We first met Snooki when she was cast in MTV’s iconic reality show Jersey Shore. The reality show, which aired from 2009-2012, followed the lives of eight housemates who spent their summer at a vacation home doing a lot of partying. Back then, Snooki was known for her big hair, binge drinking, and bad sense of style.
Still, the guidette’s hilarious, over-the-top personality made her a favourite with fans, which is why she went on to star in her own spinoff show Snooki & JWoww alongside her old co-star and best friend Jenni Farley. She also went on to star in Jersey Shore: Family Reunion this past year, which was just as wild as the original.
Snooki’s spinoff gave fans insight into just how much she had actually changed since leaving the shore. Let’s just say she traded in one bottle for another. The same year that Jersey Shore ended, Snooki announced her first pregnancy and engagement to her co-star Jionni LaValle. She gave birth to their son, Lorenzo, in 2012. The couple welcomed a second child, daughter Giovanna Marie, in 2014, only two months before tying the knot in an elaborate ceremony. Most recently, the couple announced this past January that they’re expecting baby no. 3 (a boy!), due later this year.
Keep reading to discover just how much Snooki’s life has changed since leaving the Shore and becoming a mom!
24 Life Now: She Still Has To Deal With Naysayers
Back in the day, Snooki used to hit up clubs. But nowadays the mom-of-two is more likely to be visiting Disneyland with her entire brood in tow, as photographed above. While on Jersey Shore, the celebrity had to deal with naysayers who criticized her partying. But now she has to put up with so-called fans who judge her parenting.
After posting photos of her family at Disneyland, some fans took issue with the mom using strollers for her kids, despite them no longer being toddlers. "Omg my kids would never be in a stroller that big," one upset fan commented, Romper reports. "[I have] 3 kids. And have done Disney 3 times. If you’re over 2, [you're] walking. And I’ve never lost anyone."
23 Life Now: The Kids Are Definitely Going To College
Snooki sure didn’t have a traditional life in her 20s. But the celebrity has made it clear she doesn’t want her kids to go down the same path a la reality television. Rather, she’s hoping her kids go off to college and join the professional world.
"Like every mom, I want my kids to be a doctor or lawyer, something cool like that,” she wrote in her book Baby Bumps. However, the mom-of-two made it clear she’ll support her kids no matter what, as long as they don't hurt others. "If they [do], I'm gonna [get] them,” she wrote.
22 Back Then: She Had Various Troubles With The Law
Unfortunately, Snooki hasn’t just gotten in trouble with fans. The reality star has actually been arrested on multiple occasions for her wild antics. She was first arrested in 2010 for disturbing the peace and was fined $500 as well as handed community service time.
She was arrested again in 2011 while partying in Florence, Italy after her vehicle collided with a parked police car. The same year, she sued SRG Ventures, a company that she’d been in collaboration with to release a line of merchandise, because they didn’t get the proper licensing. The company ended up countersuing by saying Snooki and her team had delayed their efforts.
21 Life Now: Snooki Still Parties As A Parent
Fans might think that Snooki got her wild streak out of her system when she kissed her Jersey Shore days goodbye. But the celebrity revealed she still likes to go out and let loose every now and then, even as a parent.
“We’re partying. We’re not [hurting] anybody!" she said on Good Morning Britain when talking about her plans to return to reality TV with Jersey Shore: Family Vacation. She added, "When [my kids are] older I want them to have a good time and party, be responsible obviously.”
Maybe one day Snooki will be partying with her kids!
20 Life Now: Baby No. 3 Is On The Way
Back in January, Snooki made an exciting announcement - the celebrity is pregnant with her third child! The family is expecting their second baby boy sometime later this year. Snooki has been keeping fans updated by posting photos on social media showing off her ever-growing bump.
Last summer, Snooki revealed she and her husband were actively trying to expand their family. "I’m trying now," she told Entertainment Tonight. "I’m practicing now. It’s going good. I’m not pregnant yet but, I mean, we’ve been practicing for a month now so…"
19 Back Then: She Went On The Show For Free Rent
Many fans have questioned why the Jersey Shore castmates wanted to be on the unclassy show in the first place, given that it didn’t paint them in the best light. For Snooki, the decision was mostly financial.
"I went on the show, honestly, for the free booze and to live in a free Shore house for the summer,” she told Refinery29. She also added that she was hoping to find a husband with whom to have babies (which happened exactly like she wanted!).
Snooki added, “So, everything that I wanted did happen the way I wanted it to, which is crazy, because life's not always like that."
18 Back Then: She Was Only Making $200 Per Week
Given how much Snooki and her former co-stars are worth now, many fans assume they were making bank during the first few seasons of Jersey Shore. But Snooki admits nothing could be further from the truth.
“We would get $200 a week from the Shore Store,” she revealed to InStyle. “I had never gotten that much in a week, like, every single week, because you usually get paid every two weeks. That was crazy for me.”
17 Life Now: She Thinks Women Should Choose Kids Over Work
Although Snooki may have kissed reality TV goodbye, the celebrity still keeps herself busy with business ventures and social media gigs. However, the star once made a controversial statement when she said she believes women should always choose to have children over a job.
"If you really want a kid, [forget] work,” she told Refinery29. "No matter what you’re doing with a job or career, when you have a kid, it changes your life 100%." Snooki continued, "You’re gonna leave for maternity. You can’t just go and do a trip for work, because you have a baby now."
16 Life Now: Her Followers Criticize Her Daughter's Appearance
After a decade in the spotlight, we assumed that Snooki was used to putting up with criticism from so-called fans. But something that she’ll probably never get used to is naysayers coming for her kids.
Last October, the celebrity responded online after fans criticized her daughter’s hair and outfit for looking disheveled.
“Mind your own business tho,” Snooki replied in the comments. “I let my daughter pick her own outfits. I let her express herself. Are you a mother? Worry about your own kids, and let us live.”
15 Back Then: She Used To Earn Minimum Wage
Before making a name for herself on reality TV, Snooki says she never knew what it was like to live in the lap of luxury. As a teenager, the celebrity worked part-time jobs to help her family make ends meet.
“I stayed in the sales associate world for a while and went to Forever 21,” she once said, People reports. “Then, in high school, I worked at a baseball stadium selling food and drinks. I got awesome tips there.”
14 Back Then: Her Friends Never Thought She'd Be A Good Mom
Snooki was still coming down from her Jersey Shore heyday when she discovered her first pregnancy. Although the celebrity knew she was ready to be a mom, she’s been honest about how many of her friends and co-stars told her she shouldn’t go through with it.
"When I got pregnant, my friends said, '[end it].' My friends are [mean]," she told Refinery29. "I was terrified with Lorenzo because I wasn't ready. It was two years earlier than I wanted to have a kid. But, it was the best thing to ever happen to me."
13 Life Now: Her Kids Call Out Her Stretch Marks
Snooki used to be oh-so-concerned with her looks back on Jersey Shore. However, nowadays she takes a more relaxed approach to her appearance, even though she still loves getting glammed up.
She once revealed her kids pointed out her stretch marks. But the mom-of-two had a perfect response.
“I had to explain to them that it’s [the] tiger stripes I gained when I became their mommy,” she wrote online, alongside the photo above. “They thought it was so cool and can't believe how they fit in my belly.”
12 Life Now: She Cries When She's Away From The Kids
While filming Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, Snooki admits that she got so homesick for her children she ended up crying on one of their first days on set. The celebrity said she had to rely on her fellow co-star and bestie, JWoww, who has two kids of her own, for support.
“By day 2 I was like ‘Oh my God, we have three more weeks here and I already miss them,’” she told People. “I started crying, then she did, and it was like a chain reaction. But we ended up looking at each other...like, 'This is our mom vacation, let’s go enjoy it.'”
11 Back Then: She Didn't Know How To Behave
Fans aren’t the only ones who think Snooki was out of control on Jersey Shore - she agrees, too! The star has admitted that she didn’t know how to handle herself while filming for the show.
“I definitely fell a lot. I couldn’t even walk in heels anymore. Like when I’m home, I don’t wear heels. I wear sneakers. I don’t even dress up,” she confessed, Newsweek reports. “So it was a struggle for me to put makeup on every day and be a presentable human being […] But I definitely think Deena fell way more than I did.”
10 Life Now: She Co-Sleeps With The Kids
Things have certainly changed for Snooki! Rather than going out partying with her husband, the celebrity says you’re more likely to find them asleep with their kids in bed.
“Jionni and I are homebodies and we co-sleep with the kids (so do Jenni and Roger), so we basically get the kids to sleep and meet each other in the spare room with a bottle of wine and we watch movies,” Snooki explained to People, when talking about how she and her husband try to have date nights.
She sure has come a long way since Jersey Shore!
9 Life Now: She's Open To Adoption
Snooki and her husband may be currently expecting their third child, but the parents haven’t ruled out having more children in the future. Specifically, they’ve mentioned they’d be open to adopting a child.
"I think everybody secretly [dislikes] pregnancy. I love the result of being pregnant," Snooki told Refinery29. Since she herself was adopted, the star said she’d be open to the possibility of adoption rather than going through another pregnancy. "Maybe a baby from Chile," Snooki added.
8 Back Then: She Rarely Watched The Show
Jersey Shore may have been the place where she met her eventual husband (who she’s pictured with above during their pre-kid days), but the star refuses to watch it. When speaking to Rolling Stone, she said she gets too embarrassed by the stuff she’s done in front of the cameras.
“Obviously, they’re only going to put the good stuff in, and the good stuff is us drunk, so all I’m seeing is me drunk and falling down,” she told the publication. “That’s how I am when I party, but some of the stuff I do is, like, ‘Really, Nicole?’... I’m like, ‘You’re sweating, your makeup is running, you look gross.’ I just look [so bad].”
7 Back Then: She Auditioned In Leggings
Snooki had a very, ahem, different sort of style when starring on Jersey Shore. She was a fan of anything with an elastic waist that was furry or that came in neon. The star once admitted that she even showed up to her audition in leggings and Uggs, which we guess wasn’t too different from what she ended up wearing on the show.
"I was wearing leggings and a fur coat and I walked in like I [felt so confident], because I always think I'm [so good looking], and I had my big pouf, and they were like, 'What is that?'" she told Rolling Stone.
6 Life Now: Her Family Always Eats Healthy
Although it’s usually the opposite, Snooki is a lot smaller and more fit since having children than before. The star says that she was inspired to begin a healthy lifestyle after leaving the Shore, and now clean living has become an important part of her family's life.
“Although I was consuming thousands of calories a day during the party years, I was actually starving myself of healthy food. The more crap I ate, the [sillier] I got, as seen on Seasons 1 through 5 of Jersey Shore,” she has said, Celebuzz reports. “When I stopped drinking and started eating lots of greens, whole grains, and lean meats, it was like my brain woke up from a five-year coma.”
5 Life Now: She Loves Cuddling With Her Kids
Fans love that Snooki isn’t afraid to get candid about all the highs and lows that come with motherhood. Despite the lack of sleep and never-ending laundry, Snooki says nothing compares to the amount of hugs she gets from her kids.
“The hardest part of motherhood is no sleep, toddlers running your life and getting hit in the face 24/7,” she told Bustle.
4 Back Then: She Says The Show Played With Her Head
Although Jersey Shore was entertaining for fans to watch, it doesn’t sound that entertaining to film. Snooki says the show took a toll on the cast’s mental health.
“It [plays] with your head,” she told Rolling Stone. “That’s why we go crazy. That’s why we fight with each other. That’s why we drink. We’re living in a house for two months with that [stuff]. We can’t have cellphones, TV, radio or the Internet. If [something happened], we’d have no idea. There’s no normalcy. It’s just like prison, with cameras.”
3 Life Now: She's Up At 6 am Every Day
Snooki may have looked exhausted in this photo, but that’s probably only because she’s up at 6 am every day. It’s what she says she has to do to fit everything into a single day.
“When I’m home I never go out and drink just because I know I have to wake up at 6:00 a.m. and be a parent,” she told People. “Being hungover – I did that twice and I’ll never do that again. It’s the worst!” She continued, “You are not there for your kid, you are laying on the couch you are being a bum.”
2 Life Now: She Says Fans Need To Get Over Her Past
Snooki is the first one to admit that she made some mistakes in her younger years. But the celebrity also feels that fans need to move past who she was on Jersey Shore and realize that she’s cleaned up her act since becoming a mom.
"They have to get over that. It was, like, five years ago. I wasn’t a mother yet," she wrote in her book Baby Bumps. "I feel like my true fans know exactly who I am now. I’m still that girl, but I’m different. I still have my personality — I’m still funny and dorky. But, I’m a mom, so I’m more responsible. But, I still know how to have fun."
1 Back Then: She Credits The Show For Her Family
During an interview with People, Snooki and her former Jersey Shore co-star JWoww opened up about just how much they credit the show for giving them their families.
“We found our husbands on Jersey Shore, and we have our kids because of Jersey Shore,” Snooki said. “If it wasn’t for that show and my roommates and the success of it, I wouldn’t ever have what I have.”
It's quite amazing to think that the years she's often not that proud of gave her the life that she adores now. We're looking forward to hearing more about her and her new baby!
Sources: In Style, Refinery29, Rolling Stone, People, Bustle