WASHINGTON • In February 2011, singer Christina Aguilera flubbed the lyrics to the national anthem while singing at the Super Bowl.
A week later, she almost fell onstage at the Grammys while performing a tribute to soul legend Aretha Franklin. That March, she was detained for public drunkenness.
She needed a career boost and judging the NBC series The Voice seemed like the answer.
But in a Billboard interview published last Thursday, she referred to the show as a "churning hamster wheel" and said she spent her six seasons as a judge "longing for freedom".
She told Billboard the show soon strayed from what she had signed up for in the first season.
"You realise it's not about music. It's about making good TV moments and massaging a story," she said.
"I didn't get into this business to be a television show host and to be given all these (rules). Especially as a female: You can't wear this, can't say that. I would find myself on that show desperately trying to express myself through clothing, make-up or hair. It was my only kind of outlet."
Her upcoming album, Liberation, is her first since 2012's commercially unsuccessful Lotus.
She seems poised for yet another comeback, one that will include her first tour in years.
She has a 10-year-old son from her first marriage to music executive Jordan Bratman and a three-year-old daughter with her fiance, film production assistant Matthew Rutler.
"Touring is so frightening to me because I am a mum first," she told Billboard. "It's part of why I stayed in the position I was (on The Voice). It's easy to get comfortable and cushy in the same place and not have to worry about uprooting your kids. I've been putting myself on the back burner."
But now? "It needs to happen. I'm looking forward to getting back out and actually showing my kids what mummy really does."
She scrunched up her face when asked whether she would ever return to The Voice, adding that she would prefer to discuss "positive things".