It seems like only yesterday that Tina Turner stepped onto the world stage with her hit album "Private Dancer" and launched a career as a solo artist with songs like "What's Love Got to Do With It" and "Better Be Good to Me." Although Tina had been in the music business since the '60s, she wasn't recognized as a profitable pop star in the industry until 1984. From there, her fame was undeniable. The multi-talented performer appeared in films like "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" and "Last Action Hero" while continuing to make chart-topping music, earning 18 more Grammy nominations (and winning seven of those). In 1991, Tina and her former music partner (and ex-husband) Ike Turner were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1993 came an Oscar-nominated movie about her life, "What's Love Got to Do with It," starring Angela Bassett. Her last album of new music, "Twenty Four Seven," dropped in 1999 — meaning a lot's happened in her life since then. In honor of Tina's 78th birthday on Nov. 26, 2017, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at what life's like for this legendary singer today, and what's happened with some of the other divas of pop who once ruled the airwaves. Keep reading to learn more…
Tina Turner, seen here in October 2017, is still as fly and fierce as ever. Although Tina hasn't released new music in almost 20 years (though she did contribute to Herbie Hancock's Grammy-winning 2007 album, "River: The Joni Letters"), she did embark on a 50th anniversary tour in 2008 and 2009 that was one of the bestselling treks of both years. Since the late '90s, Tina's lived in Switzerland with her music producer husband, Erwin Bach (whom she married in 2013). The same year she married Erwin, she also relinquished her U.S. citizenship to become a Swiss national. Today, Tina lives a peaceful life in the Swiss countryside, though she was recently pulled out of retirement to give her blessing to the 2018 theater production based on her life, "Tina: The Musical."
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When Madonna burst on the music scene in 1983 with her self-titled debut album and "don't give a f—" attitude, no one knew what to think. The vivacious young star behind hits like "Holiday" and "Borderline" was all about pushing boundaries and expressing herself on her terms, which resonated with listeners (but totally scared their parents). Before long, Madonna released her jaw-dropping sophomore album, "Like a Virgin," starred in movies like "Who's That Girl" and "Dick Tracy," dated some of the biggest celebrities of the time like Warren Beatty and Tupac Shakur, and led an '80s fashion revolution (we also can't forget her infamous coffee table book from 1992 simply titled "Sex"). It's been a long road for this seven-time Grammy winner, who has six children, two ex-husbands and several music metamorphoses under her belt.
Madonna is a force that won't quit and we're inspired. Not only has Madge never stopped making new music (her last album, "Rebel Heart," debuted in 2015), but in September 2017, she hinted to the world that along with writing new music, she's also working on a movie called "Loved." The mom of six — who adopted twins Estere and Stelle from Malawi in early 2017 — recently relocated to Portugal where she says she's feeling "very creative and alive." Rumor has it she left New York City so that son David Ritchie could join Lisbon's Benfica youth academy and play on its soccer team. While she's kept a low profile the last few years, she did turn up in Washington D.C. in January 2017 to support the Women's March (and prove that she'll never stop standing up and speaking out for what she believes in).
From the day her self-titled debut album dropped in 1985 (and let's be real — since the day she was born), Whitney Houston has always been No. 1. Her music, including hit songs like "Greatest Love of All," "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" and the entire soundtrack to "The Bodyguard" changed the way we saw pop music and launched Whitney to superstardom. She had a vibrant on-screen career (which included films "The Bodyguard," "The Preacher's Wife" and "Waiting to Exhale") as well as a colorful private life with husband Bobby Brown and daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown. Despite the many red flags in her life, including issues with drugs and her volatile relationship with Bobby, Whitney — who earned seven Grammy Awards and an amazing 26 nominations — was still one of the most admired musical talents of the 20th century.
Sadly Whitney Houston was discovered dead, a victim of accidental drowning due to the effects of heart disease and cocaine use, in her Beverly Hilton hotel room bathtub ahead of the Grammy Awards on Feb. 12. But her sudden and surprising death cast a shadow over the ceremony. To honor the fallen singer's life, the show included tributes by Jennifer Hudson (who sang Whitney's award-winning rendition of "I Will Always Love You") as well as LL Cool J, Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder. Just five months after her tragic passing, Whitney appeared in the indie movie remake "Sparkle," which was inspired by the life of the music group The Supremes. Whitney's death, which confirmed her long struggle with drug addiction, was difficult for her family, friends and fans to process, but even harder for her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown. Sadly, on Jan. 31, 2015, Bobbi Kristina was found unresponsive in her own bathtub, also with drugs in her system, and lingered on life support for six months before passing away at 22 on July 26, 2015.
Remember when Mariah Carey was a pop star who sang mostly love songs (the kind that helped you nurse a broken heart through a nasty breakup)? Back in 1990, Miss Mariah was the new kid on the block — and she had some of the most amazing pipes anyone had ever heard. Her self-titled debut album, which included songs like "Love Takes Time" and "Vision of Love," was an instant hit, leading to her first Grammy (for best new artist in 1991). In 1993, Mariah shocked the world by marrying the head of Sony Music, Tommy Mottola, who was 21 years her senior. As the acclaimed songbird continued to slay the charts, she was often compared to music's other diva, Whitney Houston, sparking rumors of a fierce rivalry. Following Mariah's 1997 split from Tommy and the release of her sixth studio album, "Butterfly" (which introduced fans to an edgier, more urban sound), Mariah made it clear she was living and working on her terms. After numerous highs and lows, including four more Grammys, the birth of he twins, a failed marriage to Nick Cannon, a messy split from billionaire businessman James Packer in 2016, and a disastrous New Year's Eve performance in 2016, Mariah still isn't down for the count.
2017 hasn't been easy on Mariah Carey. After her now-infamous bungled New Year's Eve performance in 2016, Mimi has endured a barrage of criticism from fans commenting about her talent, her weight and more. In October, Mariah was rumored to have undergone gastric sleeve surgery to help her slim down. Around the same time, she also parted ways with her manager, Stella Bulochnikov, reportedly replacing her with boyfriend and former backup dancer Bryan Tanaka. (But in mid-November, it was reported that Mariah was working on a deal to sign a management deal with JAY-Z's company, Roc Nation, after making Bryan her creative director.) While we haven't heard any new music from the elusive chanteuse since 2014's "Me. I Am Mariah…," she has been on tour with fellow music legend Lionel Richie and continues to perform. In November, more bad news came Mariah's way when her former security company, headed by Michael Anello, revealed plans to sue the pop star for unpaid invoices, unfulfilled work agreements, derogatory remarks and even alleged sexual harassment, though reports claimed a settlement was being explored.
Although five-time Grammy winner Celine Dion was making music in her home country of Canada long before we knew about her in America, it wasn't until 1990 that she became a bonafide, worldwide pop star. That was the year her first English album, "Unison," broke onto the music charts and went platinum. The album featured one of her most iconic songs ever, "Where Does My Heart Beat Now," which peaked at No. 2 on the adult contemporary chart. Celine, seen here in 1990 with her manager (and future husband) Rene Angelil, was poised to become one of the biggest darlings of pop music. Over the years, Celine has continued to release hit albums in both French and English. Some of her biggest hits include "The Power of Love," "My Heart Will Go On" and "Because You Loved Me." In 2001, Celine became a first-time mom with the birth of son Rene-Charles. Their family grew by two when Celine gave birth to twin boys Eddy and Nelson nine years later in 2010. The following year, Celine took up residency in Las Vegas and went on to become one of Vegas' top music performers. While headlining sold-out shows and being a mom and wife, Celine even managed to drop a new album in 2013, "Loved Me Back to Life."
Life took a painful turn for Celine Dion in January 2016 when her husband of 21 years, Rene Angelil, died at 73 from throat cancer. As if losing her life partner and sons' father wasn't difficult enough, Celine's brother, Daniel Dion, died just two days later after a battle with brain, throat and tongue cancer, on what would have been Rene's 74th birthday. It was a difficult time for the singer and mom of three. Understandably, Celine cancelled many of her Las Vegas performances and took time to be with her children, helping them cope with the loss of their dad. In late February, Celine returned to the Las Vegas stage but broke down in tears while performing "All By Myself" — reminding the audience that although she's a superstar, she's also still a human being. 2017's proven to be her year of resilience: She's continued to perform in Vegas, toured across Europe, posed for Vogue, launched an accessories collection and more, showing the world that, like her song says, her heart will go on.
We're pretty confident that Grammy-winning singer Paula Abdul is forever our girl (and always will be). When Paula (a former cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers and choreographer for Janet Jackson) burst onto the music scene in 1988 with her debut album, "Forever Your Girl," she quickly proved herself to be a force unlike anything the world had seen. Her early hits included songs like "Cold Hearted," "Knocked Out" and "Straight Up," which gave fresh attitude in a music genre that typically gravitated toward syrupy sweet. Paula's music career was short-lived, however: She battled an eating disorder, then sustained numerous spinal cord injuries while performing that were exacerbated in a 1992 car crash and again in 1993 in a plane crash that led her to experience partial paralysis, requiring numerous surgeries. After the release of Paula's 1995 album "Head Over Heels," she knew it was time to take a step back and focus on healing. In 2002, Paula reappeared as one of three judges on the hit competition series "American Idol," where she found renewed fame and courted negative attention thanks to her unusual behavior on set. After leaving the show in 2009, Paula revealed that for 12 years, she'd been addicted to prescription painkillers and was finally ready to get clean. The newly sober star returned to TV in 2013 as a judge on the competition series "So You Think You Can Dance" to the delight of fans everywhere.
If Paula Abdul has proven anything over the years, it's that she's a fighter. The drug-free singer and dancer joined forces with New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men on the Total Package tour that ran from May through July 2017. In addition to performing on stage, Paula took part in the documentary "Move" (although there are scant details about the film available). Other than that, this force of nature has kept a relatively low profile though pops up now and then to attend her favorite fashion shows and remind us all that she's still around and feeling awesome about life. She's slated to guest star on the ABC sitcom "Fresh Off the Boat" in December 2017.
Cher's been a pop diva longer than many of us have been alive. In 1965, Cher released her debut solo album, "All I Really Want to Do," as well as her and husband Sonny Bono's debut duet album, "Look at Us." The pair continued to make music together through the mid-'70s (and even hosted their own variety program, "The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour") while Cher also released solo projects. In 1975, Cher ended her marriage to Sonny (and briefly married musician Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers fame) before launching her career (and life) as a solo artist. For a while, the legendary singer and mother of two struggled to find her next musical hit and focused instead on building her acting resume. Cher starred in several films including "Mask," "Silkwood" and "Moonstruck" in the 1980s, earning two Oscar nominations and one award for best actress before relaunching her music career with a self-titled album in 1987. Cher went on to record several more albums (like her iconic "Heart of Stone," which featured the hit song "If I Could Turn Back Time"). In 1998, Cher outdid herself with the Grammy-winning album "Believe," which introduced the prolific singer to an entirely new generation of devoted fans.
Throughout Cher's impressive 52-year career as a musician and actor, she's never stopped slaying. The absolutely breathtaking performer proved herself immutable to the ravages of time when she stepped on stage at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards — where she performed and accepted the Icon Award wearing a barely there outfit crafted from rhinestones and pasties, flaunting her unbelievable figure at 71. Although we haven't had any new albums from Cher since 2013's "Closer to the Truth," she did release "Ooga Booga" in 2017 — a song from the soundtrack of the TV series "Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh" — which even got a wild animated video to accompany it. As if she wasn't busy enough, Cher's also performing regularly in Las Vegas, showing us all that age ain't nothing but a number while being a diva is a lifetime pursuit.
The same year the music gods gifted us with Madonna, we also got quirky and cool Cyndi Lauper. Her 1983 debut album, "She's So Unusual," had hit songs that we still sing today, like "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "Time After Time," and earned her the first of two Grammys she's won over the course of her career. The album earned her another distinction: She's the first female performer to have four top-five singles on Billboard's Hot 100 chart off one album. While consistently releasing new albums every few years, Cyndi — a mom of one with husband David Thornton — also dabbled in the acting world, starring in films like "Vibes," "Off and Running" and "Life with Mikey." In 2012, Cyndi published "Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir," which a New York Times critic called "Brassy… erratic, sometimes goofy and… not quite as dumb as it may seem." She followed her memoir with the 2013 soundtrack album for the Broadway production "Kinky Boots" — which earned Cyndi her second Grammy as well as a Tony Award for best original score.
Reinvention is key and no one knows that more than Cyndi Lauper. In 2016, the 63-year-old star released her 11th studio album, "Detour," which literally took a detour from her pop-rock roots and explored her talent for country music. The album reached No. 29 on the Billboard 200 and debuted at No. 4 on the Top Country Albums chart. In 2017, Cyndi teamed up with fellow music legend Rod Stewart for a month-long tour across America.
We cannot talk about pop divas without mentioning Gloria Estefan. She first came into the spotlight in 1977 when she joined the band Miami Sound Machine as its lead singer. Gloria became so popular that eventually, the band dropped its name from the act (although they continued to play music for all of Gloria's albums). Some of her hit songs include "Conga," "1-2-3," "Rhythm is Gonna Get You" and "Cuts Both Ways" — with many of her songs incorporating her native Spanish language into the lyrics. The three-time Grammy winner, who's been married since 1978 to former Miami Sound Machine member and music producer Emilio Estefan, is considered to be one of the Latin American pop stars who paved the way for future Spanish-language artists like Selena Quintanilla, Shakira, Ricky Martin and more. Along with being an award-winning singer, Gloria, a mother of two, is also a published author. She has two children's books — "The Magically Mysterious Adventures of Noelle the Bulldog" and "Noelle's Treasure Tale: A New Magically Mysterious Adventure" — as well as her 2008 cookbook, "Estefan Kitchen."
Although Gloria Estefan hasn't released an album since 2013's "The Standards" — a compilation of covers of her favorite songs — that doesn't mean she's faded into obscurity. Gloria, who's now 60 (and a proud grandma!) was announced in 2017 as the first Cuban-American singer and songwriter to be included in the Kennedy Center Honors for her contributions in the world of performing arts. Other honorees included Lionel Richie and LL Cool J. Since 1997, Gloria has also been active in her charity, the Gloria Estefan Foundation, which promotes "educational, health and cultural development." In recent years, Gloria and husband Emilio Estefan have used their foundation to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to areas in need in Miami, where they live. In 2017, the musical "On Your Feet!" — based on Gloria and Emilio's early life — opened in the Netherlands after spending nearly two years on Broadway. It will also tour internationally as well as open in several more foreign countries.
Before soft-spoken Janet Jackson stole our hearts with her hit songs, she was a child actress in Hollywood starring on shows like "Good Times," "Diff'rent Strokes," "The Love Boat" and "Fame." In 1982 while on "Diff'rent Strokes," Janet dropped her self-titled debut album but failed to make an impact on the music world. It would take two more albums and four more years before the name Janet (Ms. Jackson if you're nasty) became synonymous with amazing music. It was the release of her third studio album in 1986, "Control," that skyrocketed 20-year-old Janet to the realms of superstardom alongside her more popular older brother, Michael Jackson. Hit songs on the album included "Nasty," "What Have You Done For Me Lately" and "Let's Wait Awhile" and earned her the first three Grammy nominations of her career. Other albums soon followed, like "Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814″ (it won her a Grammy!) and "janet.," which preceded her major motion picture debut in the 1993 film "Poetic Justice." Over the years, Janet's continued to make hit music and enjoy life as a pop and (occasional) movie star. After the loss of brother Michael in 2009, Janet seemed dedicated to making the most of her life.
Fame doesn't come without it's fair share of heartbreak, even for notoriously private Janet Jackson. The 51-year-old singer has continued to enjoy success on the music charts, but she hasn't been as lucky in love. After two failed marriages (to James DeBarge and Rene Elizondo Jr.) and a long relationship with producer Jermaine Dupri, Janet had hoped her 2012 marriage to Qatari business mogul Wissam Al Mana would be her chance at lasting love. The couple welcomed their first child, son Eissa, in January 2017 and all seemed right in the world. That is, until news surfaced that Janet was divorcing Wassim just three months later. In May, Janet addressed the split, saying the couple were in court and it was "in God's hands." She also soon returned to the stage, kicking off her State of the World Tour in September. In November, she made headlines for dropping 70 pounds without cardio.
Let's be real — there's no bigger diva in pop music (or music in general) than the legendary musician, singer and entertainer Elton John. He's been making us dance, cry, laugh and sing along with him since 1969 and has released so many albums, it's near impossible to talk about our favorites (they're all so good). His hit songs include "Your Song," "Rocket Man," "Candle in the Wind," "I Guess That's Why They Call it The Blues" and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." He's won five Grammys (including the Grammy Legends Award in 2000 — plus he's had three albums inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame) and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Elton also has an Oscar for best original song (for "The Lion King") and a Tony Award for best original score (for "Aida"). Not only that, but Elton's long been an advocate for LGBTQ equality and established the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992 to help combat the disease that's taken the lives of so many of his friends, as well as provide treatment for those affected. He's an icon in every sense of the word and was even made a knight by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998. If one thing's for certain, it's that Sir Elton still isn't finished making his mark on the world.
A lot has happened in Elton John's life in recent years. The 70-year-old entertainer, who's been with husband David Furnish since 1993, became a father in 2010 and again in 2013 to sons Elijah and Zachary. In 2016, Elton released his 30th studio album, "Wonderful Crazy Night," and continued his six-year residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. His critically acclaimed Vegas show, "The Million Dollar Piano," is set to end in May 2018. In 2017, Harvard named Elton its Humanitarian of the Year for his work with the Elton John AIDS Foundation, reminding us that even when we're devoting our lives to our careers, there's always time to make a difference.