The Most Polarizing Celebrities In Hollywood

Whether you love them or hate them, the fact is you simply can't forget about them. Some of the most polarizing celebrities manage to capture the attention of their fans in spite of demonstrating some pretty questionable behavior. Fans may not always condone their views or agree with their actions, but somehow, these influential famous faces continue to grip the headlines and remain among the most talked-about personalities across the globe. 

There's a mystical level of forgiveness that seems to follow the likes of Johnny Depp, who resurrected his fame after Amber Heard made horrific accusations of abuse against him. Our fascination for celebrities goes so deep in fact, that the Depp/Heard trial drew crowds of fans of both actors to the courthouse during his $10 million defamation suit. Fans are simply just drawn to the controversy that swirls around these polarizing celebrities and simply can't turn away from them ... even when they display divisive behavior.

Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle is recognized as one of the most famous comedians of our time and continues to sell out shows across the globe. He has repeatedly topped the charts as one of the highest-paid comedians in the world, ranking fourth in 2017 and moving up to the third highest-paid comedian in 2018. He continued to earn millions of dollars and effortlessly sold out arenas between 2020 and 2022 in spite of becoming one of the most controversial figures on the stand-up circuit during that time. Chappelle faced backlash and widespread criticism after making comments that deeply offended the LGBTQ+ community.

"Gender is a fact. It's a fact. Every human being on the earth had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. That is a fact," Chappelle said to a packed crowd during his 2021 Netflix special. He then went on to say transgender reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner could never be truly considered a woman. The world-famous comedian ruffled more than a few feathers when he continued to make references to the transgender community following the stand-up special. Chappelle's comments were perceived as being transphobic, and at one point he even admitted his own prejudice. Chappelle made reference to the physical appearance of fellow comedian Daphne Dorman, who was transgender. "I mean I'm transphobic and even I was like you look nice," Chappelle said, during "The Closer." People reported that just a few weeks after being called out by Chappelle, Dorman died by apparent suicide."

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Chris Brown

Fans across the globe watched in horror as the domestic violence incident between celebrity couple Chris Brown and Rihanna was splashed across the headlines in 2009. Images of Rihanna's bruised and battered face were widely circulated as stunned fans struggled to make sense of what happened between the famous duo. Court documents issued by the State of California later detailed what did transpire between the pair. According to the documents, a verbal argument turned physical while the couple was inside Brown's car. "When he could not force her to exit, he took his right hand and shoved her head against the passenger window of the vehicle causing an approximate one-inch raised circular contusion," per the statement. "Robyn F. turned to face Brown and he punched her in the left eye with his right hand." Fans were also unfortunately exposed to even more violence found within the report: "The assault caused Robyn F's mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle."

Brown later admitted to the assault in his documentary, "Chris Brown: Welcome To My Life." The musician would go on to reestablish his musical career in spite of his abusive behavior. Revolt reported he went on to surpass The Weeknd's record for most R&B Tracks, and he snagged the award for favorite male R&B artist at the 2022 American Music Awards. In response, however, the crowd responded to the win with boisterous boos.

Kanye West

Kanye West is as recognized for his musical achievements as he is for being a famous figure in fashion and a high-powered business mogul. For decades, everything West touched seemed to turn to gold. The 2021 release of his long-awaited "Donda" album resulted in sold-out album listening parties, in spite of the fact that he barely engaged with his audience, according to The Guardian. West's success in the musical realm and in the fashion industry soared, simultaneously. In spite of all the negative publicity, West continued to see huge earnings from the sale of his Yeezy shoes, as part of a lucrative, long-standing business relationship he had with sports clothing giant, Adidas.

West, who is no stranger to controversy, was routinely scrutinized by the press for his bizarre behavior and social media outbursts, but nothing could prepare his fans for the explosive backlash that came late in the year 2022. West sparked widespread criticism when he wore a shirt branded with the words "White Lives Matter" at the Yeezy Season 9 event for Paris Fashion Week. According to Forbes, the rapper then made a series of antisemitic comments on his social media pages. His controversial views were deemed "hate speech" and West lost his contracts with Adidas and Balenciaga. "Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist," Balenciaga's parent company Kering said in a statement to WWD. Soon after, Forbes declared West's finances were so deeply affected that he was no longer a billionaire.

Meghan Markle

Everything about Meghan Markle's polarizing persona has mesmerized both fans and critics across the globe. She's left her audience deeply divided and each move she makes seems to stir up more waves of controversy. Markle has managed to maintain a captive audience through her ups and downs with the royal family and her name has almost become synonymous with drama in the headlines. The former actress went on to join the ranks of the royal family by marrying Prince Harry, and the world watched on as she took on the title of the Duchess of Sussex. Markle's family drama and history were all embroiled in controversy, and those who were not fond of her seemed to love to hate her, making the duchess one of the most talked-about celebrities.

Markle's experiences as an actress collided heavily with her royal status and fans can't seem to get enough. A video of her small acting role on "Beverly Hills 90210" resurfaced, showing Markle's character in a compromising sexual position, a sharp contrast from the pristine image displayed by the rest of the royal family. Of course, nobody can forget the bombshell allegations of racism the duchess made against the royals during her controversial interview with Oprah in March 2021. The former actress went on to shock the public by recounting her mental health struggles. "I just didn't wanna be alive anymore and that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought," she told Oprah. She continues to tantalize fans by dropping other stories about her life on her podcast "Archetypes with Meghan."

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Johnny Depp

One would think that Johnny Depp would have been "canceled" after his ex-wife Amber Heard released an op-ed to the Washington Post and accused him of being her abuser. Nothing could be further than the truth, however. In her op-ed, Heard wrote: "I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out." This prompted Depp, according to NPR, to sue Heard for $10 million in a wildly explosive defamation suit that unfolded in 2022 in front of the press and the world. Cameras rolled in the Fairfax, Virginia courtroom as Heard described a series of heinous acts she alleged Johnny Depp perpetrated on her. "I didn't know what to do you would think you would have a response but I as a woman had never been hit like that. I'm an adult and I'm sitting next to the man I love and he's slapped he slapped me for no reason," Heard said. She quickly followed that up, alleging that Depp aggressively sexually assaulted her, according to courtroom footage recorded by Law and Crime Network.

Depp ended up being victorious in court, soaring the actor to new levels of fame. He became the first male model in Rihanna's Savage x Fenty Vol.4 fashion show and was honored as he strutted his stuff on the runway, according to TMZ. The outlet also reported that the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star rode the wave of goodwill by embarking on a nationwide musical tour with Jeff Beck, and quickly acquired a massive fan following of 16.5 million after joining Tiktok.

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise has appeared in any number of blockbuster hits over the course of his decades-long acting career, including: "Top Gun," "A Few Good Men," "Rain Man," and "Mission Impossible." His fan base spans across generations and has been recognized for performing his own death-defying stunts. Cruise has also become infamous for his outlandish behavior, as well. Namely his cringe-inducing couch-jumping appearance on Oprah in 2005. For many, that defined the actor's fall from grace, and it triggered scrutiny amongst his fans. Some began questioning his involvement in the world of Scientology, wondering what had become of the megastar. Soon after, the actor's failed marriages to Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes would eventually steal the spotlight from him.

Fellow actor and former Scientologist Leah Remini, best known for her role as Carrie on "The King of Queens," alleged that the "Cocktail" star demonstrated a different version of himself to the press. "I think it's time for people to start waking up to the real facts here. Tom has for years manipulated his image to be the good guy," Remini, said in a statement to Us Weekly back in July 2020. "Although I believe there was a time when Tom was a decent and kind-hearted person ... [he] is completely dedicated to Scientology's mission to 'clear' planet Earth — which means making 80 percent of the world's population into Scientologists," Remini said. Despite the bad press, "Top Gun: Maverick," featuring Cruise reprising the titular role, smashed box office records across the globe, according to Daily Mail.

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian catapulted to fame after releasing a sex tape and appearing as the best friend of socialite Paris Hilton on reality TV. She soon lay her own claims to fame by becoming a reality TV star in her own right and has since gone on to acquire an astounding 334 million followers on her Instagram page. Kardashian is the founder of SKIMS bodywear and has become a billionaire business mogul, according to Forbes. However, her heavily edited social media photos and her devotion to outward beauty have fans divided. Many accuse the influencer of setting unrealistic beauty standards. Kardashian, however, disagrees. "No I don't — because I think we get up we do the work," she explained during the reunion show, hosted by Andy Cohen.

Kardashian regularly updates her fans on her journey to becoming a lawyer, expressing her dedication to prison reform. In the meantime, her life appears to be unraveling at the seams with the threat of yet another sex tape resurfacing, as was revealed on the premiere episode of the families' latest series, "The Kardashians." 

Kim, all the while, plays tug-of-war with fans by dancing between being famous and flirting with a "legitimate" career. Whether critics are slamming Kardashian's beauty goals, commenting on her sex tapes, or discussing her high-profile divorce from Kanye West, one thing remains consistent, the name "Kim Kardashian" continues to be firmly stamped in the headlines.

James Corden

James Corden's success as a comedian and talk show host can be summed up by just assessing his fan base. Corden's episode of "Carpool Karaoke" that featured singing sensation Adele has been viewed upward of hundreds of millions of times on YouTube, and Corden's time on "The Late Late Show" has resulted in a jaw-dropping 28 million subscribers, according to his page. Those numbers alone speak volumes about how many people actually adore Corden and find appreciation in his humor. However, there's no denying quite a few people are more than put off by his demeanor, causing Corden to come face-to-face with his critics.

Corden's on-air personality is charismatic to some, but his off-air attitude proved to be too much for restaurant owner Keith McNally of Balthazar restaurant. The restaurateur blasted Corden on social media in October 2022, over his conduct toward his staff. "James Corden is a Hugely gifted comedian, but a tiny cretin of a man. And the most abusive customer to my Balthazar servers since the restaurant opened 25 years ago," McNally wrote on his Instagram page.

The controversial television host eventually issued a public apology for his questionable behavior. "Because I didn't shout or scream like I didn't get up out of my seat, I didn't call anyone names or use derogatory language, I've been walking around thinking I haven't done anything wrong. But the truth is, like I have. I made a rude comment and it was wrong," Corden said on his show.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj rose to fame on the backs of such hits as "Super Bass," "Starships," and "Anaconda." According to Biography, the rapper quickly became the first female solo artist to have seven singles simultaneously honored on the Billboard 100 chart. Meanwhile, her loyal fan base routinely shows their love and support for Minaj on her social media. While the superstar's music game is on-point, Minaj is often at the center of personal drama. Acquiring a reputation for battling other celebrities, the famous singer isn't shy about airing her grievances on public social media forums and has created waves of controversy just by sharing stories about her personal life.

Minaj was steadfast in her refusal of the COVID vaccine, going as far as publicly shunning the most prestigious celebrity party — The Met Gala — as a form of protest against mandates. She also stirred up quite a bit of debate about vaccinations, causing critics to quickly accuse the rapper of spreading misinformation. Especially after she posted an unexpected tweet on Twitter. "My cousin in Trinidad won't get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen" (via Twitter).

But, just as things seemed to be settling down a bit, Nicki did it again by firing off outrage against the Grammys for removing her mega-hit "Super Freaky Girl" from rap the category and placing it into the pop category, instead. The icing on the cake?  When the superstar discovered that Latto's track "Big Energy" remained in the hip-hop category, she took to Twitter again and furiously lash out against the Recording Academy.


Madonna is one of the most iconic figures of our time and is recognized by generations as the "Queen of Pop." Amongst the most influential figures in the world of music, Madonna has boldly gone where no other artist has dared to go before, all the while stopping at nothing to express herself through music. She has defied the rules, crossed boundaries, and paved her own path to success. Often times by pushing the envelope on sensitive issues that are considered taboo by many. Her long list of No.1 hit songs spans the decades, according to Billboard

That level of confidence comes in handy when backlash and criticism inevitably rear. While some celebrate Madonna for her ability to freely convey her feelings and perspective on controversial topics, others push back hard against the star. Her overtly sexualized content and references to religion continue to be a trigger-point for critics, growing ever louder as the decades have passed.

Madonna has remained consistent to herself through it all. It's clear, though, that supporters who've rallied around the artist's sense of expression in the past are now having difficulties accepting Madonna's actions. She routinely appears on Instagram wearing provocative clothing and has been linked to multiple boyfriends that are much her junior. Current and former fans have expressed concern for the star and have flooded her social media outlets with comments suggesting she is far past her prime. And now all of her bold statements are just feeling ... off-putting.

Britney Spears

Britney Spears stormed the music scene in 1999, radically changing pop music forever. Since then, millions of fans and onlookers across the globe have held a special place in their hearts for the pop princess. With breakthrough songs like "...Baby One More Time" and "Oops!... I Did it Again," Spears sang and danced her way to the top of the charts and smashed records along the way. With the release of six straight albums, according to Billboard, the former child star from the Disney channel was suddenly thrust into fame.  

The rising pop star quickly learned she couldn't go anywhere without the paparazzi snapping at her heels. The pressures and demands of superstardom eventually caught up with the star, and she suffered a very public breakdown in 2007, according to TMZ. Concern grew for the singer as 2007 turned into 2008, when a judge awarded sole custody of her children to their father, Kevin Federline. Britney, however, refused to hand them over to their father (per The Guardian). She then quickly found herself under a conservatorship with her father seizing full control of all the pop star's massive assets.

In spite of the personal complications that presented themselves in the public sphere, Spears' fans remained unwaveringly loyal and continued to support the singer, even when she disappeared from social media altogether for an extended period of time. Fans rallied around the star and formed the #FreeBritney movement, which she later credited as being a huge help toward emancipation from the conservatorship. After many years of struggle, Britney regained control of her own affairs in 2021, finally wrestling control of her conservatorship away from her father (per Global News).

Piers Morgan

While Piers Morgan is paid to share his views with his audience, fans may have gotten more than they bargained for when it comes to the famous broadcaster. Viewers have continually found a few select topics that seem to send Morgan into critical mass. Including his very vocal dislike of Meghan Markle, going on to relentlessly troll her on social media.

Shortly after Markle and Prince Harry's bombshell interview with Oprah, Morgan even accused Markle of dishonoring the royal family with her allegations of racism. This talking point turned into a heated debate on "Good Morning Britain," with Morgan being called out for using his platform to express his hatred for the duchess. Alex Beresford went as far as accusing the broadcaster of basing his views of Markle on his personal experiences with the actress, who cut him out of her life. Piers created a significant divide among fans. His steadfast support of the royal family and the way he defended their honor was a well-respected perspective for many who also hold the monarchy in such high regard. However, that respect came at the expense of the duchess' reputation.

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres started on the stand-up stage and managed to parlay her comedic style into television roles. From there, DeGeneres quickly became one of the most famous talk show hosts on television. According to Forbes, eventually earning a whopping eight-figure income. Premiering in 1994, "Ellen" was a platform for the comedian to share laughs, dance moves, and fun games with her live studio audience. Each episode of "Ellen" began with DeGeneres showing off her dance moves and then launching into a short stand-up comedy routine. The talk show host also ended every episode with her signature message, "be kind to one another."

During the summer of 2020, however, multiple people came forward with accusations of poor conduct. According to ET Online, DeGeneres was accused of creating a toxic work environment and was pegged as being a very mean person that was difficult, and just about near-impossible to work with. Employees of her talk show and celebrities alike revealed that there were many instances in which DeGeneres wasn't taking her own advice to "be kind to others."

She addressed the allegations head-on during a September 21, 2020 episode. "I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say I'm so sorry to the people who were affected," DeGeneres stated. "I take responsibility for what happens at my show." The internet was still flooded, however, with critics that wanted DeGeneres to be canceled. The star seems to have managed the storm, still retaining a large percentage of her fan base, though.