During the days of boom boxes and mixtapes, nothing was more fun than rocking out to your favorite artists. Join Wonderwall.com as we check out what our favorite pop stars of the '80s and '90s have been up to since finding fame… starting with Morten Harket. The frontman of Norwegian synth-pop band A-ha became a heartthrob with the success of his band's early hits like 1984's "Take On Me" — which, with its innovative partly animated rotoscope video helped the band become the first from Norway to reach No. 1 on America's Billboard Hot 100 — and 1985's "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." In 1986, A-ha won eight MTV Video Music Awards. Keep reading to find out what Morten is up to these days — and what he looks like now…
Morten Harket and A-ha's other members — guitarist Pal Waaktaar-Savoy and keyboardist Magne Furuholmen — continued to perform and record for decades, though they enjoyed more success in their native Norway and Europe than they did in the States. They split in 2010 only to reunite in 2015 to release their 10th studio album, "Cast in Steel," and kick off a world tour. In January 2021, Morten — who's also released six solo albums — made headlines when he was unmasked as The Viking on the U.K. version of "The Masked Singer," prompting celebrity panelist Rita Ora to say what everyone else had to be thinking: "Can I just say, you look fantastic." He has five children: three with his ex-wife, one with an ex-girlfriend and one with his current partner.
Back in 1983, Cyndi Lauper released the ultimate anthem, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," which earned Grammy nominations for record of the year and best female pop vocal performance. But is she still having fun today? Keep reading to find out…
Cyndi Lauper is having more fun than ever! In 2013, she earned a Tony Award for best original score for her work on the hit Broadway musical "Kinky Boots," making her the first woman to individually win in that category. She also took home a Grammy for best musical theater album in 2014 for the project. In 2016, she released her 11th studio album, "Detour," which also marked her first time experimenting with country music. In addition to lending her voice to shows like "Young Sheldon" and "Bubble Guppies," in 2020, Cyndi appeared in a virtual fundraiser to aid struggling LGBTQ workers amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Thanks to Paula Abdul, girls of the '80s learned that "Opposites Attract." And while we all enjoyed taking two steps forward and two steps back with Paula, it's seemed that one particular song off her debut album, "Forever Your Girl," foreshadowed her life in the spotlight.
Despite a roller coaster personal life throughout the '90s — she battled bulimia and endured two failed marriages (to Emilio Estevez from 1992 to 1994, then clothing manufacturer Brad Beckerman from 1996 to 1998) — Paula Abdul emerged to continue to enjoy a successful career. From 2002 to 2009, she was a judge on "American Idol." Since then, she's also appeared as a judge on reality television shows like "The X Factor," "So You Think You Can Dance" and "The Masked Dancer." In 2018, she hit the road for her "Straight Up Paula!" solo tour, and in 2019, she headlined her first Las Vegas residency, "Paula Abdul: Forever Your Girl," which ended in early 2020.
Mark McGrath flew into the spotlight as the lead singer of the band Sugar Ray. Pop fans rocked out to their 1997 hit "Fly" all year long!
Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath also found success on the small screen with work as a co-host on "Extra" and "Killer Karaoke." He also made guest appearances on "The Office," "The Neighbors" and "Workaholics" and starred in 2014's "Sharknado 2: The Second One." In 2018, Mark competed on the inaugural season of the American version of "Celebrity Big Brother," finishing in third place. He's since traded in his frosted tips for fatherhood — the singer and wife Carin Kingsland welcomed twins, Lydon and Hartley, in 2010.
Cat-eyed crooner Lisa Loeb found huge success with her hit single "Stay" in 1994.
Lisa Loeb landed guest starring roles on "Gossip Girl" and "Fuller House" and appeared in films including "House on Haunted Hill," "Fright Night" and "Hot Tub Time Machine 2." She also starred on the weekly cooking series "Dweezil & Lisa" (with ex boyfriend Dweezil Zappa) from 1998 to 2004 and "#1 Single" on E! in 2006. In 2015, "Camp Kappawanna" — the family musical Lisa co-wrote and co-composed — made its New York City debut. For her kids CD "Feel What U Feel," Lisa earned a 2016 Grammy for best children's album. In 2020, she released her latest album, "A Simple Trick to Happiness." As for her romantic life? After calling it quits with Dweezil in 2004, in 2009, she married Roey Hershkovitz, who for years was the music supervisor and booker for Conan O'Brien's late night shows. The pair have two children, Lyla Rose and Emet Kuli.
Back in the '80s, Tiffany ruled shopping centers with her famous mall tours. While she was belting out covers like "I Think We're Alone Now," fans were doing anything they could to emulate the teen queen by wearing awesome denim jackets, scrunchies and perfecting their dance moves.
While Tiffany continues to make music, her focus has shifted toward fashion! Nowadays, you can find the star in Music City, where she runs her own boutique in East Nashville. In 2019, she embarked on the "Mixtape Tour" with fellow '90s names like New Kids on the Block, Salt-N-Pepa, Debbie Gibson and Naughty by Nature. That same year, she headlined her own solo tour that ran until March 2020. The former teen queen is married to Benn George and she has one child, Elijah, from a previous marriage.
Back in the '80s, Debbie Gibson was the epitome of "Electric Youth." She remains the youngest female artist to write, produce and perform a Hot 100 Billboard chart-topper: She did it at 17 with her 1988 No. 1 hit "Foolish Beat."
While Debbie Gibson still piques fans' interest, it's not her music that has people talking. In March 2005, Debbie posed in the buff for Playboy to align with the release of her single "Naked." After critics slammed her for losing a significant amount of weight in 2014, Debbie took to her website to reveal her battle with Lyme disease. In 2016, Debbie took her talents to the screen and starred in the Hallmark Channel movie "Summer of Dreams," and in 2017, she competed on the 25th season of "Dancing With the Stars." In 2019, along with fellow '80s pop stars Tiffany, New Kids on the Block, Salt-N-Pepa and Naughty by Nature, Debbie embarked on the "Mixtape Tour." Debbie's latest release, "Girls Night" — which peaked at No. 4 on Billboard's dance club songs chart — came out in 2019.
Before Ricky Martin made fans go crazy with "She Bangs," he was a member of the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo. And ever since he got a taste of fame, he's been "Livin' la Vida Loca."
Following a number of hits, world tours and an autobiography, Ricky Martin still has a thriving career but his personal life looks a lot different. In 2008, he welcomed twins Matteo and Valentino via surrogate. And in 2010, after years of speculation, Ricky came out, telling fans on his website, "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am." In 2016, he announced his engagement to artist Jwan Yosef, whom he wed a few years later. They've since welcomed two more kids, Lucia and Renn. In addition to enjoying short stints as a coach on "The Voice Mexico" and "The Voice Australia," he released his 10th studio album, "A Quien Quiera Escuchar," in 2015, which earned him a Grammy for best Latin pop album. In 2017, he began his Las Vegas residency show, "All In," which ran until June 2018. Ricky also showed off his acting prowess: In 2018, he played late fashion designer Gianni Versace's partner, Antonio D'Amico, on "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story," for which he earned an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor in a limited series or movie. Then, in 2019, he was featured as a coach on "Amici di Maria De Filippi." 2020 was a busy year for the pop sensation too: Ricky released two EPs, "Pausa" and "Play," the former of which earned a Latin Grammy Award. That same year, he lent his voice to the lead character in Netflix's animated holiday film "Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey."
During the mid-'90s, Brandy claimed a corner of the music biz with her self-titled album featuring hit singles "I Wanna Be Down" and "Baby." While fans loved her sexy, cool R&B vibe, TV audiences also took notice as Brandy went on to star on "Moesha" from 1996 to 2001.
Throughout the 2010s, Brandy — who welcomed daughter Sy'rai Iman Smith in 2002 with then-boyfriend Robert Smith, to whom she pretended she was married before later revealing they'd ever wed — returned to the spotlight. In 2010, the "The Boy Is Mine" singer competed on the 11th season of "Dancing with the Stars" in addition to starring alongside her brother on the VH1 series "Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business." 2015 was also a massive year for the '90s star — she made her Broadway debut in the musical "Chicago." The following year, she had a starring role on the short-lived BET series "Zoe Ever After," which she also executive produced. In 2020, Brandy released her seventh studio album, "B7," which included collaborations with Chance the Rapper and Daniel Caesar. The album marked Brandy's first musical effort since 2012's "Two Eleven."
Lou Bega is the man of the mambo! In 1999, his remake of Perez Prado's "Mambo No. 5" launched his career, making him one of the most popular pop stars worldwide by the end of the century.
Despite losing popularity in the United States, Lou Bega has enjoyed enduring fame in his native Germany. In 2010, he released his fourth studio album, "Free Again," followed by his fifth album, "A Little Bit of 80's," in 2013. We gotta respect the hustle — in 2019, he released "Scatman & Hatman," his first single in six years!
George Michael caught our attention when he was part of the duo Wham!, but it wasn't until he went solo and released "Faith" in 1987 that all eyes were only on the handsome hunk.
Rest in peace, legend! Despite being embroiled in his fair share of scandals in the late '90s and 2010s, the late George Michael is still remembered as one of the most popular and bestselling artists in the world. In 2011, George — who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame that year — embarked on what would be his last tour. "Symphonica: The Orchestral Tour" ran until October 2012 and consisted of performances of tracks from his albums "Songs from the Last Century" and "Patience." His seventh studio album was then released in March 2014 and became his seventh solo No. 1 in the United Kingdom. On Dec. 25, 2016, the "Careless Whisper" hitmaker, who'd been in a lengthy relationship with hairstylist Fadi Fawaz, suddenly and unexpectedly died at his South Oxfordshire, England, home due to a heart condition and a fatty liver.