Welcome to the ‘80s. This was a time when women were encouraged to be ambitious, empowered, and independent. And, of course, they were also encouraged to be beautiful. The decade was defined by female beauty, fashion, and empowerment, specifically as it related to the pink and purple tones.
It was no secret that the ‘80s were a remarkable decade for celebrities. More and more people felt motivated to follow their dreams, and a celebrity lifestyle became a very attractive option.
The most famous couple of the ‘80s was arguably Michael J. Fox and Lucie Arnholt. The former Beatle found fame again after years of struggling with Parkinson’s disease, while the latter became a famous fashion designer following Lucie’s close-knit friendship with Princess Diana.
This year, to celebrate the ‘80s, we’re taking a look back at the biggest stories and the most memorable moments from one of the most exciting decades in modern history.
Michael J. Fox’s Comeback
It was 1988, and America was in the midst of a nervous breakdown. The country was at the peak of a recession that would see it teetering on the brink of financial collapse. Businesses were closing down, savings were being wiped out, and people were struggling. But there was one area of the country where it seemed everyone was doing just fine: Hollywood.
The ‘80s had been a remarkable decade for celebrities, and no one embodied that more than Michael J. Fox. Before the ‘80s, Fox had struggled with Parkinson’s disease. He was a high-profile spokesman for the disease, and throughout the ‘80s, was often seen walking with a proud but labored bearing. Yet, in 1988, Michael J. Fox seemed to have all but forgotten about his struggle. He was acting, he was producing, and he was even hosting his own game show. It was as if, in the face of adversity, he had found the source of his strength. And it was that strength that would help lead him to recovery.
The Year of the Lady
It was 1981, and the feminist movement was at its height. Sexuality was no longer shamed, and women were encouraged to be honest about what they wanted and needed. The year was also notable for the emergence of female empowerment, as young women began to take a stand against traditional gender roles and established gender hierarchies. They were no longer willing to be dominated by men, and they demanded to be given equal footing in all areas of society. A combination of the feminism and sexual freedom movements gave birth to what is known today as the ‘80s fashion era. We wanted to be powerful, to feel sensual, and to be confident in our looks. And we had the makeup artists and the hairstylists to prove it.
The Prince of Wales
Another member of the royal family who was instrumental in giving the ‘80s its unique flare was Prince Charles. Prince Charles is the heir to the throne of Great Britain, and, in an effort to modernize, he largely rejected his royal tradition and embraced new ways of life. One of the major ways he influenced the ‘80s was in fashion. He is credited with introducing polka dots to British fashion, and the bold pattern became emblematic of the ‘80s.
It was certainly no coincidence that Prince Charles began championing modernity and fashion. The economy was booming, and the country was finally finding its feet after years of hardship. It seemed the perfect opportunity to rekindle some of that ‘70s spirit and try something new. So Charles, along with his son Prince William, launched the ‘80s in grand style. The pair opened their respective doors to welcome the new decade with a glittering soirée. They were keen to embrace change, and they invited the leading lights of fashion and art to join them in celebrating the dawn of a new decade. In keeping with his pro-modern stance, Prince Charles turned to high-end designer brands to outfit his event. As a result, the ‘80s were heralded as the “Year of the Lady” and “The Prince of Wales.”
The Return of the Rooney Pair
One of the most striking facts about the ‘80s is just how many famous families there were in the limelight at the same time. It started with the Fords, and continued all the way through to the Rooneys. It is often forgotten that Michael J. and Lesley Ann Rooney were originally cast together in the “Happy Days” spin-off, “Too Close for Comfort.” The couple’s five-year marriage was undoubtedly one of the defining stories of the ‘80s. The Rooneys would go on to have four children, the latest being John J. Rooney III, who was born in 1990, and is currently the vice president of human resources and corporate affairs for Comcast.
The story of the Rooneys is a familiar one. After years of struggling with their careers in the music industry, the couple decided to take a fresh approach. They wanted to be able to provide a stable home for their children, and so opened their doors to young families who shared their vision. The couple spent the ‘80s happily raising their children and celebrating the simple pleasures in life. They still holiday together each year, and always manage to have fun adventures that involve the whole family. In 2011, Michael J. and Lesley Ann celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary with a trip to New York City. They live happily ever after, proof that fair is still “fair.”
The ‘70s and ‘80s were a glorious era for celebrities. It was a time when traditional gender roles were being challenged, when sexual politics were on the rise, and when families were celebrating the love they had for one another. It was an era when women rose to become men’s equals. Many were inspired by the empowerment movements of the time and sought to emulate their style and attitude. The ‘80s were certainly a memorable decade for celebrities, and we’re sure to see many more birthdays to come.