Heartbroken Julianne Hough Mourns Loss Of Special Friend

Julianne Hough / Instagram

While Julianne Hough first shimmied her way into the spotlight as a professional dancer on Dancing with the Stars, she is now known for being so much more than a dancer. In 2008 she released her debut, self-titled country album, which reached the top spot on the U.S. Country Albums chart.

The success of that album led to Hough winning the Top New Artist Award at the 2009 ACM Awards. But despite all of her success in the country music industry, Hough has never released another album.

Instead, she has used her talents as a singer and dancer to help enhance her acting career. Over the past few years, she has starred in a number of notable productions, including Rock of Ages, Safe Haven, and Grease Live!

Hough got the chance to star in her first leading role when she was cast as Ariel Moore in the 2011 remake of the popular film, Footloose. The film gave her the chance to place her many talents on full display.

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The film was co-produced by esteemed producer, director, and writer Craig Zadan, who also co-produced the original Footloose movie. You’ve likely seen a number of other films and productions produced by Zadan, including 1999’s Annie, the 2007 remake of Hairspray, and the 2013 Sound of Music television special, which starred Carrie Underwood.

Sadly, after years of fun-filled musical films and productions, we’ve seen the last of Zadan’s work. As Variety reports, the 69-year-old passed away unexpectedly on Monday night after experiencing complications from a shoulder replacement surgery. NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt issued a statement about Zadan’s death:

“We are stunned that the man behind so many incredible film, theater, and television productions  several of them joyous musicals  was taken away so suddenly. Craig’s distinguished career as a passionate and consummate producer is eclipsed only by his genuine love for the thousands of actors, directors, writers, musicians, designers, and technicians he worked with over the years. His absence will be felt in our hearts and throughout our business.”

His absence is clearly felt by Hough, who took to social media to pay tribute to the man she worked with on Footloose all of those years ago. Alongside a picture of Zadan, Hough wrote that he was a “phenomenal” friend to her.

Craig, thank you for seeing me and believing in me as my first leading lady…It was one of the most special experiences of my life and I am eternally grateful,” she wrote. “I’ll always have you in my heart..


You can tell that Hough is devastated over the death of her special friend. Our hearts go out to her, and to Zadan’s many other friends and family members during this sad time. Remember Zadan’s life and the legacy he left behind by watching another scene starring Hough in 2011’s Footloose.

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