Celebrities Who Were Critically Injured In Accidents

We tend to forget that celebrities aren't real-life superheroes and fall victim to injury just like us. For example, actor Tom Cruise is known for performing his own stunts and understands the risks he could face by doing them. In 2017, Cruise broke his ankle during a rooftop chase for the movie "Mission: Impossible – Fallout." Thankfully, none of the stunts he has performed over the years have been life-threatening. But, then, there are those stars who post their minor injuries on social media – take Miley Cyrus for instance, who shared photos of cuts on her face and arm after being attacked by her cat, and how about The Rock, who may seem invincible, but while at the gym, showed off a cut near his eye that required stitches. 

While these stars almost speak proudly about their minor injuries, some celebs haven't been so lucky after they suffered severe injuries that required extensive surgery or even left them without a limb. Whether from significant car crashes, plane wrecks, and even a horrendous shark bite while surfing, the stars below faced critical injuries but lived to tell the tale.

Michael Jackson

A 1984 Pepsi commercial landed the late Michael Jackson in the hospital after he suffered second-degree burns on his scalp. According to The Daily News, in January of that year, Jackson teamed up with his famous brothers, who made up the Jackson 5, to perform his hit song "Billie Jean" at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles for a commercial with Pepsi-Cola. However, when Jackson got near a pyrotechnics display, it went off, and "exploded" with Jackson's hair catching fire. Jackson was unaware that his hair was full of flames and continued to perform before his brothers and others rushed to his side to help put out the fire. According to Yahoo!, a photo of Jackson showed him on a stretcher being taken to the hospital with bandages on his head as he held his hand up to fans with his iconic glove.

Yahoo! also reported that the soft drink manufacturer had given Jackson $1.5 million because of the accident, but he gave the money to the hospital that treated him. According to ABC News, after Jackson was given painkillers for the incident, he admitted to abusing them later on. Sadly, Jackson died on June 25, 2009 from an overdose of propofol which was improperly administered by his physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, per CNN

Tracy Morgan

"30 Rock" star Tracy Morgan's life changed forever when he was involved in a tragic car crash that left him in critical condition and his friend and comedian James McNair dead. According to The New York Times, on June 7, 2014, Morgan, his assistant, McNair, and two other comedians were in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter when a Walmart truck slammed into their vehicle from behind and overturned their car on the New Jersey Turnpike. Only McNair died from his injuries, while Morgan suffered a traumatic brain injury and broken bones. The star spent two weeks in a coma and several months in a wheelchair and underwent extensive physical therapy, per Page Six

In June 2015, Morgan made his first television appearance since his crash on the Today show. He shared with Matt Lauer, "I have my good days and my bad days where I forget things," adding that he did not recall the crash. 

According to NJ.com, the tractor-trailer driver was Kevin Roper, who was awake for more than 24 hours when he hit Morgan's vehicle. Roper pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and four counts of assault, entered an intervention program, and had to perform 300 hours of community service. In an interview for New York magazine's Vulture, Morgan shared that he had forgiven Roper, stating, "I couldn't move forward if I ain't forgive him."

Travis Barker

Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker barely made it out alive when he and close friend DJ AM managed to escape their burning plane that killed four others in September 2008. According to the accident report by the National Transportation Safety Board, the passengers boarded a small plane in South Carolina bound for California when its tires blew up during takeoff. The plane's captain attempted to abort takeoff, but it resulted in the plane running off the runway, where it then crashed into a fence, crossed into a five-lane highway, and struck an embankment where it burst into flames. 

Barker and DJ AM, whose real name was Adam Goldstein, were the only survivors. The plane's two pilots, Barker's assistant, Chris Baker, and his security guard Charles Still, died in the crash, per the Chicago Tribune. The accident report stated that both Barker and DJ AM suffered second and third-degree burns. The drummer also underwent 26 surgeries and multiple skin grafts. Sadly, DJ AM died of an accidental drug overdose a year later. 

Barker revealed that he developed PTSD from the horrific crash and avoided flying. However, in 2021, Barker let go of his fears and flew for the first time with his wife, Kourtney Kardashian, per TMZ

Amy Schumer

Actor Amy Schumer has one gnarly scar on her leg after a surfing accident that she proudly showed off on David Letterman's late-night show in 2015. Although she didn't go into detail, she would tell Vanity Fair the following year about the incident and how she believed it was her last day on Earth.

Schumer told the publication that she went out surfing during the winter and ended up with her surfboard fin piercing her leg. She managed to get out of the water, where she spotted a man who held her leg together to stop the bleeding, stating, "I was like, 'I need you to hold my leg.' I was delegating. And he held my leg closed with his bare hands – just fat and blood coming out.'" 

Schumer never got to see the man again but shared that with blood rushing out of her leg, she was afraid that sharks could have been lurking nearby. "But my thoughts while I was coming out – I remember them. I thought, Well, I'm going to die. I can't believe I'm going to die like this. Then, I'm like, Oh, no [I'm not going to die]- but I'm going to lose my leg," she said. The "I Feel Pretty" star ended up with forty-one stitches, which left a noticeable scar. 

Orlando Bloom

Before Orlando Bloom nabbed roles in "Lord of the Rings" and "Pirates of the Caribbean," he was living life dangerously, but living such a carefree lifestyle almost killed him. Speaking with GQ in 2005, the actor recalled falling three stories after trying to get to a rooftop terrace when a drainpipe collapsed from under him in 1998. As a result, Bloom broke his vertebrae and would likely be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. However, the star recovered and learned a great lesson about life's preciousness. 

Bloom shared, "But that accident had informed everything in my life. Until you're close to losing it, you don't realize. I used to ride motorbikes and drive cars like everything was a racetrack; it was ridiculous. It wasn't because I thought it was cool; it was just because I loved living on the edge. But I've chilled." Thankfully, Bloom's career would keep him busy after he landed the role of Legolas in "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" in 2001.

In 2021, Bloom shared a throwback photo of himself smiling while riding a bike with a back brace. He captioned his Instagram post, "That's me in my back brace circa 1998 about 3 months after I fell 3 floors and crushed my spine, narrowly escaping death and paralysis ... grateful every day for my limbs that allow me to push my limits and live life on my edge (safer now)." 

Rachel Bilson

"The O.C." wouldn't be the same if Rachel Bilson wasn't around to play Summer Roberts on the teen drama series. Speaking to The Mirror in 2008, the actor detailed a scary car crash she was involved in as a teen that could have taken her life. Thankfully, Bilson made it out alive.

Hanging out with the wrong crowd in Los Angeles, Bilson recalled the day she, a girlfriend, and two men were speeding on the Pacific Coast Highway when they crashed head-on with a truck. "We were in a tiny car and it was a pretty bad crash. They had to cut us out and I was in a coma for a few days. The crash ended that relationship, which is a good thing," the "Hart of Dixie" star said, adding that, fortunately, everyone survived the crash. 

The car crash might have been a wake-up call for Bilson, who would focus on her acting career soon after. In 2003, she began work on "The O.C." where she would meet her on-screen love interest and former boyfriend, Adam Brody. The pair split in late 2006. Bilson began to date her "Jumper" co-star Hayden Christensen in 2008, and they welcomed a daughter Briar Rose in 2014. They called it quits in 2017. The star was also romantically linked to Bill Hader in 2019, but the pair broke up in 2020, per Us Weekly

Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton is an inspiration to people around the world. Hamilton was only 13 when a tiger shark bit off her left arm while she was surfing the waves of Hawaii in 2003. However, losing her arm didn't stop her from continuing her dreams of becoming a professional surfer. According to her website, Hamilton returned to doing what she loved just a month after the attack. In 2005, she won the National Surf Championship, and in 2008, she began full-time surfing, where she placed third at the Roxy Pro in Australia. In 2017, she was inducted into the Surfer's Hall of Fame. 

Hamilton's autobiography titled "Soul Surfer" was later turned into a 2011 movie starring AnnaSophia Robb as Hamilton and starred Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid. In 2019, the surfer released "Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable," a documentary following her life and the challenges she overcame after losing her arm.

The pro surfer is also a mom to three children. In 2013, she married Adam Dirks, and the couple welcomed their first child, Tobias, in 2015 and their second son, Wesley, in 2018. In 2021, she announced the arrival of their third boy, Micah on YouTube

Niki Taylor

Niki Taylor was just about everywhere in the '90s. In 1996, famously known as the "Niki Six," the model graced six magazine covers in the same month, including Vogue. She was the youngest model to sign a contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics at 18 and was featured in over 300 magazines, per her website. However, a car crash in April 2001 had the model fighting for her life. 

According to ABC News, Taylor and her then-boyfriend Chad Renegar were in his car when he lost control and crashed into a utility pole in Atlanta, Georgia. While Renegar walked away from the vehicle with minor injuries, Taylor managed to get out of the car and lay on the ground until paramedics arrived, unaware that she had suffered severe internal injuries. When taken to the hospital, she learned that she had lost 80 percent of her blood, and her liver was cut in half. According to People, Taylor was in a coma for weeks and needed over 50 surgeries. One included putting two steel rods in her back to hold her spine together. 

According to Fox News, Taylor was given blood from over 300 donors to stay alive. The model even had the chance to meet 15 of them, stating, "I got to look them in the eyes and hug them." She has since become an American Red Cross ambassador and raised awareness about how vital it is to give blood.

Gary Busey

Gary Busey has been in the entertainment business since the early '70s. His performance as Buddy Holly in 1978's "The Buddy Holly Story" scored him a nomination for Best Actor at the Oscars, and he had a promising career. However, his career was put on pause when he was involved in a motorcycle accident that nearly killed him. 

According to USA Today, Busey was riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle after getting it from the shop in December 1988 when he "slid on a patch of gravel at 40 mph, flipped over the handlebars, and hit his unprotected head on a curb." The actor was taken to the hospital with a severe brain injury, with Busey stating that he had "a hole in my head the size of half a dollar." Busey was in a coma for weeks but miraculously recovered and after several weeks, walked out of the hospital of his own accord. 

Speaking to The Guardian, Busey recalled having a spiritual awakening while on the operating table. "I was surrounded by angels. Balls of light floating around me. And I felt trust, love, protection, and happiness like you cannot feel on earth. It's the feeling the angels live in," he shared, adding that a "light" asked him if he wanted to continue living or go to the other side. Busey chose to live, sharing, "The truth told me I wasn't finished over here on Earth." After his accident, Busey has continued acting and has lent his voice to several video games.

Gloria Estefan

Gloria Estefan is recognized worldwide for her songs like "Conga," "Don't Wanna Lose You," and "Rhythm is Gonna Get You," for which she performed with the group Miami Sound Machine before going solo. Estefan was already a mega star by the late '80s, so it shook fans around the globe when she was involved in a tour bus accident in 1990.

Recalling the crash with her daughter Emily Estefan and her niece Lili Estefan on "Red Table Talk: The Estefans," the songstress shared that she was on her tour bus with her husband, Emilio and their son, Nayib when a semi-truck rear-ended them on the Pennsylvania highway. Estefan, who was sleeping, found herself on the floor in extreme pain. She had broken her back. "I tried to get up. I had the taste of electricity in my mouth, that's the only way I can describe it," she said. "The pain was excruciating." Estefan needed surgery and had two titanium rods placed in her back. She required the use of a wheelchair with fears that she would never be able to walk again. Fortunately, she made a full recovery. 

Estefan told People that she believed it was the power of prayer from fans that helped her in her recovery. "I felt the consciousness of other human beings wishing me well and the power of that collective spirit," she explained. "So I'm convinced that thoughts create reality and that the thoughts that we've put out into the universe are going to manifest."

Jeremy Renner

Actor Jeremy Renner's start to 2023 turned out to be nothing that he had ever imagined when the "Hawkeye" actor was critically injured from a snow plow accident on his property near Lake Tahoe in Reno, Nevada. According to authorities investigating the January 1st incident (via The New York Times), Renner used his snow plow to free a car stuck in the snow. However, after getting off of his plow, Renner saw it begin to roll and attempted to get into the driver's seat to stop it. It was then that the over 14,000-pound snow plow rolled over him. Renner was airlifted to a nearby hospital and suffered "blunt chest trauma and orthopedic injuries." The actor underwent surgery and remained in the intensive care unit. 

According to NPR, Renner was helping a family member get their vehicle out of the snow. Hillary Schieve, the Mayor of Reno, remarked to the Reno Gazette-Journal that Renner "is always helping others" in his community. Fans could even see "The Hurt Locker" star driving a plow on his Instagram in December 2021. However, whether it was the same plow in the accident is unknown.

Just two days after the accident, Renner posted a photo of himself in a hospital bed on Instagram, relieving fans. "Thank you all for your kind words. I'm too messed up now to type. But I send love to you all," he captioned his post. His Marvel co-stars, including Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, and Chris Evans, wished him well. 

Angus Cloud

Angus Cloud's first-ever acting gig was playing Fezco on the HBO hit series "Euphoria." The actor was discovered while walking around Manhattan and was asked to come into a casting for a reading. Cloud had no idea how his life would drastically change after nabbing the role. Talking about his newfound fame, Cloud told Teen Vogue that he's still a regular person on the inside. "I don't want people to open doors for me like I'm a prince or some s***. I open doors for people, too, you know? But it's getting to a point where I'm uncomfortable with special treatment," he shared. 

Now a big star in Hollywood, fans have learned much more about Cloud's personal life, including an incident where the actor almost died after falling into a construction pit. He recalled that day, which turned out to be a Friday the 13th in 2013, with Variety. The actor talked about the noticeable scar on his head, which was the result of breaking his skull after he tumbled into a pit in California. Although the actor managed to get out 12 hours later and even took a bus home, it wasn't until his mother took him to the hospital that he learned he had severe internal injuries, including internal bleeding in his brain and a broken skull. Cloud lived to tell the tale but revealed that he suffered "minor brain damage."

Tiger Woods

On February 23, 2021, Tiger Woods suffered signifcant injuries after his vehicle was involved in a rollover crash in Los Angeles. The professonal golfer needed to be "extricated" from his wrecked SVU as he "was not able to stand on his own power," per the Los Angeles Times. At the time, Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, shared that the athlete "sustained multiple leg injuries," with fans wondering if that meant his golf career was over. 

Woods' Twitter account stated that he required emergency surgery on his right leg and ankle, adding that the beloved golfer was "awake, responsive, and recovering." In April 2021, Woods showed his fans that he was on the road to recovery after posting a photo to his Instagram of himself standing on crutches with his dog beside him. In November, Woods shared a short video on Twitter of him hitting a golf ball and writing, "Making progress." Miraculously, Woods participated in the 2022 Masters Tournament in April 2022, which was his first major tournament since his crash. 

Despite making his return, Woods revealed to ESPN that he wouldn't be playing a full schedule in 2023. "The goal is to play just the major championships and maybe one or two more. That's it. I mean, physically, that's all I can do," he shared, adding, "I don't have much left in this leg, so gear up for the biggest ones and hopefully, you know, lightning catches in a bottle and I'm up there in contention with a chance to win."

George Clooney

George Clooney took home his first-ever Academy Award and his second Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the 2005 political thriller "Syriana." While it was a celebratory moment for the star, he recalled that working on the film left him with a terrible spinal injury that drove him to contemplate suicide. 

According to The Guardian, Clooney revealed that he suffered the injury while filming a scene for the film. He shared, "I basically bruised my brain. It's bouncing around my head because it's not supported by my spinal fluid." The actor was in constant pain for several months as doctors could not figure out what was causing his intense headaches. It became so painful Clooney considered taking his life, telling Rolling Stone, "I was at a point where I thought, 'I can't exist like this. I can't actually live.' I was lying in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm, unable to move, having these headaches where it feels like you're having a stroke, and for a short three-week period, I started to think, 'I may have to do something drastic about this.'" Thankfully, a doctor identified the problem, and the actor underwent multiple procedures to cure his headaches. 

In 2018, the actor sustained a few injuries from a motorcycle accident in Italy. Clooney told the Sunday Times he believed it was his last day on Earth after flying off his bike. However, he made a full recovery. 

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)​.