Taylor Swift is one of the biggest pop stars of her era. With ten Grammys to her name, a multi-million dollar fortune and 75 million followers on Twitter, the megastar is one of the most powerful women in the world.
But Taylor’s life wasn’t always so glamorous. Once upon a time, the country pop princess was just an ordinary kid living with her family in Pennsylvania – and here are 20 rarely-seen photos to prove it.
Taylor Swift was born on December 13, 1989 – hence the album title, natch. Her parents named their daughter after the renowned musician James Taylor, which pretty much set the stage for her future career.
Two and a half years after Taylor was born, her little brother Austin came along. Taylor’s father snapped this adorable picture of the siblings enjoying some TV time together when his daughter was just a toddler.
Little Taylor was a typical Disney-loving kid, and older Taylor is happy to share that part of her life with her legions of fans. She posted this super-cute childhood photo to Instagram on her 26th birthday in December 2015.
The blonde beauty has sported some enviable hairstyles throughout the years but, believe it or not, Taylor actually hated her curly hair growing up. In 2013 she told Twist magazine that she actually used to straighten her lovely locks just so she could look like the cool kids in school.
Tiny Taylor had a picture-perfect life before she hit the big time. Her childhood sounds incredibly idyllic – she was lucky enough to grow up on a Christmas tree farm, where she spent her spare time riding horses.
The superstar is still very close to her mom Andrea, and from this cute mother-daughter photo, it’s not hard to see who she inherited her blonde hair and good looks from. In 2011, in fact, Taylor treated her parents to a gorgeous $2.5 million villa – lucky them.
The singer has had an air of utter cuteness about her all her life, but she’s also shown incredible creative talent from a very young age, too. Before she ever penned a lyric, the Wyndcroft Elementary School student won a national poetry contest.
And of course, little Taylor always had an interest in music, too. By the age of nine, the chubby-cheeked singer was attending vocal and acting lessons at Broadway and performing at festivals and competitions.
The future chart-topper was introduced to music at a very early age. What’s more, her grandmother on her mother’s side, Marjorie Finlay, was an opera singer. Taylor definitely inherited something from her.
Sadly the country music fan didn’t have many friends as a child, and her taste in tunes meant she wasn’t considered part of the “cool” crowd. In an attempt to fit in, then, young Taylor briefly took up soccer, before realising that music and drama were more her thing.
And Taylor showed a flair for the dramatic long before she ever made a music video. Here she is giving it her all as a baby-faced bride, aged 11. Not long afterwards, she started learning the guitar and began writing her own songs for the first time.
She still continued to act, though. In 2015 her old friend and co-star Dan Hauk posted this picture of the pair looking terribly uncomfortable together in a local 2001 production of Bye Bye Birdie!. Oh dear.
By age 12, then, Taylor was trying out a new ’do. In 2014 she reposted this awkward school picture to Instagram, describing the fashion faux pas as her “braids phase.”
By 2002, however, Taylor was beginning to look more like the megastar we know and love today. In 2014 a friend uploaded this throwback picture of a 13-year-old Taylor to Instagram, commenting, “Yup, this is what 2002 looked like #bracesandbighair.”
Taylor grew into a talented teen, as well as a good-looking one. In addition to all the singing and acting, she appears to have been something of a spelling whizz at school, too. Unless she just posed as one for the nerd cred…
But in many other ways, Taylor was just a typical teen. She had a highly embarrassing Myspace account – something the media discovered to hilarious effect in 2016 – which proved that she also once took silly selfies with her friends, just like many of her fans likely do.
And of course, Taylor took part in that rite of passage that almost all kids go through: prom. Gangsta poses aside, she definitely rocked her prom dress.
By 2005, though, Taylor was recording her first album. She was 15 years old at this point and gradually making the transition into adulthood – but still throwing up those gang signs! Cringe.
Soon enough, things began to really take off for the teen. She signed with Big Machine Records in 2006, and her first album received rave reviews. In March 2016, then, the record label posted this pic of a fresh-faced Taylor on Twitter, ten years after signing the superstar.
And as she turned 17, the world was at Taylor Swift’s feet. Here she is posing with a birthday cake given to her by a radio station – unaware of the megastardom that was to come for her…