Diana Ross's Life in Photos

See the self-described diva's incredible life in photos: From climbing to the top of the charts with The Supremes to winning Oscars and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom

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1960s: Diana Ross's Early Years

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty.

Diana Ross was born on March 26, 1944, in Detroit to Ernestine and Fred Ross, Sr.

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1961: Starting Out with The Primettes

The Supremes
GAB Archive/Redferns

When she was just 15 years old, the singer joined her first singing group alongside Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson and Betty McGlown (later replaced by Barbara Martin). Known as The Primettes, the group was the female equivalent of the male singing group, The Primes.

The group auditioned for none other than Smokey Robinson — who was Ross's neighbor — and he brought them to Motown Records. There, they met Berry Gordy, signing a record deal in 1961.

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1961: Meet the Supremes

The Supremes – Florence Ballard, Diana Ross, and Mary Wilson. Walt Disney Archives/Getty

In 1961, the group lost a member, Barbara Martin, and changed their name to the Supremes. The group released their debut album, Meet the Supremes, in 1962, following it up with Where Did Our Love Go in 1964.

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1963: Supreme Success

The Supremes
Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis/Getty

The group had 10 No. 1 hits from the years 1964 to 1967, including "Where Did Our Love Go," "You Can't Hurry Love," "Baby Love," "Stop! In the Name of Love" and "You Keep Me Hangin' On."

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1965: Relationship with Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy of Motown records with singer Diana Ross
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

In 1965, Ross began a romantic relationship with music producer Berry Gordy; the pair share daughter Rhonda, who was born in 1971.

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1960s: The Supremes Making Hits

The Supremes
Archive Photos/Getty

The group went on an international tour in 1966, capitalizing on their growing fame.

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1968: The Supremes Meet Royalty

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
Peter King/Fox Photos/Getty

In 1968, the group — who experienced a big shakeup the year prior when Florence Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong — sang at the Royal Variety in London. At the time, they had changed their name from simply the Supremes to Diana Ross and the Supremes, making Ross the leader of the pack.

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1968: The Supremes and The Temptations

Temptations (back) and the Supremes (fore),
Silver Screen Collection/Getty

In 1968, The Primettes were The Supremes and their male counterparts, The Primes, were the Temptations! The groups joined forces once more, with Motown announcing that the acts would be collaborating.

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1969: Diana Ross in G.I.T. on Broadway

Frank Carroll/NBCU Photo Bank

The groups performed together in the 1969 television special G.I.T. on Broadway — which stood for Gettin' It Together.

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1969: Diana Ross Leaves the Supremes

Diana Ross
Disney General Entertainment Content/Getty

In 1969, the singer decided to go solo, putting out her first studio album the following year, titled simply Diana Ross. The album featured her hit single, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

She also starred in her first solo television special, Diana!

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1971: Diana Ross Marries Robert Ellis Silberstein

Diana Ross on the way to an event and Husband Robert Ellis Silberstein aka Bob Ellis
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

In 1971, Ross married music executive Robert Ellis Silberstein. The pair welcomed two more daughters, Tracee and Chudney, in 1972 and 1975, respectively. The pair divorced in 1977.

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1972: Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues

Lady Sings the Blues

Ross earned a starring role in the 1972 Billie Holiday biopic, Lady Sings the Blues.

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1973: And the Oscar Goes to ...

Diana Ross

Ross's performance in Lady Sings the Blues earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

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1974: Diana Ross Co-Hosts the Oscars

Diana Ross and husband Robert Ellis Silberstein
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 2: Diana Ross and husband Robert Ellis Silberstein (aka Bob Ellis) attend the 46th Academy awards at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on April 2, 1974 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images). Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In 1974, Ross made history as the first Black woman to co-host the Academy Awards. She did so alongside John Huston, Burt Reynolds and David Niven.

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1975: Divas Galore

Cher, Elton John and Diana Ross
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

In 1975, Ross starred in her second film, Mahogany, and the fashion icon not only acted in the film, but designed the costumes. She earned her third No. 1 hit with "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)."

In 1976, Ross's two-week residency at Broadway's Palace Theatre became an Emmy-nominated TV special and earned a special Tony Award.

Pictured: Ross with Cher and Elton John in 1975.

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1978: Starring in The Wiz

Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Diana Ross and Ted Ross
Michael Ochs Archive/Getty

In 1978, Ross eased on down the road and onto the set of The Wiz, playing Dorothy alongside Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell and Ted Ross.

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1980: Disco Queen

Diana Ross

In 1980, Ross made the pivot, like so many other artists, to embrace the disco era. Pictured, she lets loose at Studio54.

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1980: Dating Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons and Diana Ross
Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive/Getty

From 1980 to 1983, Ross dated KISS frontman Gene Simmons.

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1980: The Release of Diana

Diana Ross
Anwar Hussein/Getty

That same year, Ross released Diana and it quickly became her most successful album. It included iconic songs like "Upside Down" and "I'm Coming Out."

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1981: Iconic Duet

ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content/Getty

We have "Endless Love" for the iconic duet by Lional Richie and Ross, which was the theme for the film It's My Turn.

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1982: Superstar at the Super Bowl

super bowl national anthem singers

In 1982, Ross became the first pop star to ever perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl. She'd return to the Super Bowl Stage in 1996 to perform during the halftime show.

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1980s: Record Success

Diana Ross
Harry Langdon/Getty

Ross continued to experience success throughout the 1980s and boy, was she busy. The singer released an album almost every year of the decade: Why Do Fools Fall in Love in 1981, Silk Electric in 1982, Ross in 1983, Swept Away in 1984, Eaten Alive in 1985, Red Hot Rhythm & Blues in 1987 and Workin' Overtime in 1989.

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1986: Marrying Arne Naess Jr.

Diana Ross
Georges De Keerle/Getty

In 1986, Ross married Norwegian shipping tycoon Arne Naess Jr. in Switzerland. The pair welcomed two sons, Ross and Evan, in 1987 and 1988, respectively. The couple divorced in 2000.

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1988: Hall of Famer

Diana Ross

In 1988, The Supremes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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1991: Performing for Royalty

Diana Ross
Harry Langdon/Getty

In 1991, Ross returned to London and the Royal Variety, this time solo.

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1993: Singing at the Inauguration

Diana Ross
Mark Reinstein/Corbis/Getty

Ross performed at President Bill Clinton's 1993 inauguration. That same year, she made a return to acting and earned her third Golden Globe nomination for her role in the TV film Out of Darkness.

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1996: Performing with RuPaul

Diana Ross and Ru Paul
Paul Harris/Hulton Archive/Getty

Ross collaborated with RuPaul when they strutted their stuff in the music video for Ross's cover of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive."

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2000: Supremes Reunion Tour

Diana Ross

In 2000, Ross attempted to stage a Supremes reunion tour, but she was unable to get Mary Wilson or Cindy Birdsong to participate. Instead, she performed with Lynda Laurence and Scherrie Payne. The tour was cancelled due to poor ticket sales, but the group performed on the Today show and VH1's Divas 2000: A Tribute to Diana Ross.

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2000: A Turbulent Early 2000s

Diana ROSS
Pete Still/Redferns

Ross experienced a few missteps in the early aughts, beginning with an altercation with a security guard at London Heathrow Airport in 1999. In May 2002, she admitted herself into a rehabilitation program in Malibu. In December 2002, was arrested for driving under the influence in Tucson, Arizona.

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2001: Attending the Met Gala

2001 Met Gala throwbacks
George De Sota/Newsmakers

Ross attended the Met Gala in 2001. The theme that year was "Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years."

In 2006, Universal released Ross's previously unheard Blue album from 1972, and late that year she would release her first studio album in seven years, I Love You.

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2012: Winning a Grammy

Diana Ross
Steve Granitz/WireImage

After being nominated for 12 Grammys (two as part of the Supremes) throughout her career, Ross finally got her trophy when she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 2012.

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2016: Getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom

President Obama Diana Ross
Leigh Vogel/WireImage

Ross received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. Obama said at the ceremony that Ross "exuded glamour and grace" and earned "a permanent place in the American soundtrack."

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2017: A Lifetime of Achievement

Diana Ross
Steve Granitz/WireImage

In 2017, Ross's entire family was present to celebrate her as she accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Music Awards.

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2019: Vanity Fair Afterparty

Diana Ross
Kevin Mazur/VF19/WireImage

In 2019, Ross attended the Vanity Fair Oscars Party with her daughter, Tracee Ellis Ross, son Evan Ross and daughter-in-law Ashlee Simpson Ross.

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2019: Reunited with Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy and Diana Ross
Michael Kovac/Getty

In 2019, Ross attended Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration with Berry Gordy. Gordy said of their reasons for never marrying and, in fact, breaking up, "Diana and I are the same kind of people. She wanted what I wanted. We set out to get it and we vowed never to let our personal relationship affect it ... I loved her, but I wasn't selfish enough to want to marry and take her out of what I knew she had to have. She had to have that stardom up there."

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2019: Celebrating Her 75th Birthday

Diana Ross
Diana Ross. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

In 2019, Ross celebrated her 75th birthday in true diva style: by performing at the Grammys. Ross sang two songs for the occasion, "The Best Years of My Life" and "Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand)."

She ended her performance by saying, "Learn, dream, unlock new doors. All is possible."

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2021: Diana Ross Announces Her Latest Album

Diana Ross
Rick Kern/Getty

In 2021, the singer announced her first new album in 15 years. Titled Thank You, the forthcoming LP was recorded in Ross's home studio and "offers a powerful, inclusive musical message of love and togetherness," according to a press release.

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