Biggest Celebrity Feuds Of The 2000s

The 2000s were a tumultuous time to be alive to say the least. From the panic surrounding the Y2K bug that kicked off the decade, through several costly wars, and a financial collapse leading to The Great Recession, times were tough! As they said on "Arrested Development," "Well, I don't want to blame it all on 9/11, but it certainly didn't help." Looking back, it feels like something was just ... in the air.

That same general sense of unease extended to Hollywood, where it felt sometimes like the entire industry was sniping at one another. The 2000s were a particularly ugly time in entertainment media — as we've started to realize (per Vox). There was a whole lot of racism, misogyny, homophobia, and more built into the way we talked about each other back then.

The stars themselves were not immune, with many of the decade's most iconic figures finding themselves involved in multiple, long-running feuds with other celebs. Fans pored over every development in gossip blogs, magazines, and on the just-blossoming internet, eagerly consuming every dirty detail about their favorite actors, singers, and rappers whenever they threw some major shade at one another. Now that we've got a decade between us and the 2000s, here's a look back at the biggest celebrity feuds of that bygone era.

Britney Spears vs. Christina Aguilera

Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were both members of "The All-New Mickey Mouse Club," and when each tried for solo careers later in the '90s, they were pitted against one another by a media eager to make comparisons between the two pop princesses. Aguilera herself fed into the feud in 2003, when she made some rough remarks about Spears and her engagement to Kevin Federline while speaking to Us Weekly (via The Evening Standard). "She's not trailer trash, but she sure acts that way. I can't believe that girl bought her own engagement ring!" Aguilera said. "... It looks like she got it on QVC."

The twosome infamously kissed Madonna at that year's VMAs, but Aguilera took the chance to trash Spears in Blender Magazine as a result. "She seems to me like a lost little girl, someone who desperately needs guidance," Aguilera said (via Entertainment Weekly). "A lost girl? I think it's probably the other way around," Spears said.

The back-and-forth continues today, though the two have also had each other's back over the years. Aguilera supported the #FreeBritney movement (via Vulture), but Spears claimed on social media that she felt her former foe should have done more (via Cinemablend). The "Hold It Against Me" singer also received criticism for what many took as body-shaming aimed at Aguilera (via Buzzfeed), when she noted the relative size of their backup dancers. As a result, as Remezcla noted, Aguilera unfollowed her longtime rival.

Hillary Duff vs. Lindsay Lohan

In the mid-2000s, Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff were on top of the world. While Duff was starring on the Disney Channel's mega-hit show "Lizzie McGuire" and ruling the pop charts with hits like "Come Clean," Lohan was making teen film classics like "Mean Girls" and "Freaky Friday." However, another teen star named Aaron Carter caused a rift between the Disney queens. "I was dating [Duff] for like a year-and-a-half and then I just got a little bored so I went and I started getting to know Lindsay," Carter told CNBC (via Us Weekly).

When Lohan hosted "Saturday Night Live," she mocked Duff in her monologue, bringing out Rachel Dratch to impersonate her rival. Duff fired back, telling Access Hollywood, "I wasn't honored. I don't think it's an honor to be made fun of ... I'm not here to talk bad about her like she talks bad about me..." Lohan laughed, "I'm sorry she felt offended."

In one of the most iconic celeb feud moves of all time, Duff and Lohan crashed each other's respective movie premieres, for "Freaky Friday" and "Cheaper By the Dozen," to intimidate one another (via PopSugar). Duff later denied having stolen Carter, insisting to Allure (via People), "I've never stolen anyone's boyfriend! I don't know how you do that! ... It made us both look bad and put up a big weirdness." Carter eventually got back together with Duff, but admitted to cheating on her "with her best friend" (via ABC News).

Nas vs. Jay-Z

Nas and Jay-Z were two of the biggest rappers of the '90s, and in the latter half of the decade, they appeared to have some sort of falling out, according to American Songwriter. It may have involved Nas not turning in a verse on a Jay-Z song, but whatever the cause, it really got going in the 2000s.

Jay-Z had a solid showing at the Hot 97 Summer Jam in 2001. While performing "Izzo (H.O.V.A)," which sampled "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5, Jay appeared to joke, "I know Michael Jackson better come from behind that motherf***in' curtain!" Then, to everyone's surprise he did, joining Jay onstage for the rest of the song. That wasn't the only iconic moment in the set, though; he also debuted what would eventually become "Takeover," a diss track aimed squarely at Nas. According to Genius, the freestyle ended with, "Ask Nas, he don't want it with Hov." The studio version went on to insult Nas' declining fame, his flow, his sexuality, and more.

But then Nas responded with "Ether," now widely considered the gold standard for diss tracks. He rapped, among many other things, "Gay-Z and Cock-a-Fella Records wanted beef." It was the 2000s, after all, and gay jokes were the most insulting thing anyone could think of at the time. According to Hot 97, even Jay-Z had to admit he lost this one. They've since made up.

Tom Cruise vs. Brooke Shields

In her memoir "Down Came The Rain" (via WebMD), Brooke Shields spoke about using medication to treat her postpartum depression. "Hopefully it will be able to speak to somebody," she said. "Without therapy, I wouldn't have understood as much, and I think that without medicine, I would not have been clear enough."

Her "Endless Love" co-star Tom Cruise didn't like that. After all, as Salon noted, Scientology has a long-documented history of opposition to the very idea of "mental health," especially using medication to treat it. He slammed her on Access Hollywood (via People), insisting, "When someone says [medication] has helped them ... it didn't cure anything. There is no science." He had some choice words for the actor's reputation, noting, "Look at where has her career gone." He continued his tirade while sparring with Matt Lauer on Today (via History). "I really care about Brooke Shields," he said, while claiming "psychiatry is a pseudoscience."

Shields fired back in The New York Times. "While Mr. Cruise says that ... I do not 'understand the history of psychiatry,' I'm going to take a wild guess and say that Mr. Cruise has never suffered from postpartum depression," she wrote. Shields later told Jenny McCarthy (via Us Weekly) that Cruise had apologized, and she attended his wedding to Katie Holmes. "I'm sure there are people that have strong, negative opinions about me, but I don't have the time," she reasoned.

Lindsay Lohan vs. Paris Hilton

Once upon a time, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton were party-girl besties. They were photographed together in one of the most iconic paparazzi shots of all time, flopped together in a car alongside Britney Spears after a night of clubbing, and their frequent exploits came to define the celebrity-obsessed culture of the age. Trouble began when LiLo was spotted cuddling up to Hilton's ex, shipping heir Stavros Niarchos, and as People noted, there might have been some overlap between their relationships. Shortly thereafter, Hilton was filmed by paps laughing in yet another iconic piece of aughts pop culture: the video of oil heir Brandon Davis infamously calling the "Freaky Friday" actor a "firecrotch." So many heirs and heiresses in the 2000s!

As evidence of the feud echoed around Hollywood, a paparazzo asked Lohan what was going on. In response, she called Hilton a "c***. Then asked why she said that, Lohan immediately looked confused and stated, "I never said that. Paris is my friend." Sure thing, Lindsay. "I've gotta say respectfully / I would like it if you take the cameras off of me," Lohan sang in her song "Rumors." Spoiler: that didn't happen.

As late as 2019, they were still on the outs. Hilton appeared on "Watch What Happens Live" and was challenged to say three nice things about her former wild-child friend, but the best she could come up with was that Lohan was "lame and embarrassing." Ouch! They do appear to have since made up.

Ja Rule vs. 50 Cent

The legendary feud between 50 Cent and Ja Rule actually started in the last millennium, when Ja Rule was robbed by someone he said was a friend of 50's. The "In Da Club" rapper later admitted in a memoir (via The Independent) that it was, indeed, an associate of his who had jumped Ja. According to XXL, when they were both booked to perform at the same venue in 2000, they came to blows the an Atlanta nightclub.

The diss tracks flew fast and furious in the aughts. For every song like "Hail Mary," on which Eminem, 50 Cent, and Busta Rhymes insulted Ja Rule's love of Tupac, there was a "Guess Who Shot Ya," in which Ja suggested the rappers at Murder Inc. were responsible for the infamous incident where 50 was shot nine times

Ja Rule talked about the long-running beef years later on Twitter, writing (via Complex), "Y'all gone STOP with this false narrative that 50 killed me lmao ... I speak NOTHING but truth ... Never no cap." The two still aren't friends, but in recent years their beef feels more like a series of pranks rather than anything serious. 50 Cent infamously bought 200 Ja Rule tickets so that the venue would appear empty; he admitted on "Watch What Happens Live," "I was like, 'They were so cheap, I might as well just buy them.'" He added that Ja never reached out. "They don't call me after," he joked.

Paris Hilton vs. Nicole Richie

Despite the celebrity-gossip industrial complex that sprang up around tabloid fixtures like Paris Hilton in the 2000s, a lot of the decade's most notable feuds took place away from the headlines. In the case of Hilton's legendary falling-out with her "The Simple Life" co-star and one-time BFF Nicole Richie, it's not clear what happened that caused the friendship to become rocky ... but there are some guesses.

Amid speculation, Hilton released a statement to outlets like People. "It's no big secret that Nicole and I are no longer friends. Nicole knows what she did, and that's all I'm ever going to say about it," she wrote. Sources said Richie reportedly held a party supposedly for Hilton's "SNL" appearance, but she aired Hilton's sex tape for guests instead. The sources insinuated that Richie was jealous of Hilton's relatively larger level of fame, while Hilton was hurt by the party stunt Richie's reps said never happened.

The twosome managed to make up enough to film more  "Simple Life." On "Watch What Happens Live" in 2014 (via E! News), Richie confessed that she and Hilton weren't in regular contact. "My view of a friendship is somebody that you don't necessarily have to talk to every day, somebody that you can call when you need them and they're just going to be there," she said. "The short answer is I haven't spoken to her in awhile, but we are very good friends and I love her."

Judd Apatow vs. Katherine Heigl

While Katherine Heigl was already well-known for her role on "Grey's Anatomy," she made the jump from TV to the movies when she starred in Judd Apatow's hit comedy "Knocked Up," opposite Seth Rogen. However, it seems Heigl wasn't a fan of her own film. The year after the film was released, she called movie "a little sexist" in Vanity Fair. "It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it," she said, adding, "Why is this how you're portraying women?"

Apatow wasn't happy. The following year, appearing alongside Rogen on "The Howard Stern Show" (via TV Guide), the director fired back. He slammed her follow-up film "The Ugly Truth," noting, "I hear there's a scene where she's wearing ... underwear ... with a vibrator in it, so I'd have to see if that was uplifting for women." However, he added, they didn't get into any kind of argument while on set, and he said, "She could not have been cooler." Apatow admitted that he was waiting for an apology from Heigl, which evidently never came.

It's worth noting that there has been a re-evaluation of Heigl's career. Her "Grey's Anatomy" co-star Ellen Pompeo, for example, admitted on her podcast in 2022, "She was 100% right" about Heigl's criticism of the work environment on the hit ABC medical drama (via Sports Yahoo!).

Eminem vs. Christina Aguilera

Eminem's iconic song "The Real Slim Shady" is packed full of pop culture references, almost serving as a time capsule of what people cared about in 2000. A Tom Green namedrop! A reference to The Bloodhound Gang's 1999 hit "The Bad Touch!" Jokes about Tommy Lee's domestic abuse of Pamela Anderson! (Yikes). The controversial musician also rapped, "Christina Aguilera better switch me chairs / So I can sit next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst / And hear 'em argue over who she gave h*** to first."

The verse was a reference to Limp Bizkit frontman Durst's performance with Aguilera at the 2000 VMAs, which he explained to his bandmates was because he wanted "nookie." Xtina responded to both Durst and Eminem, insisting to MTV, "He got no nookie. That did not happen, OK? I just want to clear the table right there, and the thing with Carson too. Eminem's whole song did not happen, OK? It just didn't." She added that the whole insinuation was "hurtful."

Aguilera's later "Stripped" song "Can't Hold Us Down" might just be a response to Eminem, as The New York Times noted. "The guy gets all the glory, the more he can score / While the girl can do the same and yet you call her a whore," she sang. Point: Xtina!

Mariah Carey vs. Eminem

Christina Aguilera wasn't the only pop girlie Eminem picked a fight with in the 2000s. Next up: Mariah Carey. They were rumored to have dated in the early aughts, which Eminem admitted in Rolling Stone, adding (via People), "I just don't like her as a person." When Carey appeared on "Larry King Live," she insisted, "I think I was probably with him ... a total of four times? And I don't consider that dating somebody."

During Carey's 2003 tour (via MTV), a puppet that looked suspiciously like Eminem walked across the stage while she sang, "You should've never intimated we were lovers / When you know very well we never even touched each other," from "Clown." Eminem responded in his own stage show, playing voicemails that supposedly contained Mimi begging him to hang out. A source told The New York Post (via Mariah Carey Archives) it wasn't Carey's voice. "He became obsessed with her," the source said.

"Obsessed" would soon become the key word. In 2009, Carey released a music video for her smash hit single of that name. She dressed in male drag as a version of the rapper, singing "Why you so obsessed with me? / Boy, I wanna know!" In response, Eminem released "The Warning," asking, "I'm obsessed now, oh gee / Is that supposed to be me in the video with the goatee?" He didn't rate a mention (via Vulture) in Carey's 2020 memoir, which is perhaps the shadiest development of all.

Lauren Conrad vs. Heidi Montag

When "The Hills" started in 2006, "Laguna Beach" alum Lauren Conrad (aka LC) was still good friends with Heidi Montag, who along with Spencer Pratt, would go on to be breakout stars of the reality show. However, the two fell out after Season 2. Perez Hilton reported that a sex tape existed of LC and then-boyfriend Jason Wahler, and the news quickly ricocheted around the entertainment media, with sites like OhNoTheyDidnt speculating wildly about the news. 

LC denied that such a tape existed in a post on her blog — it was the 2000s, remember — in which she wrote, "I can't believe that somebody would go to such great lengths to try to damage my reputation." She also complained to Us Magazine, "This has literally been, like, the worst week ever, and someone who's supposedly my friend didn't even call or text me." Montag shot back to the same publication, insisting, "I feel horrible for Lauren, but I had nothing to do with spreading that false, disgusting rumor." Guilty conscience, much?

When "The Hills" came back, the two had an explosive on-air confrontation, during which LC shouted, "You know what you did!" Nowadays, Pratt fully admits the whole thing. He told Complex in 2015, "Lauren is a cold-hearted killer. That's what people don't get. She will cut you in your sleep. She tried to destroy us. If you want to throw missiles, I'm throwing a nuke." That nuke? Pratt totally concocted the rumor, after all.

Christina Aguilera vs. Lady Gaga

When Lady Gaga burst onto the scene in 2008, Christina Aguilera had been in the industry for almost a decade. Still, Gaga immediately drew comparisons to Xtina — those blonde bangs, that big voice — and before long, the "Genie in a Bottle" singer was asked what she thought about the new girl on the block ... because speculation went the other way, with blogs hinting that Aguilera was drawing inspiration from Gaga! Her response to The Los Angeles Times kicked off a feud, because she was unkind. "This person was just brought to my attention not too long ago. I'm not quite sure who this person is, to be honest," Aguilera said. She added, "I don't know if it is a man or a woman," referencing those transphobic rumors about Gaga.

Despite Gaga's insistence that there was no bad blood, shadily admitting (via PopCrunch) she benefitted from the feud, the beef spilled over into the next decade when Xtina released "Bionic." The EDM-inspired album drew Gaga comparisons; fans pointed out that her music video for "Not Myself Tonight" appeared suspiciously similar to Gaga's "Bad Romance" clip, and Aguilera derisively called Gaga a "newcomer." Meanwhile, Perez Hilton later claimed he felt that Gaga was using him to trash Xtina online (via PageSix).

They made up a few years later on "The Voice," performing an empowering duet of Gaga's track "Do What U Want." The song originally featured R. Kelly and was, shall we say, far less empowering.

Rosie O'Donnell vs. Donald Trump

Back in 2006, scandal hit the Miss USA Pageant when winner Tara Conner reportedly failed a drug test. However, the pageant's owner — Donald Trump — decided not to hold it against her. "I've always been a believer in second chances. Tara is a good person. Tara has tried hard," he said (per Fox News), unable to resist adding that he thought she had made "very, very bad choices." 

On "The View," then-panelist Rosie O'Donnell didn't like the fact that this was a scandal at all, and she didn't want Trump becoming an arbiter of American morality. "[Trump] left the first wife — had an affair. ... had kids both times," she pointed out, "but he's the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America? Donald, sit and spin, my friend," she said (via People). She added that she suspected Trump's finances to be in trouble, arguing that he was "not a self-made man." Trump, for his part, threatened to sue her. He told People, "Rosie's a loser. A real loser. I look forward to taking lots of money from my nice fat little Rosie."

When social media came around, Trump often took to twitter to troll his longtime rival. During one particular spat in 2011, he called her "a true loser," according to HuffPo, and she replied that he was "an a**." While at a presidential debate in 2015, he infamously insisted that he was "justified" in calling her a "fat pig."

Kanye West vs. Taylor Swift

There were only a few months left in the decade when one of pop culture's biggest feuds ignited. At the 2009 VMAs, Kanye West crashed the stage and stole Taylor Swift's mic, interrupting her acceptance speech. "Yo Taylor, I'm really happy for you, and imma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time," he said. While a flabbergasted Beyoncé appeared to mouth "Oh, Kanye!," he repeated it: "One of the best videos of all time!" An iconic meme was born.

The two went at it many times over the following decade, making up and falling out once again. Ye apologized on his blog (via MTV), writing, "She is very talented! I like the lyrics about being a cheerleader and she's in the bleachers! I'm in the wrong for going on stage and taking away from her moment!" Swift performed "Innocent" at the 2010 VMAs, a song that appears to forgive the rapper.

Things heated up again years later. Swift was the one to present Kanye (via TIME) with the Video Vanguard Award, but West later called her a b**** in a song. Swift got upset, but Kim Kardashian released receipts suggesting she'd given permission; it was a whole thing. Swift then leaned into her "reputation" as a snake in the video for "Look What You Made Me Do," and then put out a song called "I Forgot That You Existed," widely theorized to be about West.