Whatever Happened To Tiffany Darwish?

If you were heading down to a shopping mall in the late 1980s you were just as likely to spot a flame-haired teenager belting out a Tommy James and the Shondells hit as a Merry-Go-Round store. Yes, that's how Tiffany Darwish made her name. And long before the arrival of teenage superstars like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, or Taylor Swift, she was the teen-pop princess that every youngster who sang in front of their mirror with a hairbrush wanted to be.

Known simply as Tiffany, the Californian topped the charts with her debut single, "I Think We're Alone Now." She then repeated the feat with the follow-up track "Could've Been" and her self-titled debut album. But fame can be a fickle mistress and by the end of the decade, the star had been usurped in the charts by even fresher-faced Teen Beat favorites such as New Kids on the Block.

Of course, Darwish still remained in the spotlight thanks to numerous reality TV appearances, an acting sideline in trashy sci-fi B-movies, and most memorably, for a certain demographic anyway, a centerfold shoot in Playboy. Here's what she's been up to in the last few years.

Tiffany's on stage oubturst went viral

You could say that Tiffany Darwish's 2021 "Shadows" tour finished with a bang. However, that was more due to the singer dropping F-bombs than any on-stage pyrotechnics. While performing her signature tune on the final date in Lake Park, Florida, the former teen star appeared to experience what we'll politely describe as technical difficulties. Struggling with her vocals, the star paused and appeared to mumble, "F*** you guys" in the direction of the crowd. Then, referring to her 1987 number one "I Think We're Alone Now," she yelled, "This is my hit. I'm gonna sing it right."

Unfortunately, that didn't quite happen. Instead, Darwish delivered a shaky rendition of the Tommy James and the Shondells classic which then went viral for all the wrong reasons. When asked by TMZ about the reason for her expletive-ridden crowd interaction, a rep suggested the chart-topper had "lost her voice and got frustrated with her performance." As noted by the outlet, it's possible the singer was also responding to potential hecklers in the crowd.

To her credit, Darwish later apologized on Twitter for the outburst. "I panicked. It's not often that I lose my voice. And I got up there and just absolutely had a panic attack," she explained. "... And out of my frustration, I said things that I don't mean at all. I love you guys so very, very much."

She released a Christmas song

Tiffany Darwish may have played a Christmas caroler in a 2008 episode of daytime soap opera institution "The Young and the Restless." But fans had to wait a full 33 years into her career before she embraced the holiday season on record. Yes, the Californian finally tried to muscle in on Mariah Carey's territory in 2020 with a festive single titled "Angels." Co-penned with Mark Alberici and Margie Hauser and recorded in her own Nashville studio, Darwish described the ballad to People as being a reflection on the collective loneliness experienced during the first year of the pandemic.

The singer also went on to explain that the personal impact of lockdown had inspired her to add the festive track to her canon. "The song is about hope and missing family. In my more than 30-year career, I've never recorded an original Christmas song, but it just felt right," she said. "It's raw and real and that's what makes it special to me."

And if you're wondering how the chart-topper usually celebrates the holiday, well it turns out that it's quite the multi-cultural experience: "Usually on Christmas Eve I cook tamales because my son is part Mexican and I was raised in a Latin community, and we open one present," she told the outlet. "Then on Christmas morning, I drink hot chocolate while listening to Christmas carols and after I cook a big meal."

She is now a two-time divorcee

For her 12th studio effort, "Pieces of me," Tiffany Darwish believed her songwriting was the most vulnerable it had ever been. The singer made the disclosure in an interview with Louder Than War where she described the deep well of emotion that the album had sprung from. "It probably has more deep subject matter than I probably would've done before. It's just the disappointments within my own self: struggles of love, struggles with people staying in your life, all that stuff," she explained. "It's really been a reflection for me with this album, of my heart's desires, where I'm going. There is a lot of change in my life right now." 

The former teen singer certainly wasn't kidding. For it was while recording the album in 2018 that she and her second husband Ben George decided to go their separate ways. Per Closer Weekly, Darwish had walked down the aisle with the British businessman in 2004, just a year after divorcing her first husband, Bulmaro Garcia, and the father of her only child, Elijah. Sadly, the marriage didn't prove to be a second-time-lucky pairing, and in 2020 Darwish told the outlet that she and George had been separated for a year. However, she insisted that the split was amicable. "The music industry isn't something he wants to do full-time, but he respects me for what I'm doing," she said. "It's not bitter or angry, so, in love, we're going our own ways."

She toured with her late '80s peers

Fans of late '80s pop music got the chance to see five chart favorites for the price of one in 2019 when New Kids on the Block launched a nostalgic run of shows dubbed "The Mixtape Tour." And being one of the dominant hitmakers of the era, Tiffany Darwish was inevitably included.

The "I Think We're Alone Now" singer joined the boyband along with fellow teen-pop princess Debbie Gibson, and hip-hop outfits Naughty By Nature and Salt-N-Pepa, on the lengthy North American trek. And Darwish also headed into the studio with her tourmates to record a collaborative single titled — what else? — "'80s Baby."

When asked by Stereogum why she decided to get involved in the project, Darwish replied that it was to fulfill some longstanding fan requests. "Gosh, for me and the New Kids, the fans have been asking us to do something together again for probably over 20 years," she said. "There probably hasn't really been a day that it's not on social media. Or back then, [requests] came through fan mail, or just with fans alone, asking me. And I know that they've asked the New Kids over and over as well. So for the fans, this is a dream come true. I'm really excited about it."

Tiffany went into the jungle

Having appeared on everything from "Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off" and "Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling" to "Celebrity Fit Club" and "Celebrity Wife Swap" over the years, Tiffany Darwish then added another reality show to her resume in 2018. And possibly one of the most demanding of them all.

The "I Saw Her Standing There" singer joined the likes of tennis professional Bernard Tomic, "Australian Idol" runner-up Shannon Noll, and "The Real Housewives of Melbourne" star Jackie Gillies in season 4 of the Australian edition of "I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here." Luckily for Darwish, she didn't have to contend with all the creepy crawlies and bushtucker trials for too long, as she was the first to leave

In a piece to camera [via Who], Darwish revealed that she'd underestimated just how tough the jungle-themed Channel Ten show would be: "It is so hard in there. It is harder than I thought. I was rocked to my core." However, the Californian, who signed up to raise money for the Red Kite charity, later told The Guardian that there were some benefits to slumming it: "... From my bunk I could see the stars and the moon and I used to look up every night. It was like my rehab. I really had to melt myself down. I knew that was my time ..."

Her voiceover career made a return

Shortly before making her on-screen acting debut in an episode of sci-fi comedy "Out of This World," Tiffany Darwish landed the voiceover role of none other than Judy Jetson in 1990 feature-length animation "The Jetsons." And while the former teen idol appeared to prefer being in front of the camera, going on to star in trashy B-movies such as "Mega Piranha," "Necrosis" and "Mega Python vs. Gatoroid," she still must have enjoyed her vocal booth experience.

Indeed, in 2019, Darwish returned to the world of voice acting when she lent her raspy tones to the characters of Cheetah and Bambi's Mother in an episode of the subversive cult cartoon "Robot Chicken," titled, "Spike Fraser in: Should I Happen to Back Into a Horse."

Just three years earlier the "Could've Been" singer told HuffPost that she was keen to sign up for such a part: "If something came up where I could act or do more voice-over work, I would love to pop in and do it — especially if it were sci-fi — I'm a huge sci-fi fan!"

Tiffany started a cooking club

Frustrated at being unable to interact with her fans via the usual method of touring during the pandemic, Tiffany Darwish hit upon a novel alternative instead: she started a cooking club. The idea for Let's Food with Tiffany actually stemmed from the meet and greets she staged prior to lockdowns in which she ended up discussing her culinary habits. Darwish told News4Jax, "I threw a receipt out there to someone ... my Lebanese cinnamon chicken, actually, a family recipe I changed a little bit for me. It started to take on its own life."

The "Mega Piranha" actress, a self-confessed foodie who started cooking from a young age, also claimed that she's enjoying this unexpected part of her career. "I'm like a little kid right now. I love it. I love that when I meet fans on Zoom, we talk about music for five minutes and then we talk about food the rest of the time. It's a great new experience with us."

Let's Food with Tiffany isn't Darwish's first brush with the culinary world. She appeared on "Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off" and in 2019 staged a show at Boston's City Winery dubbed Breakfast with Tiffany in which attendees could enjoy her performance while also sampling delights such as brie and lobster omelets!

She's still immensely proud to be a mom

Tiffany Darwish became a mother relatively early on in her career. She gave birth to Elijah, the son she shares with first husband Bulmaro Garcia, in September 1992, aged just 20. She had to put her recording and touring ambitions on hold, as a result. Not that the performer has any regrets about pausing her career to get to grips with motherhood.

In a 2019 interview with Fox News, she said, "I took that first year off, and that was the best." Darwish also revealed that she always prioritized her duties as a parent throughout Elijah's childhood: "[He] started to travel with me and go on the road. I was able to take him until he was about five or six. And then I made a choice to start going out on summer tours and not tour the rest of the year. I really wanted Elijah to have a real life, have friends. I wanted to do the whole PTA mom thing and experience all of that."

Of course, Elijah is now twice as old as his mother was during her shopping mall-assisted rise to fame. And Darwish couldn't be prouder of how he's turned out, telling Closer Weekly that he's now a structural engineer who continues to be the greatest part of the musician's life. 

The former mall queen is now rocking out

Tiffany Darwish has flirted with all kinds of genres during her three-decades-and-counting career, from the teen-pop of her 1987 self-titled debut to the Eurodance of 2005's "Dust Off and Dance" and the pure country of 2011's "Rose Tattoo." But since the late 2010s, the chart-topper has been keen to prove that she can also rock out with the best of them.

None more so than on her 13th studio effort "Shadows," a record that Darwish eventually took on to the road with bassist Johnny Martin and drummer Scot Coogan of L.A. Guns. And those who purely came to see the Sunset Strip rockers were surprised at just how natural this unlikely team-up sounded, as she explained to NJArts.net.

Darwish said, "We just played Woodlands, Texas, and after the show a bunch of Johnny and Scotty's fans had all these L.A. Guns records and other things for them to sign, and they brought me a present as well, which was great. And as I was meeting them, they were saying, 'I'm so sorry that I underestimated you. I didn't know what I was getting into. This was great.'"

Tiffany and Debbie Gibson are now friends

Forget Britney Spears versus Christina Aguilera. The original teen pop princess rivalry was between late '80s favorites Debbie Gibson and Tiffany Darwish. Well, that's what the press would have you believe anyway. In reality, the two chart-toppers had no beef with each other whatsoever.

In an interview with People, the "I Think We're Alone Now" singer explained that their relationship back in the day was more cordial than hostile. She shared, "All that rivalry was not true. We really didn't know each other. We'd leave little notes here and there. See each other on carpets. But it was so fast! Now we have a friendship."

Indeed, in another interview with Fox News, Darwish revealed that her and Gibson's time together on The Mixtape Tour had strengthened their bond even further. "We would go on each other's buses and just talk, have a cup of tea like girlfriends," she said. "Talk, not just about music but our personal lives and fashion. It's really nice to have her as one of my dearest friends."

She's gotten into self care

Having been on the showbiz treadmill since the age of 15 and a mother since the age of 20, Tiffany Darwish's ability to enjoy some self-care has often been limited. But in 2019, the former shopping mall favorite finally decided it was time to prioritize her wellbeing. 

In an interview with Closer Weekly, Darwish explained, "I've been somebody who goes and goes and thinks I'm a little invincible. But there was a lot of flying, a lot of stress. I'm kind of grounded from flying now [because of] some medical stuff. Nothing major. And last year I started to feel like it wasn't a bad thing to take a nap or have some downtime."

As well as having the odd 40 winks, the chart-topper has also explored her relatively newfound love of meditation even further, too. As she revealed to Parade, "I really want to devote myself to it and make it a part of my life, because I really need it. I'm very much into Eastern philosophy now. I do a lot of crystals and I do a lot of oils. And a lot of soul searching."

Tiffany has become a Swiftie

Taylor Swift wasn't even born when Tiffany Darwish started singing in shopping malls but they still have several things in common. They both found fame while still in high school, they both scored No. 1 albums in their teens and they both lent their voices to big-screen animated movies. So it's little surprise that the original teen-pop queen sees herself in one of her successors.

In a 2020 interview with Parade, the "I Think We're Alone Now" singer revealed that she's very much a Swiftie. "Taylor Swift is somebody who's spoken to me personally, because I can see the joy in her, she truly does love her fans and engages," she said. "And I think she's been very positive for a lot of the young girls out there."

This wasn't the first time that Darwish had waxed lyrical about the "Shake It Off" hitmaker, either. Four years earlier she explained to HuffPost that she admires Swift for both her creativity and her attitude. She explained that she felt the singer was a tremendous role model for her many God-daughters to look up to. "I really like that she came along," she explained. "She's an excellent inspiration for young women — and she treats her fans amazing. She shines a great light for them."

She launched a pandemic challenge

As well as starting an online food club during the pandemic, Tiffany Darwish also kept herself and her fans busy by launching a social media challenge based on her signature hit, "I Think We're Alone Now." And unlike Jennifer Lopez's tone-deaf "Love Don't Cost A Thing" challenge — which appeared to urge people to throw away their luxury accessories in a period of mass unemployment — the former teen-pop singer's call-to-action was a little more down-to-earth. Darwish simply asked followers to share how they were spending their unexpected downtime.

The chart-topper explained to People that she wanted to forge a sense of togetherness during such a tough time. "It's interesting to see who people are quarantined with. Their loved ones, dogs, kids, parents. People are secluded in a lot of different places: houses, hotels, wherever. It's good to share these experiences with others, to show that you may be alone, but you're not alone. The whole point is about support and encouragement."

I Think We're Alone Now ... Part 2

Some musicians can get so precious about their new work that they entirely neglect the songs that made them famous. Obviously, Tiffany Darwish could never be accused of being such an artist. Her chart-topping cover version of Tommy James and the Shondells' "I Think We're Alone Now" has been a staple of her setlists ever since its release in 1987. And then more than three decades on she gave the track a rock-tinged makeover in the studio.

In a 2019 interview with Billboard, Darwish revealed why she felt it was time to revisit her signature hit. She explained, "On my new album, "Pieces of Me," I was inspired by the Foo Fighters, and maybe a little Go-Go's and Blondie mixed together ... with Tiffany. I wanted to show "I Think We're Alone Now" in that kind of a version, one that shows the layers of my new music."

The singer also went nostalgic with the accompanying promo. Speaking to Fox News, she explained how she was able to return to Norwalk, California to shoot the video with her friends. "We were rocking the Children Behave shirts. It was a blast," she reflected. "I really had a good time re-creating that video."