The Stunning Transformation Of Billie Lourd

Billie Lourd is Hollywood royalty. The daughter of Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher and talent agent Bryan Lourd, she is also the granddaughter of Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher. With so many stellar genes in her DNA, it's no wonder that Lourd is also mega talented.

Despite her privileged pedigree, Lourd spent most of her life out of the limelight. It wasn't until 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens that audiences became aware of the fact that Fisher's adorable little girl was all grown up. The film was Lourd's first acting gig, but it was far from her last. She went on to star in other shows and films, including Scream Queens, American Horror Story, and Booksmart.

Lourd was just coming into her success when her life was marked by tragedy: the back-to-back losses of her mother and grandmother. Their deaths had a profound impact on Lourd, but also made her that much more determined to honor their legacy. Here's a closer look at how much Billie Lourd has transformed over the years.

Billie Lourd's childhood was far from conventional

When your dad is a highly sought-after talent agent and your mom and grandma are two of the most iconic legends in Hollywood history, your childhood is bound to be anything but normal. Billie Lourd grew up surrounded by celebrities. She recalls being brought to a makeout party held by Gore Vidal at the age of ten, telling Town & Country that she grew up a little "too comfortable" around adults.

While her mother Carrie Fisher was spontaneous, her dad Bryan Lourd provided some necessary structure in Lourd's upbringing. "He gets home at the same time every day, and we eat dinner together, we do homework together, we watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and cry, and then go to sleep," Lourd said of spending time with her father. "At Mom's it was like, "Let's put Christmas lights in the palm trees at 2 a.m." She continued, saying, "Do you remember when Sharper Image was 24 hours? ... We went there all the time, 1 a.m. or 3 a.m., just picking up little trinkets as if that was what you do!"

Billie Lourd had a close relationship with her grandmother

Billie Lourd had a particularly close relationship with her grandmother, screen icon Debbie Reynolds. "First of all, she gets really upset when I get called 'Carrie Fisher's daughter,'" she said on Late Night With Seth Meyers in 2016. "She wants people to call me 'Debbie Reynolds' granddaughter. It's very offensive to her. She does not like to be cut out — not at all." Lourd added that Reynolds loved watching her granddaughter on Scream Queens.

The Hollywood legend was always encouraging Lourd to put "an act" together. "Literally three days before she died, she was like, 'What numbers are you going to put in your act? Who are you going to impersonate,'" Lourd told Town & Country. "I said, 'I don't think people do acts as much anymore.' And she came back, 'That's why if you do one you'll be more successful than anyone else. The act is a dying art, and someone needs to revive it.'"

Billie Lourd was raised as a strong feminist

Considering that she was brought up by two women as strong and outspoken as Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, it's not surprising that Billie Lourd is also an empowered feminist. "[My mother] told me to be true, and kind, and confident in yourself," Lourd told Teen Vogue. "She raised me to not think of men and women as different. She raised me without gender. It's kind of the reason she named me Billie. It's not about being a strong woman — it's about being a strong person. She once told me, 'I never sat you down with a credo. It was more about leading by example.'"

Fisher's most iconic character, Princess Leia, was another influence on Lourd, who said the Star Wars character was "kind of like my stepmom" in a piece for Time. "...Leia is more than just a character," wrote Lourd. "She's a feeling. She is strength. She is grace. She is wit. She is femininity at its finest. She knows what she wants, and she gets it. She doesn't need anyone to defend her, because she defends herself."

Billie Lourd's family did not want her to act

Billie Lourd's family was dead-set against her embarking on a career in show business and did everything they could to talk her out of it. It was a reaction that Lourd anticipated, resulting in her hiding her desire to be an actress for years. "I think in a normal family they would have looked at me and been like, 'Hey, this kid's a performer,'" she told Town & Country. "But I was so scared. I was embarrassed, honestly. Because they were like, 'This is going to be a really s***** lifestyle, and everyone's going to be scrutinizing you deeply and constantly.'"

While Lourd's family was initially resistant, they eventually came around. Her mom even encouraged her to audition for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in which she landed a small role. "The thing is, I was bizarrely comfortable on set," said Lourd. "My mother would pull me aside and be like, 'It's weird that you're so comfortable here. This is the most uncomfortable environment in the world. If you're comfortable here, you should do this.'"

Billie Lourd created her own college major

Before she had the nerve to tell her family that she wanted to pursue an acting career, Billie Lourd went off to college. She initially went to Wesleyan University, a private liberal arts college in Middletown, Connecticut, for a semester, desiring a "traditional college vibe." But, thanks to her unconventional childhood, she found the environment stifling. She told Town & Country"... People would do normal college things." Lourd continued, telling the publication, "After having the childhood that I did, it was like going backward 10 years. I was driving to New York every weekend anyway, so I ended up transferring."

Lourd transferred to New York University (NYU), where she designed her own major: "Art and Business as Religion." Lourd explained, "I wasn't raised religious at all, but they allowed me to, like, dip into each religion. One weekend I wanted to be Buddhist, so Mom brought me to a temple and showed me the Siddhartha movie. And then I wanted to be Jewish, we went to shabbat, we went to bat mitzvahs."

The deaths of her mother and grandmother had a major impact on Billie Lourd

Carrie Fisher died on December 27, 2016. Fisher's mother, Debbie Reynolds, passed away the very next day. Their deaths left Billie Lourd devastated. Her mother and grandmother had each played a huge role in her life, and Lourd was close to both of them.

While the loss of the two women came as a huge blow to Lourd, it provided her a new opportunity, in a way. "I've always kind of lived in their shadows, and now is the first time in my life when I get to own my life and stand on my own," she told Town & Country. "I love being my mother's daughter, and it's something I always will be, but now I get to be just Billie."

Lourd is also doing her best to honor her mother's memory. "It's a lot of pressure, because she had such an incredible legacy, and now I have to uphold that and make it evolve in my own way," she said.

American Horror Story saved Billie Lourd's life

After her mother and her grandmother died, Billie Lourd threw herself into her work. She landed a role on the seventh season of American Horror Story known as American Horror Story: Cult. After her tragic loss, and the show helped pull her through some dark times. "When [executive producer] Ryan [Murphy] offered me Cult, it was just a few months after my mom passed, and it honestly helped me process all of my emotions through these characters," the actress told Entertainment Tonight.

While the acting gig could, naturally, not make up for the losses she experienced, Lourd was able to work through her own grief over the course of the season. "And it's been really healing and cathartic in an amazing way, and getting to be around all the incredible people on set, they've become like a family to me, and I cannot thank Ryan enough," she said. "Honestly, it kind of saved my life."

Being part of American Horror Story also gave Lourd a second family of sorts. "It's the biggest gift any gal could ever get learning from these incredible actors," she told Hollywood Life. "They're my family for real."

Billie Lourd uses her heartbreak to help others through the grieving process

Billie Lourd will miss her mother and grandmother for the rest of her life, but she has found a way to use her heartbreak to help others through the grieving process. In an Instagram post on Christmas 2019, Lourd posted a picture of herself with her mother and her grandmother. In the caption, she wrote "Happy holidays! (But also sad/emotional/weird/stressful holidays!) Sending my love to everyone who has lost someone they loved and is missing them a little extra today. I see you. It's okay if everything ain't all merry and bright. It can be a mix of all of it. And it's all okay. Feel all the feelings — the good and the not so good."

Lourd posted other encouraging messages throughout the year. On Mother's Day 2019, she shared a picture of her mom on Instagram with another heartfelt caption: I've come to realize it's also okay to have a Sad Mother's Day, Weird Mother's Day, Funny Mother's Day, Angry Mother's Day, Frustrated Mother's Day or all of the above ... sending my love to anyone who needs it."

Billie Lourd maintains a tight bond with her dad's family

Billie Lourd lost two of the most important people in her life when her mother and grandmother passed away, but, thankfully, she still has other family members in her support network. Her father married his longtime boyfriend, Bill Bozzi, in 2016. Bozzi posted a photo on Instagram of their big day, showing off the happy couple and their kids. Lourd was present, along with her younger sister, with whom she shares an especially close bond.

"I always wanted siblings," Lourd admitted to Town & Country in 2017. She added that she'd been "bummed" about not having any. Lourd revealed that her mom had tried to adopt another child, but "the home study was not strong." She added, "But now I have a little sister. My dad got married a year ago and I have a nine-year-old little sister who's absolutely awesome. She's kind of like my daughter, too."

Billie Lourd keeps her love life out of the limelight

According to People, Billie Lourd and her boyfriend, Austen Rydell, first got together in 2016, but they split after a few months. They then got back together in October 2017, and, as of this writing, seem to have been going strong since then. Lourd posts plenty of pictures of her beau, sharing moments of them in Disneyland, Japan, Hawaii, among other places. But, other than appearing on her social media, Rydell seems to keep out of the limelight. Lourd doesn't seem to discuss her relationship very much, although she did casually mention in a 2018 interview with Elle that her boyfriend had been with her at Coachella.

According to IMDb, Rydell is also in the entertainment industry, and has a handful of acting roles under his belt. A LinkedIn profile in his name lists him as the president of entertainment at Morning Moon Productions. 

Billie Lourd feels connected to the memories of her mom and grandma through social media

Losing her mother and her grandmother, especially in such a short time span, took a toll on Billie Lourd. The fact that both women were so famous and so beloved means that there are pictures of them everywhere on social media. For many, getting bombarded with images of your lost loved ones would be painful. Fortunately, Lourd finds their internet presence comforting more than anything, and the many pictures of them that fans post on social media helps keep their memory alive.

"Actually, my mom has tons of fan accounts, and it's so, so nice to get to see because they have all these pictures that I haven't seen and I wouldn't see unless they posted them," she told Paper. "So it's really, really nice, because I kind of get to connect with my mom and grandma every day through social media, through these people that support them. It's really lovely."

Billie Lourd has been mentored by some of Hollywood's greatest

Aside from the influential members of her own family who told Billie Lourd everything she needed to know about show business, the star has been blessed with some incredible mentors. She considers American Horror Story costar Sarah Paulson one of her biggest inspirations. "I always tell Sarah I want to grow up to be her," Lourd told Elle. "She's the most brilliant. If I could have half the career she's had, I'd love that."

Lourd's godmother, Meryl Streep, has also influenced her, as has Jamie Lee Curtis. "The main advice that every older actress and human has given me is just stay true to yourself, and have fun," said the actress. "Enjoy yourself, and take a step back and try to not be stressed every day. Take a second in your day and realize how amazing it is. I try to do that all the time, that's something my mom always did, too. Even if your day is crazy, just to take a step back and be grateful. Life is short, and appreciate it."

Billie Lourd refuses to let trolls get to her

Being on social media can be difficult for anyone, whether or not they're famous. Cyberbullying is a huge problem across the internet, but Billie Lourd doesn't let the hurtful comments get under her skin. When someone tries to attack her on social media, she refuses to fight back. Instead, she wants to keep her social media profiles a positive space.

"Absolutely not," she told Paper when asked if she fights back against online bullies. "I only speak with positivity. I try to ignore the troll-y humans as much as I can. Because there's no point, they're trying to get a rise out of you. You have to feel sorry for those people, because there's something up with them that they're dealing with. It's not about you usually. So I try to just ignore that stuff and encourage the positivity."

Fortunately, though, Lourd hasn't attracted too many haters. She told the publication that she's "pretty lucky" when it comes to being trolled. Perhaps it's her relatability that keeps her from the worst of the abuse. "I try to be as real and raw as I can all the time," she said.

Billie Lourd wants to record an album one day

According to his biography, Eddie Fisher, Billie Lourd's grandfather, was one of the most popular singers of the 1950s. Lourd's grandmother, Debbie Reynolds, could also sing and was known for starring in musicals like Singin' in the Rain and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. While Carrie Fisher inherited an impressive set of pipes from her parents, she didn't do much singing throughout her career.

Lourd, however, has big plans for her own impressive singing voice, which she has shown off on Instagram. She plans to record an album one day, which is something her mother and grandmother would've likely wholeheartedly supported. Lourd has an incredible voice, but, as she told Town & Country, we'll have to wait for her to "develop the balls" to record an album. She added that her "goal is to do it before I'm 30." As of this writing, she still has some time.

When that album does indeed drop, we can probably expect a bluesy, soulful vibe from Lourd. "I'm obsessed with Norah Jones and Amy Winehouse, Etta James," she told Elle. "I'm really into blues and R&B type of stuff, '90s hip-hop, that's my jam."