By now, you’ve probably come to the realization that change is an inevitable part of life. It’s safe to say that no one is the same person that they were five years ago. Time leaves its mark on all of us — and no matter how rich or famous they may be, not even your favorite celebs are immune.
However, sometimes the most dramatic transformations happen over the shortest periods of time. In the case of these celebrities, 2018 was seemingly twelve months of pure metamorphosis put on display for the entire world to see. From Taylor Swift rising from the ashes to take back command of the charts, to Kylie Jenner becoming both a first-time mommy and first-time billionaire, to Ariana Grande showing us the proper way to bounce back from multiple heartbreaks, 2018 was quite a notable year of change for more than one of your favorite stars. Here’s a look at some of the most stunning celebrity transformations of 2018.
A new Lady Gaga is born
Lady Gaga, born Stefani Germanotta, is known for her ever-evolving, headline making aesthetic. However, Mother Monster has done much more than simply revamp her style throughout the years — she’s completely transformed as an artist.
2018 was a particularly big year for Gaga, as it saw her engagement to Christian Carino, the start of a one-year residency at the MGM Park Theater in Las Vegas, and a co-starring role alongside Bradley Cooper in a retelling of A Star Is Born. On the heels of her Joanne era — in which the star opted for a more stripped down, modern cowgirl look — the Lady Gaga of 2018 channeled old Hollywood glamour with platinum locks, red lipstick, and sparkly gowns aplenty. Officially a bonafide movie star now, the whole world is waiting to see what’s to come in Gaga’s next era. When asked by the New York Times of her career plans for the near-future, Gaga replied, “Oh, I’m just shape-shifting again.”
Taylor Swift's big reputation
After a roller coaster 2016, Taylor Swift went off-the-grid, leaving fans scrambling for clues as to when — and if — the star would return to the spotlight.
Never one for subtleties, the songstress came back with a bang in August 2017 with her explosive single “Look What You Made Me Do,” followed by the release of her sixth studio album, Reputation, in November. While 2017 was certainly exciting, 2018 was definitely The Year of the Swift. Kicking off her Reputation stadium tour in May 2018, Swift performed 53 concerts all over North America, as well as venues in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan. According to Billboard, the Reputation tour grossed $266.1 million — breaking the previous record for highest-grossing U.S. tour held by The Rolling Stones.
The singer-songwriter has also managed to keep the details of her relationship with Joe Alwyn, who she reportedly began dating in the fall of 2016, largely private — and as she sings in “Call It What You Want,” she’s doing better than she ever was. Swift has completely taken over the reins of her reputation, and we are so here for it.
Ariana Grande's bounce back after heartbreak
Ariana Grande made a Tonight Show appearance on May 1, 2018 to announce the title of her much-anticipated, upcoming album, Sweetener. Just days later, however, Grande revealed some less-than-happy news — her split from rapper Mac Miller, her boyfriend of nearly two years. That same month, Grande began dating comedian and SNL cast member, Pete Davidson, who confirmed in June — just weeks after entering the relationship — that he and Grande were engaged to be married.
Grande and Davidson’s whirlwind romance came crashing down in October 2018, and while no concrete reason has been given, many believe Grande needed space to clear her head after Mac Miller’s shocking death in September. Weeks later on November 3, Grande released a surprise single, “Thank U, Next,” singing thanks to her exes for the lessons they taught her and revealing that she’s simply more interested in someone else at the moment — herself.
Coupled with the music video of the year, this empowering break-up anthem tells the story of an unstoppable, dangerous woman who turned a devastating loss into motivation to become a better version of herself. Can we get an amen?
Kylie Jenner's mommy (and money) moves
Kylie Jenner is no stranger to being a public figure. A member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, Kylie has pretty much grown up in front of the camera — meaning fans and non-fans alike have been able to witness her transition from quiet sibling to billionaire mommy firsthand. Talk about a glow up!
On February 1 2018, Jenner gave birth to her first daughter with rapper Travis Scott, naming her Stormi. Jenner told sister Kim Kardashian on an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians (via E! News), “I think more about the future because of [Stormi]. Every time I leave and I’m stressed about leaving her, I’m like, ‘I’m doing it for you.'”
Months later, Jenner appeared on the August cover of Forbes magazine, with the publication revealing the star was set to become the youngest self-made billionaire thanks to her 900-million dollar fortune gleaned from Kylie Cosmetics, of which she is CEO. Jenner told Forbes that she plans to work on Kylie Cosmetics forever, saying, “Maybe one day I’ll pass [the business] on to Stormi, if she’s into it.” She’s not like other moms — she’s a cool mom.
Meghan Markle's real-life fairy tale
It could be said that Meghan Markle experienced the most significant transformation of all in 2018. After all, it’s not every year that a Hollywood starlet is swept off her feet by a British prince and married into royalty!
Markle officially took Prince Harry off the market in a fairy tale-inspired wedding ceremony on May 19, 2018. The couple, who began dating in the summer of 2016, announced their engagement in November 2017 — much to the excitement of royal and Hollywood fans alike. Though Markle had to make a few sacrifices for her new royal role — including giving up her acting career, deleting her social media, and shutting down her popular lifestyle website, The Tig — her beaming face on her wedding day showed just how elated she was to start her new life with Prince Harry.
But the excitement didn’t end there for the new duchess. On October 15, 2018, Kensington Palace revealed in a statement, “Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019.” We’re excited to follow her physical transformation through pregnancy and her lifelong transformation through motherhood. Talk about happily-ever-after!
Cardi B's transition into motherhood
In April 2018, after months of speculation, the Cardi B confirmed she was pregnant in perhaps the most Cardi B way ever — by revealing her growing baby bump during a much-anticipated Saturday Night Live performance. Just two months later, Cardi B made headlines again when it was revealed that her fiancé, rapper Offset, was actually her husband. According to reports, the two wed in the privacy of their bedroom an entire month before Offset publicly proposed to Cardi B in front of 19,000 people at a September 2017 concert.
The couple welcomed their bundle of joy in July 2018, marking Cardi B’s first venture into motherhood. And according to the superstar, it wasn’t hard to step into mommy-mode. “It’s beautiful how fast mother instinct kicks in,” Cardi B posted on Twitter. “[I] never wanna leave my baby’s side.”
Unfortunately, in December 2018, Cardi B and Offset announced their split after just over one year of marriage. In an Instagram video, the “Bodak Yellow” rapper explained the former couple are still friends, saying, “It’s nobody fault, I guess we just grew out of love.” Talk about an eventful year!
Donald Glover finds his voice
While the summer anthem of 2017 belonged to Cardi B, the summer 2018 song that was stuck in everyone’s heads was the brainchild of Donald Glover, aka. Childish Gambino. While Glover was hosting Saturday Night Live on May 5, 2018, both the track and video were released for Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” — a visceral portrait of gun violence in America wrapped in a catchy, trap-influenced tune.
The song would go on to debut as number one on the Billboard Hot 100 — and Glover would go on to continue blowing our minds and destroying any preconceived notions about his artistry. Glover has come a long way since his days as a budding comedian. While he experienced success on the writing staff for Tina Fey’s 30 Rock, as well as on the cast of Community, no one could have predicted the massive, influential presence Glover would soon embody in both the television and music industry. With Season 3 of Atlanta on the way and a starring role in the live action Lion King remake, we have a feeling Glover will have plenty more surprises for us in 2019.
Lena Dunham learns to love herself
Lena Dunham, the creative mind behind HBO’s hit show Girls, saw a serious weight transformation in 2018 — and she had no problem taking to social media to dish the details. However, unlike many celebrities who experience a significant change in weight, Dunham didn’t share her secret to losing extra pounds. Instead, the Camping writer showed off her weight gain using side-by-side photos to document her journey to better health.
Sharing the photo via Instagram in November 2018, Dunham wrote, “Found this pic from summer 2017. I was very sick, but fetishizing my own body. Here I am [the day after Thanksgiving] 2018. I am happy, proud, and healing.”
Dunham experienced a masterclass in healing throughout 2018. On January 8, 2018, the star confirmed her split from longtime boyfriend Jack Antonoff, later admitting that it “hurt” to see him move on with model Carlotta Kohl. In October 2018, barely a year after having a hysterectomy, Dunham (who’s open about her battle with endometriosis) underwent another surgery to have her left ovary removed. Here’s hoping there’s more healing and happiness (and less surgery) in Dunham’s new year.
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