A few years ago, taking a vow of chastity became very in-vogue. It seemed as though celebrities were taking the vow one after the other, and many of them publicly began to wear purity rings. Wearing a purity ring is a Christian practise of wearing a ring as a symbol of practising abstinence until marriage. The practise is very common in the United States, but less so in the largely Christian nations of Europe.
A vow of chastity is generally viewed as a very positive decision, although it's undoubtedly a very difficult choice to make in a world where sex is part of everyday life, as a dominant theme in the media. Those who take a vow of chastity are proclaiming complete devotion to their faith, and it's a brave - if challenging - position.
However, many celebrities who once took a well-publicised vow of chastity went on to change their minds. Indeed for many stars this change of heart saw a change of image, from a pristine and angelic public persona to a highly sexualised one. Of course, many parents have expressed concern about celebrities who've made this U-turn, leaving young, impressionable fans with a skewed picture of their celebrity icon. Indeed, most of these celebrities did - before their sexualised makeover - cater towards a pre-teen audience. Is it okay to send out strongly mixed messages to impressionable youngsters, especially on the serious topics of virginity and sexuality? That depends on personal opinion, but the stories of some of the celebs behind these shock shifts of opinion might shed some light on the issue. Take a look at our list of the celebrities who famously declared that they would stay pure... but didn't.
6 Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus has certainly been hitting the headlines recently. The Disney-Queen-turned-Bad-Girl has had a media storm follow her since the release of her latest album. It appears that Miley is doing as much as she can to distance herself from her old, squeaky-clean, Disney image. Miley entered the spotlight as the fresh faced young girl who played Hannah Montana and sang country music. Miley has spoken openly about her Christian faith in the past, and about her decision to stay a virgin until she married. "I like to think of myself as the girl that no one can get, that no one can keep in their hand" claimed the star. "I’m living my life the way I believe is right, and that is to stay pure."
Lately, however, Cyrus seems to have changed her mind. No longer donning her purity ring, Cyrus now talks openly about sex to the media. She stated in an interview that sex is "magical" and "cool". Cyrus seems to have completely shed her old Christian ideals, claiming that "Your worth isn’t based on [sex], your worth is based on how you feel about yourself." While this is an honest and mature opinion, many parents have been up in arms lately about Cyrus' heavily sexualised image, worried that she's a bad influence on the young girls who loved her as Hannah Montana.
5 Britney Spears
During the early days of Britney Spears' career, she was one of the biggest stars in the world. Her debut album "....Baby One More Time" went platinum multiple times in a matter of weeks. That year, the album shifted millions of copies worldwide. Britney, who rose to fame as a member of The Mickey Mouse Club, was famous for portraying a very wholesome image back then. During that time, there was a lot of talk about Britney's virginity after she openly claimed to the media that she planned to remain a virgin until she was married. However, it appears that Britney didn't keep her promise.
Her virginity claims were first rocked by former boyfriend Justin Timberlake. At the time, Justin hinted that he had had sex with Britney, stating "She lost her virginity a while ago — and I should know." Furthermore, after the release of her mother's book "Through The Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family In a Tabloid World", Britney's previous assurances about her virginity were revealed as falsified. In the book, Lynne Spears claims that Britney lost her virginity when she was just 14 years old to a boy on the football team at her school.
4 Jordin Sparks
Jordin Sparks, the youngest ever winner of American Idol, has long been known for her angelic image. Sparks claimed early in her career that she planned to remain a virgin until she was married. When Russell Brand made fun of the Jonas Brothers for wearing purity rings, Sparks publicly defended them, saying "I just have one thing to say about promise rings. It's not bad to wear a promise ring, because not everybody – guy or girl – wants to be a sl*t." Sparks has spoken candidly about her decision. In an interview with US weekly in 2007, Sparks admitted that the decision was "hard" and that "temptation is always there."
Sparks' promise was recently compromised by her recent relationship with singer Jason Derulo. The rumour mill has been churning out many stories suggesting that she and Derulo may have become intimate. Spark's purity ring hasn't been seen in a while, and Sparks even hinted at her change of mind in an interview. While she didn't give any black and white information regarding her former promise to save herself for marriage, she suggested that this may not be her belief anymore with the statement "I can’t say what’s gonna happen a couple of months from now. People grow.” However, it is also rumoured that Sparks and Derulo have become engaged.
3 Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift has managed to uphold a pristine, wholesome image much longer than many of her contemporaries. Swift prides herself on striving to be a good role model for her young fans. While she has never discussed the topic openly, Swift has suggested in the past that she is a virgin. After pregnancy rumours concerning Swift spread around the internet, she stated in an interview that her being pregnant is "the most impossible thing on the planet." Swift insisted further by adding "Take my word for it - impossible." This comment led to a lot of speculation that Swift was still a virgin. The fact that Taylor has had a lot of short lived relationships in the past has also fuelled the belief that she is a virgin, with many rumours suggesting that she has been repeatedly dumped for not surrendering her V-card.
However, it is now widely believed that Swift lost her virginity to actor Jake Gyllenhaal, with whom she was reportedly enamoured. Gyllenhaal broke off the relationship after a couple of months.
2 Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez is another Disney sensation who once proudly wore a purity ring. Gomez spoke openly about how much the promise meant to her in an interview with Extra during the early stages of her career. Selena spoke of how she had asked her parents for a purity ring, and went to the church with her father to get the ring blessed. "He [her father] actually used me as an example for other kids... I'm going to keep my promise to myself, and for my family, and to God."
However, things changed dramatically when Gomez began dating Justin Bieber. The young actress and singer was frequently seen without the ring when with Justin, and now the ring seems to have been removed from her wardrobe completely. Furthermore, Justin recently bragged about having taken the starlet's virginity.
1 The Jonas Brothers
The Jonas Brothers were arguably the trailblazers of the "celebrity chastity" trend, and are definitely the most well-known example of celebrities who made big promises that they ultimately ditched.
The Jonas Brothers rose to fame as teen heartthrobs who were adored by parents for their wholesome images and religious views. Joe, Nick and Kevin all wore purity rings in the past, and spoke openly about why they believed that they should remain virgins until marriage. Joe once stated in an interview that "It [the ring] actually ripped apart a little bit, just on the bottom, here, but I didn't want to get a new one, because this one means so much to me." The boys grew up in a highly religious household, a fact that they have never hidden from the public.
Recently, however, the boys seemed to have had a change of heart. There's nothing to suggest that Kevin Jonas, who got married and had a child, broke his vows. However, both Kevin and Joe have ditched their purity rings. Joe has spoken openly about changing his mind about his promise, and has since admitted that he lost his virginity at 20 years old. Joe blamed the media circus that surrounded their decision to wear purity rings, and in a recent interview he indicated anger that this defined the band's image for a significant amount of time. "People were coming up to us, saying, 'Thank you so much, I'm waiting because you guys are, too!' And we just thought, No! That's not what we're about."