Famous folks don’t always make headlines because of new projects or award-winning performances. Sometimes they stir up coverage — and controversy — with their scandalous ways. Granted, there’s an old adage that all press is good press, but there’s a line that takes certain actions from mildly annoying (but probably forgivable) to seriously problematic (and maybe even career-ending).
From arrests for assault, to racist reputations, to alarming antics that spark a viral backlash, some stars are apparently unable to avoid getting themselves into trouble, while others seem to relish in their bad behavior. And, not surprisingly, there are those epically embarrassing and incredibly dangerous drunk moments that certain celebs would rather forget.
Of course, many limelight-dwellers regret their transgressions, and seem to learn from their mistakes, but a select can’t stop cranking out seemingly awful actions that leave fans shaking their heads. Let’s check out the latter group of celebs who just keep getting shadier and shadier.
Nicki Minaj says ‘y’all can’t run [her] life’
Nicki Minaj doesn’t seem to have any intention of altering her actions to appease anyone. Perhaps that’s why she makes iffy career choices, like her 2018 « Chun-Li » video, which drew accusations of appropriation over the rapper’s apparent depiction of an Asian Street Fighter character and use of elements from Chinese culture.
That same year, Minaj sparked further ire by collaborating with convicted sex offender 6ix9ine. Then, the so-called queen of rap went after Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott, claiming that his music was only outperforming her Queen album because the new parents used their baby as a promotional tool. « I put my blood sweat & tears in writing a dope album only for Travis Scott to have Kylie Jenner post a tour pass telling ppl to come see her & Stormi, » Minaj tweeted.
Things then got physical for Minaj when she crossed paths with her rival Cardi B during New York Fashion Week and, according to Cardi, Minaj insulted the « Bodak Yellow » rapper’s abilities as a mother. Cardi responded as one apparently does — by throwing her shoe at Minaj.
And to prove that she keeps things just as controversial in her personal life as she does in her professional life, the following December saw Minaj post a picture of her new boyfriend, Kenneth Petty, a registered sex offender who also pled guilty to first-degree manslaughter. She defended the relationship by saying, « y’all can’t run my life. »
Johnny Depp’s shady history of ‘aggressive’ behavior
It’s clear why many believe that Hollywood shouldn’t cast Johnny Depp anymore. He’s been arrested multiple times for assault — including going after a security guard in 1989, and fighting with paparazzi a decade later. In 1994, he was arrested for « criminal mischief » following a blowout fight with his then-girlfriend, model Kate Moss. According to People, the « spat » resulted in Depp trashing his room at The Mark Hotel, which resulted in the aforementioned charge and nearly $10,000 in damages.
In 2008, Depp talked to Rolling Stone about his « out-of-control life, » admitting he’s « poisoned [him]self for years, » and when asked by Vanity Fair about heroin use, he answered indirectly, saying, « It was a very sad time for me. »
More recently, in 2016, Depp’s then-wife Amber Heard accused the actor of domestic abuse in court (via The Telegraph), providing pictures of her bruises, and alleging that he had been « irrational, delusional, and aggressive. » She added, « He has a short fuse. He is often paranoid and his temper is exceptionally scary for me as it has proven many times to be physically dangerous or life-threatening to me. »
While one would surely hope that Depp would eventually reign in his volatile behavior, in July 2018, he was sued for allegedly punching a crew member « twice in the ribs » during what the BBC called a « drunken tirade, » which seems to suggest that he’s still prone to erratic outbursts.
Chris Brown’s brand of shade includes frightening violence
Chris Brown’s downfall officially started in 2009 when he assaulted his then-girlfriend Rihanna en route to the Grammys. Two years later, he allegedly vandalized his dressing room in a fit of rage, following an interview on Good Morning America in which Robin Roberts had asked about the earlier incident. Brown later apologized, saying, « When I got back[stage] … I just let off steam… I just wanted to release the anger that I felt inside me. »
He continued to stir up scandal in 2012 when he allegedly fought Drake, then dressed like a « terrorist » for Halloween. The following year slid even further downhill as Brown was charged with a hit-and-run, arrested for a felony assault, and accused of throwing a rock through the window of his mom’s car while she was visiting him in rehab. In 2014, he went to jail for violating his probation, and in 2015, he was accused of punching a man during a basketball game. The next year was no better, with Brown investigated for battery and theft as well as charged with assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly pointing a gun at beauty queen Baylee Curran.
Wait, there’s actually more. In 2017, Brown’s ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran got a restraining order against him. So did another woman in 2018 over accusations of stalking. Also that year, a woman sued him, claiming she was raped at a party at his home. Chris Brown will continue to be canceled until further notice.
Tommy Lee’s shadiness doesn’t end with family
« What I see here is a very clear — very disturbing, in my judgment — pattern of conduct in which otherwise resolvable matters are handled by violence. … That’s intolerable in any kind of civilized society, » Judge Mira told rocker Tommy Lee, according to the Los Angeles Times. That was when Lee was sent to jail for assaulting his then-wife, Pamela Anderson in 1998 while she held one of their children.
While that’s enough to outrage (former?) fans, Lee was also accused of racism for allegedly having a swastika tattoo (Lee denies having the offensive ink), which a Jewish cameraman claims to have spotted when Lee attacked him in 1996. Three years later, Lee and his Mötley Crüe bandmate Nikki Sixx were accused of making racial slurs against an African-American security guard at their concert, and encouraging the audience to assault him, resulting in riot charges.
In 2018, Lee shared a picture of his bloody lip, claiming he’d been punched by his 21 years old son Brandon Lee. « You can give your kids everything they could ever want in their entire lives and they can still turn against you, » he said, according to TMZ. However, Brandon alleged that he had been acting in self-defense, and a source said that Tommy had been drunk during the altercation. Whatever went down, it seems like Lee needs to learn to walk away when he gets riled up.
Andy Dick’s controversies involve drugs, racism, and assault
Over the years, Andy Dick has been caught up in controversies that are both incredibly dangerous and offensive. In 1999, the former NewsRadio star drove into a utility pole and was arrested on drug charges, but not before attempting to flee the scene. And in 2006, he apologized for using the « n » word onstage, saying in a statement, according to TMZ, « In an attempt to make light of a serious subject, I have offended a lot of people, and I am sorry for my insensitivity. »
The list of incidents and allegations involving Dick exposing himself and assaulting people is almost too long (and too disgusting) to keep up with, but includes him flashing his bits during a show in 2005, being arrested for allegedly groping two men in 2010, reportedly rubbing his genitals on an audience member’s face in 2011, facing sexual misconduct allegations in 2017, and being charged with sexual battery in 2018 for allegedly grabbing a woman’s butt as she passed him on the sidewalk.
But perhaps his most public example of going too far was in 2007 when Dick was removed from Jimmy Kimmel Live (per ET Canada) by security after repeatedly touching fellow guest Ivanka Trump while she tried to remove his hand from her leg. Boundaries anyone?
Bill Maher has made a career out of getting shadier and shadier
Bill Maher did have a show called Politically Incorrect, but he tends to take that vibe way too far. He has a history of offensive behavior, including « compar[ing] his dogs to r******d children, » likening former One Direction singer Zayn Malik to the Boston Marathon bomber, and using the « n » word. He apologized for the latter by saying, « The word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry. »
However, it was controversial comments about 9/11 that led to Politically Incorrect getting canceled. Six days after the devastating attacks, Maher argued against the idea that the terrorists were cowards, saying, « We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. » Along with a backlash from viewers, many of Politically Incorrect‘s major sponsors pulled their ads and some affiliates even stopped airing the show.
Despite his actions causing serious setbacks in his career, Maher continues stoking controversy with provocative comments, like in 2018, while talking to Ronan Farrow about the #MeToo movement, Maher suggested that « maybe we’ve gone too far here. » He added, « Do you think there’s an excess in the movement that is causing a backlash, that’s hurting it? » He should probably be more concerned with his own controversy-related backlash.
Piers Morgan got away with his allegedly shadiest behavior
To be fair, English media personality Piers Morgan has been both inaccurately implicated in scandals and been found undeniably guilty of shady behavior. In both 2014 and 2015, he was questioned by police regarding celebrity phone hacking, which had many wondering about his ethics and integrity. Although the investigation against him was called off, people still weren’t impressed when he tweeted that he’d be celebrating by getting « spectacularly drunk. »
Also known for using social media to create controversy, in 2018, Morgan went after plus-size model Tess Holliday on Instagram, posting a shot of her Cosmopolitan cover with the caption, « Apparently, we’re supposed to view [the cover] as a ‘huge step forward for body positivity.’ What a load of old baloney. » He followed that by writing an open letter to Holliday published in the Daily Mail in which he claimed that the magazine’s choice to highlight her as a role model was « a load of absolute nonsense. »
That same year, he tweeted a photo of Daniel Craig, who plays James Bond, with the hashtag « #emasculatedBond » because the star was carrying his baby in what Morgan deemed an « emasculating papoose. » Fans and fellow celebrities were equally unimpressed, with Chris Evans tweeting, « You really have to be so uncertain of your own masculinity to concern yourself with how another man carries his child. Any man who wastes time quantifying masculinity is terrified on the inside. »
Morrissey’s controversial comments are all kinds of offensive
Morrissey has made so many controversial comments over the years, it’s hard to keep up. But just to get an idea of his uncensored and undeniably offensive behavior, take the fact that in 2017 he went after Madonna, telling The Times, « Madonna reinforces everything absurd and offensive. Desperate womanhood. Madonna is closer to organized prostitution than anything else. » He also seemed to defend industry predators like Harvey Weinstein in the same interview, saying, « Sexual harassment can often be just a pathetic attempt at courtship. »
And his offensive opinions are nothing new. « I don’t really think, for instance, black people and white people will ever really get on or like each other, » he reportedly told Q magazine (via The Guardian) back in 1992.
However, there’s seemingly no point trying to reason with him because he apparently thinks that accusations of racism are merely meant to throw him off. In a conversation published on his website, during which he brought up Hitler, Morrissey claimed that « we are all called racist now, and the word is actually meaningless. It’s just a way of changing the subject. » He continued, « When someone calls you racist, what they are saying is ‘hmm, you actually have a point, and I don’t know how to answer it, so perhaps if I distract you by calling you a bigot we’ll both forget how enlightened your comment was.' »
Roseanne Barr has been shady since the early 90s
Roseanne Barr made a career out of being brash, and was already sparking scandal in 1990 when she delivered a screeching performance of « The Star-Spangled Banner » before grabbing her crotch and spitting at a San Diego Padres baseball game. Plenty of people agreed with President George H.W. Bush who called the display « disgraceful. » However, when asked by The Washington Post — 25 years later — if she regretted the incident, considering she received death threats, Barr confessed, « Actually, no, I don’t regret any of it. »
That controversial attitude manifested itself again over the years, like in 2009, when Barr posed as Hitler, and became even more infamous off-screen by promoting what Business Insider calls « right-wing conspiracy theories. »
Barr could have turned things around with her 2018 reboot, but she was criticized for racist storylines, including one (via Insider) where her character « thinks that her neighbors of Muslim descent are building a bomb, » and another where she joked about minority-led shows. That same year, she faced backlash — and her reboot was canceled — when she posted a racist tweet about former President Obama’s aide Valerie Jarrett. Barr claimed her behavior was a result of taking Ambien to which the company behind the drug responded by explaining that « racism is not a known side effect » of their medication. The star then posted a video to YouTube where she tried to justify her comments about Jarrett by screaming, « I thought the b*tch was white. » That … didn’t help.
At this point, is there anyone shadier than Logan Paul?
YouTube star Logan Paul is famous for his view-baiting antics, but he’s definitely crossed the line in terrible ways. In 2017, he was accused of sexist behavior for his « No Handlebars » video in which he rode women like bicycles. Paul’s take on Flobots’ « Handlebars » drew a response from the band with Jamie Laurie asking (via Westword), « This is the message you’re bringing in the middle of the #MeToo moment? » He then deemed Logan the face of « d**chebag entitlement. »
Things took an even darker turn in January 2018 when Paul posted a video of himself and his friends discovering a body in Japan’s suicide forest. Although he apologized, Paul sounded less than remorseful while talking to The Hollywood Reporter. « My first feeling was just dis-f*cking-belief, » he said while discussing the discovery of the body. « I should have felt empathy. I should have been like, ‘Hey, this is wrong. Let’s not do what we’re doing.' » He also lamented his own loses, saying, « We’re on the verge of, like, product launches. We were about to create the next Axe [body spray]! »
While many celebs would have laid low until things cooled off, Paul did the opposite. The next month, he found himself in trouble for posting a video where he tasered dead rats, and the following year he was accused of homophobia for saying that he wants to « go gay » for a month. In other words: His controversial ways are likely here to stay.
Tristan Thompson is reportedly a ‘serial cheater’
Perhaps more famous for his romance with reality TV star Khloé Kardashian than his moves on the court, NBA player Tristan Thompson might also be what one source deemed (via People), a « serial cheater. » When he first met Kardashian, he may or may not have been stepping out on a woman named Jordan Craig, who was 6 months pregnant with his baby at the time. Although Kardashian repeatedly denied that accusation, the rumors persisted, especially since news broke days before Kardashian gave birth to their own baby girl that Thompson cheated on Kardashian as well.
According to Radar Online, Kardashian posted on Instagram that she had been honest about the start of her relationship with Thompson, however, she also added an apparent apology to Craig, writing, « If for any reason this is NOT in fact the truth, I am so completely and utterly sorry that TRISTAN and his inner circle would lie on something like this! … Truthfully, from the deepest parts of my soul I am sorry! I’m sorry for any pain that has been created either way. … No woman deserves to go through anything like this! »
Despite the fact that Thompson reportedly apologized to Kardashian, and she seemingly forgave him, she finally broke things off (for good?) in 2019 when Thompson allegedly got a little too close to Jordyn Woods, the (now-former) best friend of Kardashian’s younger sister Kylie Jenner. Ding, ding — the Mess Express has arrived.
Lindsay Lohan went from the House of Mouse to the big house
Lindsay Lohan isn’t the first child star whose career faltered when they found themselves caught up in shady behavior. Admitting to problems with both drugs and alcohol while speaking to Oprah in 2013, Lohan had, at the time, been charged with two DUIs, was arrested multiple times, was involved in several car accidents, had gone to rehab at least times, and spent 14 days in jail, per CNN.
Lohan was also investigated in 2011 for the alleged theft of a $2,500 necklace. Although the details aren’t clear when it comes to what really went down, it appears as if the pricey trinket was eventually turned in by someone associated with the actress before the star was given a 120-day sentence and 480 hours of community service.
Things then took a seriously strange turn in September 2018 when Lohan could be seen in a video posted to TMZ showing the celebrity being punched in the face by a homeless woman after Lohan grabbed the woman’s child and accused her of child-trafficking. While Lohan was apparently trying to come to the aid of someone she thought was is trouble, she may be the one who should seek help.