According a report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (via USA Today), Americans spend more than $16 billion on cosmetic procedures per year. Of course, some of these plastic surgery patients are your favorite stars. Yup, celebrities are just like us — and here in the real world, things don’t always go according to plan. In fact, sometimes things go terribly, terribly wrong.
From Khloe Kardashian to Cardi B, these celebs have nipped, tucked, and Botoxed their way across red carpets. Unfortunately, each one has also witnessed the nasty side of plastic surgery. Sometimes, it’s the painful admission that you went a bit heavy-handed with the facial filler. Other times, it’s as small as a simple prick of Botox striking (and damaging) a particular nerve. More seriously, it’s as terrifying as navigating the seedy world of basement butt injections (Cardi, what were you thinking?) Regardless, most of these famous faces could very well have auditioned for an episode of Botched – and one of them actually did just that! These are some of the worst celebrity plastic surgery blunders.
This teen mom was two-times botched
Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham didn’t let a botched lip implant ruin her passion for plastic surgery — even if the ordeal was terrifying. During the harrowing experience, which she discussed in a 2015 episode of The Doctors (via Us Weekly), the starlet admitted her lips swelled up before she even got a single permanent injection. « As soon as he touched my lip with whatever numbing product he put in there, my lip was having an allergic reaction right away, » she said. « I was laying down flat, but I was seeing more of my lip come up and come up. I’m just super happy that I’m alive. »
Abraham visited with the doctors on E!’s hit series Botched, who told her just how risky that snafu was (hint: it was really, really risky). According to Dr. Terry Dubrow (via Jezebel), the « swelling could’ve gone into your tongue, the back of your throat, cut off your airway and basically choked you to death. »
This wasn’t Abraham’s only plastic surgery blunder. According to The Mirror, the star got a third breast augmentation to fix « burning and pain issues » from surgeries past. It seems like her young daughter Sophia has also caught the plastic surgery bug because she reportedly asked her mama for veneers. Whatever happened to braces?
Kathy Griffin’s lipo was anything but funny
Kathy Griffin has always been a comic of great controversy. She went from My Life on the D-List to life on the blacklist following an unfortunate social media scandal that led her straight into a Secret Service investigation. Somehow, she always manages to bounce back (hello, sold-out tour). This habit of flirting with disaster seems to have followed her throughout her career, including the topic of plastic surgery procedures.
Griffin has been open about cosmetic surgery, whether it’s a brow lift or a nose job. In a YouTube video with makeup mogul Jeffree Star, the comedian admits that she kicked the habit « about five years ago » because she « realized I did not turn into Jennifer Aniston, which was the plan. » The star claims she was « botched by Botched » in the early aughts following an upper-lip chemical peel performed by — you guessed it — one of the doctors on E!’s reality show. She was supposedly left with permanent discoloration, yet this was hardly her most harrowing plastic surgery snafu.
According to People, Griffin suffered from near-fatal complications after receiving liposuction on her « stomach, thighs and the inside of [her] knees » in 1999. « When I woke up I was not able to pee. I got toxicity and had to go to the emergency room and wear a catheter for a week, » she said. « It was life-threatening, and the results were nonexistent. In fact, I started running after that and got much better results. »
Dana Delany’s Botox disaster
In tinsel town, Botox is hardly an anomaly. According to The Hollywood Reporter, women in Los Angeles « receive twice as many filler, laser and Botox treatments » as their peers on the other coast. For this reason, it shouldn’t be surprising that Emmy-winner Dana Delany, a purebred New Yorker, isn’t a fan of facial injections — but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t tried them. The Desperate Housewives actress got Botox on a single occasion, but it left her with lifelong damage.
« My dermatologist was saying, ‘You should try it,' » she told Prevention (via CBS News) in a 2010 interview. « He injected my forehead, hit a nerve, and created a huge hematoma. The nerve has been dead ever since. » The nerve damage reportedly left the actress with a « droopy right eye » and a distaste for plastic surgery. Though Delany claims she’d never go under the knife, she’ll happily be on the other side. The star played a neurosurgeon on ABC’s Body of Proof, which was cancelled in 2013 after three seasons.
Priscilla Presley’s plastic surgery scam
Priscilla Presley is no pink Cadillac, but that didn’t stop an alleged doctor from injecting her face with what’s essentially auto-shop grease. Um, what? The former Dancing with the Stars contestant, who has thankfully bounced back, was subject to a terrifying plastic surgery scam in the early aughts that put a gigolo behind bars.
TMZ reports that Priscilla saw Dr. Daniel Serrano sometime « around 2003. » The Argentinian doctor had been doling out alleged « miracle injections that worked better than Botox » to Hollywood A-listers, which included Larry King’s wife, Shawn King. The price of each injection was between $300 and $500, and Serrano made house calls. Seems like a dream come true, right? Nope.
Serrano wasn’t actually a licensed doctor. According to the Daily Mail, he was « only licensed as a nurse » when Presley fell victim to the scam. Worse yet: His miracle injections were nothing more than low-grade industrial silicone (i.e. the same stuff used to grease your car when it’s in the shop). His work caused « lumps, paralysis, and holes » in his victims’ faces, according to TMZ, and Shawn King was left with a « lump in her lip that made it difficult to speak and drink liquids. »
Weirdly enough, a number of the illegal procedures took place in singer Lionel Richie’s home, reported People. Lionel’s estranged wife, Diane Richie, was arrested as an accomplice but never served time.
Denise Richards got more than she bargained for
Denise Richards is a woman of many feats. She planned a surprise wedding in less than 48 hours, got a wedding dress made in less than 24 (which is completely superhuman, if you ask us), and was voted « Worst Bond Girl Ever » but still emerged as an achingly beautiful actress-slash-model-slash-reality star. Still, even Richards isn’t immune to the odd plastic surgery disaster.
In an interview with Us Weekly, she admitted that she regrets getting a boob job. She said she was just 19 years old when she went under the knife and didn’t properly research her doctor because she was in « such a hurry » to have larger breasts. He ended up putting in « bigger implants » than she requested. She had a second breast surgery to correct the issue but somehow emerged with even bigger implants. « I felt very vulnerable, » she said. « I was getting ready to film Wild Things, and I didn’t want to get into a lawsuit with some plastic surgeon. It wasn’t right what the doctor did, but it is what it is. »
Richards eventually got a third surgery to make her breasts the size she had always wanted. « I’m happy with them now, » she told Us Weekly. « But in a year that could change. »
Cardi B had an illegal basement butt procedure
Cardi B’s plastic surgery story was bred partly from money moves and partly from insecurity. According to GQ, the rap superstar initially got butt implants to make more money while stripping but also because her boyfriend had cheated on her with a woman who « had a fat, big a**. » The rapper told Vlad TV she was « desperate to have a bigger a**, and then almost every girl was going to this lady that was getting the shots in Queens, and it’s like, ‘Well, give me her number and hook me up.' »
Cardi’s procedure — which is banned in the States — cost her just $800 but was « the craziest pain » she’d ever felt. The « Bodak Yellow » star told GQ that it hurt so much she thought she might « pass out. » The injection reportedly leaked for « like, five days, » and by the time she went back for a touch-up, the ersatz plastic surgeon was supposedly in jail because someone allegedly « died on her table. »
Rumor has it Cardi’s basement butt fillers didn’t hold up so well during childbirth, either. We don’t know if that’s true, but the outspoken singer did claim, « Yo, this baby broke my a** » on Instagram Live.
Tori Spelling’s torturous breast implants
Tori Spelling told Lenny Letter (via E! News) that her daughter Stella was « shattered » to find out her boobs were fake. As it turns out, Spelling isn’t so thrilled about them, either. Beyond admitting that her breast implants were « like the worst ever, » the actress has discussed the many complications she suffered since going under the knife. In a 2011 interview with Good Morning America (via the New York Daily News), Spelling claimed that she’d never have gotten her breasts done « if I had known it would or could possibly impact production of milk. »
By 2014, she still wasn’t pleased with her surgery situation, and those implants were hotly-debated on her reality TV show True Tori. According to the Daily Mail, which recapped the episode, her breasts were « expired and recalled, » in the third stage of breast hardening (there’s only four stages), and « should have been removed 15 years ago. » That’s easier said than done, though. Spelling worried about anesthesia and about her husband, Dean McDermott, not liking the results. « If someone had said to me when I was 20 years old, ‘by the way, every 10 to 15 years you’re going to need to get these suckers replaced’ I wouldn’t have done it, » she said (via the Daily Mail).
Lala Kent’s filler made her a ‘walking cat-duck’
Lala Kent has cooled it with facial fillers in recent years. The Vanderpump Rules star has always been candid and lives a very fearless lifestyle. She’s got no qualms about sucking down a baby bottle filled with warm milk before bed (despite the fact that she’s a grown woman), dating a married, older man (who’s now her unmarried fiancé), and regularly telling off former BFF James Kennedy. Basically, Lala does what Lala wants, and if that means getting facial fillers, that means getting facial fillers — at least, until it doesn’t.
« So, I’ve had every part of my face injected, » she told People. « The things I’ve decided to stop doing is the filler in the cheekbones, the Botox above the eyebrow and the lips because I just feel like I’m a walking cat-duck. It looks like a cat and a duck had a baby and that’s me. »
The real reason behind Tara Reid’s bikini hiatus
For a time, seeing Tara Reid in a bikini was as rare as an actual sharknado. The actress famously covered up after a string of botched procedures in the early ’00s. According to Us Weekly, she didn’t publicly wear a two-piece bathing suit for more than five years. What happened?
In a 2006 interview with Us Weekly, the actress admitted that her surgeon increased the size of her breast implants despite her request for « big Bs. » An accidental 2004 nip slip (or more honestly, full boob slip) revealed things were even worse than the tabloids thought. The doctor had botched her nipple, and the subsequent photos that circulated online « devastated » the star. Reid also received some body contouring from the same doctor, which had similarly horrifying results . « My stomach became the most ripply, bulgy thing, » she told Us Weekly. « I had a hernia, this huge bump next to my bellybutton. As a result, I couldn’t wear a bikini. I lost a lot of work. »
Reid eventually had corrective surgery, and today, she flaunts her figure like it’s nobody’s business. Three cheers for self-confidence.
Heidi Montag literally died after a plastic surgery spree
Heidi Montag had everyone’s worst plastic surgery nightmare come true: She literally died, if only for a minute. According to Entertainment Tonight, the MTV reality star underwent almost a dozen surgeries — ranging from « fat injections in her face » and « pinned-back ears » to breast implants and a nose job — in the span of 24 hours. In an interview with Paper, Montag admits it was a « rock-bottom moment » in her life.
« I died for a minute. With that much surgery, I had to have 24-hour nurse care and Spencer didn’t want to leave my side, » she said. « I was at a recovery center and had Demerol to deal with the pain because it was so extreme. My security guards called Spencer and told him, ‘Heidi’s heart stopped. She’s not going to make it.’ And I easily could’ve. Cutting yourself up isn’t something I’d recommend. »
Today, Montag is the proud mom of a baby boy, and she admits the later seasons of her reality show The Hills – the ones that focused on her plastic surgeries — are now hard to watch. « I think that it was hard enough going through it at that time, and I was just in way over my head. I had no idea what I was getting into, » she told Entertainment Tonight.
Jennifer Grey had ‘the nose job from hell’
In 2018, The Huffington Post mused about beauty in the age of technology: « Between makeup and Facetune, we’re creating a homogenized expression of beauty. » A few months prior, the New York Post shared a similar sentiment, claiming the « rise of the Instagram face » is « destroying us. » It’s no secret that people online are starting to look a whole lot like everyone else online (the same filters and editing tools will do that), but back in the ’80s, distinctive — and sometimes imperfect — features set stars apart. No one knows this more than Jennifer Grey, who blames her nose job for what became a major career setback.
Grey rose to fame starring in 1987’s Dirty Dancing. Two years after the movie premiered, she got what she called « the nose job from hell. » In an interview with The Mirror, the star claimed she « went into the operating room a celebrity and came out anonymous. » In her words: « I’ll always be this once-famous actress nobody recognizes because of a nose job. »
Thankfully, her more recent endeavors don’t require mass facial recognition. She found success in the world of voice acting, where she spent six years voicing characters on the animated series Phineas and Ferb. She also landed a role in the short-lived Amazon Prime series Red Oaks. Nobody puts Baby in a corner!
Khloe Kardashian’s face was ‘f***ed’
Khloe Kardashian is no stranger to amazing transformations — but cosmetic procedures aren’t one of them. According to Us Weekly, the reality star started hitting the gym to de-stress during her divorce from Lamar Odom and ended up sticking with it. By 2015, she had dropped 35 pounds, which she proudly discussed during an interview with an Australian radio show (via ABC News). The Revenge Body host didn’t stop there. After giving birth to her baby girl, True, in 2018, Kardashian dropped 40 pounds and was « almost back to pre-baby weight » in a matter of months, according to People.
As far as amazing transformations go, Kardashian probably isn’t rating her foray into facial fillers anywhere near the top of the list. Though plumped-up lips proved to be sibling Kylie Jenner’s claim to fame, a plumper pout didn’t do the same for Kardashian. The starlet admitted that she felt like it left her face totally « f***ed. »
« It did not work for me, » she said during an episode of Kocktails with Khloe (via The Mirror). « I looked crazy, and I still think the effects are in there. »