After Paula Abdul‘s mother, Lorraine, died in January 2018, and her father, Harry, passed away in April 2019, she went through a very tough time in her life. But even after she lost both of her parents so close together, Paula says this time in her life hasn’t been so bad because of everything good she has achieved.

“It’s been a beautiful year. It’s also been a tough year,” the iconic singer exclusively told Closer Weekly after hosting the 7th Annual Wigs & Wishes Gala with celebrity hairstylist Martino Cartier at Lucien’s Manor in Berlin, New Jersey. “In the past year and a half I lost both of my parents, but I know they’re up above looking down.”

Paula Abdul
ShootWorks Photography

After her dad’s death, Paula took to Instagram to gush about what a wonderful man he was. “My Father was, and always will be, my superhero. ♥️🙏🏼,” she penned the caption alongside multiple pics of them together. “He had a heart of gold and carried his heart on his sleeve wherever he went, and shared it with everyone he came in contact with. Isn’t it a beautiful gift that I still feel his spirit with me?”

Paula knows that both of her parents are still watching over her today and every day she tries to make them proud. “Absolutely,” she said about having the strength to continue on in her career.

Plus, she knows that if she has the support of her friends and family then she can achieve anything. “We can’t do it alone. Together, as a group, we can accomplish so much and we can help so many less fortunate that are suffering — families and cancer patients themselves,” Paula said about the event’s cause to help people in need.

Paula Abdul and Martino Cartier
Courtesy of Martino Cartier, Founder of Wigs & Wishes

As for the advice Paula — who is doing “fantastic” with her sold-out Las Vegas residency — would give to female fans, that answer is quite simple.

“Beauty comes from within, and to always be on your own side,” the “Forever Your Girl” songstress noted. “Try to live a healthy lifestyle and walk in gratitude.”

The former American Idol judge treasures her involvement with Wigs & Wishes By Martino Cartier, whose mission is to provide courageous women battling cancer with a wig at no cost, as well as granting wishes to children battling childhood cancer. During the 7th Annual Night of Wigs & Wishes Gala, Paula and Martino helped make an impact on many lives — including surprising one of the teens with a meet and greet with Shameless star Emily Bergl and another teen with a surprise visit from Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo. There were also appearances from Spider Man and The Incredible Hulk.

Paula is so strong!

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Reporting by Diana Cooper