Christina's father is Ecuadorian, while her mother has German, Irish, Welsh, and Dutch ancestry.
Christina María Aguilera was born in the Staten Island borough of New York City, on December 18, 1980, to Shelly Loraine Kearns (née Fidler), a musician, and Fausto Xavier Aguilera, a United States Army soldier. Her family moved frequently because of her father's military service and lived in places including New Jersey, Texas, New York, and Japan. Aguilera and her mother alleged that her father was physically and emotionally abusive, claims which he denied; Aguilera used music as a form of escape from her turbulent household.
Following her parents' divorce when she was six years old, Aguilera, her younger sister Rachel, and her mother (who later remarried Jim Kearns and gave birth to one more child, Michael 'Mikey' Kearns), moved into her grandmother's home in the Pittsburgh suburb of Rochester, Pennsylvania.
Christina's childhood was filled with violence and trauma. When the singer was six years old she was able to think about Julie Andrews singing "The Sound of Music" as a way to escape. "I watched her twirl around those mountains, and she was just so free,” Aguilera said. "'The Sound of Music' looked like a form of release. I would open my bedroom window to sing out like Maria. In my own way, I’d be in those hills."