What Are The Biggest Celebrity Scandals?


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Louise Gorman Profile
Louise Gorman answered
There have been many celebrity scandals over the years. Here are some of the most memorable scandals:

The OJ Simpson Trial

OJ Simpson was an American football player and actor, who became well known as a result of one of the biggest celebrity scandals of the 90s. In 1992, OJ Simpson divorced his wife, Nicole. Two years later, in 1994, Nicole, along with a friend named Ronald Goldman, was found murdered outside her home. OJ Simpson was immediately arrested after police discovered evidence that led them to believe that Simpson had committed the murders.

Later, when Simpson failed to turn up at the police station, a search began when police discovered a suicide note that he had written. After being chased for a while, Simpson eventually turned himself in. His trial began in 1995 and was highly publicised. It was thought that Simpson murdered his ex-wife as a result of jealousy and evidence to show that he had previously abused her was shown throughout the trial.

During the prosecution, it was revealed that a man matching Simpson’s description was seen entering Nicole’s home. However, the defence claimed that OJ Simpson, who was in his mid forties when the murders were carried out and had several health complications as a result of his past football career, was not fit enough to commit the brutal murders. Ronald Goldman was just 25 years old at the time of his death and the defence believed that a healthy young man would not have been so easily murdered by someone with Simpson’s health complications. However, evidence was provided to suggest that despite Simpson’s health problems, he was still capable of carrying out certain activities.

Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence to suggest that Simpson had committed the murders, he was found not guilty. By now, Simpson and many of the others that were involved in the case had become huge celebrities as a result of the amount of media coverage that the trial received.

In 2004, it was revealed that Simpson had previously confessed his guilt over the murders. The whole scandal received attention again when, in 2006, a book entitled “If I Did It” was released and was written by a ghostwriter with participation from Simpson, which led people to believe that the book was a confession.

Hugh Grant's 1995 arrest

Hugh Grant caused a stir in 1995 when he was arrested after being caught with a prostitute in public. The incident came as a shock to many, particularly as Grant is well known for playing charming charismatic characters in many of his films. At the time of the incident, Grant was in a relationship with actress and model Elizabeth Hurley, which also caused others to question his actions.

The incident happened just a couple of weeks before Grant’s film “Nine Months”, was due for
release. In this time, Grant appeared on several shows, one of which was “The Tonight Show”, where he made a public apology for the incident.

Grant was fined $1,180 for the incident and put on probation for two years. His sincere apology helped “Nine Months” to achieve much success, becoming nearly as successful as “Four Weddings and a Funeral”. The incident had no effect on Grant’s acting career, and he continued to portray the charming, polite characters that the public knew so well, with roles in “Notting Hill” (1999), “About a Boy” (2002), “Two Weeks Notice” (2002) and “Love Actually” (2003).

More recently, Grant was arrested after it was claimed that he attacked a paparazzo. The charges were dropped due to the lack of evidence. On another occasion, he kicked a paparazzo.

Michael Jackson child abuse charges

Right up until his death in June 2009, Michael Jackson was a constant focus of media attention. The controversy first began when Michael’s physical appearance began to change drastically in the early 1980s, the most notable being his skin colour and the shape of his nose. Following the changes in his appearance, Michael was accused of committing several acts of child abuse in the early 1990s. During this time, he made several statements and gave various interviews denying the child abuse. His friendship with Macualay Culkin was also brought to attention during this time.

Despite all the media coverage, Michael’s success continued with the release of his album HIStory, which contained chart topping songs such as “Earth Song”, which went straight to number one over Christmas in 1995, and “You Are Not Alone”, which was released the same year and shot straight to number one on the US Bilboard  Hot 100 and topped the UK charts.

Michael became part of another huge celebrity scandal in 2002, when his third child, who he nicknamed “Blanket” was born. Later that year, Michael dangled Blanket off a balcony from a hotel room in Berlin. The incident was witnessed by a crowd of fans who were standing below the balcony and Michael was heavily criticised as a result. He later apologised, but the incident was never quite forgotten.

In 2003, a documentary about Michael’s life aired. Michael was interviewed by Martin Bashir and viewers had the chance to get a glimpse at Michael’s life as well as a chance to listen to his views on his success, his altered appearance and most controversially, his explanations as to why he invited children back to his room. The documentary caused a stir and the child sex abuse allegations were raised again, resulting in a trial in 2005. He was found not guilty of child abuse.

Despite all the controversy surrounding him, Michael remained one of the most influential figures in the music industry and millions were left devastated by his unexpected death in June 2009, just days after he had been rehearsing for his comeback tour. His children, family, celebrities and millions of fans paid tribute to him and his memorial was televised.

Sinead O Connor's SNL protest

Since the early nineties, Sinead O’Conner has been involved in a number of controversial events, the most famous being her appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1992, where she destroyed a photograph of Pope John Paul II in a protest against child abuse. Rather than causing a positive reaction with her actions, O’Connor caused outrage and the incident affected her future career.

As a result of her actions, O’Connor’s songs were banned from being played on the radio and she was repeatedly booed at concerts. O’Connor later stated they she had simply torn up the photo in a fit of rage, but later said that she had no regrets about what she did.

Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky

Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky was one of the biggest political celebrity scandals in the 1990s. Lewinsky was an intern at the White House and the affair began shortly after she was hired. Lewinsky was alleged to have had nine sexual encounters with Clinton and was told to keep gifts and items of clothing as evidence. Lewinsky told a co-worker about her involvement with Clinton and the co-worker taped several conversations between the couple.

Clinton strongly denied having sexual relations with Lewinsky and released a statement saying that the alegations were false. However, evidence was provided on an item of clothing (famously known as “The Blue Dress”) and Clinton was impeached for failing to be truthful about his involvement with Lewinsky. He was also charged with “abuse of power”.

Since the incident, Lewinsky has stated that she has found it difficult to put the incident behind her and that it has had a large effect on her career and personal life.


Jennifer Aniston married Brad Pitt in the summer of 2000. Five years later, they separated and were eventually divorced in late 2005. This event became a scandal when Brad Pitt entered a relationship with Angelina Jolie, who he worked with for the filming of “Mr and Mrs Smith” in 2004. There were rumours that his involvement with Jolie was the cause of his marriage breakdown.

The couple kept their relationship a secret until a few months after Pitt and Aniston’s divorce, when Jolie confirmed that she was pregnant with Pitt’s child. However, she denied that she had been involved with him during his marriage to Aniston, but did state that she and Pitt had fallen in love during filming. Pitt stated the same but also denied having an affair with Jolie.

Pitt and Jolie, who are now known as “Brangelina”, have since adopted several children and have two children of their own. There were rumours that Pitt and Aniston’s divorce was due to the fact that she did not wish to have children, but she denied this.

Despite all the speculation, Pitt has since stated that he and Aniston, who has had several relationships since the divorce, are on good terms.

Lindsay Lohan's arrest

In the late 1990s and early-mid 2000s, Lindsay Lohan became well known for her roles in films such as “The Parent Trap”, “Get a Clue” and “Mean Girls”. Since her rise to fame however, she has become the centre of media attention as a result of her involvement in several car accidents and her alcohol and drug use. On one occasion in 2007, when she was 21, she was arrested after a car accident when police discovered cocaine in the vehicle and for having alcohol in her system.

She has entered rehab several times and was sentenced to a day in jail as well as several hours of community service after admitting to using cocaine and to driving with an illegal amount of alcohol in her system. She only served a small amount of the time in jail and has since been given an extended probation as a result of failing to turn up to treatment sessions for her drug usage.

Lohan also became the centre of media attention for her love life in 2008, when she began dating Smantha Ronson. The couple have since split, though Lohan has hinted on her Twitter account that they are still together.

Britney Spears' breakdown

Britney Spears quickly shot to fame after the release of her first single “Baby One More Time” in 1999. As a child, she worked on “The Mickey Mouse Club” with other celebrities such as Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, she became a huge pop icon and achieved much success with albums such as the self-titled “Britney” in 2001 and “In The Zone”.

During this time, her love life was highly publicised, particularly her relationship with Justin Timberlake. Their relationship ended in 2002 and the breakup influenced the lyrics for Timberlake’s popular song “Cry me A River”. During an interview with Diane Sawyer, Spears appeared visibly upset at the breakup and hinted that the hit song “Everytime”, which was released in 2004, was written about her relationship with Timberlake.

After the breakup, Spears’ life quickly changed. In early 2004, she drunkenly married a childhood friend overnight. The marriage lasted only 55 hours. Five months later, Spears became engaged to Kevin Federline, who she had only known for three months. The relationship caused a stir due to Federline’s ex being pregnant at the time of his involvement with Spears. A year later, Spears had her first child with Federline. She quickly became pregnant again and gave birth to her second child in mid 2006. A few months later, she filed for divorce from Federline.

After this, Spears’ mental state was questioned when she famously shaved her head in early 2007. Throughout that year, her behaviour was highly publicised. She attacked the paparazzi and was charged for driving without a license and for crashing into a car and then driving off. She made an appearance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, where she performed her single “Gimme More”. The appearance was heavily criticised and it appeared obvious that Spears was clearly not in a state to be able to perform at such a big event. She was criticised for her lip synching, dance routines and her outfit, which some felt was inappropriate due to her weight gain. Despite the criticism, she achieved much success with “Gimme More”.

In early 2008, Spears hit out at the paparazzi with her single “Piece of Me”, which was also successful. However, things came to a head when Spears, who had previously been photographed sitting on a pavement crying, ended up being hospitalised after police came to her home when she refused to hand over her children to Federline, who had gained full custody of the children in October 2008. She then received several psychiatric evaluations.

After this, things began to pick up for Spears and she achieved success with her single “Womanizer”, which was taken from her album “Circus”. She also won awards for her 2007 album “Blackout” and for her hit single “Piece of Me.”

Heath Ledger’s death

Up until his shocking death, Heath Ledger had been a popular actor who achieved much success from a young age, with roles in films such as “A Knight’s Tale” and “The Patriot”. He also became notable for his roles in “Brokeback Mountain” and as The Joker in “The Dark Knight”. He sadly died before the release of “The Dark Knight”, but his role received
praise from critics and the public.

Before his death, Ledger had been experiencing sleeping problems during the filming of “The Dark Knight” and had complained of feeling unwell on the set of  “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”, which was his final film. He was reported to be taking sleeping tablets as treatment for insomnia.

In January 2008, he was found unconscious in his apartment and pronounced dead after several unsuccessful attempts to revive him. Fans and many celebrities paid tribute to him and his funeral received much attention from the media.

His death quickly became controversial after an investigation took place. It was believed that ledger died as a result of accidental abuse of prescriptive medication. There was also speculation that Ledger’s friend, actress Mary Kate Olsen, was involved in his accidental death after she refused to comment on the drugs that Ledger had been prescribed. Her involvement was later denied by her attorney.

Rihanna and Chris Brown

In early 2009, a photograph of Rihanna with injuries to her face was leaked. The photo shocked many and attracted much media attention. Rihanna’s boyfriend, Chris Brown, was believed to have assaulted her. He was arrested and later pleaded guilty. He received five years probation and was ordered to stay away from Rihanna.

Since the assault, Brown has made several public apologies, including a release of a video on Youtube. In the video, he apologised to his fans and Rihanna for the assault. Brown later gave an interview in which he mentioned how he had witnessed domestic violence as a child and how he was shocked at his own actions.

Rihanna and Brown have since been spotted on holiday together, indicating that Rihanna has forgiven Brown for the assault.

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