20 Famous Celebrity Scandals That Shocked Hollywood

When it comes to shocking celebrity scandals, Hollywood is bursting at the seams. No matter how squeaky clean an actor or actress appears, more often than not there is some dark secret they are trying to hide or a skeleton in their closet they don’t want to be revealed. And it’s not just the big stars, with directors, talk show hosts, radio personalities, and all manner of entertainers finding themselves involved in dodgy scandals. 

Many of these scandals are typical and common things everyday folk also suffer through, such as infidelity, but others are unbelievable events that have shocking outcomes you won’t believe. So without further ado, here are some of the most famous and shocking scandals of all time. 

1. Kanye West Interrupts Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards


The most infamous incident to occur at the Grammy Awards happened in 2009. After Swift took to the stage to accept the award for Best Video at the 2009 MTV VMAs for her song “You Belong with Me,” West made his presence felt. Instead of congratulating Swift, he went on a mini-rant. “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!” Classic Kanye.

Many saw this as the beginning of the end for West and having listened to his most recent work, that appears to be true.

2. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston Call It Quits


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Hollywood’s glamour couple split after five years of marriage in 2005. While the media were fed the usual lines about “growing apart” and “wanting different things,” the truth was a little more complicated.

It’s believed Pitt had an affair with Angelina Jolie while filming Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Fuel was added to this fire when Pitt and Jolie hooked up a few months later and would eventually go on and marry. Celebrity scandals don’t get much bigger. 

3. OJ Simpson Arrested for Murder

OJ Simpson Arrested for Murder

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OJ Simpson’s police chase on the LA freeway remains a landmark event of the 90s. The former footballer was on the run after the murder of his ex-wife and her new partner. Eventually, Simpson gave himself up and was put on trial for murder. Somehow, despite overwhelming evidence, Simpson got off after a ten-month court case that was televised to homes across the world. 

4. Ellen DeGeneres Is a Bully

Ellen DeGeneres

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Who would have thought talk show Ellen DeGeneres is actually a bad person? This scandal rocked the entertainment world in 2020 when it was revealed DeGeneres treated her guests and staff horribly.

After a couple of leaked statements about DeGeneres’ poor behavior appeared online, it didn’t take long for people to come out of the woodwork accusing the TV personality and her producers of engaging in sexual misconduct and harassment, with many taking to Twitter to vent their frustrations. 

While DeGeneres did come out and apologize, stories of her bad behavior continue to circle the internet, even after the conclusion of her show in May of 2022. 

5. Michael Jackson Charged With Child Molestation

Michael Jackson

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The King of Pop’s legacy has forever been tarnished after accusations of child molestation. While he settled out of court when accused in 1993 and was acquitted when a 2005 case against him went to trial, the accusations stuck.

The release of the Leaving Neverland documentary tarnished his reputation even more, with Jackson forever tainted with the association of sexually abusing kids. 

6. Chris Brown Assaults Rihanna

Chris Brown Assaults Rihanna


In 2009 R&B singer Chris Brown was charged with assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna. When photos of Rihanna leaked, the media went to town on Brown, and rightly so. Brown copped a plea deal and managed to stay out of jail, with the incident failing to have a major impact on his career. 

7. The Situation Can’t Beat the Taxman

Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino found himself behind bars after failing to pay his taxes

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Jersey Shore alumni Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino found himself behind bars after failing to pay his taxes. In 2018 he was found guilty of tax offenses stemming from 2014 and sentenced to eight months in prison and two years of supervised release. 

8. Gram Parson’s Cremation

Gram Parsons

AXS TV/YouTube

Singer Gram Parson died of a suspected morphine overdose at the age of 26. Having requested his ashes be scattered at Joshua Tree, where he enjoyed spending time, his family instead buried him in New Orleans.

To fulfill his wish, friends Phil Kaufman and Michael Martin stole Parson’s body from LAX, put it in a borrowed hearse, and drove out to Joshua Tree. Here they set the casket alight but got more than they bargained for when it went up like a giant fireball. The police came but it was too late, with the body almost burnt to a crisp. Kaufman and Martin were arrested, but as there is no law against stealing a body, they were only fined $750 and let go. Hollywood scandals don’t get much stranger. 

9. Whitney Houston ODs

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston/YouTube

Possessing one of the great voices, Whitney Houston battled addiction for much of her life. The “I Will Always Love You” singer was found dead in a bathtub after the 2012 Grammy Awards. She passed out in the tub and drowned. It was a sad ending to an incredible career that included sales of over 200 million records, three number-one records, and six Grammy Awards. 

Tragically, almost three years to the day of Houston’s death, her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown was found dead in similar circumstances. 

10. Tristian Thompson Cheats on Khloe Kardashian

Tristian Thompson Cheats on Khloe Kardashian


Did this surprise anyone? After months of rumors, it was finally proven true that Tristian Thompson cheated on the mother of his children, Khloe Kardashian. If that’s not bad enough, he did it with her best friend Jordyn Woods

The two split but reconciled sometime later with the same result; Thomspon cheating on Kardashian. 

11. Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee Sex Tape

Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee Sex Tape


Opposites must attract as there is no way anybody could tell shy blonde bombshell Pamela Anderson and loud-mouth rocker Tommy Lee would end up together. The duo went through a lot of ups and downs during their relationship, but the biggest controversy was when their private sex tape was stolen and sold without their consent. 

While Lee was high-fived for the tape, Anderson was branded a slut. The double standards were sickening.

12. Kobe Bryant’s Tragic Death

Kobe Bryant


Black Mamba, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven other people were traveling to a youth basketball game in a private helicopter when it crashed due to foggy weather. Everybody on board was killed, with Bryant dead at 42. His death shocked the sporting world and caused a mass outpouring of grief. He was posthumously inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021. 

13. The College Admissions Scandal

Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin Indicted in College Admissions Scandal

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You can do anything when you’re rich. Over 50 wealthy parents were found guilty of bribing college admissions boards to get their children into the best schools. This might not have been as well publicized if not for actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Louglin both being involved. 

Huffman played ball and admitted to paying $15,000 to increase her daughter’s SAT scores. She issued a public apology and served just 11 days of a two-week sentence. Louglin, on the other hand, refused to admit guilt for paying $500,000 to up her daughter’s SAT scores. She did two months behind bars. 

14. Rust Shooting Incident

Alec Baldwin rehearsing with gun before fatal shooting on Rust set

Guardian News/YouTube

On the set of the Western film Rust, an unspeakable accident occurred. Somehow a prop gun was loaded with real bullets and fired by actor Alec Baldwin. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot and director Joel Souza was injured. The whole incident could have been avoided if someone had checked the gun properly beforehand. 

15. Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show Controversy

Janet Jackson Wardrobe Malfunction

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Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake were performing at the halftime show and had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands. Everybody was fixated on the event that was set to go down as one of the great Super Bowl halftime shows until it all went wrong

As Timberlake reached across Jackson’s chest, he “accidentally” exposed her right breast which just so happened to have a nipple cover. The incident caused all sorts of controversy and had thousands of people complaining. 

Described as a wardrobe malfunction, it was eventually confirmed to be part of the show. Timberlake managed to get away almost Scott-free with a poor apology while Jackson was left holding the bag and blacklisted by the industry for a short time. 

16. R Kelly Sex Scandal

R Kelly

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The rumors about R Kelly and kinky sex practices have been circulating for decades, but it all finally came to a head in 2000 when women began to come forward and give their accounts of the sexual harassment they suffered at the R&B singer’s hands. Turns out Kelly’s a bit of a deviant who had sex slaves, took photos and videos of sex acts with minors, and had his own sex cult. 

It’s all pretty nasty stuff, and Kelly didn’t have a leg to stand on and is likely to die in prison, which is a fair result for his crimes. 

17. Mel Gibson Is a Racist

Mel Gibson

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Aussie actor Mel Gibson got pulled over for drunk driving in 2006 and went on an unprovoked expletive-filled anti-Semitic rant. Four years later and he was back in the headlines after taped phone conversations between him and his ex-wife revealed Gibson threatening her and using more racist language. And then just a few years back Winona Ryder accused Gibson of calling her an “oven dodger” in reference to her Jewish ancestry when they crossed paths in 2010. Gibson denies this of course. 

Somehow despite all this Gibson still has a career. While it might be making direct-to-video movies, he’s still out there working. 

18. Britney Spears Meltdown

Britney Spears Meltdown

Adam McIntyre/YouTube

A talented singer, Britney Spears has had a tough life as an adult. While she is finally free of her Dad’s conservatorship, she continues to battle mental illness. The first big hurdle she hit was in 2007 when, after checking herself out of a drug rehabilitation center she had stayed in for less than one day, Spears went to a local saloon and shaved her head. She then admitted herself to several more facilities before the release of her fifth album Blackout, on October 07. 

19. Kim Kardashian and Ray J’s Sex Tape Leaks

Kim Kardashian and Ray J's Sex Tape Leaks

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A sex tape always makes for gossip. Kim Kardashian and Ray J shot their sex tape while on holiday in Cancun. Somehow it leaked and was sold to Vivid Entertainment for a reported $1 million. Kardashian sued Vivid before the release of the tape and eventually settled out of court a few months later for a whopping $5 million.

While Kardashian has always denied rumors that she and her mom organized the release of the tape, Ray J recently shared recipes that seem to suggest otherwise. 

20. Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard

Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard

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The court case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard became one of the biggest celebrity scandals in history. Heard wrote a 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post about her experiences with abuse. While she didn’t name the suspect, she was clearly referring to Depp. He sued her for $50 million and she countersued for $100 million. 

The televised court case was an absolute shitshow that included tales of people shitting in beds, something known as the “mega pint,” and both Depp and Heard acting like their lives depended on it. In the end, Depp was announced the winner and Heard is being forced to cough up $15 million to pay Depp for damages.