Michael Bolton's soulful voice and euphonious blond mullet mesmerized legions of female fans worldwide, driving album sales into the millions. Yet with all the adoration and heavy radio rotation, he struggled to earn the critical acclaim he desired throughout most of his career. The Grammy-winning artist shot to stardom with power ballads like "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" (1989), his 1991 cover of "When a Man Loves a Woman," and "Love is a Wonderful Thing" (1991). But the more albums he sold, the more his critics balked. His string of hits screeched to a halt in the late 1990s, and the only news he made stemmed from his notorious love life; particularly his on-again, off-again relationship with primetime vixen Nicolette Sheridan. In 2010, Bolton tried to resuscitate his career by collaborating with dance-pop sensation, Lady Gaga, on a new album, and joining ABC's reality competition "Dancing with the Stars" (2005- ). While not amounting to a major comeback, Bolton's efforts showcased the passion and innate talent that had made him one of the most successful singers of adult-contemporary music in the late 20th century.
Michael Bolotin was born on Feb. 26, 1953 in New Haven, CT. His professional career began in the 1970s as part of a hard rock group, Blackjack, where he performed using his birth name. He branched out as a solo artist but he struggled to make a hit for himself. So he switched gears. Bolton turned to songwriting and struck gold with Laura Branigan's 1983 single, "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You." Having found his niche with power ballads, Bolton abandoned his rock sensibilities and released The Hunger (1987), featuring his hit version of Otis Redding's classic, "(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay" (1967). On his breakthrough album, Soul Provider (1989), the blond-streaked, mullet-sporting crooner tackled the 1930 standard, "Georgia on My Mind." The album sold four million copies and earned Bolton a Grammy in 1990 for Best Male Pop Vocal for the single, "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You."
Almost overnight, Bolton's career reached untold heights. But the critics were not kind; they called his songs "cheesy pop fluff" and believed his style was overwrought. Despite his detractors, Bolton continued churning out chart-toppers like "Love is a Wonderful Thing" and "When a Man Loves a Woman" (1966) from the 1991 album, Time, Love & Tenderness. He performed with world-class talent such as Luciano Pavarotti, Ray Charles, and Celine Dion, as well as collaborated with big-name writers like Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Diane Warren. Regular appearances on talk shows and various TV specials kept Bolton busy, but shortly after the release of All That Matters (1993), his career began its descent. He also found himself in legal trouble in 1994, when a jury decided that Bolton plagiarized some elements of the Isley Brothers' 1966 song, "Love is a Wonderful Thing" in his 1991 version.
Bolton found better luck with the ladies - which kept the incredulous media and critics wondering how so many women were able to look past the singer's THAT mullet. He dated Ashley Judd and "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004- ) star Teri Hatcher, who appeared in Bolton's "Missing You Now" (1991) video. But it was his steamy relationship with another "desperate housewife" that made the most headlines. Bolton and temperamental Nicolette Sheridan started dating in 1992 and their rocky romance lasted five years. Like something on a primetime soap, the older and wiser couple reunited in 2005, and announced their engagement in 2006. Pictures of the happy couple - frolicking on the beach, attending red carpet events, and exhibiting various forms of PDA - were splashed across the tabloids. But rumors circulated that Bolton's three daughters from a previous marriage did not approve of the "Desperate Housewives" vixen as their potential stepmother. The reunited couple called off their engagement in 2008, but Bolton did not stay single too long. In 2010, the crooner was reportedly seeing Donald Trump's ex-wife, Marla Maples, whom he had also dated in the early 1990s.
In 2010, Bolton released the album, One World, One Love, featuring the single, "Murder My Heart," which he worked on with Lady Gaga. Their unlikely collaboration reportedly happened just before she became a huge force in pop music with hits like "Poker Face" (2008) and "Just Dance" (2008). In the fall of 2010, Bolton joined the cast of "Dancing with the Stars," competing alongside comedian Margaret Cho, singer Brandy, and actor David Hasselhoff, among others.