A hard-edged Britney Spears for the skateboard set, Avril Lavigne was once described on her own website as "a skater-punk, a dynamic spirit, a true wild child." Lavigne was born in a small town in Ontario and grew up singing in church. At age 16 she caught the eye of record producers, who had plans to make her a pop star in the mold of fellow Canadian Shania Twain. Instead Lavigne teamed with songwriters and came up with hit tunes such as "Sk8er Boi" and "Complicated," the latter of which was featured on the show Dawson's Creek. Lavigne was only 17 when her debut album Let Go was released (2002); the album netted her five Grammy nominations. Her next album. Under My Skin, was released in 2004 and reached #1 on the Billboard album charts. In 2006 she announced that she had signed a contract with the powerhouse Ford Models agency, and told Harpers Bazaar magazine that she was hoping "to do those really beautiful ads with high-end products."
Lavigne married Deryck Whibley, frontman for the band Sum 41 and a fellow Canadian, on 15 July 2006.
Wild child Avril Lavigne hit big in summer 2002 with her spiky-fun debut song, "Complicated," shifting pop music into a different direction. Lavigne, who was 17 at the time, didn't seem concerned with the glamour of the TRL-dominated pop world and such confidence allowed her star power to soar. The middle of three children in small-town Napanee, Ontario, Lavigne's rock ambitions were noticeable around age two. By her early teens, she was already writing songs and playing guitar. The church choir, local festivals, and county fairs also allowed Lavigne to get her voice heard, and luckily, Arista Records main man Antonio "L.A." Reid was listening. He offered her a deal, and at 16, Lavigne's musical dreams became reality. With Reid's assistance and a new Manhattan apartment, Lavigne found herself surrounded by prime songwriters and producers, but it wasn't impressive enough for her to continue. She had always relied on her own ideas to create a musical spark, and things weren't going as planned. Lavigne wasn't disillusioned, though. She headed for Los Angeles and Nettwerk grabbed her. Producer/songwriter Clif Magness (Celine Dion, Wilson Phillips, Sheena Easton) tweaked Lavigne's melodic, edgy sound and her debut, Let Go, was the polished product. Singles such as "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi" hit the Top Ten while "I'm with You" and "Losing Grip" did moderately well at radio. Butch Walker of the Marvelous 3, Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida, and Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Good Charlotte) signed on to produce Lavigne's second album, Under My Skin, which appeared in May 2004. The album topped the Billboard charts and produced the number one hit "My Happy Ending." Other singles like "Nobody's Home" and "Fall to Pieces" did respectably well also. Settling down a bit from her punk rock wild child persona, Lavigne married her boyfriend of two years, Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley, in July 2006.