A weaker woman would've thrown in the towel by now—and not in the dripping-wet way we like. Filled with more publicized lows than highs, Christina Milian's career has been bumpier than Kardashian's backside. After years of playing it safe on the Disney circuit, the Cuban beauty reinvented herself as a sexually liberated singer turned actress. But rather than receiving platinum plaques and starring in Oscar-nominated films, she got a cheating celebrity boyfriend (Nick Cannon) and a record label (Island Def Jam) that gave her the boot in 2006 due to poor sales.

But hold all calls, Dancing with the Stars producers. Determined to prove that she's more than just a gorgeously photogenic paparazzi subject, Milian, 27, is back with a two-part plan of attack. First, there's her new record deal with the digital titans over at MySpace Music. Secondly, she's beefing up her Hollywood résumé with a sexy costarring role alongside A-listers Jennifer Garner and Matthew McConaughey in this summer's Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Here's to hoping she plays McConaughey's nymphomaniac ex.

When Island Def Jam issued you the pink slip, it was the talk of the town. How'd that go down exactly?
It happened a week after my album [2006's So Amazin'] came out, so I faked it for a while. A lot of people didn't know that I got dropped, but I was still promoting for myself—not necessarily for them. It was a lot of stuff that I got taken off of because somebody was putting some bad energy out about me, so a lot of people separated themselves from me.

How tough was it to digest the humble pie?
When it all happened I was embarrassed. Then all these rumors went out which were so stupid. Everything from, "She didn't take the [Rihanna] song ‘S.O.S.,'” to trying to blame stuff on my man [Dre, of production duo Cool & Dre]. He had nothing to do with anything; all he did was produce music. He didn't even become my man until after we were done with the album. They tried to use every excuse in the book to put me down, and it worked. It stopped a lot of things from happening for me at the moment.

Times like that must really separate the friends from the fakes.
You know who called me? Keyshia Cole and Amerie—they called me immediately when they heard about it. They're just really down chicks, and Janet [Jackson], too. I bumped into her at a club and talked to her for about an hour. She said, "Don't stop doing what you do. Don't let them do this to you.” That meant a lot to me. You rarely see girls go out of their way to do that.

Despite low sales, paparazzi shots of you bring more traffic to blogs than a Kanye West comment. Where do you think that endless love comes from?
I think I'm personable and humble. I think a lot of people can see that. When you get to know me, I'm just like any other girl. I like to smile, I like to have fun, I stay working and I keep in close touch with my fans.— Story by Adell Henderson, Photography by Randee St. Nicholas

To see more of Christina Milian, check out KING's big 50th issue--in stores now!