Her brother Eric introduced Gwen to 2 Tone music by Madness and the Selecter and, in 1986, he invited her to provide vocals for No Doubt, a ska band he was forming. In 1991 the band was signed to Interscope Records. The band released its self-titled debut album in 1992, but its ska-pop sound was unsuccessful due to the popularity of grunge. Before the mainstream success of both No Doubt and Sublime, Stefani contributed guest vocals to "Saw Red" on Sublime's 1994 album Robbin' the Hood. Stefani rejected the aggressiveness of female grunge artists and cited Blondie singer Debbie Harry's combination of power and sex appeal as a major influence. No Doubt's third album, Tragic Kingdom (1995), which followed the self-released The Beacon Street Collection (1995), took more than three years to make. Five singles were released from Tragic Kingdom, including "Don't Speak", which led the Hot 100 Airplay year-end chart of 1997. Stefani left college for one semester to tour for Tragic Kingdom but did not return when touring lasted two and a half years. The album was nominated for a Grammy and sold more than 16 million copies worldwide by 2004. In late 2000, Rolling Stone magazine named her "the Queen of Confessional Pop".
Stefani's debut solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. was released on November 12, 2004. The album features several collaborations with producers and other artists, including Tony Kanal, Tom Rothrock, Linda Perry, André 3000, Nellee Hooper, the Neptunes and New Order. Stefani created the album to modernize the music to which she listened when in high school, and L.A.M.B. takes influence from a variety of music styles of the 1980s and early 1990s such as new wave, synthpop, and electro. Stefani's decision to use her solo career as an opportunity to delve further into pop music instead of trying "to convince the world of [her] talent, depth and artistic worth" was considered unusual. The album was described as "fun as hell but... not exactly rife with subversive social commentary". The album debuted on the US Billboard 200 albums chart at number seven, selling 309,000 copies in its first week.L.A.M.B. reached multi-platinum status in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.
The first single from the album was "What You Waiting For?", which debuted atop the ARIA Singles Chart, charted at number 47 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and reached the top ten on most other charts. The song served to explain why Stefani produced a solo album and discusses her fears in leaving No Doubt for a solo career as well as her desire to have a baby. "Rich Girl" was released as the album's second single. A duet with rapper Eve, and produced by Dr. Dre, it is an adaptation of a 1990s pop song by British musicians Louchie Lou & Michie One, which itself is a very loose cover lyrically but closer melodically of "If I Were a Rich Man", from the musical Fiddler on the Roof. "Rich Girl" reached the US and UK top ten. The album's third single "Hollaback Girl" became Stefani's first US and second Australian number-one single; it reached top ten elsewhere. The song was the first US music download to sell more than one million copies, and its brass-driven composition remained popular throughout 2005. The fourth single "Cool" was released shortly following the popularity of its predecessor, reaching the top 20 in US and UK. The song's lyrics and its accompanying music video, filmed on Lake Como, depict Stefani's former relationship with Kanal. "Luxurious" was released as the album's fifth single, but did not perform as well as its predecessors. "Crash" was released in January 2006 as the album's sixth single in lieu of Love. Angel. Music. Baby.s sequel, which Stefani postponed because of her pregnancy.
In 2004, Stefani showed interest in making film appearances and began auditioning for films such as Mr. & Mrs. Smith. She made her film debut playing Jean Harlow in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator in 2004. Scorsese, whose daughter was a No Doubt fan, showed reciprocal interest in casting Stefani after seeing her picture from a Marilyn Monroe-inspired photo shoot for Teen Vogue in 2003. To prepare for the role, Stefani read two biographies and watched 18 of Harlow's films. Shooting her part took four to five days, and Stefani had few lines. Stefani lent her voice to the title character of the 2004 video game Malice, but the company opted not to use No Doubt band members' voices.
2006-2013: The Sweet Escape and return to No Doubt
With Stefani promoting The Sweet Escape, No Doubt began work on a new album without her and planned to complete it after Stefani's Sweet Escape Tour was finished. In March 2008, the band started making posts concerning the progression of the album on their official fan forum. Stefani made a post on March 28, 2008, stating that songwriting had commenced but was slow on her end because she was pregnant with her second child.The Singles 1992-2003 became available on December 9, 2008, for the video game Rock Band 2. Adrian Young played drums on Scott Weiland's album "Happy" in Galoshes. No Doubt headlined the Bamboozle 2009 festival in May 2009, along with Fall Out Boy. The band completed a national tour in mid-2009.
The new album Push and Shove was released on September 25, preceded by the first single, "Settle Down", on July 16. The music video for "Settle Down" was directed by Sophie Muller (who has previously directed numerous music videos for No Doubt). Also around this time No Doubt were guest mentors for the UK version of The X-Factor. "Settle Down" peaked at 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the album peaking at number three on the US Billboard 200. On November 3, 2012, the band pulled its music video "Looking Hot" from the Internet after receiving complaints that it was insensitive towards Native Americans. In January 2013, No Doubt make a cameo appearance in a hot air ballon for the third season of Portlandia.
2014-2017: The Voice, This Is What the Truth Feels Like and You Make It Feel Like Christmas
On September 8, 2014, Stefani told MTV News during New York Fashion Week that she was working on both a No Doubt album and a solo album, and that she was working with Williams. Stefani released her comeback single "Baby Don't Lie" on October 20, 2014, co-written with producers Ryan Tedder, Benny Blanco, and Noel Zancanella.Billboard announced that her third studio album was set to be released in December with Benny Blanco serving as executive producer. In late October, "Spark the Fire", a new track from Stefani's third album, was released. The song was produced by Pharrell Williams. On November 23, the full song premiered online. Both "Baby Don't Lie" and "Spark the Fire" were later scrapped from Stefani's third album. On January 13, 2015, Stefani and Williams also recorded a song titled "Shine", for the Paddington soundtrack. Stefani and Sia Furler worked together on a ballad, called "Start a War" which was expected to be released on Stefani's third studio album as well, but it was not included on the final cut. On July 10, 2015, American rapper Eminem featured Stefani on his single "Kings Never Die", from the Southpaw film soundtrack. The track debuted and peaked at number 80 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and matched first-week digital download sales of 35,000 copies.
On December 7, 2020, Stefani released "Let Me Reintroduce Myself" as the lead single from upcoming fifth studio album. She followed this with a second single "Slow Clap" on March 11, 2021, which received a remix featuring Saweetie the following month. Stefani also teased other new music through her Instagram account, announcing she recorded two new tracks titled "When Loving Gets Old" and "Cry Happy".
Stefani in September 2009
Stefani made most of the clothing that she wore on stage with No Doubt, resulting in increasingly eclectic combinations. Stylist Andrea Lieberman introduced her to haute couture clothing, which led to Stefani launching a fashion line named L.A.M.B. in 2004. The line takes influence from a variety of fashions, including Guatemalan, Japanese, and Jamaican styles. The line achieved popularity among celebrities and is worn by stars such as Teri Hatcher, Nicole Kidman, and Stefani herself. In June 2005, she expanded her collection with the less expensive Harajuku Lovers line, which she referred to as "a glorified merchandise line", with varied products including a camera, mobile phone charms, and undergarments. In late 2006, Stefani released a limited edition line of dolls called "Love. Angel. Music. Baby. Fashion dolls". The dolls are inspired by the clothes Stefani and the Harajuku Girls wore while touring for the album.
In late 2007, Stefani launched a perfume, L, as a part of her L.A.M.B. collection of clothing and accessories. The perfume has high notes of sweet pea and rose. In September 2008, Stefani released a fragrance line as a part of her Harajuku Lovers product line. There are five different fragrances based on the four Harajuku Girls and Stefani herself called Love, Lil' Angel, Music, Baby and G (Gwen). As of January 2011[update], Stefani has become the spokesperson for L'Oréal Paris. In 2016, Urban Decay released a limited edition cosmetic collection in collaboration with Stefani. After needing to wear glasses, she began designing eyewear. In 2016, Gwen began releasing eyewear under her fashion label L.A.M.B. She also began releasing affordable eyewear under the label GX, with Tura Inc.
In 2014, Stefani announced the production of an animated series about her and the Harajuku Girls. Along with Vision Animation and Moody Street Kids, Stefani has helped create the show which features herself, Love, Angel, Music, and Baby as the band, HJ5, who fight evil whilst trying to pursue their music career. Mattel was the global toy licensee and the series itself, Kuu Kuu Harajuku was distributed worldwide by DHX Media.
Stefani began dating her bandmate Tony Kanal, soon after he joined the band. She stated that she was heavily invested in that relationship, and commented that "...all I ever did was look at Tony and pray that God would let me have a baby with him." The band almost split up when Kanal ended the relationship. Their break-up inspired Stefani lyrically, and many of Tragic Kingdoms songs, such as "Don't Speak", "Sunday Morning", and "Hey You!", chronicle the ups and downs of their relationship. Many years later, Stefani co-wrote her song "Cool" about their relationship as friends for her 2004 debut solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby.
Stefani met Bush lead singer and guitarist Gavin Rossdale in 1995, when No Doubt and headlining band Bush performed at a holiday concert for radio station KROQ. They married on September 14, 2002, with a wedding in St Paul's, Covent Garden, London. A second wedding was held in Los Angeles two weeks later. Stefani has three sons with Rossdale, born in May 2006, August 2008, and February 2014. On August 3, 2015, Stefani filed for divorce from Rossdale, citing "irreconcilable differences". Their divorce was finalized on April 8, 2016, in which Rossdale agreed to the "unequal split" of their assets.
Stefani announced her relationship with Blake Shelton, country music artist and The Voice co-star, in November 2015. The couple announced their engagement on October 27, 2020, and married on July 3, 2021, at Shelton's Oklahoma ranch.
This Is What the Truth Feels Like, the singer's third album, continued Stefani's endeavors with the pop genre, while incorporating music from a variety of other genres including reggae,disco, and dancehall, as well as the use of guitars. Stefani's lyrics shifted towards events that had recently occurred in her personal life, such as her divorce from Rossdale, and new relationship with Shelton. The singer stated her album was more about forgiveness than revenge.
Stefani began wearing a bindi in the mid-1990s after attending several family gatherings with Tony Kanal, who is of Indian heritage. During No Doubt's breakthrough, Stefani wore the forehead decoration in several of the band's music videos and briefly popularized the accessory in 1997. Since the 1995 music video for "Just a Girl", Stefani has been known for her midriff and frequently wears tops that expose it. Stefani's makeup design generally includes light face powder, bright red lipstick, and arched eyebrows; she wrote about the subject in a song titled "Magic's in the Makeup" for No Doubt's Return of Saturn, asking "If the magic's in the makeup/Then who am I?". Stefani is a natural brunette, but her hair has not been its natural color since she was in ninth grade. Since late 1994, she has usually had platinum blonde hair. Stefani discussed this in the song "Platinum Blonde Life" on Rock Steady and played original blonde bombshell Jean Harlow in the 2004 biopic The Aviator. She dyed her hair blue in 1998 and pink in 1999, when she appeared on the cover of Return of Saturn with pink hair.
In 2006, Stefani modified her image, inspired by that of Michelle Pfeiffer's character Elvira Hancock in the 1983 film Scarface. The reinvented image included a symbol consisting of two back-to-back 'G's, which appears on a diamond-encrusted key she wears on a necklace and which became a motif in the promotion of The Sweet Escape. Stefani raised concerns in January 2007 about her rapid weight loss following her pregnancy. She later stated that she had been on a diet since the sixth grade to fit in size 4 clothing. A wax figure of Stefani was unveiled at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas at The Venetian on September 22, 2010. The release of Stefani's first solo album brought attention to her entourage of four Harajuku Girls, who appear in outfits influenced by Gothic Lolita fashion, and are named for the area around the Harajuku Station of Tokyo. Stefani's clothing also took influence from Japanese fashion, in a style described as a combination between Christian Dior and Japan. The dancers are featured in her music videos, press coverage, and on the album cover for Love. Angel. Music. Baby., with a song named for and dedicated to them on the album. They were also featured in, and the namesake for, Stefani's Harajuku Lovers Tour. Forbes magazine reported that Stefani earned $27 million between June 2007 to June 2008 for her tour, fashion line and commercials, making her the world's 10th highest paid music personality at the time.
The lead single from Love. Angel. Music. Baby., "What You Waiting For?", was considered by Pitchfork to be one of Stefani's best singles, and would later place it at number sixteen on their "Top 50 Singles of 2004" list. "Hollaback Girl" from Love. Angel. Music. Baby. would go on to be the first song to digitally sell an excess of one million copies in the United States; it was certified platinum in both the United States and Australia, and peaked at number forty-one on Billboards decade-end charts for 2000-09. Since its release in 2005, "Hollaback Girl" has been called Stefani's "signature song" by Rolling Stone.
Following the 2011 T?hoku earthquake and tsunami, Stefani donated $1 million to Save the Children's Japan Earthquake-Tsunami Children in Emergency Fund. Stefani also ran an auction on eBay from April 11 to 25, 2011, allowing participants to bid on vintage clothing items from her personal wardrobe and custom T-shirts designed and signed by her, as well as an admission to a private Harajuku-themed tea party hosted by her on June 7, 2011, at Los Angeles' first-ever Japanese-style maid café and pop art space, Royal/T, with proceeds from the auction going to Save the Children's relief effort.
At the amfAR gala during the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, Stefani auctioned off the lacy black dress she wore at the event for charity, raising over $125,000. A representative for designer Michael Angel, who helped Stefani with the design and worked as a stylist, said that Angel created the gown, not Stefani. In response, Angel released a statement confirming that the dress was designed by Stefani for L.A.M.B. to wear and be auctioned off at the amfAR gala. Stefani hosted a fundraiser with First LadyMichelle Obama in August 2012 at the singer's Beverly Hills home.