Haifa Wehbe

Haifa Wehbe
Haifa Wehbe
هيفاء وهبي

Haifa Wehbe during a F1 Powerboat World Championship's concert in Abu Dhabi.
Background information
Born Mahrouna, Lebanon
Genres Arabic pop, World
Occupations Singer, model, Designer, Actress
Years active

1990s- (model) 2002–present (Singer)

2007–present (Actress)
Website http://www.haifawehbe.com

Haifa Wehbe (Arabic: هيفاء وهبي) born in Mahrouna, Lebanon on March 10, 1976 is a Lebanese model, actress, and singer born to a Lebanese father and Egyptian mother who rose to fame in the Arab world as runner up for Miss Lebanon and later through the release of her debut album Houwa El-Zaman (Arabic: هو الزمن) in 2002. She is known through her music for her sex appeal, provocative mannerisms and image. She has so far released four studio albums and made her acting debut in 2008 Pepsi-produced film Sea of Stars. Wehbe is one of the most well-known female singers in the Arab World and is considered one of the most successful Lebanese singers. In 2006, she was on People Magazine's 50 most beautiful people list.[1]


Early life

Wehbe was born in Mahrouna, a small Shia farming town in Lebanon, to a Lebanese father, Nadim antar, and Egyptian mother, but shortly after her family had moved to Beirut where she grew up listening to jazz and R&B and began to work as a full-time model at a young age.[2] Wehbe won the title of Miss South Lebanon at the age of sixteen.[3] Wehbe was a runner-up at the Miss Lebanon competition.[4]

Wehbe also made a name for herself when she starred in a music video clip for the famous Arabic crooner, George Wassouf. By 1996, she had appeared on over one hundred magazine covers.


Performing in Cairo

Houwa El-Zaman (2002–2003)

In 2002, Wehbe released her first album, titled Houwa El-Zaman (Arabic: هو الزمن, English: "It Is The Time"), which became a commercial success, in part thanks to the popularity of her first single "Agoul Ahwak" (Arabic: أقول أهواك, English: "I Say I Love You").

Baddi Eish and Television Career (2004–2007)

Wehbe released her second studio album Baddi Eesh (Arabic: بدي عيش, English: "I Want to Live") in early 2005 and lived up to expectations due to the success of its lead single "Ya Hayat Albi." Released after the assassination of Lebanese politician Rafik Hariri, the title single of the album is about "freedom, considered to be among the most basic of human rights".[5] Her follow-up single became her biggest hit to date, "Ana Haifa" (Arabic: أنا هيفاء, English: "I Am Haifa"), which became her novelty song. In 2006 she released a follow up single "Bus al-Wawa" (Arabic: بوس الواوا, English: "Kiss the booboo"), the song was later used in a Pepsi advertisement. The song was also voted Song of the Year in 2006 by Radio Scope and Sawt Al Musika.[6]

In July 2005, Wehbe, along with 14 other celebrities from the Arab world, appeared on the live pan-Arab reality series Al-Wadi (Arabic: الوادي, English: The Farm‎), based on the French reality show La Ferme Célébrités. Wehbe's role featured songs from her then new album.

Wehbe was the first Arab artist appear on the Italian television channel Rai Uno at Piazza Navona in Rome, performing in front of celebrities and fashion designers. Haifa Wehbe has also performed with artists from outside the Arab world. On June 10, 2006, Wehbe became the first artist in the Arab world to perform with rapper 50 Cent when she performed the opening act for his first concert in Lebanon, at BIEL in Beirut.

In summer 2006 she was a spokesperson for Pepsi, and worked on Pepsi ads with football star Thierry Henry which were aired on Lebanese television during the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Film Career Beginnings and Habibi Ana (2008–2009)

Wehbe starred in the Pepsi-produced film Sea of Stars released in early 2008, along with Carole Samaha, Ahmad el Sherif, Wael Kfoury, Brigitte Yaghi, and Ruwaida al-Mahrooqi[7]

On July 4, 2008, Wehbe released her third studio album Habibi Ana (Arabic: حبيبي أنا, English: "My Love") which contains 15 songs including the lead single "Mosh Adra Astana". In the Middle East album sales struggled due to Haifa's lack of promotion as she was concentrating more on her acting and film career.

In 2009 Wehbe starred in Dokkan Shehata, a high-grossing Egyptian drama film. The film was produced by Khaled Youssef. It was released in June 2009 and immediately became a huge success in the Middle East whilst gaining tremendous publicity.

Baby Haifa (2010–present)

After a lengthy delay, Wehbe released a children's album titled Baby Haifa in March 2010 under Rotana Records.[8]

Wehbe was scheduled to work on the Egyptian movie Leilet El-Baby Doll, but canceled due to her overbooked schedule. The singer will be starring in another movie with producer Muhammad Al Sabki scheduled for sometime in 2011.

In April 2010, Wehbe was featured on French DJ David Vendetta's album Vendetta on the song Yama Layali.[9] Wehbe is working on her fifth studio album, “Bukra Bafarjeek”. In September 2011 Al Bawaba reported that Wehbe was threatening to leave her label Rotana "for neglecting her and not paying any attention to her work".[10]. Haifa is now working on releasing the album soon and her music video for "Bukra Bafarjeek".

Other works

Wehbe occasionally works as a television host and has also designed her own selection of diamond jewellery.

Personal life

Wehbe is a Shia Lebanese Muslim, and she has three sisters. Wehbe's brother died at the age of 24 during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.[11][12][13] Wehbe's daughter has been living with her father since her parents divorce. In 2008 Wehbe's daughter was married in a private ceremony. As of 2010, Zeinab Zaza and her father are living in Kuwait.

In 2005, Wehbe announced her engagement to a Saudi businessman Tariq Al-Jaffali. After only a few weeks, she and her fiancé decided to split for personal reasons and family issues.

On June 25, 2007, Wehbe survived an accident while filming a music video for the song "Hasa Ma Bena" in Lebanon. In the video, a single engine airplane was to chase Wehbe as she drove a car. However, the airplane inadvertently hit the car, taking off the front windshield of the convertible she was driving.[14] Despite the severity of the accident, Wehbe suffered only minor cuts and bruises.

Wehbe married Egyptian businessman Ahmad Abu Husheima on April 24, 2009 in Beirut.[8] Among the guests at the wedding party were singer Anastacia,[15] Googoosh, Kim Kardashian, Samar Ibrahim, Nawal Al Zoghbi, Najwa Karam, Ragheb Alama, Ahlam, and Sherine.[8]

Criticism and controversy

Elissa rivalry

Haifa is known for her enmity and rivalry with Lebanese singer Elissa. In 2009 Haifa compared the two singers to 'cars' by saying that Elissa is an 'old car' while she is a 'new' one. This statement was highly publicised and talked about in the media and press, causing anger between fans.[16] Elissa refused to reply and just stated carelessly: "When someone compares me to a car, is there anything left for me to say?". This enmity stopped when Nishan had Elissa live on his show and called Haifa. Both Elissa and Haifa were surprised, but assured people that there are no problems or issues between the two singers.[17]

Further controversy started when Haifa claimed that Elissa's perfume, "Elle D'Elissa", was supposed to be hers, but Elissa didn't reply and said that the perfume is hers and only hers yet again, Haifa and Elissa announced the love and peace between them. During the Murex d'Or 2010, after Haifa had finished her performance and accepted her award, she said that Lebanon is a country of love and that all Lebanese people love and respect each other. And to prove to people that what she was saying was true, she said "There's no problem with Elissa, and this is the proof to all people," she shook hands with Elissa and congratulated her on her success.[17]

Allegations of Racism

In 2009, lyrics in one of Wehbe song's Baba Fein (from her unreleased 2010 kids album) seemed to refer to Nubians as "monkeys". Exact translation: "Where is my teddy bear and the Nubian monkey?".[18][19] Black Egyptians accused the artist of racism and singing a song that fueled racism and discrimination against them.[20] In 2010 a lawsuit filed against Wehbe was dropped.

Another serious incident occurred after the 2009 Egypt–Algeria World Cup dispute, adding to the diplomatic tension between the two countries. Wehbe went on to make statements that she would not be performing in Algeria anytime soon, because Algerians "...wouldn't understand her music". Algerian officials and many Algerians responded to Wehbe's statements stating she would not be welcome in Algeria anyway.[21] Algeria's cultural minister stated that Wehbe would be banned from performing in Algeria for insulting Algeria and the Algerian people regardless of whether she apologizes.[22]

Wehbe went on to explain her initial comments to Lebanese host Tony Khalife, saying that she didn't mean to offend Algerians or Algeria as a country but was condemning the actions of a few Algerians during the match. She then added saying: "I couldn’t help it but cry when I saw the blood of an Egyptian woman on the stadium!".[23]

Political views

During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, she left her home, in Verdun, Beirut and moved to Egypt for the duration of the conflict.[5] In a concert in the Lebanese town of Jounieh, Wehbe congratulated Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah for his stand against Israel during the war.[12]

In a further interview with Reuters, Wehbe stated that Israel attacked Lebanese civilians intentionally while Hezbollah attacked only military targets:

I believe the whole world knows who started this war and who aggressed on whose land. There isn't a war that starts from nothing and he who begins is the unjust one.[24]

Wehbe also refused to perform at any concert during the 34 days of the war including fundraisers, saying that there were more ways than one to show support for Lebanon.[12]

Wehbe has also urged fans to support Japanese victims of the Tsunami.[25]

2007 Lebanon elections and concert in Beirut

Wehbe wore a shirt with the face of President Michel Suleiman during her performance at the election celebrations in downtown Beirut.

Lebanese newspapers said scores went onstage when Haifa appeared, despite attempts by police to prevent them from reaching the pop star.[26] She also sang the Fairuz classic "Ya Hawa Beirut" ("Oh my love Beirut"), which is nostalgic song written during the Lebanese Civil War that reminisces on the "Glorious Days" of Lebanon prior to 1975.


Wehbe was ranked 49th in the 2006 Edition of the Top 99 Most Desirable Women by the website AskMen.com.[27] Wehbe was also ranked number 6 in the AskMen.com's 10 Hottest Arab Women article.

Some in the more conservative Arab countries deem her revealing outfits scandalous. One Bahraini member of parliament called her a sexual singer who spoke with her body, not her voice. Wehbe said she was aware of the efforts to ban her from performing at the concert but had chosen to ignore their attempts to silence her.

"I am a performer and not a politician," Haifa said. "I know my fans want me I am there for them. I am not concerned with the other issues."[28]

In April 2008, the Islamist-dominated parliament of Bahrain passed a motion urging the government to ban Haifa Wehbe's show in the country.[29] As a result of the motion, Wehbe performed in Bahrain with more modest dress, wearing a long green gown with a low V-neckline during the performance.[29]


Studio albums

Other albums

  • Baby Haifa (2010)


  • 2008: Sea of Stars


  • " 80 Million Ehsas"
  • "Enta Tany"
  • "Yama Layali"
  • "Samaani"

Concert Tours


  • January 29- Amsterdam, Netherlands (TBA)


  • November 18- Al Massa Hotel, Cairo
  • November 17- Movempic Hotel, Beirut, Lebanon
  • July 31 – Movempic Hotel, Beirut, Lebanon
  • July 24 – Chouf, Lebanon
  • July 22 – Batroun, Lebanon
  • July 16–19 – Casablanca, Morocco
  • July 4 – PRIVATE CONCERT, Monaco
  • July 2 – Zahle Festival, Zahle, Lebanon
  • May 8 – Phoenicia Hotel, Beirut
  • March 13 – Houston, Texas



  • Sea of Stars (produced by Pepsi) – released July, 2008
  • Dokkan Shihata – June 2009


  • Al Wadi (2005) – reality television show based on the French reality show La Ferme Célébrités.


  • 2002: The "Golden Lion" Award in Egypt.[6]
  • 2004: Best Young Female Arab singer in Egypt.[30]
  • 2005: The Oscar for "ninashnash" for her song Baddi Eesh from her second album.[6]
  • 2005: The "Murex d'Or" award with the title "Best Artist of the Year".[6]
  • 2006: The "Murex d'Or" award with the title "Best Artist of the Year".[6]
  • 2009: The "Murex d'Or" award with title "Most Popular Lebanese Singer"[31]
  • 2010: The "Murex d'Or" award with the title "Best singer actress"
  • 2010: The "ART" Award for her role in her first Egyptian Film "Dokkan Shehata"
  • 2011: World's Most Desirable Woman List No. 49 Rank[32]
  • 2011: Most beautiful Arabian model cum actress list Ranked #2[32]
  • 2011: Murex d'Or best song award, for "Yama Layaly."[33]


  1. ^ http://www.lebanonatlas.com/content/magazine/Haifa-Wehbe.asp
  2. ^ http://www.yuddy.com/celebrity/haifa-wehbe/bio
  3. ^ "Lebanese Pop Star Haifa Wehbe Sides With Hezbollah". Nysun.com. http://www.nysun.com/foreign/lebanese-pop-star-haifa-wehbe-sides-with-hezbollah/42928/. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  4. ^ Frances Harrison (2008-04-30). Lebanese singer causes Gulf storm. BBC. Accessed 2011-10-10.
  5. ^ a b Braude, Joseph. Radar.com. Rock the Casbah
  6. ^ a b c d e "www.haifawehbe.com". haifawehbe.com. http://www.haifawehbe.com/. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  7. ^ "Tune into talent". Khaleejtimes.com. 2005-12-29. http://www.khaleejtimes.com/CityHome.asp?xfile=data/citytimes/2008/September/citytimes_September27.xml&section=citytimes&col=. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  8. ^ a b c [1] www.mbc.net
  9. ^ "Vendetta album on 7digital.fr". Fr.7digital.com. http://fr.7digital.com/artists/david-vendetta/vendetta/David. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  10. ^ "Haifa Wahbi threatens to leave ‘Rotana’". Al Bawaba. 2011-09-25. http://www.albawaba.com/entertainment/haifa-wahbi-threatens-leave-%E2%80%98rotana%E2%80%99-393413. Retrieved 2011-09-25. 
  11. ^ Sela, Yohai. Omedia.com.Haifa Wehbe – Portrait of a Lebanese Female Vocalist. Retrieved 2007-03-11.
  12. ^ a b c "INTERVIEW-Hezbollah chief wins unlikely fan in pop diva". http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/06/10/31/10078726.html. 
  13. ^ Haifa Wehbe – Portrait of an Egyptian Female Vocalist[dead link]
  14. ^ [2][dead link]
  15. ^ http://uk.news.yahoo.com/18/20090424/ten-arab-pop-star-haifa-wehbe-gets-marri-9700fcb.html[dead link]
  16. ^ http://www.wikeez.com/en/people/elissa-haifa-wehbe-prettiest-scene-6276
  17. ^ a b http://www.elissalovers.net/biography.php
  18. ^ Shenker, Jack (2009-11-17). "Nubian fury at 'monkey' lyric of Arab pop star Haifa Wehbe". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/17/nubian-fury-haifa-wehbe. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  19. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/6597012/Singer-Haifa-Wehbe-offends-with-Nubian-monkeys-lyric.html
  20. ^ Shenker, Jack (2009-11-21). "Lebanese diva's lyrics hit sour note". The Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/people/lebanese-divas-lyrics-hit-sour-note-20091120-iquv.html. 
  21. ^ "Haifa Wehbe: Unwelcome in Algeria". The Majlis. http://www.themajlis.org/2009/12/23/haifa-wehbe-unwelcome-in-algeria. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  22. ^ http://www.echoroukonline.com/ara/interviews/45716.html
  23. ^ "Haifa Wehbe To Tony Khalife: I Have Nothing Against Algeria!". Wikeez.com. http://www.wikeez.com/en/people/haifa-wehbe-tony-khalife-i-have-nothing-against-algeria-5876. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  24. ^ Raissa (2006-11-06). "Haifa Congratulates Hassan Nassrallah". Waleg.Com. http://www.waleg.com/archives/005662.html. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  25. ^ "Japan". HaifaFans.net. http://www.haifafans.net/fanclub/thread-16423.html. Retrieved 2011-8-30. 
  26. ^ "Haifa Steals Limelight at Beirut Concert – Naharnet Newsdesk". Naharnet.com. http://www.naharnet.com/domino/tn/NewsDesk.nsf/getstory?openform&9279AA2E8F3CB94FC2257456000B7346. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  27. ^ "askmen," "Askmen.com."
  28. ^ "Haifa Covers Up". LB: Yalibnan.com. 2008-05-01. http://yalibnan.com/site/archives/2008/05/haifa_covers_up.php. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  29. ^ a b Frances Harrison, "Lebanese singer causes Gulf storm," April 30, 2008, BBC.
  30. ^ "middle east news information::Haifa Wahbi number one Young Female Arab Singer". Albawaba.com. http://www.albawaba.com/en/main/177581/&searchWords=Haifa. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  31. ^ "www.waleg.com". waleg.com. 2009-06-25. http://www.waleg.com/archives/017123.html. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  32. ^ a b http://networkedblogs.com/b1t26
  33. ^ "Arab stars receive top honors at Murex d’Or Awards". Daily Star (Jounieh). 2011-06-25. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Culture/Music/2011/Jun-25/Arab-stars-receive-top-honors-at-Murex-dOr-Awards.ashx#axzz1QhXmj2fu. Retrieved 2011-06-30. "Arab pop superstar Haifa Wehbe won best Arabic song for 'Yama Layaly.'" 

Further reading

External links

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