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Bella Thorne Now: A Close Look at What Happened to the Former Disney Star

Bella Thorne Now: A Close Look at What Happened to the Former Disney Star

In defense of Bella Thorne now (who seems like she might be kind of cool?), growing up is hard and it's a lot harder when you have a bunch of strangers watching you do it...

Leave Britney—and Bella alone!

We've got a lot to cover about Bella Thorne today. From her Disney emergence to scandals, her dating life, and where she is now, get ready to dive in:

Who is Bella Thorne, Really?

At only 25 years old, Bella Thorne has spent 24 and a half years of her young life in the entertainment industry.

Her first paid gig started when she was just 6 months old in Matt Damon's buddy comedy, Stuck On You in 2003.

In the years since, Thorne's IMDB page sports a staggering 122 acting credits in the years since her 6-month-old film debut.

Bella Throne Now and co-star Zendaya on the red carpet
Steve Granitz/Getty

Thorne is one of many famous Disney Channel alums -- starring as 'CeCe' alongside Zendaya in their show Shake It Up!. In the years since the Disney show ended, the now-25-year-old has had a controversial career trajectory.

But don't get it twisted, Bella Thorne doesn't deserve the heat.

The internet (as per usual) has done a bang-up job of painting Bella Thorne in an unflattering light. Mocking Thorne's creative choices, slut-shaming her for releasing her own nudes after being blackmailed, and routinely comparing her to her friend and former co-star Zendaya. (The two-time Emmy-winning actress, and #1 draft pick for 'America's Sweetheart.' Yes, an actress so beloved she could drop her last name.)

Still, Bella Thorne is, by even the highest standards, resilient.

Since her departure from Disney Channel*...

*the totalitarian children's TV network that almost fired Thorne at 14 years oldfor wearing a bikini the beach!

...Thorne has been on the receiving end of countless controversies, and maybe, just maybe, more than her allotted share.

Pulling back the curtain on Bella's life, if only just an inch, it would seem that perhaps, for her haters, critics, and Whoopi Goldberg, some empathy is in order.

She Started Modelling at 6 Weeks Old

Born Annabella Avery Thorne on October 8, 1997, in the small Floridian town, Pembroke Pines, "Bella" Thorne began her career as a child model at 6 weeks old and was acting in films by the time she was six.

Bella Thorne as a kid
Bella Thorne

“I started modeling when I was 6 weeks old, out of the womb, literally. And then I modelled every single day growing up -- my whole life, like, three jobs a day? You name it.”

- Bella Thorne on the loose laws of child labour

While the other children her age were starting the first grade, Bella was on set memorizing her lines despite her not-yet-diagnosed dyslexia. Her playground was a packed soundstage, with busy adults, who were always behind schedule.

Studies (conducted by me) show "set" isn't an ideal environment for a child. TBH, sometimes it's so stressful, I'd argue it's not even an ideal environment for an adult. The bedside manner of a key grip? Questionable at best...

But in the fast-paced, well-paying, film industry when there are 500 other kids just like you, begging for their shot (who'd take your place in a heartbeat) --you don't ask adults to bend down and tell you what's happening, you source the nearest stepping stool and meet them at eye level.

And that's exactly what Bella Thorne did. If she didn't, she wouldn't have made it this far.

The multi-talented star performed in a series of commercials, campaigns, and TV shows before landing the (allegedly) career-catapulting role of 'CeCe' on Disney Channel's Shake It Up! in 2010, though Thorne recalls it differently.

A Star-Maker or Star-Breaker? Landing Shake It Up!

Shake It Up! was a popular Disney Channel sitcom that had a 3-season run (2010-2013), with a costume department that walked so Baz Luhrmann could run.

Bella Thorne and Zendaya, Shake It Up! promo

Craig Sjodin
 / Contributor

The series followed the lives of best friends CeCe Jones (Thorne), and Rocky Blue (Zendaya).

Set in Chicago, the show revolved around their adventures as they pursued their dream of becoming professional dancers on the local television show "Shake It Up, Chicago!".

But Bella's own life was a far cry from the character she played on screen.

Her Father's Sudden Passing Changed Everything

At 9 years old, Bella Thorne's father Reinaldo "Rey" Thorne was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident leaving Bella and her three older siblings, half-sister Kaili, Dani, and Remy Thorne in the care of their single mother, Tamara.

While for many young actors, being a Disney Channel star is the ultimate dream, for Bella Thorne it was anything but.

From HBO to Disney Channel

At 9 years old, Bella Thorne landed what she hoped would be her breakout role. 'Tancy' was a recurring character on HBO's Big Love, but in the wake of her father's death, Bella Thorne had unwittingly become her family's breadwinner.

While the HBO role gave Bella Thorne's career the right optics to be considered a "real" actor, the paycheck wasn't enough for Bella to support her family of six. In fact, at the time of landing Shake It Up! Bella's family was facing eviction and living off coupons.

As a result, Bella was pushed into auditioning for Disney Channel's new kid's show Shake It Up!

In a candid interview with Josh Horowitz on MTV podcast Happy Sad Confused, Bella Thorne calls out that time in her career for what it was:

"I didn't want to audition for Shake It Up! I literally said in my audition, 'I don't sing. I don't dance. I'm basically tone deaf, and I'm not funny. So I don't know why I'm here.' And everybody just started laughing. They all thought it was a joke."

"We were about to live physically on the street if I didn't have that role. We were living off Stouffer's coupons, and that's all we had to eat every day. That may not sound like a big deal to everybody, but when you're a single mom raising four kids with debt and you have nothing to your name, it's fucking shitty."

- Bella Thorne on Happy Sad Confused, 2017

After shooting 78 episodes, Bella Thorne parted ways with Disney, in hopes of picking up where she left off.

Famously, her co-star Zendaya stayed the course with Disney, renewing her contract and shooting a second series KC-Undercover (2015-18).

When Thorne escaped Disney she hit the ground running but struggled to find her footing in the later years as her creative choices lacked a clear trajectory.

Conversely, Zendaya, whose choice to continue with Disney Channel did seem as promising at the outset, later sky-rocketed to stardom when she landed the role of MJ in Marvel's Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017).

Not-so-coincidentally, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for $4 billion.

Finding Herself After Disney

After Shake It Up! wrapped in 2013, Thorne found herself in the midst of a reality that many former Disney Channel stars have experienced.

In her pursuit to help her family avoid homelessness, she had been professionally typecast.

"It was really hard to get a job after the show. People didn't want to read me. They didn't want to see me because they were like, 'She's a Disney actress.'" Fighting to get past the stereotypes, she found herself effectively at square one. "It was like starting back at the bottom and working my way up all the way again."

- Bella Thorne

But it wasn't just the casting offices.

Bella Thorne grappled with trying to shed her curated Disney Image, perhaps more notably within her own person.

Thorne who is now regarded for her transparency and authenticity, has since spoken out about how her time at Disney deeply affected her individuality---something she champions today.

Thorne's transition from TV to Film seemed to get off to a solid start when she soon landed the role of Adam Sandler's oldest daughter in the family rom-com Blended (2014).

Bella Thorne in The Duff
The Duff / Guy D'Alema

Among many other projects, the following year she starred as mean-girl 'Madison' in The Duff (2015) and would go on to play the romantic lead in the coming-of-age drama Midnight Sun (2017) opposite Patrick Schwarzenegger.

Bella Thorne and Patrick Schwarzenegger in The Midnight Sun
 Midnight Sun / Ed Araquel

However, even though Bella Thorne had escaped the watchful eye of Disney, she still faced pressure to conform to a certain kind of image that agents, studio execs, and the other faceless powers that be, outlined for her.

In a documentary released by Vogue titled The Life of Bella Thorne, Thorne broke her silence on how her agents pushed for her to go from 'Disney to comedy to lead love interest comedy to like Rachel McAdams type vibe,' which the Midnight Sun actress eventually kiboshed.

'I love Rachel McAdams, but I'm not Rachel McAdams,' she commented. 'I like the darker things. I like the gritty things. I like movies that feel uncomfortable, because that is what life is. 

- Bella Thorne

As a result, Thorne veered from the plan.

Instead of being highly selective with her 'brand' and by extension the projects she chose to put her name to, Bella Thorne became everything, to everyone, all at once.

And the risks didn't come without backfire.

Where is Bella Now: On Scandals, Successes, and Speaking Out

There's pretty much nothing Bella Thorne hasn't tried once: music, writing, directing, designing, OnlyFans you name it.

Bella Thorne Now, in Miami for Content X
Content X Campaign / Paige Maccready

The OnlyFans Scandal

When Bella Thorne joined OnlyFans (a subscription-based, adult content website) in 2020, she pocketed $1 million cash and crashed the website.

Her instant success prompted her to found her new venture Content X Studios, alongside her manager, Thor Bradwell.

Content X markets itself as a "social media influencer agency," though it's not entirely clear what this actually means, or how this manifests materially for their clients.

Bella Thorne Now, posing at the Versace mansion
Content X Campaign / Paige Maccready

The company has since received ambiguous backlash and their website seems to be a platform that's primary purpose is to redirect visitors to Bella Thorne's other recent projects.

Her business ventures include the Thorne Dynasty Jewelry Collection and a poetry collection (which I actually kind of liked), The Life of a Wannabe Mogul: Mental Disarray (2019).

At the time of her OnlyFans debut, Thorne received an array of absurd backlash, ranging from the notion she was stealing work from real sex workers who needed the funds (somehow Thorne was f*cking up the algorithm) to the claim that her OnlyFans account should be shut down on the grounds of false advertising (this can't be true, otherwise they'd have to outlaw fake boobs and then no one would be on OF).
Essentially the "feminist" community was up in arms because they claimed her $6 subscription was highway robbery and earned subscribers access to glorified Instagram posts*.

*To this day, I've never heard a single man bandwagon on the backlash but what do I know?

Bella Leaked Her Own Photos: Taking Her Power Back

Whoopi Goldberg and Bella Thorne have beef, who knew?

After Bella Thorne famously leaked her own nude photos in an attempt to get ahead of the anonymous hacker holding her private photos hostage for ransom, Whoopi Goldberg had a lot to say about it.

Whoopi Goldberg, who famously has never had her nudes leaked, took to The View to share her honeyed insights.

"...if you're famous, I don't care how old you are, you don't take nude pictures of yourself."

- Whoopi Goldberg, The View, 2022

That means you, King Charles. Do not, I repeat *DO NOT* email semi-clad pics to Camilla Parker Bowles, we will find them and we will release them.

In Her Own Defense

In a vulnerable series of Instagram stories and posts, Bella Thorne shared an emotional video of her speaking up about how deeply affected she was by Goldberg's comments.

Bella Thorne was met with overwhelming support by friends and fans alike and took to Instagram to share a few messages she received.

The hot topic and 'controversy' around Bella's body and how she uses it, is nothing new, and maybe that's why Bella has so much to say about it.

During the Sundance Film Festival (2023) red carpet, Bella refused to sign an overly-sexualized photo of herself, taken when she was underage. In an interview with "The Hollywood Reporter" the following day, Thorne recalled the incident.

"It's super sexy and my butt is out and I'm wearing lingerie and I'm topless. I said I wouldn't sign that and he took it away and then put it back in front of me again. I said, 'No, I'm not signing that."

- Bella Thorne to The Hollywood Reporter

This was not the first time Bella has spoken out on the subject of and defense of her body.

Her Body But Not Her Choice

In 2022, the former child star disclosed on Emily Ratajowski's podcast High Low With EmRata, she was let go from a project because the director claimed Thorne was "flirting with him and it made him feel uncomfortable."

Bella Thorne was 10 years old at the time.

Bella Thorne also bravely spoke out about physical and sexual abuse she had horrifically faced from ages six to 14, from a non-disclosed person she grew up with. Which, for the record, she didn't owe anyone.

So while it's easy to rip Bella Thorne apart because she's got over 25 million followers and she's good at posting a thirst trap, I won't be doing that, and I won't have time for people who do.

Because it's not really just about Bella Thorne.

Though the scale varies, in all our own small lives, I'm sure at some point or another, we've all felt totally exposed.

We've all felt that we had to justify our 'bad behavior' or over-divulged all our trauma to people who don't actually give a f*ck about the hard times we've been through 'cause they don't plan on being there for the hard times we're going to go through. Who among us, right?

Bella Thorne's been put through the wringer, ok. Stay out of her personal life, maybe? Let her direct her next short film, release her next music video, and design her jewelry in peace!

It's like people forget that remaining unapologetically yourself is actually really hard. It takes a lot of mental toughness, to not let the bastards get you down, and try to remain un-jaded through it all.

Thankfully for Bella, every thorne has its *rose*.

Page from Bella Thorne's book
The Life of a Wannabe Mogul: Mental Disarray

An Epilogue: Big Things *fingers crossed* Are Coming

In May of 2023, Bella Thorne got engaged to fiancee Mark Emms after a string of on-and-off relationships.

Emms is a British producer who has collaborated with heavy hitters in the industry like John Legend, Stevie Wonder, and Dua Lipa to name a few.

Bella Thorne now, engaged to fiance Mark Emms

As for Thorne, she is shooting her next movie Saint Clare -- a feature film that follows Clare Bleecker, a quiet Catholic college student who has a penchant for killing.

Written by American Psycho screenwriter Guinevere Turner and co-starring Ryan Phillippe, the project looks promising and is slated for a 2023 release.

Thorne will also appear alongside Aaron Eckhart in Rumble Through the Dark in 2023 and will star in a crime-comedy called, The Trainer, with Paris Hilton.

Folks, let's not count out Bella Thorne's happy ending just yet...

More "Where Are They Now" Pieces From Goalcast:

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