The Untold Story of Dua Lipa


| LAST UPDATE 10/20/2021

By Manny Ray

"Everything has happened so fast," Lipa confessed of her newfound reality. Sure enough, in the blink of an eye, she went from a struggling immigrant to an international star. "When you say it out loud, it's a bit unbelievable."

A Global Sensation

Make no mistake about it: Dua Lipa is a force to be reckoned with. She's an award-winning pop star with an army of fans to match. But that doesn't mean it's always been easy. The truth? Well, it hasn't.

Dua Lipa, Untold storyDua Lipa, Untold story
2020 Billboard Women In Music/Getty Images for Billboard

From moving out of the house at 15 to maneuvering her way through a cutthroat industry, perhaps there's more than meets the eye to the girl who seemingly has it all. Hang on as we navigate Dua's remarkable journey to fame - and all the road bumps in between.

Her Humble Beginnings

Long before Dua was busy dominating the world of Hollywood, the artist's reality actually looked very different. Born in London, England, to proud parents Dukagjin and Anesa, the young child was taught the value of a dollar at a young age. And with good reason.

Dua Lipa, Parents, AlbaniaDua Lipa, Parents, Albania
Instagram via @dualipa

Her parents were refugees, having just given up their entire life in Albania for one of uncertainty. After fleeing Kosovo during political unrest, Mr. and Mrs. Lipa struggled to make ends meet for their growing family. "You have to work really, really hard just to have a tiny bit of luck," her father would remind her.

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Music Is in Her Blood

But growing up in the Lipa household was nothing short of noisy, literally. When her father wasn't taking on whatever jobs he could find, he actually had his sights set elsewhere: Music. "He [sang] in a band called Oda," Dua recalled of her younger years.

Dukagjin, Dua Lipa, AlbaniaDukagjin, Dua Lipa, Albania
Instagram via dukagjinlipa

"They did it for fun... but then they had a really big song called Beso Ne Diell, which means, 'Believe in the sun,'" she explained of dad's glimpse at the rockstar life. "I think [how] I benefited from that was the music was always played in the house."

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She Was Told She Can’t Sing

Unfortunately for young Dua, her musical endeavors didn't initially pan out the same way as Dad's; Something she soon learned the hard way, as her passion for singing only continued to grow. What happened? After trying her luck on stage, the hopeful little girl was met with a brutal reality check.

Dua Lipa Career StrugglesDua Lipa Career Struggles
YouTube via Dua Lipa

"I was told I couldn't sing because I couldn't reach the high notes," Lipa revealed of the harsh words her choir teacher hurled at her 11-year-old self. "That put me down a bit." Safe to say, though, that didn't last long. And in only a matter of time, she tried her luck elsewhere.

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She Began Singing on YouTube

"I thought that was the easiest thing I could reach out to," Lipa revealed of the events that soon followed. At just 14-years-old, the aspiring artist brought her talent to an entirely different audience: The online world. Only her latest attempts would also be met with disappointment.

Dua Lipa, Childhood, AlbaniaDua Lipa, Childhood, Albania
Mark Horton via Getty Images

"It never had that kind of Justin Bieber effect I was hoping for," the star admitted of her unsuccessful YouTube endeavors. Nonetheless, Dua Lipa was practically destined to be a star. And as she continued to perform - whether it be for her parents' dinner guests or in a school talent show - soon, everything would change.

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She Moved Out of the House

As the story goes, by the time Dua rang in her 15th birthday, she soon welcomed another exciting chapter; Only this one left her packing her bags as she said bye to her parents... for now, at least. What happened? The teenager moved out of the house. But not just down the block or to a neighboring city.

Dua Lipa, London, FameDua Lipa, London, Fame
James Devaney/GC Images via Getty Images

"I guess it was scary for them... But for me? It was the best time of my life," Lipa revealed as she set off from Kosovo (her family had returned there years prior) back to London. Only as she adjusted to her new reality, she never could have predicted the wild turn of events that life would soon hurl her way.

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She Felt Lost

The truth was that her attempts to chase after her musical dreams had left her feeling… lost - more than ever before. At just 16, the young girl was left completely on her own - both financially and artistically. What next? What was Dua supposed to do now?

Dua Lipa, London, AlbaniaDua Lipa, London, Albania
Kirstin Sinclair/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Despite her new job as a waitress and classes at the Sylvia Young Theatre School - with boasting alumni like Amy Winehouse and Rita Ora - Dua had no clue where to start. "When I started writing [music], I was [trying to figure] out who I was," she explained. "It was a form of a 'Dear Diary' for me."

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Her Body Confidence Struggles

She was a little girl in a big city, with no idea when - or better yet, if - she'd ever catch that big break she desperately craved. What if that day never came? But in the months that soon followed, Dua Lipa's prayers had finally been answered. Or so she thought.

Dua Lipa, Untold storyDua Lipa, Untold story
Barry Brecheisen via Getty Images

She was offered a modeling contract, something she was sure would help launch her music career. The truth? "I was never cut out to be a model," Dua confessed of her wakeup call. "They were like, 'If you lose a lot of weight, we'll be able to put you out for more jobs,'" she revealed. "Put me in a really bad mindset."

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She Was Discovered on SoundCloud

But fast forward one year, and all of those feelings of self-doubt suddenly vanished. What happened? As she continued to try her luck online, Dua had caught the attention of some pretty impressive faces. And it wasn't long before they decided to take action.

Dua Lipa, Childhood, CareerDua Lipa, Childhood, Career
Carrie Davenport/Redferns via Getty Images

After dropping her very first demo, Lions and Tigers and Bears on SoundCloud, Lipa left two people completely amazed: Ed Millett and Ben Mawson of 'Tap Management.' Ring a bell? That's because they manage Lana Del Rey; Something Dua Lipa knew all too well as she took them on as her official managers.

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She Made an X-Factor Debut

Don't remember catching Dua Lipa trying her luck on that X-Factor stage? Truthfully, that's because she never did. Well, sort of. Back in 2013, as the aspiring star continued to put her face out there, it soon found its way onto our screens. Even though it didn't last long.

Dua Lipa X FactorDua Lipa X Factor
YouTube via The X Factor UK

Dua Lipa had landed herself her very own commercial. Sure, it spanned mere minutes and may have been overlooked by many. But her scripted promo - encouraging people to audition for the British reality series - marked yet another accomplishment to tick off the list.

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The Inspiration Behind Her Music

With a management team now under her belt, the events that soon transpired called for lots and lots of studio sessions - about two years' worth, to be exact. And as Dua continued to make her way into the studio, she eventually walked out with 130 of her own penned songs.

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Ben Pruchnie via Getty Images

As for where she found her inspiration? The answer's actually quite simple: Life. "Most of the time, it's stuff that's already in my mind," Lipa confessed. "And while I'm writing, I slowly realize how much that song has relevance to what's actually going on in my life; Things that I've kept bottled inside me."

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A Signed Artist

There was no doubt about it; Dua had poured her entire heart out into making her dreams a reality. And by 2015? It'd finally mean something, as she welcomed her biggest milestone yet: At just 20-years-old, Dua Lipa was now a signed artist, something that would take her to places she couldn't imagine.

Dua Lipa, Warner, MusicDua Lipa, Warner, Music
Matt Winkelmeyer via Getty Images

But perhaps, she knew exactly what she was doing all along. "Dua was really smart," manager Ed Millett explained. How did he put it? "[Her label, Warner Bros. Records] didn't have a big female pop artist, and they needed one." The odds were in her favor. Warner was going to make her into the big next thing; She was sure of it.

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She Dropped Her First Single

Safe to say, Dua Lipa couldn't have been more right. By the summer of 2015, she went on to drop her very first single, New Love. But perhaps it was what she did come October that changed her life as she knew it forever. Any guesses as to what we're referring to?

Dua Lipa, New LoveDua Lipa, New Love
David M. Benett via Getty Images

Of course, we're talking about her second single, Be the One, which suddenly put her name on the map - literally. After peaking #1 on Belgium, Poland, and Slovakia's charts, Dua Lipa was officially a name to look out for. Only she was just getting started.

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Her Hotter Than Hell Tour 

Well, what came next? By the summer of 2016, Lipa's reality brought her halfway around the world as she prepared for one of her wildest chapters yet. She was officially a star, with her very own headlining tour to back her up. And you can bet it took the United Kingdom by storm.

Dua, Hotter than hellDua, Hotter than hell
Roger Kisby via Getty Images

From Dublin to Birmingham, fans worldwide flocked overseas to catch a glimpse of the star live in action. But in only a matter of time, the buzz that filled her sold-out arenas was about to be matched by even more chaos. A British invasion was on its way.

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Coming To America

On August 26th, 2016, Dua Lipa was met with the shock of her life. Her latest single, Blow Your Mind, had made it big in the U.K. - peaking at #30 on the Billboard charts. But even crazier than that? The rising star had officially made her mark elsewhere: America.

Dua Lipa, Billboard, MusicDua Lipa, Billboard, Music
Joseph Okpako/WireImage via Getty Images

After landing a slot on U.S. Billboard charts, Lipa had finally found her way onto our radios, and it wasn't long before people took notice. The truth? Her music was nothing we'd ever heard before. Boasting "the flowiness that hip-hop artists had," as Lipa put it, her distinct style had officially taken Hollywood by storm.

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Becoming a Star

"Everything has happened so fast," Dua revealed of the events that soon transpired. "It was quite daunting, quite scary… but amazing at the same time." With her name continuing to hijack our radios and her face on our screens, it wasn't long before Dua Lipa was officially morphed into a star.

Dua Lipa, Music, StoryDua Lipa, Music, Story
Timothy Hiatt via Getty Images for NYLON

In fact, the months that followed called for nothing but success. And after joining forces on Sean Paul's No Lie, the Albanian star was seemingly... everywhere. Of course, though, she'd only continue to climb her way to the top. As for what that called for?

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New Rules

It's hard to picture a time when New Rules wasn't busy being blasted on radios and speakers alike. But back in 2017? As the latest drop found its way onto our feeds, even Dua never could've predicted the madness that would ensure. For starters, it finally landed her at the top.

Dua Lipa, New rulesDua Lipa, New rules
Michael Hickey via Getty Images

After years spent navigating the industry, Dua finally snagged the #1 Billboard spot in the U.K; The first solo female artist to do so since Adele. But that's not all. With almost 2.5 billion views on YouTube and the #6 spot on U.S.'s Hot 100, Lipa's latest track was a gamechanger.

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Old Videos Resurfaced

To the naked eye? Dua Lipa was officially on top of the world. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before she learned the hard way the price of her newfound fame. And by 2018, she found herself in one messy scandal as her controversial past was suddenly unearthed.

Dua Lipa, Scandal, TwitterDua Lipa, Scandal, Twitter
Timothy Hiatt/WireImage via Getty Images

What happened? An old clip had leaked, a cover of Lipa singing Mila J's Smoke, Drink, Break Up. It should have been an innocent upload - only it was far from that, according to some fans. Towards the end of the clip, the New Rules artist was supposedly heard muttering a racial slur. And it left the online world with questions.

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Accused of Insulting Her Father

But months later, fans had a whole lot more to say as Dua took to the 'gram to wish her father a happy birthday. Only this time, the madness it soon called for left the No Lie artist fighting back. How did she put it? "It was actually quite mean," she said of the messy exchange.

Dua, Dukagjin Lipa, InstagramDua, Dukagjin Lipa, Instagram
Instagram via @dukagjinlipa

What happened? "Happy birthday babi," Lipa had written in her sweet post. The only problem? Babi, which meant 'dad' in Albanian, also means 'pig' in Bahasa Malaysia. And it wasn't long before users pointed it out. "The language that I speak with my parents is my heritage. I would like that to be respected," Lipa shot back.

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Her Scandalous After Party

Ever wondered how our favorite stars ring in awards season? Perhaps not the way we expected. Or at least that's what happened back in 2020, as Dua Lipa found herself embroiled in another online scandal. It all started when the artist made her way to Lizzo's Grammys after-party.

Dua Lipa, Lizzo, GrammysDua Lipa, Lizzo, Grammys
Instagram via @dualipa

Only the fun and games suddenly came to an end as she was captured partying her way through the night. Why? Fans were furious at the venue of choice: A club for exotic dancers. And it wasn't long before spectators shared their thoughts on the controversial location, labeling Lipa "anti-feminist" for attending.

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Her Controversial Country Tribute

Unfortunately, fast forward a few months, and the Don't Start Now hitmaker became the face of even more online backlash. Only this time, the accusations hurled her way were far more personal than anything Lipa had ever experienced before. "We all deserve to be proud of our ethnicity and where we are from," Dua explained.

Dua Lipa, Albania, ScandalDua Lipa, Albania, Scandal
Instagram via @dualipa

It all started after Lipa shared an image of a map - comprised of Albania, Kosovo, and parts of other bordering Balkan countries. Only her caption, "Autochthonous," - or "indigenous" - soon left her being accused of promoting Albanian expansionism. How did she explain it? "I simply want my country to be represented."

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The Pregnancy Scare

“I really didn’t think this through,” Lipa confessed. Fast forward to 2021, and Dua welcomed the New Year with an entirely new scandal; One that left her rushing to explain herself. The truth? “I am not pregnant,” the artist assured, after implying otherwise online.

Dua Lipa, Pregnant, AnwarDua Lipa, Pregnant, Anwar
Twitter via @dualipa

On January 13th, Dua had taken to the ‘gram to upload the latest snap. “I put, like, a little baby bottle, a little angel… Random,” she explained of the photo’s caption. Only her emojis weren't random - at least where fans were concerned. “Just to clear up. Not pregnant,” she shot down the pregnancy rumors that followed.

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Accused of Breaking Covid Guidelines

But while Dua’s latest reality welcomed a slew of wild rumors, it also called for lots of traveling; Something that’d land the pop star under lots of hot water, as she’d soon find out. In fact, even her most loyal fans couldn’t help but speak out. So, what happened? 

Dua Lipa, Covid, ScandalDua Lipa, Covid, Scandal
ARMEND NIMANI/AFP via Getty Images

Covid-19 had just swept across the nation. In other words? Self-isolation and social-distancing had become a new reality for most. But not Dua, as fans soon noted. "I blink, and this girl is in a different place," one user shaded. From romantic getaways to girls' trips, it appeared the star wasn't following travel guidelines.

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Her Famous Boyfriend

Speaking of romantic getaways, it's about time we mention a very special somebody. Any guess who we're referring to? Of course, Dua's famous boyfriend: Anwar Hadid. "We have all these incredible memories and experiences," she gushed after the two made things official back in June of 2019.

Dua Lipa, Anwar HadidDua Lipa, Anwar Hadid
Rich Fury via Getty Images for The Recording Academy

From trips to Albania to adopting their very own puppy, the two have been going strong ever since - as they'll happily remind us themselves. Well, sort of. "It's a little bit of give and take," Lipa explained about keeping their relationship private. "I want to be able to just be happy… without having other people's opinions."

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Her Romantic Past With Other Stars

As for those who came before Gigi and Bella Hadid's baby brother? Over the years, Dua Lipa has been met with lots of romance rumors. From One Direction's Harry Styles to Coldplay's Chris Martin, the New Rules artist has been linked with lots of stars in Hollywood.

Harry Styles, Dua, DatingHarry Styles, Dua, Dating
Anthony Pham via Getty Images

As for the two most notable (listed above)? Perhaps we may have jumped the gun too soon. After denying a fling with Chris Martin back in 2019, Lipa shot down rumors of her and Styles. How did she put it? "He's a friend of mine. We've been friends for a while," she assured.

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A-List Collaborations

The truth is that Styles and Martin aren’t the only big-names Lipa’s been linked to. But why don’t we let her music do all of the talking here? From Calvin Harris’ One Kiss to Miley Cyrus’ Prisoner, Dua’s impressive list of collabs only seems to be growing by the day.

Dua Lipa, Madonna, CollaborationDua Lipa, Madonna, Collaboration
Instagram via @dualipa 8

But back in 2020? The pop star couldn’t help but feel starstruck after heading towards the studio for her latest session. “It still feels unbelievable to me. Like, unbelievable,” Dua gushed of her hit collaboration with Madonna on Levitating; Something she’s only dreamed about since she was a little girl.

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Her Grammy Wins

We now know all about her "unbelievable" collabs - and the A-listers they've called for, of course. Perhaps, that's why it's no surprise that Dua's music has been met with endless acclaim over the years. Like the time her career landed her 6 Grammy nominations in one year alone.

Dua Lipa, Grammy, AlbumDua Lipa, Grammy, Album
Kevin Winter via Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Yep, during the 63rd Grammy Awards, she snagged 6 nominations - marking 8 total throughout the years. But that's not all. She also walked home a winner that night: "Best pop vocal album" for her album Future Nostalgia. "I feel like winning… almost just pushed me to work harder," the now 3x Grammy winner gushed.

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Net Worth

With 3 Grammys under her belt, 1 thriving career, and an army of fans to back her up, we can’t help but wonder, well: Just how much has Dua Lipa’s remarkable success landed her in the bank? Where exactly does her net worth put her at? (Psst, a whole lot.)

Dua Lipa, Net worthDua Lipa, Net worth
Instagram via @dualipa 9

According to Celebritynetworth, the Future Nostalgia artist has racked up about $16 million over the years. And with no plans of slowing down anytime soon? We’ve got a feeling that number is only going to continue to grow. But just because her new reality might look different doesn’t mean she’s forgotten where she came from.

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Never Forgetting Her Humble Roots

"My parents have always made sure that I never forget the place where I'm from," Lipa proudly revealed. Safe to say, they've done just that, and then some. In fact, back in 2018, she and her dad teamed up to "really help put Kosova on the map culturally." And the result was remarkable.

Dua Lipa, Kosovo, ConcertDua Lipa, Kosovo, Concert
ARMEND NIMANI/AFP via Getty Images

What did that call for exactly? A three-day music festival - “Sunnyhill Festival,” named after her parents’ hometown. “Coming back to my hometown and getting to perform? It’s a pretty sick experience,” Dua gushed of the summer affair - one of the biggest Kosovo had ever seen. 

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A Dream Come True

Ever since she could talk (well, sing,) we watched a young Dua follow her heart as it led her to her dreams. "Sometimes, when you say it out loud, it's a bit unbelievable," Lipa confessed. "I mean, it's bonkers." But perhaps we could all learn a thing or two from her.

Dua Lipa, Grammy, StoryDua Lipa, Grammy, Story
Pascal Le Segretain/amfAR/Getty Images for amfAR

"These things really only happen in your dreams." But with the right amount of determination, the Albanian teen made that dream a reality. "I feel like... I'm hoping no one is going to wake me up and be like, 'All right, time for school!' or something."

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