Awkward Celebrity Moments Caught On Camera

Celebrities often appear to live charmed lives, inhabiting a completely different world than the rest of us. But every now and then, when we catch a glimpse of them clumsily fumbling through a situation, it can be strangely encouraging to see that even fame and fortune can't make one immune to life's little (and sometimes not so little) indignities. Awkwardness is a human common denominator that connects us all.

Unfortunately for celebrities though, there's often a camera around to capture those less-than-perfect moments, spurring replays, memes, and viral videos. But that's not always a bad thing. Many of these moments have made stars more relatable and endearing, more talked about, and even more popular. Brace yourself for embarrassing falls, uncontrollable bodily functions, mispronunciations, misunderstandings, and cringey moments that made us all feel uncomfortable. Buckle up and let's take a look back at some of our favorite awkward celebrity moments ever caught on camera.

Emma Chamberlain and Jack Harlow's awkward farewell

At the 2022 Met Gala, influencer Emma Chamberlain, who was acting as Vogue's red correspondent, and rapper Jack Harlow had a delightfully awkward interaction. As their conversation wound down and Chamberlain bid him farewell, Harlow replied, "Can't wait. Love ya, bye." Without missing a beat, Chamberlain said "Love ya" back as he walked away then promptly looked at the camera with wide eyes and a "what just happened?" look followed by a laugh.

The moment went viral. When Jimmy Fallon asked the rapper about the interaction on "The Tonight Show," Harlow said, "That's like a piece of art because there's so many ways to interpret that ... so I'll leave it up to interpretation." Fallon asked if he leaves every interview saying "Love you" and Harlow stated, "Only if I love them." A few months later, Chamberlain appeared on "The Tonight Show" and gave her take on the moment. She assured Fallon she didn't think much about it at the time. "When I'm doing these interviews, it's blank up here ... I'm not thinking about anything and then I'm reacting to myself," she explained. The moment was definitely relatable. Hey, who hasn't accidentally ended a conversation with a "love you" when you definitely aren't on an "love you" basis?

Timothée Chalamet leaned back a little too far

Timothée Chalamet has had his fair share of adorably awkward moments, from spilling his drink at a Knicks game to tripping and apologizing to the floor at the Spirit Awards. Wonderfully human gaffes like these are one of the many reasons his fans adore him. Perhaps one of his most awkward moments caught on camera? The award might have to go to the time when he fell backwards in a chair during a Q&A in 2018. Fortunately, he was okay, and he got a good laugh out of the audience. 

Jimmy Fallon asked about the incident when the "Call Me By Your Name" star appeared on "The Tonight Show." Embarrassed by the mention of it, he said, "It was devastating, man...I'm sitting in the chair for the Q&A, and then a gravitational force comes out of nowhere and knocks me out of the chair and I fall back." (In reality, it looks as though he's leaning back a bit and loses control of the chair, but let us not split hairs.) As if falling in front of an entire audience wasn't enough, the Oscar-nominated star toppled in front of a very special guest. "There was a girl in the audience that night I was super psyched was there and then that happened," he shared. You really never ca be too chair-ful. 

Doja Cat's poorly timed bathroom visit at the Grammys

When Doja Cat and SZA won the Grammy in 2022 for Best Pop Duo Performance for "Kiss Me More," Doja nearly missed it. The star was in the middle of a bathroom visit when her name was called and she barely made it to the stage before it was time to get to the next category. What's more, SZA was on crutches at the ceremony, so it took her a moment to get on the stage — and she still beat Doja to the mic. "Girl, you went to the bathroom for 5 minutes, are you serious?" SZA said as Doja finally got to the podium. And when Doja made her way to the microphone, she knew just the thing to say: "I have never taken such a fast piss in my whole life."

Backstage, Doja told ET that she was in the bathroom when someone rushed in to tell her she won. As for why she headed to the lavatory right before it was time for one of her categories? "I had so much champagne. ... I was definitely in the middle of a big piss," she said. Hey, when nature calls, you listen — even if it may mean nearly missing your very first Grammy win. 

John Travolta famously flubbed Idina Menzel's name

It's the awkward moment that inspired a multitude of memes and a name generator. When John Travolta's one job at the 2014 Oscars was to introduce "Frozen" star Idina Menzel's performance of "Let it Go," he did not simply mispronounce her name. Rather, he said two names that were in an entirely different ballpark: "Please welcome the wickedly talented, one and only, Adele Dazeem."

So, how did Travolta get "Adele Dazeem" from Idina Menzel? Apparently, the cue card was the issue.  He shared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" that the show altered the card at the last minute to show a phonetic pronunciation of Menzel's name and this confused him. At the time, Menzel was disappointed by the gaffe. "First I felt really sorry for myself, like Meryl Streep's out there, this is my big break and he just f***ed up my name," Menzel told James Corden on "Carpool Karaoke." But nowadays, she reflects on it with positivity. "He's written so many nice apologetic emails, sent flowers, he's so kind," she shared. "And I always just say, 'No worries, because it was the best thing that ever happened to me!'"

Ashlee Simpson broke into a panicked dance

In case you've forgotten what 2004 was like, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey had their show "Newlyweds," and Ashlee Simpson, the younger pop-punk sister of Jessica, cashed in on the moment with her own series, "The Ashlee Simpson Show," and an album featuring the hit single "Pieces of Me."

When Simpson made her way to "SNL" to perform the tune, all was seemingly going well. But when it was time to sing her second song of the evening, "Autobiography," a colossal mistake was made: a voice track of "Pieces of Me" started playing again, leaving the audience to assume that she had lip-synched her first performance. She stood in the middle of the stage, visibly blindsided by the technical gaffe. The band started playing the song again and the singer did a very awkward dance before deciding to simply walk off stage. The camera stayed on the band for a few moments before the crew cut to commercial break. The performance was a masterclass in everything that can go wrong with live television.

At the close of the show, Simpson oddly blamed the band. However, by Monday she was owning up to the mistake. "I'll hold my head high and say I think it was silly of me to do it, silly of me to blame the band, I was just so f***ing embarrassed," she wrote on her website at the time (via Today).

Ryan Seacrest's high five fail

On Season 8 of "American Idol," Scott MacIntyre was one of the many hopeful singers who tried out for the competition reality series, but one of the few to make it to the final round. During his initial audition, he demonstrated his singing chops so expertly that the judges all agreed that he deserved a golden ticket to advance to the next round. During the post-audition interview, MacIntyre told Ryan Seacrest, "We'll see where it goes. I am pumped." Seacrest then went to give him a high five, but MacIntyre is visually impaired, and therefore was unable to see the gesture. The TV host quickly realized his mistake and tried to mitigate the awkward error. "I'm giving you a high five," Seacrest said as he reached for MacIntyre's hand. The high five happened but the moment was fairly uncomfortable. 

Both MacIntyre and Seacrest had a good sense of humor about the fail though, and MacIntyre even recreated the moment (this time with more success) later in the season. MacIntyre enjoyed a long run on the show, making it to the top 8.

On SiriusXM's OutQ, MacIntyre shared that he appreciated the way the high five was handled. "Ryan did the exact right thing back then ... He missed and then he grabbed my hand and he said, 'Scott, I'm giving you a high five,' and he did it again. A lot of people would just shy away from that moment," he said.

Kanye West took the mic from Taylor Swift

Ah yes, the night Taylor Swift won her first MTV VMA... only for Kanye West to hop up on stage and grab the mic from her. At the time, Swift was 19 and was mostly known as a country music artist, so winning the VMA for Best Female Video was a big crossover moment. She didn't get too far into her acceptance speech before West appeared on stage and took the mic from her and said, "Yo Taylor, I'm really happy for you. Imma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!" The camera cut to a visibly uncomfortable Beyoncé. A dumbfounded Swift stood on the stage in silence as the crowd booed.

The incident has simmered in the collective imagination for over a decade and has since morphed into a host of other conversations concerning politics, race, and gender. And many believe the incident shaped image of the two artists for the years to come. But that night, it was seemingly nothing more than a super awkward moment caught on live television.

There was at least one silver lining: When Beyoncé won Video of the Year later that same evening, she invited Swift to join her onstage. "I remember being 17 years old, up for my first MTV award with Destiny's Child, it was one of the most exciting moments in my life," Queen Bey told the crowd. "So I'd like for Taylor to come out and have her moment."

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars

Speaking of awkward award show interactions, another moment that will surely live on in pop culture history happened at the 2022 Academy Awards. Before announcing that year's winner for Best Documentary Feature, presenter Chris Rock made a few jokes. And one of those jokes did not go over well. At point, Rock ad-libbed, "Jada, I love you. 'G.I. Jane 2,' can't wait to see it." The remark was directed at Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia. Initially, Pinkett Smith's husband, Will Smith, seemed to laugh it off, but the laughter did not last. The camera cut back to Rock, and then before anyone could really realize what was going on, Smith walked up to the stage and slapped Rock across the face. 

The room fell silent and everyone seemed unsure what had just happened. "Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me," Rock told the audience. Smith went back to his seat and shouted, "Keep my wife's name out your f***ing mouth." The tension was palpable and Rock promptly tried to move on. 

Later that evening, Smith received the Oscar for Best Actor. In his acceptance speech, he shared, "Denzel [Washington] said to me a few minutes ago, he said, 'At your highest moment, be careful, that's when the devil comes for you.'" After multiple explanations and apologies, the incident still landed Smith a ten-year ban from the Academy Awards.

Jerry Seinfeld just would not hug Kesha

As it turns out, stars have their awkward stan moments like everyone else. During a 2017 red carpet interview, it became clear that pop singer-songwriter Kesha was a big fan of Jerry Seinfeld. The sitcom star was mid-interview when Kesha ran up to him to say she loved him and asked for a hug. In one of the most Seinfeld things Seinfeld has ever done, he refused the hug, and when she asked again, he backed away like she had the plague and said, "No thanks."

Seinfeld later provided an explanation for the refusal. "When you get to be my age and you've done a couple of things, you have your own reality. In my reality, I don't hug a total stranger. I have to meet someone [and] say hello...the TV only works one way," he told Extra. It's hard to argue with that.

Kesha was embarrassed by the botched hug attempt at first but saw the comedic irony of creating a socially awkward moment that would have fit right in on the comedian's series. "I felt like I was five years old. ... And I somehow ended up in my very own episode—mini-episode—of 'Seinfeld' for like five seconds. ... I should have known better," the pop star said in an interview with Sirius XM's Hits 1 (via Complex).

Ariana Grande got smacked by an angel

Even if you never watched the Victoria Secret's Fashion Show, you probably are well aware the annual event included lingerie-clad models decked out in large angel wings. The angel wings, however, posed an unexpected threat to Ariana Grande. During the performance of her song "Bang Bang," model Elsa Hosk bopped the pop star with one of her pink fluffy wings. Grande hunched over and made a face, and for a split second, the otherwise glamorous event brought the awkward in a big way.  "A Victoria's Secret angel accidentally smacked me in the face with her wings and it was awesome #goals #bangbangintomyface," Grande wrote in a since-deleted tweet (via Paper).

The spectacle, however, brought runway safety to the attention of the event organizers. Model Lais Ribeiro told The Cut, "We had a meeting about it. Ed [Razek] said, 'Don't kill each other on the runway. Give each other space.' And then we all did it right during the second show." A photo taken at the perfect moment when Grande was ducking from the model and looking frightened became a major meme-able moment at the time. Users photoshopped the terrified pop singer into a host of hypothetical situations like ducking from a dinosaur and sitting on Santa's lap.

Jimmy Fallon thought he offended RuPaul

Who could forget the time when Jimmy Fallon thought his career was over forever for a very brief awkward moment? When RuPaul was a guest on "The Tonight Show" in 2020, Fallon pointed out that the entertainer was the first drag queen to grace the cover of Vanity Fair. Never one to miss an opportunity for a joke, RuPaul pretended to be offended and replied, "A drag queen?! A drag queen?!" For a moment, Fallon worried he'd stepped in it. A look of terror washed over his face before RuPaul declared, "I am the Queen of Drag." Relieved, Fallon laughed.

The moment took off on Twitter and Fallon responded to the viral tweet on "The Tonight Show." "I really thought it was over. ... That's it, I'm canceled. I started my own hashtag: #jimmyfallonisoverparty. I was like, 'I had a good run, you know? I had 10 years in the business.'" But it was all a big joke and Jimmy Fallon lives to see another day in show business.

Whoopi Goldberg passed gas on live TV

Well, you can't have a list of awkward celebrity moments without mentioning at least one accidental fart on live television. One of the more notable examples happened while Whoopi Goldberg and her co-hosts interviewed Claire Danes on "The View" in 2011. The "Homeland" star was discussing a rather serious topic about American identity post-9/11 when Goldberg loudly released some built-up gas. "Oh excuse me. I think I just blew a little frog out of there," Goldberg said as the crowd laughed.

While it would be hard for most of us to not cower away in shame, Goldberg immediately turns back to the conversation with a calm nonchalance. And as it turns out, Goldberg may not find farting as embarrassing as some. The actor, whose real first name is Caryn, was apparently inspired by flatulence when she came up with her stage name. As her granddaughter Amara Skye shared episode of "Claim to Fame" (via Entertainment Weekly), "My grandma got her name because she likes to fart a lot...So, whoopee cushions, farts. That's how Caryn Johnson became Whoopi Goldberg."

Ellen DeGeneres questioned Dakota Johnson's invite list

When Dakota Johnson appeared as a guest on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to promote her film "The Peanut Butter Falcon" in 2019, the conversation immediately turned to a passive-aggressive accusation. Asking about the "Fifty Shades of Grey" star's 30th birthday get-together, DeGeneres said, "How was the party? I wasn't invited." Johnson set the record straight right away: "Actually, no. That's not the truth, Ellen. You were invited. ... Last time I was on the show, last year, you gave me a bunch of sh** about not inviting you, but I didn't even know you wanted to be invited." DeGeneres continued to question whether or not she really did send her an invite, and a demurely annoyed Johnson replied, "Ask everybody. Ask Jonathan, your producer." The producer confirmed the invite and DeGeneres had no choice but to backpedal a bit, creating an excuse on the fly for why she didn't show.

The interview just kept getting more awkward after Johnson said Tig Notaro was her favorite comedian and DeGeneres seemed to take offense. And then when DeGeneres claimed that she was the one who introduced her to Notaro, Johnson had to correct her again before observing, "Gosh, this isn't going well." 

Two years later, Drew Barrymore brought up the Ellen DeGeneres moment when Johnson was a guest co-host on "The Drew Barrymore Show." Johnson didn't say anything about the incident, but she did laugh when Barrymore called the back and forth "amazing."

Jennifer Lawrence took a tumble at the Oscars

When Jennifer Lawrence walked up the stairs to receive her first Academy Award in 2013 for her work in "Silver Linings Playbook," she tripped and fell down before she could make it to the stage. When she got to the microphone and the audience was still standing and cheering, she said, "You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell and that's really embarrassing but thank you." She struggled through her speech, out of breath and clearly trying to remember what she had planned to say.

On a 2020 episode of the podcast "Absolutely Not," Lawrence told Heather McMahan that she had been overtaken by adrenaline and nerves. "I actually don't remember what that moment felt like when they said my name, and then I fell and it just erased everything from my mind. My full brain went blank," she said. The "Hunger Games" star also said that a few days after she ate it in front of some of Hollywood's biggest stars, CNN's Anderson Cooper wondered if the fall was all for show, which she found hurtful. "It was so devastating because it was this horrific humiliation to me ... I don't know if I'll ever have the chance to give a speech like that again." She did say that Cooper eventually apologized for his remarks and that enough time has passed that she can now look back on the awkward moment with a hint of fondness.