Julianne Alexandra Hough (; born July 20, 1988) is an American dancer, singer, and actress. She is a two-time professional champion of ABC's Dancing with the Stars. She was nominated for a Creative Arts Primetime Emmy in 2007 for Outstanding Choreography in season five of the show. Her first leading acting role was in the 2011 film remake of Footloose. In September 2014, Hough joined Dancing with the Stars as a permanent fourth judge. Along with her brother Derek Hough (who is a six-time winner of the dancing show) and Tessandra Chavez, she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography in 2015. In 2016, she played Sandy in the live Fox television production of Grease.
Hough was born in Orem, Utah, the youngest of five children in a Latter-day Saints (Mormon) family. Her parents are Marianne and Bruce 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. She is also a second cousin of musicians Riker, Rydel, Rocky and Ross Lynch from R5, their maternal grandmothers being sisters.
Hough's formal training began at the Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in Orem, where she danced with Josh Murillo, among others, in Latin Ballroom; she began dancing competitively at nine. In 1999, when she was 10, her divorcing parents sent her and brother Derek to London to live and study with their coaches, Corky and Shirley Ballas. The Ballases helped tutor the two Hough children alongside their own son, Mark. Following in Derek's footsteps, she joined him at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts when a slot opened up at that school. 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 12, performed at dance competitions in the UK and the U.S., and showcased in a UK television show. At 15, 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. She left London that year, after having been "abused, mentally, physically, everything," she said, a situation that escalated "when I started hitting puberty, when I started becoming a woman and stopped being a little girl. ... I was told if I ever went back to the United States, three things were going to happen. One: I was going to amount to nothing. Two: I was going to work at Whataburger. And three: I was going to end up a slut. So, it was like, I can't go back. I have to be this person." After returning to the U.S., she attended the Las Vegas Academy and Alta High School.
Hough was one of the Million Dollar Dancers in the 2006 ABC game show called Show Me the Money. She won season four of the U.S. edition 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 five. Hough returned for season six with radio host/comedian Adam Carolla, but they were eliminated in week four. 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 seven 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 was ultimately eliminated in the Semifinals Competition. 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.
On November 20, 2008, Hough told Ryan Seacrest on his radio show she would not be returning to Dancing with the Stars, for the foreseeable future, in order to further her music career. However, she did return for season eight, partnering with boyfriend at the time, country singer Chuck Wicks. They were voted off in week eight of the competition and came in sixth place. On October 11, 2011, Hough returned to Dancing with the Stars and danced with her Footloose co-star Kenny Wormald twice, as well as her brother. She returned again on May 15, 2012 in a dance performance to promote her film Rock of Ages. On October 7, 2013, she was guest judge in place of Len Goodman, which was the first time a former pro dancer came back to judge. In September 2014, she returned as the show's permanent fourth judge.
On March 18, 2014, Hough and her brother Derek announced a summer tour of over 40 cities across the U.S. and Canada, called "Move Live on Tour", which would include dancing and singing from both of them, and the appearance of a group of dancers employed by the Houghs who earned their jobs through auditions. They embarked on the sold out tour on May 25, 2014 in Park City, Kansas and ended it in Los Angeles on July 26, 2014. Due to the success of ticket sales and several sold out venues before the tour had officially kicked off, several more shows were added to the tour schedule, which also sold out. For the tour choreography, the Hough siblings collaborated with Nappytabs.
Following the success of the 2014 tour and high demand, the Houghs announced the return of "Move Live on Tour" in the summer of 2015. Spanning from June 12, 2015 to August 8, 2015, the sold out tour visited over 40 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, and visited larger venues than in the previous year. Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo "Nappytabs" returned as collaborating choreographers alongside the Hough siblings. Auditions were also held to recruit a new group of dancers to join the Houghs, although some back-up dancers from the previous year returned.
On July 9, 2016, the Houghs held a free fitness pop-up event called 'Move Interactive' in Los Angeles, which they announced would be the first of many. The event started off in Sherman Oaks with a workout session at Pulse Fitness Studios led by celebrity personal trainer and owner, Mark Harari. The participants then took part in a two-mile run along Ventura Blvd, before finishing off with a dance-fitness class at JustDance Los Angeles. According to Hough, the motivation behind the event was to "bring health, love, community and human interaction into our everyday lives." The following week, on July 14, the Hough's held a second free Move Interactive event in Fryman Canyon, LA, which included a hike and team building exercises.
On December 14, 2016, they announced, via social media, that they would be going on a new tour, MOVE BEYOND Live on Tour, in 2017.
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 placed at No. 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 No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart on May 31, and also peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. Hough's second single, and the first to be released to country radio, was "That Song in My Head".
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, 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 Award 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. 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 released a single, "Is That So Wrong", to country radio on June 21, 2010. It was intended as the lead single for her second album, Wildfire, however the album was never released. In June 2012, Hough told AOL's The Boot that her second album was "completely done" and that she was initially "really, really looking forward to the record." However, she also stated that, due to the underperforming lead single and having "a lot of momentum" in her film career, there are no plans to release Wildfire. She does intend to resume focusing on her music career at some point, though: "I feel like when I have the time to focus on it, and when I feel like it is the right time, [I'll return to] my music," she said.
Hough's first acting role was in the 2001 feature film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 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 (Aguilera) who finds success at a Los Angeles burlesque club, Hough plays a dancer named Georgia.
Hough's first leading role was as Ariel Moore in the 2011 remake of the Paramount film Footloose, opposite Kenny Wormald as Ren McCormack. Filming began in September 2010. The film was released on October 14, 2011. Hough played the role of Sherrie Christian in the 2012 film adaptation of the Broadway musical Rock of Ages, alongside Tom Cruise and Mary J. Blige. In 2012, she filmed her starring role opposite Josh Duhamel in the romantic drama Safe Haven, based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks, which was released on February 14, 2013. Hough also starred in the comedy-drama Paradise as Lamb Mannerhelm, which was released on October 18, 2013. She played alongside Russell Brand.
Hough portrayed the role of Sandy Young for Fox's live television presentation of the musical Grease on January 31, 2016.
Julianne Hough and her brother Derek, hosted the 2016 The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration and The Disney Parks’ Magical Christmas Celebration. Televised by ABC on Thanksgiving night November 24 and Christmas Day December 25, 2016. The Hough siblings introduced performances by Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood and Kelly Clarkson. A companion holiday album, Disney Channel Holiday Hits, was released November 18, 2016.
Hough dated fellow country singer Chuck Wicks from August 2008 to November 2009; when the two had a mutual break-up, it inspired Hough's song "Is That So Wrong". Hough dated Ryan Seacrest from April 2010 to March 2013. In February 2014, it was revealed that she began dating NHL hockey player Brooks Laich, of the Los Angeles Kings, formerly the Washington Capitals, in December 2013. The couple announced their engagement on August 18, 2015. They were married on July 8, 2017.
Hough attracted controversy in October 2013 when she donned blackface as part of a Halloween costume depicting Uzo Aduba's character Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren from the Netflix comedy-drama Orange Is the New Black. Hough later apologized, stating on Twitter: "I realize my costume hurt and offended people and I truly apologize."