From Disney to Internet Star: Bella Thorne’s Transformation

Bella Thorne was just 13 years old when she rose to fame on the Disney Channel show Shake It Up. Thorne has grown up before our eyes, and she has since shed her Disney girl demeanor. The actress has overcome many things throughout her career, and she is not the girl we once saw on TV.

Bella Thorne / Bella Thorne and Tana Mongeau / Bella Thorne and Zendaya / Bella Thorne
Source: Getty Images

In recent years, Thorne has opened up about the abuse from her past and why she never wanted to be famous. She transitioned into a new line of work on the internet, and her fans are very different than the people who used to watch her dance on Disney.

Not Her First Language

Born in Pembroke Pines, Florida, in 1997, Annabella Avery Thorne was the youngest of four children. She didn’t have the easiest childhood because she was bullied at school for being dyslexic. Thorne’s father was from Cuba, so her first language was Spanish. It contributed to her struggles in school.

Bella Thorne poses for a portrait at the Rockin Valentine Teen Celebrity Bash.
Photo by Michael Bezjian/WireImage/Getty Images

Being at home wasn’t much of an escape, but the bullying became so severe that she decided to be homeschooled. Thorne was able to learn better outside of school, but life didn’t get easier. When she was nine, her father died in a motorcycle accident. It left her mother to support four children on her own.

She Wanted to Help

Raising four children wasn’t easy, and Thorne said her family was very poor. Her mom struggled to make enough money, so Thorne started working as a child actress to support her family. Her first on-screen appearance was an uncredited role in the 2003 film Stuck on You.

Bella Thorne and her siblings pose in the backyard by the pool.
Source: Facebook

Thorne then got roles in shows like Entourage and The O.C. as a young version of Taylor Townsend. After her father died, Thorne auditioned for more roles to help her mom. She got a recurring role in Season 2 of Dirty Sexy Money and starred in the short-lived drama My Own Worst Enemy.

Who Is Bella Thorne?

The young actress won a Young Artist Award for her role in My Own Worst Enemy, and it was a breakthrough in her career. The exposure allowed Thorne to get more roles, leading her to audition for Disney’s Shake It Up. She landed the role alongside Zendaya, and the show premiered in 2010.

Bella blows a kiss to the press as she arrives at an event.
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Thorne became a household name for playing CeCe Jones, a dancer with ambitions for a career in the spotlight despite having dyslexia. The actress had to overcome her own dyslexia to learn the lines, and she worked hard to be confident in reading and writing by practicing repeatedly.

She Didn’t Want to Be on the Show

While most children dream about being on the Disney Channel, Thorne never wanted to be a “Disney girl.” However, when she landed the role on Shake It Up, her family was on the verge of homelessness. She said they were about to be on the street, and her family needed the money.

A portrait of Bella Thorne as CeCe Jones.
Source: Disney–ABC Domestic Television

Thorne revealed that her family was living off of Stouffer’s coupons. When she showed up for her audition, she told them, “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.” They thought it was a joke and started laughing.

They Weren’t Friends

Although they played best friends on TV, Thorne wasn’t friends with her co-star Zendaya until the last two seasons of Shake It Up. The young actresses were often pitted against each other, making them competitive off-camera. Thorne and Zendaya rarely talked unless they had to.

Bella Thorne and Zendaya arrive at a premiere.
Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images

The actresses’ relationship only changed when they guest-starred on Good Luck Charlie. Thorne shared that she and Zendaya had a long talk behind the scenes, allowing them to express their honest thoughts and understand one another. Thorne was happy that they had a genuine conversation.

She Was Unqualified

When working on a show centered around dancing, you would think the producers would cast an actress with dancing skills. However, Thorne didn’t know how to dance when she started Shake It Up. She said she wasn’t qualified for the job but got the role anyway.

Zendaya and Bella Thorne in a poster for Shake It Up!
Source: Disney–ABC Domestic Television

Thorne had to learn how to dance along the way and spent hours practicing the routines. She must have been a quick learner because Thorne looked like a seasoned dancer on the show. Regardless, she was a good actress because she faked it until she made it.

Too Much Pressure

As she was only 13 when she became famous, Thorne was in the public eye at a very difficult age. She said being famous put a lot of pressure on her because she was in the spotlight and had no privacy. Thorne didn’t know how to handle the fame.

Bella Thorne celebrates her 13th birthday.
Photo by Michael Bezjian/WireImage/Getty Images

People would talk about her in magazines, and Thorne became self-conscious. She developed body issues and body dysmorphia from being in the spotlight. Thorne sought the approval of others because she wanted to be liked by everyone.

Breaking Into the Mainstream

In 2013, the Disney Channel announced that Shake It Up would end after the show’s third season. Thorne was already 16, and she was ready to move on to other projects. The following year, she started working on mainstream films, including Adam Sandler’s Blended.

Bella Thorne performs onstage at Universal CityWalk’s Music Spotlight Series.
Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

Her films weren’t blockbuster hits, but they entertained people. Thorne also tried her hand at music, releasing an EP in November 2014. She might not be the best singer, but the lead single “Call It Whatever” debuted on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs at number 47.

She Started to Change

Once she ditched her Disney image, Thorne started wearing darker makeup and dressing in edgier clothing. She wanted to express herself through fashion and makeup, and she finally had the freedom to wear what she wanted. There was no one to tell her how to act or dress.

Bella poses for Nylon Magazine.
Source: Nylon Magazine

Thorne might not have had any hit films, but she was consistently in the spotlight. She starred in the MTV series Scream in 2014, based on the original slasher film. Thorne later got back into television in 2017, starring in Freeform’s Famous in Love.

Not for Everyone

One of Thorne’s first relationships was with Tristan Klier. The two dated on and off between 2011 and 2015, but Klier wasn’t a celebrity and didn’t understand her lifestyle. He didn’t like that she had to act with other guys on screen, and cheating rumors broke them up.

Thorn and Klier attend the Do Something Awards.
Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Thorne reportedly got caught sending flirtatious messages to Brandon Lee and was partying with Ross Lynch while dating Klier. She and Klier broke up in 2014 before rekindling their romance again. The two officially parted ways in 2015.

Things Got Serious

In May 2015, Thorne started dating fellow former Disney star Gregg Sulkin. The two quickly became couple goals after being friends for six years. Although she was 17 and he was 23, the two got serious quickly and purchased a house together.

A selfie of Bella Thorne and Gregg Sulkin.
Source: Twitter

Sadly, the couple decided to go their separate ways after a year together. Thorne and Sulkin said, “After much thought and soul-searching, we have made the difficult decision to end our relationship.” Their split was amicable, and they remained good friends. Their split might have been because of Thorne’s revelation.

She Came Out

A few weeks after her split from Sulkin, Thorne came out as bisexual. A fan asked about her sexuality on Twitter, and she gave an honest answer. It didn’t take long for fans to flood her page with supportive messages. The speculation came after she shared a Snapchat.

Bella Thorne and Bella Pendergast make kissy faces at each other.
Source: Instagram/@bellathorne

Thorne was reportedly dating her brother’s ex-girlfriend, Bella Pendergast. The two shared Snapchats of them kissing. People thought it was a joke, but fans asked if she was bisexual. Thorne was proud to share her truth and not hide her sexuality.

Finding Comfort in an Ex

Between 2016 and 2017, Thorne was linked to celebrities like Tyler Posey, Charlie Puth, Lil’ Peep, and Scott Disick. Thorne and Kourtney Kardashian’s ex caused a stir online after photos of them making out in Cannes leaked. No one understood how these two got together.

Bella Thorne / Scott Disick
Source: Getty Images

Thorne and Disick’s fling was short-lived, but she later discovered that he was using her to make Kardashian jealous. She felt like a fool, and it caused her to realize she still had feelings for Sulkin. Thorne and Sulkin started hanging out again, but it never got serious.

An Unusual Relationship

After a slew of short flings, Thorne started dating YouTuber Tana Mongeau. They confirmed their relationship on Instagram with a post of them making out. The PDA didn’t stop there, and the two continued to document their unconventional relationship on social media.

Mod Sun, Tana Mongeau, and Bella Thorne dress up in costumes.
Source: Twitter

They were anything but traditional, opting for a “throuple”-style relationship. Thorne confirmed she was dating Mongeau and musician Mod Sun. The three seemed happy with their situation and kept things open and non-monogamous. Thorne didn’t care what anyone thought about her or her relationships.

Everyone Judged Her

Although she was happy in her relationships, everyone had an opinion about Thorne. People speculated about her life, and she tried to ignore it. In an interview with the LA Times, Thorne shared that if she went out without makeup, people assumed she had been partying.

Bella Thorne speaks at the 4th Annual Women’s March.
Photo by Sarah Morris/Getty Images

Tabloids speculated that she was using drugs when her acne flared up. Thorne thought it was ridiculous that everyone was entitled to an opinion about her without knowing the truth. People thought she was doing serious drugs, but Thorne said she only smoked weed.

She’s a Cat Lady

In her LA Times interview, Thorne showed off her $2 million home. The quirky home features a 12-foot unicorn statue, hundreds of felt roses glued to the wall, and a castle for her 19 cats. Thorne didn’t want to spay her first cats, Lola and Louis, because she thought it was cruel.

Bella poses for a photo with one of her cats.
Source: Facebook

As a result, her one cat turned into four generations of cats living in her home. Thorne said the cats snuggle with her if she’s upset because they know when she is having a bad day. Her former home was a glorified cat sanctuary.

Two Bad Breakups

Thorne and Mongeau seemed obsessed with each other, but the two broke up in February 2019. The two shared that they would always love each other and had no hard feelings. The niceties were short-lived because the two started feuding in July 2019.

Bella Thorne and Tana Mongeau / Bella Thorne and Mod Sun.
Source: Getty Images

To make matters worse, Thorne and Mod Sun also split in April 2019. They had a messy breakup, with Mod Sun accusing Thorne of infidelity and threatening to sell her stuff on social media. He then went on a podcast and talked poorly about his ex.

It Wasn’t Easy

One breakup is hard, but two are crushing. Thorne was having a hard time following the breakups, and things only got worse when Mongeau announced her engagement to YouTuber Jake Paul just a month after her split from Thorne. The actress posted tearful pictures on social media.

Bella Thorne / Tana Mongeau and Jake Paul
Source: Getty Images

Thorne proceeded to go on a Twitter rant, stating that she and Mongeau were no longer on good terms because the YouTuber “broke the girl code.” It sparked a Twitter feud between the former lovers, and things only got worse between them.

Nothing Nice to Say

The feud between Thorne and Mongeau continued when Thorne went on Logan Paul’s podcast. She said Mongeau used FaceTune too much. Everyone knows Mongeau heavily edits her photos, but Thorne’s comments confirmed the speculations. Her ex was also sitting in the audience during the recording.

A photo of Bella Thorne and Tana Mongeau.
Source: Twitter

Luckily, Mongeau took the roast in stride and stifled a laugh. The two were still not on good terms and later got in a Twitter fight when Thorne was seen kissing one of Mongeau’s friends in October 2020. Thorne also claimed her ex only dated her for fame.

Coming Clean

Thorne spent years hiding something horrible from her childhood but decided to open up about it in her 2019 book, The Life of a Wannabe Mogul: Mental Disarray. She revealed that she was sexually abused as a child by someone who raised her.

Bella Thorne signs copies of her New Book
Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images

She never revealed her abuser’s identity, but Thorne said she developed Stockholm Syndrome. The abuse started when she was six and didn’t end until she was 14. In her poem, Thorne wrote, “The only way I could deal with it, I guess, is by loving it.”

She Felt Selfish

The revelation shocked everyone, and people were saddened to know Thorne felt selfish for not doing more to stop the abuse. She wrote, “I was letting it happen to me. I wasn’t kicking his teeth in.” She was a child, and no one could blame Thorne for what happened to her.

Bella Thorne talks about her experience on a podcast.
Source: YouTube

Thorne also explained why she never went to the police or pressed charges. She didn’t trust the legal system because it makes “victims feel like villains.” The actress didn’t want to convince someone she was telling the truth.

Harsh Words for Her Mom

In her book, Thorne also said her mom didn’t teach her how to love. She didn’t have the best relationship with her mom: “I hope you know we never learned how to love, or at least, I never did.” Thorne said she would never know what a mother is supposed to be.

A selfie of Bella Thorne and her mother.
Source: Twitter

Her mom didn’t know about the abuse and only found out when Thorne spoke about it publicly. She said it was a private family matter, and she had to process the new information. Thorne later apologized to her mom in an Instagram post.

Stolen Photos

Around the time of her book release, a hacker stole Thorne’s nude photos and threatened to leak them if she didn’t pay. Instead of letting the hacker have control, Thorne released the photos herself. She posted screenshots of her conversation with the hacker on Twitter.

Bella Thorne reacts to the hacker on Twitter
Source: Twitter

Thorne wrote, “I feel gross. I feel watched. I feel someone has taken something from me that I only wanted one special person to see.” The hacker had sent Thorne multiple pictures of nude celebrities to show her he was not going to stop harassing people.

No Sympathy From Whoopi

While some people thought it was impressive for Thorne to take power away from the hacker, others weren’t as sympathetic. The View host Whoopi Goldberg said Thorne shouldn’t have taken the pictures in the first place because she is famous and should have known this could happen.

Bella Thorne reacts to Whoopi Goldberg.
Source: YouTube

Goldberg blamed Thorne for not thinking that her cloud could be hacked when she took the nude photos. Goldberg’s co-host, Sunny Hostin, argued that young people shouldn’t have to go through these situations, and it was terrible that someone threatened Thorne.

She Didn’t Stay Silent

After hearing Goldberg’s comments, Thorne posted a series of videos on Instagram. She was supposed to appear on The View, but Thorne didn’t want to be a guest after Goldberg’s harsh words. She said, “Blaming girls for taking photos in the first place is sick and disgusting.”

A photo of Bella Thorne at home in a crop top.
Source: Instagram/@bellathorne

Thorne added that many people harm themselves if their explicit photos are wrongfully shared, and Goldberg should be ashamed. The actress said the host’s comments could be harmful to young girls and likened it to victim-blaming. Other people on social media agreed with Thorne.

She Came Out Again

Although she came out as bisexual in 2016, Thorne adjusted her stance in 2019. She decided to come out as pansexual instead. Someone explained what it meant, and Thorne realized she connected to being pansexual more than bi.

A portrait of Bella Thorne.
Source: Tumblr

She said, “You like beings. You like what you like. It doesn’t have to be a girl or a guy, a he or she or they.” Thorne is not attracted to a specific gender, but she is attracted to someone’s soul regardless of how they identify.

Who Is Bella Thorne Dating?

Thorne went through a few rocky relationships before she started dating Italian singer Benjamin Mascolo in 2019. The two haven’t been shy about showing affection for one another on social media. After nearly two years together, Thorne and Mascolo took their relationship to the next level.

Bella Thorne and Benjamin Mascolo walk the red carpet.
Photo by Alessandra Benedetti/Corbis/Getty Images

On March 22, 2021, Thorne announced that Mascolo proposed on the set of a movie they are working on together. He wrote love letters on the back of the script and proposed during the last scene. The two haven’t gotten married, but they are still together.

She Broke the Website

After Mongeau joined OnlyFans, Thorne got in on the action in August 2020. She claimed to be the first celebrity to join the platform, which angered Mongeau. Thorne was unbothered by Mongeau’s comments because the news of her joining the platform made the site crash.

A mirror selfie of Bella Thorne in revealing clothing.
Source: OnlyFans

She claimed to have joined OnlyFans for research for a movie. Thorne stated, “It’s a feature we are researching as I’m currently living it. What are the ins and outs? What does a platform like this do to its users?” However, her presence on the platform caused controversy.

Ruining It for Everyone Else

On her first day on OnlyFans, Thorne made a record $1 million. The following week, she made $2 million. OnlyFans allows people to post explicit images and videos, and it has become a primary income source for sex workers. Users were upset with Thorne for joining.

A sultry selfie of Bella Thorne in a robe.
Source: Twitter

As a wealthy actress with a steady income, members were frustrated that Thorne was charging $20 for subscriptions to her page. Members worried Thorne would inspire other celebrities, who are already rich, to join OnlyFans and take earnings away from people who need it.

What Did Bella Thorne Post on Her OnlyFans?

Shortly after joining the platform, Thorne charged subscribers $200 to access a photo she described as nude. One of her OnlyFans followers shared a screenshot of his interaction with Thorne on the site, where she claimed she wasn’t wearing clothes in the photo.

Angry fans react to Bellla Thorne on Twitter.
Source: Twitter

Those who paid to access the photo quickly learned that it was a bikini picture. People were angry and started demanding refunds from OnlyFans. It caused the site to implement new restrictions on how much money people can make from the site and put a cap on tips.

Insincere Apology

Many OnlyFans members called Thorne out on social media for lying and causing restriction changes. Thorne had previously told several publications that she would never post anything with full nudity. She addressed the backlash by tweeting an apology that people called insincere.

A sexy mirror selfie of Bella Thorne.
Source: Facebook

Thorne claimed she wanted to use her “mainstream face” and large platform to “advocate for something bigger.” She alleged that she joined to destigmatize sex work further. However, users called her out because Thorne also said she joined as research for a movie with Sean Baker.

She Wasn’t Making a Movie

Once the scandal blew up, Baker tweeted that he never intended to collaborate with Thorne. He said he had a conversation with her team, advising them to consult with sex workers instead of hurting the sex work industry. Baker’s confession made people question Thorne.

Bella Thorne attends the Build Series.
Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images

If there wasn’t a movie, what was the real reason Thorne joined OnlyFans? No one believed that she did it to destigmatize the industry. It seemed like Thorne was just doing it for fun, but she ruined many things on the platform for other members.

She’s Still on the Platform

Despite the backlash and controversy, Thorne is still posting on OnlyFans. She claims that the money she makes from the platform will be split into funding charitable causes and her productions. Thorne was reportedly making around $11 million per month on OnlyFans.

Photo from Bella’s OnlyFans account.
Source: Twitter

Other celebrities followed her lead and joined OnlyFans. People like Cardi B, Tyga, and Blac Chyna make millions on OnlyFans when they don’t need the money. Thorne doesn’t plan to leave the platform anytime soon. She doesn’t care that she negatively affected non-celebrity creators.

Taking On Mature Roles

As Thorne has matured, so have her fans. The 24-year-old has taken advantage of her older fan base by taking on more risqué and challenging roles and projects. In 2019, Thorne made her directorial debut with the film Him & Her. The movie aired on an adult network.

Bella Thorne in a still from Infamous.
Source: Vertical Entertainment

The film was a complete break from her former Disney image. Thorne then starred in Infamous, where she is one-half of a bank-robbing couple. Critics praised her performance, with one comparing her on-screen presence to Sandra Bullock.

How Much Is Bella Thorne Worth?

As of 2022, Thorne has a net worth of $12 million. She makes millions through various channels, but a significant portion comes from social media and acting. According to her interview with Vogue, Thorne charges $65,000 for a sponsored Instagram post and $10,000 to $20,000 for a story.

Bella Thorne arrives at the American Music Awards
Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images

Thorne also has her own production company and has done some screenwriting for Fox. Additionally, she wrote three books, including her autobiographical collection of poetry and a series of three young adult novels. Thorne also has a few companies unrelated to writing and film.

She Has a Cannabis Company

She might be known as an actress, director, best-selling author, and musician, but Thorne is also a cannabis entrepreneur. She started the cannabis company Forbidden Flowers in Santa Barbara, California, where she works with several local dispensaries. Thorne wants to provide the best products possible.

Bella Thorne poses for an ad for Forbidden Flowers
Source: YouTube

On the Forbidden Flowers website, Thorne is quoted saying, “If it’s something I wouldn’t smoke regularly, it would not be on the shelves.” As a regular cannabis user, Thorne is passionate about her business. Since 2019, she has shared her love of the drug through her growing company.

Helping Other Influencers

In 2021, Thorne and her manager, Thor Bradwell, announced the launch of Content X. The content management company helps social media influencers build profitable profiles and provides knowledge in navigating the world of social media. Thorne is the company’s creative director in charge of all content.

Bella Throne takes part in a photoshoot involving body paint.
Source: Twitter

Thorne announced the launch of the company by posing for a Barbie-themed photo shoot. She wanted to demonstrate how a quick post gained interest from millions of followers. The announcement made Thorne a rising mogul because “everything she touches is successful.”

She Was Almost Fired

Back when Thorne was on Shake It Up, she almost got fired for a dumb reason. While taking a break from filming, Thorne spent a day at the beach in a black bikini. The then-teenager wasn’t doing anything wrong, but a gossip website blew the situation out of proportion.

Bella Thorne attends Day One of 2017 Billboard Hot 100 Festival
Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Perez Hilton posted pictures of Thorne in her bikini, saying she was too young to wear that swimsuit. The coverage made Disney want to fire her. It was a simple black bikini that her mom picked out. Thorne didn’t do anything wrong, and they kept her on the show.

She Had No Money

Most people think Disney stars are rich, but Thorne had just $200 to her name when she finished Shake It Up. A law states employers must withhold 15 percent of a minor’s wages to prevent their guardian from having control. Therefore, Thorne was in a bad financial situation.

Bella Thorne attends the premiere ‘Assassination Nation’.
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Thorne revealed that she only moved in with her then-boyfriend Gregg Sulkin because she had no money. She couldn’t pay for their meals, which embarrassed her. Thorne worked hard to save money and become financially independent, but it wasn’t easy.

She Launched a Record Label

Although people have criticized Thorne’s music, she launched a record label in 2018. Filthy Fangs was created in partnership with Sony, and Thorne released her music under the label. In November 2020, she promoted her single “Lonely” from her album What Do You See Now?

Bella poses in a Filthy Fangs hoodie.
Source: Twitter

Unfortunately, the album was delayed. Fans hoped the album would be out in 2020, but it was shelved indefinitely due to the pandemic. Thorne released a few singles, but there is no recent news about the album, which was supposed to be her debut studio album.

She’s Afraid to Drive

Thorne had no plans to get her license when she turned 18. She was terrified to drive because her father had passed away in a fatal accident. Thorne held back on getting her license until 2015 when she finally took the test.

Bella Thorne is at the DMV getting her license.
Source: Instagram/@bellathorne

Despite having her license, Thorne still refuses to drive. She prefers that someone else drive instead of her. Surprisingly, Thorne got a Porsche as her first car, but she barely uses it. She is typically seen in the passenger seat or the back of a hired car.

Horror Lover

Thorne might have become famous for her work on Disney Channel, but she has always been a fan of horror movies. She used to watch films like American Psycho, Scream, and Nightmare on Elm Street when she was young. It’s her favorite film genre.

A scared looking Bella Thorne poses with a knife.
Source: Tumblr

While appearing on the Bloody Disgusting podcast in 2021, Thorne admitted that she never watched Disney movies as a kid. She also revealed that she has a life-sized Babadook doll in her house. Thorne liked to scare her guests by hiding it behind a bathroom door.

Makeup Line Backlash

Thorne has experimented with wild makeup looks over the years, so it was only natural that she released a makeup line in 2018. She launched Filthy Fangs with two eyeshadow palettes that sold for $50 and $60. However, her makeup quickly received backlash.

A selfie of Bella Thorne showing off a crazy pink makeup look.
Source: Twitter

People accused Thorne of copying from the popular makeup brand Juvia’s Place. Thorne responded to the criticism by stating that she shouldn’t have to look up every eyeshadow palette ever made because there will always be similar colors to someone else’s makeup. Fans also complained about the high prices.

Keeping It Real

Thorne might not be the most relatable person now, but she used to show people that she was like everyone else. She used to say that she wanted her social media to feel realistic. Thorne would post pictures with acne that she didn’t try to edit it out.

Bella poses at home wearing a velvet vest a pants set.
Source: Instagram/@bellathorne

Many celebrities like to appear as if they have no flaws, but Thorne wasn’t afraid to show hers off. She hoped it would help her teenage followers feel comfortable in their own skin. Thorne now posts sultry photos to promote her OnlyFans and pictures of her red carpet looks.