Sabrina Sloan This Top 24 contestant on American Idol shares how her experiences on the hit show affected her life and marriage. BY NICHOLE L. TORRES
MARRIAGE STATS Married: 2 years Kids: None Notable: This 27-year-old singer and actress gained nationwide attention as a Top 24 contestant on this season of American Idol. What the public didnít know was that apart from her stellar voice, sheís happily married to her college sweetheart, Chip Sloan, 28. These two California natives met while students at Northwestern University in ChicagoóSabrina studying theatre and Chip in pre-law. Upon graduation, the couple endured the challenges of a long-distance relationship as Sabrina moved to New York and joined the traveling tour of Hairspray while Chip came back to Southern California to go to law school. The experience certainly helped them prepare for their biggest challenge yetóbecoming a part of the juggernaut that is American Idol.
 How did going on American Idol affect your relationship?
I think we were probably better prepared as a couple than anybody else could be for it. We had been long distance for so long we knew how to handle that. I even went back on the road for a few months, after we got married. And with this [show], I was at least in L.A., in Hollywood, even though I wasnít living at home while I was on the show. We had to all stay in a hotel. But I still had opportunities to see him for dinner here and there every couple days. So it wasnít as bad as most people on the showóbeing totally ripped away from your family and living away from your spouse.
And heís always encouraged me to go on the show. Weíve watched it together for the last five seasons and he was always saying, 'You have to go audition for it.' So every step of the way he was completely encouraging and totally as excited, if not more excited, every time I got through to the next round. He was great. I mean as a creative person and as a singer, Iím totally kind of neurotic and Iím always psyching myself out before a performance. He was there Hollywood week with me, and I had an iffy dress rehearsal one of the daysójust our voices are so tired from being up the whole weekóhe was there for me and calmed me down. He said, "Come on you got this, donít worry about it," and I went out there and did it and that was the final one that got me through into the top 24. Heís the best and I think he totally gets nervous, probably more nervous that I did when he was watching the show, and when heís in the audience. But he loves it.
 Your husband is a lawyeróhow do you balance your two very demanding careers?
He represents baseball players, kind of like a Jerry McGuire. He used to work at a big firm in Beverly Hills and he does a lot of business litigation just by referral on the side. He is incredibly busy, and I really love it that weíre not in the same world, but a lot of things cross over. He can always look over my contracts and he might eventually branch into entertainment law but heís not on the performing side of it. And he loves it, he loves watching me do what I do, and seeing me succeed. And I love watching him with the baseball players doing his thing. I didnít think I was ever going to be the type to be with another performer. Another singer, another actor and it just probably wouldnít be a good situation. This works out really well.
 Did you find the newfound recognition from being on the show challenging for the two of you?
Yeah, thatís another thing. He was tailor made for me and for this whole situation. Even if it were flipped around, I would be totally annoyed and totally bothered by it, but heís just amazing. Weíll go to dinner and if somebody stops and comes over to say hi, heís totally nice about it, it doesnít affect him, doesnít bother him. Really, the whole time [on the show] he was even saying weíve got to downplay the marriage thing, so you can be popular among all the guys. Iím like "Oh really? I didnít expect that from you." But it turned out that everybody pretty much thought that he was my brother on the show the whole time.
I think it probably wouldíve worked out better if people knew I was married. And now, actually I think he got so much footage in between when I was singing, that people will recognize me, and if theyíre not sure, theyíll look [to see] if Iím with him. Heís done some red carpet stuff with me, and he hates actually being noticed or photographed. He just wants to be in the background, but last week we went to the Nuts for Mutts event and I was doing a lot of press stuffÖ and eventually they [wanted] a group shot of the whole family with our dog, so he had to be in the limelight taking pictures and it was just so painful for him. But he smiled through it. Then there were great pictures up on the internet. I was like, "Look, you made your debut."
 Do you get more attention now from men since youíre more recognizable from the show? If so, how do you and your husband deal with that?
Yeah, most of it is harmless. And Iím quick to point out that Iím married. When you get married you get used that whole flash the ring, hey, back off [thing]. Itís mostly a lot of MySpace stuff, or people again who didnít know that I was married from me being on the show because it wasnít really ever mentioned. And if heís with me, itís much easier. If heís not, Iím quick to mention it. I donít think it usually bothers him, he just steps in and says, 'here I am,' makes his presence known and itís fine. We donít have too much of a problem with it.
 What was it like just for you to be on American Idol?
It was thrilling, it was so exciting and at the same time, I realize it now more that Iím off the show than when I was on, but youíre just being judged by the entire country and beyond. I get e-mails on MySpace from people all over the world who are just now watching it. Itís just crazy, the phenomenon of the whole thing is just wild. Youíre under this microscope by so many people and so in that sense, itís like I donít have that eye on me anymore. But you do still. People are waiting to see whatís going to happen next. Itís definitely a pressure that nobody else can really understand except the people that are experiencing it. But more than anything, it was such great exposure, it was so exciting and I wish I had more time on the show to show the best of me.
 How did being on the show change your life?
I would do it again it a heartbeat. It opened so many doors. Iím busier now than I ever was with my big day planner, and meetings, and album deals, trying to work all that out. Iím under contract with Idol until August. So Iím a little bit limited in what I can do right now. But just the doors that have opened because everybody watches the show is unbelievable, itís such a huge blessing. So I feel really confident that it was a huge stepping stone in my career and hopefully the people that were able to see my talent in those few weeks will just continue to open many more doors.
 What is the one thing about you that the public hasnít seen yetóthat youíre excited to show off?
My marriage. Nobody knew about it. And heís such a huge part of who I am and just how I get through every day. His support. I couldnít have done this competition at 17, I couldnít have done it without him in my life. Knowing that no matter what happens, no matter what anybody says about me in my career because Iím always going to have people who donít like me, [but] I have him to come home to. Heís going to love me and support me and heís not going anywhere. And, we have so much fun. I think if we had a reality show, it would be [hilarious]. I donít know, maybe everybody else wouldnít laugh but we would certainly laugh. I would love for America to see our relationship or know how great married life can be. Itís so great. When itís right, itís just the best thing in the world. I love it.