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Then + Now: Your Favorite ’80s Female Pop Stars

Madonna Joan Jett Debbie Harry Pat Benatar
Michael Putland / Pete Cronin / Michael Ochs Archives (2), Getty Images

Back in the 1980s, these lady pop icons filled your ears and your hearts with joy while you doodled the names of the boys you liked in your journal. But where are some of your favorite female singers today? Let’s check in with Pat Benatar, Tiffany, Joan Jett, and many more to see what’s changed in the last 30 years.

THEN: Tiffany was a red-headed sugary sweet pop star who sang a cover of ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ in malls and captured the essence of teenagers in the ’80s.

Tiffany
Retrolicious

NOW: Tiffany still performs and tours with fellow ’80s pop icons like Debbie Gibson. She starred on a season of VH1′s ‘Celebrity Fit Club’ and posed nude for Playboy.

Tiffany
Michael Kovac, Getty Images

THEN: Debbie Gibson was a feisty blonde teen pop singer who ruled the charts from 1987 to 1990 with hits like ‘Shake Your Love’ and ‘Foolish Beat.’

Debbie Gibson
Ebet Roberts, Getty Images

NOW: Like fellow pop sensation Tiffany, Gibson also posed nude for Playboy. She’s starred in Broadway shows like ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Grease,’ participated on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ in 2012, and lent her talents to some pretty awful SyFy TV movies like ‘Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus.’

Debbie Gibson
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

THEN: Pat Benatar had some of the greatest lady-pop hits of the ’80s, like ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot,’ ‘Heartbreaker,’ ‘Love is a Battlefield,’ and ‘We Belong.’

Pat Benatar
Michael Ochs Archives

NOW: Benatar is still touring, most recently hitting New Zealand for a set of dates this year. She also released a memoir in 2010, and in 2011 she announced she was working on a greatest hits album and a novel about the second coming of Christ — so, yeah.

Pat Benatar
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

THEN: Scottish singer Sheena Easton hit it big with singles like ‘Morning Train (Nine to Five)’ and ‘U Got the Look,’ and she lent her vocal talents to the Disney animated film ‘All Dogs Go to Heaven 2.’

Sheena Easton
Richard E. Aaron, Getty Images

NOW: Easton currently lives in Nevada and still performs and makes appearances — she did three songs for the Nickelodeon series ‘Phineas and Ferb,’ and she contributed two tracks to the Xbox 360 video game ‘Lost Odyssey.’

Sheena Easton
Han Myung-gu, Getty Images

THEN: Joan Jett began her ascension to rock royalty in the ’70s as a part of the all-girl band The Runaways. She went solo in the ’80s with a new band called the Blackhearts, which gave us classics like ‘I Love Rock N’ Roll’ and ‘I Hate Myself for Loving You.’

Joan Jett
Pete Cronin, Getty Images

NOW: Jett still tours and performs, opening for bands like Def Leppard and Green Day, among others. She’s produced several albums for other lady bands like Bikini Kill, and she produced the film ‘The Runaways,’ based on the true story of how Jett and fellow Runaways bandmates rose to stardom.

Joan Jett
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

THEN: Madonna was an instant icon, with songs like ‘Lucky Star’ and ‘Like a Virgin’ putting the provocative singer front and center in the pop culture consciousness — and we haven’t been able to escape her since.

Madonna
Michael Putland, Getty Images

NOW: Of course you know Madonna is still kicking ass and performing to sold-out arenas around the world, in addition to producing and starred in movies and bringing attention to the African nation of Malawi.

Madonna
AFP

THEN: Berlin lead singer Terri Nunn was the beautiful (mostly) blonde frontwoman who gave us one of the most memorable love songs of all time with ‘Take My Breath Away.’

Berlin
Michael Ochs Archives

NOW: Terri Nunn is still singing and performing, has toured with INXS, written relationship and sex advice for a book, made an appearance as a guest judge on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ and recorded a solo album in 2012.

Berlin
Paul Warner, Getty Images

THEN: Paula Abdul, a former cheerleader and dancer-turned-pop-star, gave us hits like ‘Forever Your Girl,’ ‘Straight Up,’ and ‘Opposites Attract.’ She even got Keanu Reeves to star in one of her music videos.

Paula Abdul
Michael Ochs Archives

NOW: Abdul enjoyed a lengthy stint as a judge on ‘American Idol’ before following fellow judge Simon Cowell over to yet another talent series, ‘X-Factor.’ She’s had some tabloid struggles regarding her use of prescription drugs, but Abdul is still standing strong and isn’t leaving show biz anytime soon.

Paula Abdul
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

THEN: Cyndi Lauper was the punky and rambunctious pop star who gave us the lady anthem ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ and the charming ballad ‘Time After Time,’ and had a colorful look to match her very colorful hair (and even more colorful persona).

Cyndi Lauper
Ann Clifford, Time Life/Getty Images

NOW: Lauper is still touring and performing, released the No. 1 album ‘Memphis Blues’ in 2010, and was a contestant on ‘Celebrity Apprentice.’ She’s also a longtime LGBT activist, founded the True Colors Fund, and wrote the music for the new Broadway show ‘Kinky Boots.’

Cyndi Lauper
Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images

THEN: Debbie Harry had the feminine looks of a pop starlet and the swagger of a punk as she led the band Blondie, which merged the two genres into pop punk bliss with hits like ‘Rapture,’ ‘One Way or Another,’ and ‘The Tide is High.’

Debbie Harry
Michael Ochs Archives

NOW: Harry and Blondie continued to release albums and tour until 2011. Harry also starred in films throughout the ’80s and ’90s, including provocative thrillers like ‘Videodrome,’ the 1988 musical comedy ‘Hairspray,’ and the moving drama ‘My Life Without Me’ alongside Sarah Polley.

Debbie Harry
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

See Then + Now: Haley Joel Osment from 'The Sixth Sense'

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