Russian pop star Lena Katina surprised fans with an extreme makeover last month and an unexpected announcement about her life. The 37-year-old revealed that she has married multi-millionaire businessman Dmitry Spiridonov. It was a huge change of pace for a singer who helped define Russian pop music in the early 2000s.
Katina formed her pop group t.A.T.u. in 1999 with fellow singer Julia Volkova. The band name is a double-entendre – while it sounds like the English word "tattoo," it's an abbreviation of a Russian phrase that roughly means "this girl loves that girl." Accordingly, Katina and Volkova were known for flaunting their physical affection on stage, often kissing each other during performances. Their music videos were also famously raunchy by the standards of the time, and many fans were floored to hear about the direction Katina's life has gone in.
Katina and Spiridonov married on Thursday, June 16 according to a report by The Sun. That same day was Spiridinov's 40th birthday. Spiridinov was diagnosed with cancer during this relationship, and Katina has been by his side throughout that process.
Katina's posts have drawn all kinds of reactions from fans. While her conventional white wedding dress is a far cry from the costumes she once wore as a pop star, her plunging neckline inspired several jokes as well – including some from her. She also flashed her engagement ring on Instagram, joking that it looked like a "museum piece" and that its price tag had "a lot of zeros."
While casual fans may have been surprised, die-hard fans of t.A.T.u. have known for years that Katina and Volkova were not in a relationship with each other. According to a report by The Age, fans actually became angry in 2003 when Volkova announced that she was pregnant. Many fans accused the duo of giving a false impression of themselves in order to make a sensational impression or even capitalize on LBGTQ+ fans' desire for representation.
As a matter of fact, LGBTQ+ rights in Russia are not protected as strongly as they are in many other countries, and activists often warn that the country's anti-discrimination efforts are regressing, not progressing. The situation has even led to some high-profile protests and boycotts concerning Russian goods or events. So far, t.A.T.u. has not taken part in these kinds of demonstrations.