The Princess Of Pop: Little Known Facts About Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani rose to prominence as the frontwoman of ska band No Doubt. Since, she’s made a name for herself as a solo artist and judge on The Voice, where she met her current beau, Blake Shelton. Alongside her music career, Gwen has become a fashion icon, sporting everything from punk-style patterns to glitzy gowns and she even started her line, L.A.M.B. You may be surprised to hear that the princess of pop wasn’t initially pegged as a lead singer, or that she almost starred in the smash hit Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Read on for more amazing facts about the multitalented star.

Her First Marriage Lasted 20 Years

Kevin Winter/ABC/Getty Images
Kevin Winter/ABC/Getty Images

Nearly a decade after forming, Gwen Stefani’s band, No Doubt, gained widespread popularity in the mid-’90s. It was at that time that the band toured with Bush, headed by Gavin Rossdale.

The two lead singers fell in love and seven years later, got married. After nearly two decades together, the couple split. Though rumors spread that the reason was that Gavin had an affair with the nanny, neither has confirmed it’s true. The couple has announced that they are still strong partners in parenting.

Gwen And Blake Shelton Bonded Over Their Divorces

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

We can only imagine the difficulty of ending a marriage while in the spotlight, but the silver lining is that Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton were able to bond over the struggle. Considering both of them and their former spouses are lead singers, it was a remarkable coincidence that they were going through the same thing at the same time.

Blake commented on their similarities, telling Billboard, “Gwen saved my life. Who else on Earth could understand going through a high-profile divorce from another musician?”

She Wanted To Get Remarried After Her Annulment

Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic/Getty Images

After years of speaking highly of one another and looking happier than ever, questions began to float around about whether or not Blake and Gwen would ever get married. In 2019, People reported that though they were eager to tie the knot, there was one thing they had to do first.

Since Gwen is Roman Catholic, she would need to get an annulment from Gavin Rossdale before she could remarry in a church. According to Taste of Country, the coronavirus pandemic changed Gwen’s mind. Reportedly, the couple now wants to tie the knot as soon as possible.

Many Of Her Songs Are About Her Exes

C Flanigan/FilmMagic/Getty Images
C Flanigan/FilmMagic/Getty Images

When asked about her divorce, Gwen typically keeps the details to herself and trusted loved ones. What she did tell Cosmopolitan is, “All you have to do is listen to every single song I’ve ever written, and it’s all there.”

The gifted songwriter is known for wearing her heart on her sleeve when it comes to her music. Gavin aside, it’s become widely known that hits like “Don’t Speak” and “Cool” were written about her ex-boyfriend and bandmate, Tony Kanal.

“Hollaback Girl” Was For Courtney Love

John Shearer/WireImage/Getty Images
John Shearer/WireImage/Getty Images

Exes aren’t the only source of inspiration for Gwen. Reportedly, Gwen wrote the 2004 hit “Hollaback Girl” in retaliation to Courtney Love’s rude remark about the singer. In an interview with Seventeen, the Hole frontwoman said Gwen wasn’t a rockstar, but rather a “cheerleader.”

Gwen shot back with a fiery song that includes lyrics like, “I ain’t no hollaback girl” and “people hear you talking like that, getting everybody fired up.” Best of all, the song became Gwen’s first solo hit to reach number one.

She Replaced Christina Aguilera On The Voice

Lester Cohen/WireImage/Getty Images
Lester Cohen/WireImage/Getty Images

Though many fans recognize Gwen Stefani as one of the judges on The Voice, not everyone has made the connection that it was Christina Aguilera who she replaced. The producers brought Gwen on in the seventh season, and she had some large shoes to fill.

Though comparing the two singers is like equating apples to oranges, there’s “no doubt” that both stars have impeccable talent. It’s a good thing that they picked Gwen because it was on the show that she met her current beau, Blake Shelton.

She Was Featured On A Prince Song

Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images
Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images

After becoming a star with the band No Doubt, Gwen Stefani had the opportunity to work with one of the greats: Prince. The pair sang his song “So Far, So Pleased” together on his 1999 album, Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic.

Their voices complement each other’s so well that it wasn’t the last time they collaborated. Two years later, Prince provided backing vocals for the No Doubt song “Waiting Room.” Though his vocals aren’t at the forefront, his distinguishable voice is impossible to miss.

She Launched A Fashion Line In 2004

Theo Wargo/WireImage/Getty Images
Theo Wargo/WireImage/Getty Images

In Gwen Stefani’s earlier days, she made many of the eclectic clothes that she wore on stage with No Doubt. As she evolved as an artist, she collaborated with stylist Andrea Lieberman and discovered a taste for haute couture.

In 2004, Gwen came out with her fashion line, L.A.M.B., which incorporates Guatemalan, Jamaican, and Japanese styles, among others. Gwen has developed various accessories, such as perfumes, undergarments, phone charms, dolls, and eyewear. She has also released an affordable line of clothing and eyewear.

A Famous Comedian Bought The Couple’s Former Mansion

Redfin
Redfin

The $4 million divorce settlement consisted of separating the life that Gwen and Gavin had built together for almost 20 years. Neither of them stayed in the mansion they had purchased together, but rather sold the Beverly Hills home for $21.65 million!

Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco bought the 11,845-square-foot home, which features a tennis court, pool, and a playground. The contemporary house also has a theater room, gym, guesthouse, and a whopping seven bedrooms with ten bathrooms.

She Created A Children’s Animated Series

Kuu-Kuu-Harajuku
DHX Media
DHX Media

One of the lesser-known projects that Gwen has embarked on over the years is creating a children’s animated series. The show, called Kuu Kuu Harajuku, is based on Gwen and the four Harajuku Girls from her 2004 album Love. Angel. Music. Baby.

A decade after its initial conception, Gwen announced that the series was officially in production. Since, multiple seasons have aired in Malaysia, Canada, Australia, and the US. The show follows a band, headed by a teenage version of Gwen, as they fight evil while pursuing their music career.

Her First Wedding Dress Was Pink At The Bottom

James Whatling/UK Press via Getty Images
James Whatling/UK Press via Getty Images

Considering Gwen’s unique style and bold personality, it should come as no surprise that she put her own spin on her wedding dress. When she married Gavin in 2002, she wore a gown that was white at the top and gradually faded into a vibrant pink toward the bottom.

The custom dress was hand-painted by designer John Galliano. Fashion designer Christian Siriano later created a similar dress that Gwen wore while promoting her fourth studio album.

She Almost Starred In Mr. And Mrs. Smith

Christopher Polk/Getty Images for MasterCard
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for MasterCard

Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a smash not just because it’s a great flick, but because it marks the beginning of the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie-Jennifer Aniston drama that tabloids couldn’t stop talking about for years to come.

In an alternate universe, all of that drama never happened because the lead role went to Gwen Stefani! ET Canada confirmed that the part of Mrs. Smith was between Angelina Jolie and Gwen Stefani, and, as we all know, the producers went with the former.

She Used To Wear A Bindi In Honor Of Her Ex’s Culture

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

In the seven years that Gwen spent dating her bandmate Tony Kanal, she got to know his family and their culture well. After attending several family gatherings, she started wearing a bindi in honor of his Indian heritage.

The forehead accessory appears in some of their music videos and she often sported one while attending events throughout the ’90s. Some accused Gwen of cultural appropriation, especially after it became a part of her signature look.

Her Band Started Back In The ’80s

Barry King/WireImage/Getty Images
Barry King/WireImage/Getty Images

Though No Doubt didn’t rise to fame until the ’90s, the band formed in 1986. It was actually Gwen’s brother, Eric Stefani, who had the idea while the siblings were working at Dairy Queen alongside former bandmate John Spence.

Initially, John was the lead singer, and Gwen was only on backing vocals. Sadly, he took his own life in 1987. Gwen stepped up at the lead vocalist, and several other members joined in the years to come. Eric left the band before they made it big to pursue a career in animation.

No Doubt Nearly Split After Tony And Gwen’s Breakup

Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Being that Gwen was the only female in the band, the members agreed that no one would date her. That rule was quickly broken when she fell hard for bassist Tony Kanal. The couple spent seven years together, and their split nearly broke up the band.

Fortunately, they made it through and toured together for decades to come. Their shaky journey adds significance to the song “Cool,” which was about their friendship after the tough breakup. The music video even features Tony’s now-wife, Erin Lokitz.

She’s Named After A Novel And A Song

Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Gwen Stefani is a true artist through and through, so it makes sense that she was named after a work of literature and music. Her first name comes from a character in the best-selling novel Airport by Arthur Hailey.

Her middle name, Renée, comes from the song “Walk Away Renée.” Though The Left Banke performed the original song in 1966, it was the 1968 version by The Four Tops that inspired her parents to choose the name.

She’s Considered A “Pop Princess”

Kevin Mazur/One Voice: Somos Live!/Getty Images
Kevin Mazur/One Voice: Somos Live!/Getty Images

Over the years, Gwen has taken on various genres of music, from ska to R&B. However, her work as a solo artist is generally placed into the category of pop, earning her the title of “Pop Princess” by some critics.

Her impressive vocal range underscores her powerful voice, earning her several accolades including one Grammy for her solo work and two as a member of the band No Doubt. In 2012, VH1 gave Gwen 13th place on their list of “100 Greatest Women in Music.”

She Has A Learning Disorder

Scott Gries/ImageDirect/Getty Images
Scott Gries/ImageDirect/Getty Images

It may be surprising to hear that Gwen has dyslexia. The learning disorder played a role in her passion for music, as it was a way to express herself. The successful role model encourages others with dyslexia to still follow their dreams.

Gwen has a special place in her heart for children, and donated $1 million to Save the Children’s Japan Earthquake–Tsunami Children in Emergency Fund. She also auctioned off some of her clothing so that proceeds could go to the relief effort.

She’s A Natural Brunette

DARP Studios
DARP Studios

Part of Gwen’s trademark look is her platinum blonde hair, but the singer, who has Italian heritage, is naturally a brunette. She had her stylist die her hair a shade similar to its natural color for the “Cool” music video to help distinguish between her present and her younger self.

Reportedly, Gwen has dyed her hair since the ninth grade. With so much treatment, it’s amazing her hair is so healthy-looking. She told Vogue, “I really do take care of my hair, even more than my face. Because you have to if you’re a blonde.”

She Gives Her Skin A Break From Makeup At Night

@gwenstefani/Instagram
@gwenstefani/Instagram

From the start of her fame, Gwen hasn’t shied away from being herself. Though she typically wears a face full of makeup, she isn’t afraid to show her bare face to the world on social media every now and again.

Her makeup-less face only proves how little she’s aged over the decades. She told Elle that an important part of her skincare routine is removing all of her makeup at night to let her skin breathe.