Julianne Houghis an American professional ballroom dancer, country music singer, and actress. She is most widely known for being a two-time winner of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. She earned a Creative Arts Primetime Emmy nomination in 2007 for choreography of her season five mambo with Helio Castroneves. ABC’s 20/20 called her one of the “very best dancers on the planet.” Hough was signed to Mercury Nashville Records in November 2007. Her self-titled debut album was released May 20, 2008, debuting at #1 on the Billboard Country Album chart and #3 on the Billboard 200. It sold 67,000 copies its first week, and has sold over 320,000 total copies. On October 12, 2008, she released a holiday album, Sounds of the Season: The Julianne Hough Holiday Collection, which as of January 5, 2009, had sold 157,000 copies.
Hough was born in Sandy, Utah. She grew up the last of five children in a Latter-day Saint (Mormon) family in Sandy, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City. Her parents are Marianne (née Heaton) and Bruce Robert Hough, who was twice chairman of the Utah Republican Party. Her brother, Derek Hough, is also a professional dancer. She also has three older sisters, Sharee, Marabeth, and Katherine. All four of Hough’s grandparents were dancers and her parents met while on a ballroom dancing team in college, in Idaho.
Her formal training began at the Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in Orem, Utah, where she danced with Josh Murillo, among others, in Latin Ballroom; she began dancing competitively at nine. Her parents sent her and brother Derek to London a year later to live and study with their coaches, Corky and Shirley Ballas, and to spare them the strife of divorce. The Ballases helped tutor the two Hough children alongside their own son, Mark, schooling them at the Italia Conti Academy. They received training in song, theatre, gymnastics and many forms of dance, including jazz, ballet, and tap. The three children formed their own pop music trio 2B1G (“2 Boys, 1 Girl”) when Hough was twelve, performed at dance competitions in the UK and the U.S., and were showcased in a UK television show. At fifteen, Julianne Hough became the youngest dancer, and only American, to win both Junior World Latin Champion and International Latin Youth Champion at the Blackpool Dance Festival. After five years in London, Hough returned to the U.S., first living with her mother for a year and attending Las Vegas Academy. She also spent a year at Park City High, in park city, Utah, then returned to Sandy, Utah to live with her father and graduate from Alta High. She then moved on her own to Los Angeles to begin her career.
She was featured in two television commercials and was an extra in an episode of Cold Case. She was one of the “Million Dollar Dancers” in the short-lived network television game show Show Me the Money.
Hough won the fourth season of the U.S. version of Dancing with the Stars with her partner Olympic gold medal-winning speed skater Apolo Ohno, making Hough the youngest professional dancer to win on the program. On November 27, 2007, Hough and her partner, three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Hélio Castroneves, became the winners of Season 5. Hough returned for season 6 with radio host/comedian Adam Carolla, but they were eliminated in the fourth week. In July 2008, Hough was nominated at the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards in the category of “Outstanding Choreography” for her Mambo “Para Los Rumberos” (performed with partner Hélio Castroneves) on Dancing with the Stars.
On August 25, 2008, the cast of season 7 was announced, and Hough was partnered with Hannah Montana actor Cody Linley. She felt abdominal pains during their jitterbug performance on October 27, 2008 and was immediately rushed to a hospital following the encore performance. She subsequently had surgery to have her appendix removed, causing her to miss several performances; Edyta Śliwińska stood in for her. Hough returned to the show, although the pair were ultimately eliminated in the semifinals. She appeared on the November 12 results show dancing the jive to “Great Balls of Fire” with her brother for the “Design-A-Dance” contest. Hough and brother Derek were selected the favorite pros on the show by an online vote at ABC.com and won the honor of doing this special audience designed dance.
On November 20, 2008, Hough told Ryan Seacrest on his radio show she would not be returning for the foreseeable future to Dancing with the Stars in order to further her country music career. However, she did return for the eighth season, partnering with at the time boyfriend, country singer Chuck Wicks. They were voted off in the eighth week of the competition and came in 6th place.
Hough’s first country music single “Will You Dance With Me” was released to iTunes and Wal-Mart in May 2007 to raise money for the American Red Cross. The song peaked at #100 on the Billboard Pop 100 chart. She later signed with Universal Music Group Nashville’s Mercury Nashville division.
Her self-titled debut album was recorded in Nashville and produced by David Malloy, who has worked with Reba McEntire, Eddie Rabbitt, among others. Hough’s album, which met with mixed reviews, debuted at #1 on the Top Country Albums chart on May 31, and also peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200. Hough’s second single, and the first to be released to country radio, “That Song in My Head” debuted on the Country charts in March.
Hough joined Brad Paisley’s 2008 Tour, along with Jewel and Chuck Wicks. Hough, Paisley and Willie Nelson appeared in the video for the Snoop Dogg song “My Medicine“. Hough appeared in a Juicy Fruit commercial in the fall of 2008, where she also sang the jingle, and released an EP of Christmas music called Sounds of the Season: The Julianne Hough Holiday Collection. Hough performed her second single “My Hallelujah Song” on Dancing With the Stars on November 18, 2008, with her brother, Derek Hough, Mark Ballas, and Lacey Schwimmer dancing.
Hough, LeAnn Rimes, Jessica Simpson, and Kellie Pickler announced the 2009 Academy of Country Music Awards nominees in February 2009. Hough was nominated for the Top New Female Vocalist award, a fan voted award, which she subsequently won. Hough won the Top New Artist award at the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 5, 2009.
During 2009, Hough headlines some of her own shows. Her first concert as the headlining act was in Green Bay, Wisconsin at the Meyer Theatre on January 15, 2009. She was the opening act for two shows on Toby Keith’s Tour as well as the opening act for George Strait’s Summer 2009 Tour.
Hough did not get the chance to write on her first record because the whole process was so quick. For her next record, she plans to write more.
Hough recently finished work on her second studio album for Mercury Nashville and the first single, “Is That So Wrong“, was released to radio on June 21, 2010. The album is set for release in 2012.
Hough’s first role was in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (released as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the United States), the film adaptation of British author J. K. Rowling’s bestselling novel. She appeared in an uncredited role as a “Hogwarts schoolgirl”.
Hough appeared in the 2010 musical Burlesque, starring Cher and Christina Aguilera. In the film, which chronicles a small-town girl (Christina Aguilera) who finds success at a Los Angeles burlesque club, she played a pregnant dancer named Georgia who befriends Aguiler’a character.
It was confirmed on March 3, 2011 that she will be playing the role of Sherrie Christian in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Rock of Ages, alongsidge Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, and Mary J. Blige. The film is due for release in 2012.
Hough will star as Ariel in the 2011 remake of the Paramount film Footloose opposite Kenny Wormald as Ren McCormack.
Hough is the youngest sister of dancer Derek Hough.
Upon completion of the fourth season of Dancing with the Stars, Hough postponed her wedding to former dancer Zach Wilson, but denied that a rumored relationship with Ohno was the cause of the breakup. Despite rumors linking her romantically with various Dancing With the Stars partners, and public courting by Kevin Connolly of Entourage fame, Hough’s first public relationship after Wilson was with country singer Chuck Wicks. After dating since August 2008, they announced a mutual break-up on November 10, 2009.
Hough was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2008, a common condition in which tissue from the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. Hough successfully underwent an appendectomy in the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on October 28, 2008.
Since April 2010, Julianne has been dating Ryan Seacrest, the host of American Idol.