and the couple's home in a northern Seattle suburb was up for sale.

Pick up this week's issue of Star to read about Sanjaya's family struggle, see photos of his relatives and learn more about the Hare Krishna movement.

Tell Us What You Think
Are you surprised Sanjaya is still on American Idol?
Do you think plots to sabotage the show by keeping him on have gone too far?
Are you tuning into Idol just to see Sanjaya?
Do you think Sanjaya can win?

April 11, 2007
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