Celebs who let fame go to their heads

Fame is a crazy drug. While it often includes a lavish lifestyle and a sweet bank account, it can also insulate celebrities from the real world and cause them to act out in some unfortunate ways, sometimes to the detriment of their own careers, relationships, or even the safety of others. (Can you tell we're going to talk about Lindsay Lohan?) Plus, fame doesn't care if you're a brand new reality star or a seasoned actor. It's a ticking time bomb for anyone who doesn't handle it carefully.

Justin Bieber

After one of his YouTube cover songs caught the eye of a talent manager in 2009, then 13-year-old Justin Bieber found himself with a record deal and Usher as his mentor. Almost instantaneously, Bieber became a pop music sensation, and while he handled his early fame well, the situation started going South as the young man approached his 18th birthday.

The warning signs began when Bieber's mom told Vanity Fair in 2011 that she believed her son was a literal gift from God. Bieber compared himself to The Beatles, Tupac, and Michael Jackson in the same interview. Not good. And only it got worse from there as Bieber slowly transformed from squeaky clean pop star to bad boy wannabe. Even his once adorable relationship with songstress Selena Gomez suddenly turned into sleazy tabloid fodder, complete with cheating rumors and paternity suits.

Bieber eventually ran afoul of the law after allegedly egging a neighbor's house with his buddies, and not even two weeks later, he was arrested for drag racing while allegedly drunk. And that's just the tip of an iceberg that includes drugs, racist jokes, public urination, and lots of assault, according to Buzzfeed. Not to mention, a habit for storming off stage and leaving fans hanging if he's in a bad mood. If you want a case study on the pitfalls of fame, you can't go wrong with the Biebs.

Taylor Swift

While rising up through the country music ranks and pulling off the difficult transition to pop stardom, Taylor Swift's initial fame was refreshingly free of controversy. If anything, she was mostly criticized for being "calculating," which isn't exactly a bad thing. 

However, Swift's ego began to reveal itself when she ignited a Twitter feud with Nicki Minaj by needlessly injecting herself into Minaj's criticism of the 2015 VMAs. The two eventually made nice, but The Guardian called Swift "at best patronizing and ignorant; at worst vacuous and self-absorbed." The whole thing was not a good look.

Despite the Minaj incident tarnishing Swift's rep, she courted the spotlight more than ever in 2016 thanks to her now-infamous summer fling with Tom Hiddleston and #Taymerica—her in-your-face star-studded Fourth of July party that dominated headlines with its professionally shot Instagram photos. But just two weeks later, Kim Kardashian would bring Swift's star crashing down by releasing a series of Snapchats that showed recordings of Swift (mostly) approving of the lyrics to Kanye West's "Famous," despite acting blindsided and hurt by them in the press. Swift suddenly looked like a liar and more manipulative than ever. 

To her credit, she seems to have realized she overextended the limits of her fame and has been laying low for most of 2017. She even pulled the plug on Taymerica 2017!

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey defines diva, and she acts every bit the part. From her rivalry with Whitney Houston to her legendary MTV Cribs episode to her epic shade of Jennifer Lopez, this is clearly Mariah's World and we're all just living in it. Mimi has a reputation for being late, and while that might fly with fans who know exactly what they're getting into when they buy tickets to her show, it can wreak havoc for others.

In June 2017, actor Will Ferrell, who's not known as a gossip, stopped by Watch What Happens Live and revealed that Carey was supposed to have a cameo in his film The House (2017), until she showed up four hours late, started making demands, and refused to do a scene that was approved ahead of time, according to the Los Angeles Times. While Ferrell was generous in his account, co-star Cedric Yarbrough called Carey "unprofessional & borderline abusive to our director" in a since-deleted Facebook post.

Even though her diva antics cost her a part in the film, we're pretty sure she's not sweating it. This is Mariah Carey we're talking about. The same woman who demanded a $50 million inconvenience fee from her ex-fiance James Packer because they had a bad break-up. We doubt she's losing beauty sleep over a cameo.

Kanye West

In a way, Kanye West is almost like the male Mariah Carey. His ego knows no bounds, and he's gone so far as to compare himself to Steve Jobs and Walt Disney, according to Newsweek. Plus, who can forget his epic Twitter rants—like the ones where he's not afraid to ask Mark Zuckerberg for money. Basically, West does what West wants.

But that attitude may have cost Yeezy his closest friend and supporter. In November 2016, West made headlines after going on an unhinged rant about best bud Jay Z and Jay's wife, Beyoncé, during a concert, then walking off stage after only 15 minutes. Granted, Kanye would be hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation a few days later, but insiders allege that stay was purely for insurance purposes

Jay remained quiet until June 2017 when he dropped his new album, 4:44, which included a direct shot at Kanye. The diss lyric not only reignited a feud between the two rappers, but also dragged their whole families into it. While Kanye's ego is almost entirely to blame, according to Page Six, there's also another reason: "We're told the feud stems from West 'forcing [his wife] Kim Kardashian' on the Carters." Awkward.

Megan Fox

Thanks to the blockbuster success of Transformers (2007), Megan Fox quickly became one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood, but the fame allegedly went to her head because she got herself fired from the franchise after referring to director Michael Bay as Hitler, which did not go over well with executive producer Steven Spielberg. It was a spectacular trainwreck, and Fox's career languished for years thanks to her acid tongue and an open letter from Transformers: Rise of the Fallen crew members that detailed her diva-like behavior on set.

Fox and Bay eventually patched things up, and he graciously cast her as April O'Neil in the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2016 reboot. While shooting that film went smoothly, even with Fox being pregnant with her first child, she found herself in hot water again after responding to negative reviews. "Let me tell you something about those people. How much money did Transformers 4 make?" she asked at a press conference. "Those people can complain—they all go to the theater. They're gonna love it—and if they don't love it, they can f**k off, and that's the end of that."

Not surprisingly, the Turtles sequel would bomb, and Fox would resort to modeling lingerie for a living. 

Nicolas Cage

Following a string of hits in the '90s, Nicolas Cage became one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and was scoring paydays of $20 million per movie. At one point, the actor was worth $150 million, according to CNBC, which seems like more money than one person could spend in a lifetime. Not Nicolas Cage.

As CNBC reports, the actor owned 15 multi-million dollar homes across the globe. His real estate portfolio included a $3.4 million haunted mansion in New Orleans and not just one, but two castles in Europe. Oh, and just to be safe, he bought a deserted island. Cage also famously purchased a dinosaur skull and routinely dropped money on cars, comic books, and shrunken pygmy heads. In fairness, who doesn't keep one of those around the house?

Unfortunately, while Cage was blowing through his massive fortune, he was learning that his real estate investment skills weren't the greatest, and he also kind of forgot to pay the IRS for a couple of years, which never ends well. Just ask Al Capone.

Heidi & Spencer

In the late 2000s, MTV reality stars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt managed to parlay their time on The Hills into tabloid fame through a series of staged photo shoots and attention- grabbing stunts. But by 2010, Montag and Pratt's antics were wearing thin, so they upped the ante by pretending to get a divorce, which they later admitted was a desperate ploy to drum up more reality TV work. By 2016, they were living in Pratt's parents' vacation home.

The couple has kept things relatively low-key in recent years. in September 2017, they welcomed their first child, which put their names back in the headlines. It remains to be seen how they navigate this new chapter in their lives, but they certainly spared no expense at the birth. Baby Gunner Stone was reportedly surrounded by $27,000 worth of crystals at birth.

John Mayer

By 2010, singer/songwriter John Mayer dated Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Aniston, and Taylor Swift. Unfortunately, he also had the ego of a man who dated all three, and in an unfortunate interview with Playboy, Mayer revealed way too much information about his famous relationships. He also found himself in extremely hot water after referring to a, uh, certain part of his body as a "white supremacist" and dropping the N-word. He later apologized for the interview, but it was certainly a revealing look into the crooner's psyche.

While Mayer seemed to have no trouble dishing on his old flames, he became extremely irate in 2012 when Swift released "Dear John," a song that was allegedly about their relationship. "I was really caught off-guard, and it really humiliated me at a time when I'd already been dressed down. I mean, how would you feel if, at the lowest you've ever been, someone kicked you even lower?" he told Rolling Stone before getting nasty. "I will say as a songwriter that I think it's kind of cheap songwriting."

For the record, Mayer told Playboy some very intimate details about making Swift eggs after spending the night together, but, apparently, she can't sing a PG song about him breaking up with her. No wonder Mayer describes himself as a "recovered ego addict." Though we're not so sure about that recovered part.

Katy Perry

Katy Perry has remained relatively scandal-free in the fame abuse department. Even her feud with Taylor Swift was relatively tame, despite each releasing a song about the other. However, Perry has skirted controversy when it comes to cultural appropriation and hasn't shown the best judgment when it comes to racial sensitivity, according to Mic. While those musical choices could easily be chalked up to unfortunate creative decisions made by her team, Perry personally overstepped her bounds by making a racially charged joke about Barack Obama.

"Aww, someone says, 'I miss your old, black hair,'" she said during an Instagram Live video (via People). "Oh, do you miss Barack Obama as well? Okay, times change. Bye."

The reactions were not good. "What does black hair have to do with Barack Obama? You're cancelled @katyperry," wrote one Twitter user. "Wow Katy Perry. The reference to former Pres. Obama was offensive & a poor, tasteless attempt at humor. Your privilege is showing." The situation got so bad that Perry used her celebrity status to arrange a live-stream conversation with Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson, reported Entertainment Weekly. She seemed genuinely regretful and open to criticism, but situations like this won't go away with just one video.

Shia LaBeouf

While his co-star Megan Fox only made it through two Transformers movies before overestimating her star power and getting herself fired, Shia LaBeouf at least managed to finish the third film before his ego got the best of him. Although, he did brag about hooking up with Fox in a Details interview promoting Transformers: Dark of the Moon, so the signs were definitely there. Unlike Fox, LaBeouf did not reconcile with director Michael Bay. Instead, he proceeded to trash the Transformers franchise that gave him the opportunity (and cash money) to work in independent film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

But LaBeouf was just getting started. After attempting to prove his bonafides as an artiste, he got caught plagiarizing a Daniel Clowes graphic novel for a short film. LaBeouf initially apologized and admitted his mistake, but soon changed his tune and asserted that the entire incident was actually a performance art piece. That took a massive amount of ego, but LaBeouf soldiered on, embarking on a series of elaborate art pieces that were predominantly focused on "examining" his celebrity status. Most of them just looked like excuses for everyone to pay attention to LaBeouf, which even bored him to sleep. It might be time to call Bay back.

Jon and Kate Gosselin

It's not just Hollywood actors and pop musicians who find themselves caught up in the glitz and glamour of celebrity fame. Reality TV stars often struggle with being plucked out of nowhere and put under the spotlight. Perhaps no one flamed out more shockingly than Jon and Kate Gosselin. After finding success on TLC with Jon & Kate Plus 8, the Pennsylvania parents of a set of twins and a set of sextuplets buckled under the strain of the limelight (and the daily stress of trying to raise eight little kids!) 

The cracks started showing not long after the show's success when Jon was accused of having an affair, and allegations started piling up. As for Kate, she was rumored to be cheating with her bodyguard, reported Radar. The couple divorced messily in 2009, and Jon began his descent into hanging out with Michael Lohan and whisking away women on his ATV. Kate continued her reality TV career with Kate Plus 8, but not before being accused of diva-like behavior on Dancing with the Stars.

As for custody of the kids? That's still all kinds of messy.

Katherine Heigl

Thanks to her Emmy-winning role on Grey's Anatomy (2005-), the smash success of Knocked Up,(2007), and a $6 million role in 27 Dresses (2008), Katherine Heigl was poised for movie star success. Alas, she overestimated her clout in Hollywood after famously trashing some key people who'd helped her get ahead.

It all started when Heigl revealed her true feelings about Knocked Up during an interview in Vanity Fair. "It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it, on some days. I'm playing such a b***h; why is she being such a killjoy?" she said. "It was hard for me to love the movie." Needless to say, writer/director Judd Apatow and co-star Seth Rogen were not happy, and according to Rogen, Heigl has not apologized.

Heigl slammed her co-workers again in 2008 when she withdrew her name for Emmy consideration for Grey's Anatomy and released a statement saying, "I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination," according to The New York Times. Television powerhouse Shonda Rhimes was "pissed," and Heigl was off the show by the next season. As for her career? Her latest CBS drama was cancelled after just two episodes. Ouch.

Lindsay Lohan

While fame slowly crept up on other celebrities, Lindsay Lohan sprinted straight toward it and immediately found herself hooked on exactly the wrong kind. The Mean Girls (2004) star aggressively courted paparazzi attention, according to Vanity Fair, which only furthered her reputation as an out-of-control party girl. It didn't help that Lohan picked a time when gossip sites such as TMZ were starting to grow in popularity. The studios could no longer explain away her on-set problems as a case of "exhaustion" when there were clear-as-day photos of her partying all over the internet.

Despite two DUI arrests and being called out by Jane Fonda, Lohan failed to change her ways, and her career went down the drain. While she was handed opportunities for a comeback, Lohan continued to be an unpredictable nightmare to work with, according to a damning account in The New York Times about her behavior while filming The Canyons (2013). The message was loud and clear to Hollywood: Lohan isn't worth the risk. Insurance companies wouldn't touch her, and directors were all but guaranteed days of screaming matches and mysterious disappearances.

However, in June 2017, Lohan shocked the entertainment world by landing a role on the British TV series Sick Note. Could this finally be the career turning point she's been talking about for a decade? We're going to eye this one cautiously.

Bella Thorne

Bella Thorne rose to fame on the Disney Channel sitcom Shake it Up, but these days, she's best known for her scandalous outfits, questionable taste in men, and social media antics. With more than 17 million Instagram followers, Thorne is a master at causing a frenzy with her fans (and haters) by sparking pregnancy rumors or naming her new puppy after a certain feminine hygiene product.

However, in January 2018, she got a little too caught up in the fame game when she lashed out on Twitter that she couldn't make it to her boyfriend's concert because Highway 101 to Santa Barbara was shut down. She quickly learned, thanks to some shaming from actor Rob Lowe, that the highway was closed because of a devastating mudslide in Montecito.

"This attitude is why people hate celebrities/Hollywood," Lowe tweeted (via TMZ). "Bella, I'm sorry you were inconvenienced. We will try to move out our dead quicker."

Thorne deleted her tweet and apologized, but hopefully she'll make an effort to think twice before complaining about the harsh conditions of celebrity life.

Rob Kardashian

Rob Kardashian's sole claim to fame is being related to his hugely popular reality star sisters, but if this family has proven anything, it's that a famous last name can take you crazy far in Hollywood. While Keeping up with the Kardashians became a pop culture juggernaut, Rob always seemed hesitant to bask in the limelight, but all of that changed when he started a whirlwind romance with Blac Chyna in 2016. The relationship was even a surprise to his own family.

After Rob and Chyna launched a reality show of their own and welcomed daughter Dream into their lives, tensions reached a breaking point, and Rob used his considerable social media fame in some ugly ways. After a particularly nasty fight, TMZ reported that Rob posted explicit photos of Chyna on both Instagram and Twitter without her consent. There were also allegations of physical abuse, and soon, Rob found himself on the receiving end of a restraining order. To his credit, he apologized for leaking the photos and didn't fight the protective order. The couple also waged a nasty custody battle, but Rob was able to reach an amicable agreement with Chyna, reported People

The big question: Can Rob resist stirring up trouble on social media in the future? He might be the most reclusive Kardashian, but his name still trends at the drop of a hat, even if he's not the one caught in a scandal.

Johnny Depp

Thanks to the blockbuster success of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Johnny Depp quickly become one of the biggest movie stars on the planet. Despite his eccentric clothing and rock star ambitions, Depp also had a reputation as a family man, thanks to his longtime relationship with model Vanessa Paradis. But in 2013, the actor made headlines when he broke things off with Paradis and began seeing his much younger The Rum Diary co-star Amber Heard. Despite saying he wasn't a fan of marriage, Depp and Heard quickly tied the knot, reported Us Weekly.

Depp's marriage to Heard quickly become a hotbed of controversy and lead to numerous reports that the Captain Jack Sparrow was spinning out of control. In 2016, the couple went through a messy divorce that included Heard accusing Depp of domestic abuse. On top of that, Depp got caught up in a nasty lawsuit with his business managers who accused the actor of blowing through $30,000 a month on wine alone and racking up more than $2 million in other expenses. To compound matters, Depp was reportedly a mess on the set of the fifth Pirates movie and allegedly needed his lines fed to him through an earpiece.

Despite all that terribly bad press, Depp is still starring in blockbusters and has stayed out of the tabloids since his divorce from Heard. Either he's learned his lesson, or he's hired one heck of a publicist. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Logan Paul

After gaining popularity on the now-defunct video streaming platform Vine, Logan Paul spawned a YouTube channel that boasts more than 16 million subscribers. Paul wasn't exactly a Hollywood celebrity, but he quickly showed that even social media stars can fall victim to the trappings of fame.

In January 2018, Paul dominated headlines for all of the wrong reasons after he videotaped a dead body while visiting a "suicide forest" in Japan. According to NPR, Paul went radio silent on YouTube for three weeks following the scandal before returning with an apology video that focused on suicide prevention. But then things got really weird.

In early February 2018, Paul's YouTube videos became increasingly disturbing. The Verge reported that he filmed himself encouraging users to take the Tide Pod challenge, tasered a dead rat, and pulled a fish out of the water to watch it struggle for air. In response, YouTube temporarily suspended advertisements on Paul's videos. According to Time, that could cost the vlogging star up to $1.2 million a month.

Azealia Banks

When Azealia Banks burst on the scene, her musical career was almost immediately overshadowed by her social media presence. Fame went to Banks' head — and fast. The outspoken rapper essentially trolled her career to death, according to Vulture

She started famous beefs with Iggy Azalea and T.I. and showed she wasn't afraid to use offensive language by referring to T.I. as a "coon." Banks also had a controversial relationship with homophobia and has been known to throw slurs at Perez Hilton and flight attendants.

But things got really out of control when TMZ reported that Banks got into a fight with Russell Crowe at a hotel party and accused the veteran actor of spitting on her and calling her the n-word. However, most eyewitnesses claim Banks was instigating the trouble, and that Crowe remained relatively calm until she attempted to throw a glass. At that point, the Gladiator star had enough and reportedly removed her from the party.

In Banks' defense, she was a guest of rapper RZA, who admitted a year later that Crowe allegedly did spit on Banks after he kicked her out of the party. Crowe reportedly apologized to RZA, but not to Banks. We don't see those two hugging it out anytime soon.

Tara Reid

After a breakout role in American Pie, Tara Reid shot to fame in the late '90s and early 2000s, but her time as a Hollywood "It" Girl didn't last long. The actress quickly developed a reputation for her hard partying ways. According to HuffPost, Reid seemed more focused on hitting the clubs with her BFF Paris Hilton than fine-tuning her craft. That decision blew up in the actress' face in 2006 when TMZ famously captured video of Hilton leaving Reid outside of a club in favor of a new bestie: Kim Kardashian.

Eventually, Reid checked into rehab, but the damage to her career was done. However, that hasn't stopped her from taking shots at fellow actress Lindsay Lohan and verbally sparring with radio personality Jenny McCarthy. Reid apparently thinks her career is "better than ever" thanks to the success of Sharknado? Okay…

Chris Brown

Chris Brown rose to success in the mid-2000s, and by the end of that decade, the singer was opening for Beyoncé and dating up-and-coming star Rihanna. Brown was on top of the world and clearly feeling invincible, which is when things got seriously dangerous.

On Feb. 8, 2009, Brown brutally beat Rihanna inside a rented Lamborghini after a Pre-Grammys party. The photographs that surfaced of the battered singer were horrific, and Brown was arrested for felony assault. The disgraced star quickly launched into apology mode, but years later, he demonstrated that he still had a temper when he stormed out of an interview with Robin Roberts and threw a chair because she asked him about the assault. From there, Brown's trouble with the law continued to escalate. In 2016, the Brown had a standoff with police after a woman accused him of pointing a gun in her face, reported Billboard. Yikes.

The defiant singer got a taste of humble pie in 2018 when he floated the idea of touring with Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Bruno Mars. Complex reported that Brown was dragged on Twitter for even thinking he belonged on stage with any of those artists.

Reese Witherspoon

When most people think about out-of-control celebs, Reese Witherspoon probably doesn't come to mind. But in 2013, the actress let her fame get the best of her when her husband/agent Jim Toth was pulled over for drunk driving in Atlanta. Instead of cooperating with the police, the presumably drunk Witherspoon allegedly began arguing with an officer and found herself charged with disorderly conduct, according to TMZ

Even worse, the whole thing was captured on dashcam video. Witherspoon is seen and heard dropping the "Do you know who I am?" card before busting out the now infamous line, "I'm an American citizen. I'm allowed to stand on American ground!"

What she should've done is let the police arrest her husband for committing a dangerous and illegal act, which is exactly what Toth told her, after making it a point to the tell the cops, who'd just received an earful of A-list actress, "I'm sorry. I had nothing to do with that."

To her credit, the Legally Blonde (2001) actress apologized for her actions and hasn't shied away from addressing the embarrassing incident. "I guess maybe we all like to define people by the way the media presents them, and I think that I showed I have a complexity that people didn't know about," she said a press conference (via HuffPost). "It's part of human nature. I made a mistake. We all make mistakes. The best you can do is say sorry and learn from it and move on."

Celebs are only human

While the challenges of fame can sneak up easily on even the most professional and prepared celebrities, the ones who bounce back the quickest acknowledge their mistakes, do their best to manage their egos, and focus on the work that made them famous in the first place. In Hollywood, where larger than life personalities can be a valuable commodity, that's often easier said than done.