The Stunning Transformation Of Bella Thorne

If you were watching Disney Channel in the 2010's, you're probably familiar with "Shake It Up," the show that made child actors Zendaya and Bella Thorne famed triple threats. Though the pair worked together for a number of years, the former went on to become an iconic Emmy-winning actor, while the latter dipped her toe in a few industries before hitting her stride as an actor, singer, writer, producer, and director.

There are probably a number of things you don't know about Thorne, like that things haven't always come easily to the redheaded star. She's fought hard for her career from the time she was just 6 years old and has since become a social media sensation with a striking fashion sense to match. In speaking with ABC News' "Nightline," Thorne expressed the importance of facing difficulties early on in life and using her platform for good, saying, "The things that have happened to me in my life have happened to me, I feel, for a reason. And it sounds cheesy, but it's a reason for change. ... I have a platform to speak out, and it must be for a f***ing reason."

Thorne has undergone a stunning transformation over the years, from her humble beginnings as a young actor trying to help her family to the struggles she faced on Disney Channel, and the many twists and turns in her career. Here are some of the personal, professional, and romantic highlights that have astonished her fans.

Bella Thorne began acting to help out her family

Annabella Avery "Bella" Thorne was born to Tamara and Delancey Thorne in Florida on October 8, 1997. She and her three siblings have all been involved in acting and modeling from a young age. She was only 6 weeks old when she appeared on the cover of Parents Magazine. When she was 6 years old, she landed her first acting gig with an uncredited role in the Farrelly Brothers comedy "Stuck on You," but her pursuit as a child actor wasn't necessarily born out of passion; it was out of necessity because her family had been struggling.

When Thorne was just 9 years old, her father tragically died in a car accident, leaving her mother to raise her children as a single parent. While speaking on the "Happy Sad Confused" podcast in 2017, she revealed that she auditioned for Disney Channel to keep her family from becoming homeless. "We literally were about to live actually, like physically, on the street ... if I didn't have that role. We were living off of Stouffer coupons that we got from an event, and that's all we had to eat every day," Thorne remarked.

By 2006, she had landed a handful of roles, including in a Target commercial and a voice role in "The Ant Bully" video game. Thorne slowly worked her way up the ladder until, after years of auditions and small roles, she hit the big time with "Shake It Up."

She was diagnosed with dyslexia

Growing up part Cuban, Bella Thorne's first language was Spanish but she stopped speaking it when she began attending school due to her learning disorder. The former child star has been very open about having dyslexia, which can make reading and writing more difficult due to how the brain processes speech and letters. In 2012, Thorne released a video with Disney Channel in which she told the story of how she found out she had dyslexia. "I remember when I started first grade. Right away, it was awful 'cause I couldn't read as well as the other kids. My brain mixed up letters like B and D, and M and W," she said. Despite this setback, Thorne said that with practice, the experience made her more resilient.

While speaking on the "Chicks in the Office" podcast in 2019, Thorne revealed that she's very self-taught when it comes to her successes, adding that she taught herself to read and count. "I never learned how to read and I learned how to read from reading scripts. I never learned how to count and I learned how to count from counting my dad's cash," she said.

Bella Thorne became a Disney Channel star alongside Zendaya

Over the course of her young career, Bella Thorne appeared on several television shows, some of which were in recurring roles. However, it wasn't until 2010 that she secured her biggest part, on "Shake It Up," and it launched her and her co-star's careers. On the show, Thorne and Zendaya played CeCe Jones and Rocky Blue respectively, best friends who fulfill their dreams of becoming professional dancers on a reality dancing show.

In 2021, Thorne spoke with Fox News about keeping a squeaky clean image while on Disney Channel, saying, "There are definitely a lot of pressures in the Disney eye to be so perfect, and I think that's where Disney in a sense goes wrong because they make their kids seem perfect. ... Little kids growing up don't need to see perfect people. Kids need to see real."

The actor's issues with "Shake It Up" weren't just about her image either. She also struggled with her and her co-star's dynamic. Thorne and Zendaya struggled to get along while filming the first season of the show, as she explained to Us Weekly in 2021. "[It was hard] not having someone pitted against you [before] and then all of a sudden, now everyone is pitting you against each other. That fed into our heads. It made us not [be] friends in that first season," Thorne said. Luckily, the dancing duo eventually grew close and remain supportive of one another.

She was nearly broke when she left Disney in 2013

After three seasons and 75 episodes, "Shake It Up" came to an end. During their Disney Channel reign, Bella Thorne and Zendaya had also released music and starred in a TV movie together, but come 2013, the redheaded actor's days on the network were over. By the time Thorne was 18 years old, she had just $200 and ended up moving in with her boyfriend to keep a roof over her head.

In a 2018 interview with the Los Angeles Times, the actor hinted at but never explicitly stated where all of her earnings went. The publication waged a guess that the Coogan Law, which enables employers to withhold 15% of a minor's earnings in order to prevent all of their money going to the child's parents, may have been a factor. "I didn't think things were going to go down like that. And then half of me is like, 'Come on, Bella. Look at your whole life. Don't be naive. You knew somewhere deep down inside things were not right,'" she stated.

Thankfully, Thorne was able to continue booking roles following her exit from Disney Channel, appearing in "Blended" and "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" in 2014.

Bella Thorne has played a high school bully more than once

Even though she made a name for herself playing the sweet CeCe Jones on "Shake It Up," Bella Thorne was quick to drop her nice girl image. Just two years after leaving Disney Channel, the actor played the antagonistic mean girl Madison Morgan in "The DUFF." Although Thorne played the vain, cruel, and self-proclaimed "hottest girl in school" with ease, she revealed to the Irish Examiner in 2015 that she initially auditioned for the role of Bianca, the film's designated ugly fat friend who receives the wrath of Madison.

"Hopefully, this movie will change people and make kids more aware of what they are doing. ... I am trying to change the world, little by little, but I am still me. I'm only 17 and I'm going to make mistakes," Thorne explained.

Apparently, the actor developed a taste for playing antagonistic high school bully characters and continued to play similar roles. That same year, Thorne was cast in "Scream: The TV Series" as resident mean girl Nina Patterson. Then, in 2017's "The Babysitter," she played Allison, a superficial cheerleader who's (spoiler alert) in a satanic cult.

She became a series regular on Famous in Love

In 2017, Freeform premiered the series "Famous in Love," about Paige Townsen, a college student (played by Bella Thorne) who juggles her academics and a romance between two heartthrobs in the midst of becoming a famous actor. It was the first time since her Disney Channel days that Thorne portrayed a character over multiple seasons of a show, so it was a shame that her experience with the network wasn't very positive.

After starring on the show for two seasons, she ultimately learned of the show's cancellation through a June 2018 tweet posted by "If this is how I find out our show is canceled..I'm going to be so upset. Very hurtful freeform. I woulda liked a phone call maybe," Thorne tweeted in response. It was a surprising revelation, and her fans were quick to comment with support.

In October 2018, Thorne spoke with the Los Angeles Times about the extent of Freeform's alleged behavior. She claimed the network labeled her as being difficult to work with, "[B]ecause they were scared I was going to go running my mouth if I was upset. ... One issue is when you have a girl, a young girl who is on your show, you can't tell her that she's ugly or she's fat or she's this or she's that because that's going to make her feel bad," she said. Thorne added that Freeform referred to her as "ugly" in emails and on set.

Bella Thorne launched a music label in 2018

Like many Disney Channel stars, Bella Thorne released a few pop tracks while signed with the company, and she continued to make music long after "Shake It Up" ended. During a Coachella weekend party in 2018, she launched her music label Filthy Fangs, which comprised her own music, as well as that of her sister Dani Thorne, aka COM3T. The sisters celebrated with sets from Carter Cruise, Master of the People, Alvin Risk, Wedznday, and many other electronic artists, and that same night, Thorne also debuted her first single with her label, "B**** I'm Bella Thorne."

A few months later, Thorne and her sister spoke with Billboard about their entrepreneurial spirits and what Filthy Fangs can bring to the table. "To be independent and also give artists their independence back in a way with creative freedom, and we really have a really eclectic mix for all the people signed to the label currently," COM3T explained.

She released a book of poems in 2019

Bella Thorne has proved herself a jack-of-all-trades, having already demonstrated her talents in acting, music, and now writing as well. She had previously released three young adult novels in her "Autumn Falls" series between 2014 and 2016. The books, about a high schooler who struggles with popularity and her love life, were loosely based on Thorne's own experiences. But just a few years later, she went in a completely different direction, publishing a book of deeply personal poetry titled "The Life of a Wannabe Mogul: A Mental Disarray."

In a June 2019 interview with BUILD, Thorne spoke about the therapeutic aspect of writing her book, saying, "I kept very much every single bit of me in there in that way to really show where I started and where I am. I definitely do feel different, I feel lighter, my mind feels lighter, I feel happier." Thorne added that her poetry is her "saddest self," which is why she wanted to get her feelings out on the page and not let them "fester."

Bella Thorne broke into directing

Disney Channel alum Bella Thorne was just 21 when she directed her first music video, and she went on to work on upward of 10 total over the course of just a few years, as well as a commercial for her skin care products. Then, in 2019, Bella Thorne made her first pornographic film, "Her & Him," for Pornhub's Visionaries Director's Series. In a behind the scenes video, she explained that the short was centered around the "relationship between a male and female and this fight over dominance and how much that relates to us in our general world, besides in a sexual scenario."

Thorne didn't stop there and has continued her work behind the camera, debuting her second short in 2023, "Paint Her Red," which she also wrote and starred in. In an interview with Deadline, the actor-turned-director spoke about the project, which shined a light on a women's experience under the patriarchy through a metaphorical lens. She explained, "Directing has always been something that I've just loved. When I'm on set, I'm behind the camera. I'm asking the D.P. questions. I'm wondering, and that's always been how it was for me since [I was] really, really young."

She's appeared in a number of music videos

Bella Thorne hasn't been shy when it comes to expressing herself musically, and to accompany her pop/rap tracks, she's released a number of music videos. Unfortunately, not everyone has loved the star's shorts, leading to the removal of her 2021 music video "Shake It" from YouTube shortly after its premiere. The video, which Thorne also directed, depicts strongly suggestive scenes between adult film actor Abella Danger and Thorne herself, but Thorne told People that she stands by the video.

"There are so many explicit things [on YouTube], and those videos are still up and they don't get taken down — there's nothing that explicit in this video. It's because me and Abella; it's girl on girl. Is there a world where it's me and a man and it doesn't get taken down? Because that, I think, is very possible," Thorne stated.

While Thorne has established herself musically with her own singles, she's also been making cameos in several other artists' music videos. If you're a fan of Keke Palmer, Bhad Bhabie, or Steve Aoki, you've probably seen the redheaded actor pop up in their music videos. From riding a motorized bull with Oliver Tree in "Cowboys Don't Cry" to kissing Fletcher on a motorcycle in "Becky's So Hot," Thorne has become a frequent fixture in pop music videos.

Bella Thorne came under fire in 2020

As an outspoken woman in the entertainment industry, Bella Thorne is no stranger to controversy, so not many fans were surprised when she came under fire in August 2020. The then-22-year-old actor had recently joined OnlyFans and made $2 million in less than a week on the platform. It's not like Thorne needed the money, and she stated that she would be putting the funds toward her production company and making donations to charity.

She claimed her reason for creating an OnlyFans account was so she could research for a movie she was making with Sean Baker, the director of "Tangerine" and "The Florida Project." As she explained to the Los Angeles Times, "It's a feature we are researching as I'm living it currently. What are the ins and outs? What does a platform like this do to its users? ... How far are you willing to go and how far do you want to go? You can be me, or this talented girl from Montana, and OnlyFans could change your life — if you want it to, of course."

Thorne was charging $200 for nude photos of herself, but her subscribers instead received photos of the actor wearing lingerie, leading several to demand refunds. This led the website to make changes like capping tip amounts and decreasing pay frequency to its users. To make matters worse, Baker later denied Thorne's claims that they had been working on a film together.

She got engaged to Mark Emms in 2023

Bella Thorne has had a few high profile relationships over the years, including with fellow Disney Channel alum Gregg Sulkin, Tyler Posey of "Teen Wolf" fame, Charlie Puth, as well as a simultaneous relationships with both Tana Mongeau and Mod Sun. She was also even engaged to musician Benjamin Mascolo. She and Mascolo called off their engagement in June 2022, and it was only a couple of months later that she laid eyes on Mark Emms, producer of "Bad Vegan" while at Cara Delevingne's birthday party in August of that year.

"It was love at first sight as the sun rose," Thorne told Vogue. Just nine months later, in May 2023, Emms proposed to the "Time Is Up" actor with an astonishing emerald-cut diamond ring, and the happy couple took to Instagram to post photos celebrating their engagement. In speaking with Vogue, Thorne didn't divulge too much information on her wedding plans, but did tease, "Every bride does not need one gown, but four!"