Hudson was the subject of significant media attention in 2008 when her mother, brother, and nephew were killed in a shooting. She resumed public appearances the following year, with a high-profile performance at Super Bowl XLIII as well as other mainstream events. Hudson has been described as a friend of former President Barack Obama, who invited her to appear with him at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills during his first term in May 2009. She also performed at the White House at the "Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement" event. In 2013, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Since 2017, Hudson has contributed as a coach on the UK and the US version of The Voice, becoming the first female coach to win the former.
In January 2002, Hudson signed her first recording contract with Righteous Records, a Chicago-based independent record label. She was released from her five-year contract with Righteous Records so that she could appear on American Idol in 2004.