Dark Secrets The Voice Judges Tried To Hide

The following article includes allegations of sexual assault.

Despite not pumping out any true superstars like its competition "American Idol," "The Voice" has become a television staple since it made its debut in 2011. The show is so popular with viewers — many of whom rarely watch live TV anymore (the results show of "The Voice" is live) — that NBC has run two seasons of it each year since 2012. Host Carson Daly has remained in place for all of the (soon-to-be) 25 seasons, but there has been a revolving door of coaches on the singing competition series. Some of them have stayed for consecutive seasons, while others only appeared in one season or have an on/off relationship with the coach's chair. There have been nearly 20 coaches who have sat in those spinning red chairs. Throw in all of the international editions of the show, and you have a plethora of stars who have served as coaches.

Most globally known coaches appear on either the American, British, or Australian versions of "The Voice," a show that got its starts in the Netherlands, where it has the title "The Voice of Holland." Across the dozens of famous faces who have coaches on one of those three editions, there are plenty of dark secrets and surprising scandals. There have been plenty of those on other global editions — most notably, the big sex scandal involving a band leader and a coach, amongst others, in the show's origin country — but here we focused on celebrities we all know and (some of) love. Here are some of the dark secrets that "The Voice" judges tried to hide, often unsuccessfully.

CeeLo Green was accused of rape and made some very problematic comments about it

In 2012, CeeLo Green was accused of sexual assault by an unidentified woman (per TMZ). The following, year, the singer was cleared of sexual assault and plead not guilty to "the felony of furnishing ecstasy," that he allegedly slipped into the woman's drink without her knowledge nor consent (per TMZ).

 He pleaded no contest in 2014, receiving three years of probation. While Green has maintained his innocence in terms of the rape allegations, he made a series of concerning X (then Twitter) posts that angered many. Amongst other things, he wrote that "People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!" and implied that a woman did not need to be conscious in order to give consent for sex. "If someone is passed out they're not even WITH you consciously! so WITH Implies consent," he wrote (via The Guardian). He was already off "The Voice" by the time of the tweets.

Many rallied against Green's return to "The Voice" after the date-rape allegation came out in 2012, but he came back to the NBC series the following year for Season 5. He had previously been a coach for Seasons 1 through 3 of the show.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

The Voice AU coach Jason Derulo is being sued for sexual harassment

In 2023, singer Jason Derulo jumped onboard the mentor train and signed on as a coach for Season 12 of the Australian version of "The Voice." Derulo is not the first American to pop up in the Land Down Under, as the show has always had a mixture of Australian and foreign coaches. Past Americans who have been on "The Voice" in Australia include Joel and Benji Madden (of Good Charlotte), will.I.am, Kelly Rowland, and Joe Jonas. So, Derulo's casting was not an odd choice in the slightest, and the "Want to Want Me" singer did well in his role as a mentor. However, just as the season was ending, news emerged that Derulo was being sued for quid pro quo sexual harassment — in addition to intimidation and breach of contract — by a female singer he once mentored.

The complaint was brought by Emaza Gibson, who Derulo signed to his label Future History in August 2021. Once they started their working relationship that November, Gibson claims that Derulo pressured her to socialize with him and more than once asked for sex in exchange for her success in music. There are many other claims in the lawsuit, including Derulo plying Gibson with drinks, yelling at her, and refusing to record with her before eventually terminating her contract in September 2022. "I have anxiety; I'm traumatized. I've dealt with inhumane work situations ... I'm at this point where I'm back to zero and I have nothing," she told NBC News. Derulo has denied all of the allegations against him.

Three of Jennifer Hudson's family members were tragically murdered

We cannot think of many celebrities who have had a more heartbreaking family tragedy than Jennifer Hudson. The EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) winner began her career on "American Idol," which made her the perfect person to step in as a coach on Seasons 13 and 15 of "The Voice." Former reality singing competition series contestants make great mentors, and the American version of the show has now hosted a number of them, including Kelly Clarkson, Niall Horan, and Camila Cabello. Hudson was the first former reality star on "The Voice" USA, though, and for that she deserves props. She also served as coach for three seasons on "The Voice UK" during roughly the same time period, memorably throwing a shoe whenever she was really impressed by a contestant's performance.

Hudson's career has evolved in ways no one could have predicted — she's currently a talk show host, for example — but while she has been lucky in Hollywood, she has been tested on the personal front. In 2008, Hudson's estranged brother-in-law broke into a home and killed Hudson's mother, brother, and nephew. William Balfour was found guilty of all three murders in 2012, after a trial where Hudson herself testified, but this sort of tragedy is not the kind of think one can ever get over. "It literally just takes a part of you," Hudson said on "Oprah's Next Chapter" in 2019. The star rarely discusses the slayings in interviews but when she does, you better get your tissues out.

Shakira almost went to trial for tax fraud after not paying taxes for years

Shakira is a huge name in music, so it is no surprise that the power-that-be chose her to be a coach on Season 4 of "The Voice." She worked out well enough that they brought her back two seasons later, but Season 6 was the star's final stab at coaching a winner contestant. She was not the best mentor — notably, none of her contestants made the finale on either of her seasons — but Shakira was an entertaining presence on the show, if only for her facial expressions during the Blind Audition round. They were just one more thing to love about the singer, who it is hard to imagine anyone hating. Anyone besides the Spanish government, that is. Years after leaving "The Voice" in 2014, we learned that during her time as a coach, Shakira had not been paying her proper taxes.

Shakira's secret came to light when the Spanish government charged her with six counts of tax fraud for not paying taxes between 2012 and 2014. It was argued that Shakira was required to pay taxes to Spain since she had spent more than half of her time there in those years (which she did because she was at the time in a relationship with Spanish soccer player Gerard Piqué, father of her two sons). Shakira maintained her innocence for five years — claiming her official residence was in the Bahamas, where taxes are much lower — but struck a deal on the first day of her trial to avoid possibly getting locked up for eight years.

Boy George has a history of issues with addiction and the law

While the majority of coaches on "The Voice" stick with one particular edition of the show, a fair number have bounced around between global versions. Jennifer Hudson has served as a coach in both the US and the UK, and both will.i.am and Rita Ora have sat in the red chair in Britain and in Australia. So too has Boy George, first as a coach for Season 5 of "The Voice UK" before transitioning to the Aussie version for their sixth season. He remained on the latter for four consecutive seasons, after which he and two other longer-term coaches (Kelly Rowland and Delta Goodrem) departed. George was his usual campy self on the show, and even once stormed off the set when he did not like a contestant's post-audition comments.

George won "The Voice" Australia in Season 8, when one of his team members took first place, but the Culture Club front man has not always kept it winning in life. He has had a number of issues with the law, exacerbated by a long history of substance abuse — which has been extensively covered by British tabloids since the 1980s, when his heroin addiction was first made public. The star was arrested in 2005 for drug possession, but the charges were later dropped. But George was not so lucky in 2006 when he was found guilty of falsely reporting a robbery (he received community service) or in 2009, when he went to prison for the assault and false imprisonment of a sex worker the year prior.

Christina Aguilera was once arrested for public intoxication, but faced no charges

While Christina Aguilera has not been a coach on "The Voice" for more than a dozen seasons, she will forever be remembered for her contributions in making the show a success. After all, Aguilera was one of the original four coaches (and the only female one) and stayed with the show despite its clumsy early format. She left the series after Season 3, but returned three more times — for Seasons 5, 8, and 10. Aguilera was a solid coach who took the win in Season 10 when "Curly Sue" star Alisan Porter walked away with the title. Given how long it has been, It does not seem like Aguilera is ever coming back, but she certainly went out on a high note.

Aguilera is a fantastic performer and a powerhouse singer, but she is known to be a little bit shady at times. This was particularly true when the star was younger, as she feuded with everyone from Kelly Osborne to the guys of The Wanted. While people generally remember the reports of diva-like behavior and snooty encounters with other stars, one incident that people often forget is Aguilera's 2011 arrest. The singer was arrested for public intoxication, while her then-boyfriend was booked for DUI. Aguilera was never criminally charged, since she was arrested for her own welfare and not because she was violent or belligerent. "She was not capable of taking care of herself," Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the L.A. County Sheriff's Office, told Page Six.

Camila Cabello was linked to her old Tumblr, which was filled with racist language and slurs

Camila Cabello first rose to fame as a contestant on "The X-Factor," where she was placed into a girl group that ultimately became Fifth Harmony. Cabello famously left the group to begin a solo career in 2016, amidst rumors about tension between she and the other group members. Cabello was able to avoid scandal for the next few years as she built up her solo resume, and her fame skyrocketed thanks to hits like "Havana" and "Never Be The Same." She was at the top of her game in 2019 — the year she released "Senorita" with ex-boyfriend Shawn Mendes — when a dark secret from her past emerged toward the end of the year. Fans were shocked when it was revealed that Cabello had in the past kept a blog on which she used racial slurs and other inappropriate language.

Cabello was a coach on Season 22 of "The Voice," which aired three years after screenshots from her blog were posted online. Cabello immediately released an apology that took accountability for the blog, which shared racist jokes and memes in 2012 and 2013, which probably helped her avoid cancelation. "When I was younger, I used language I was deeply ashamed of and will regret forever," she wrote (via BBC). "I was uneducated and ignorant and once I became aware of the history and the weight and the true meaning behind this horrible and hurtful language, I was deeply embarrassed I ever used it. I apologized then and I apologize again now."

Tom Jones denied paternity of his child for decades, despite DNA proof

While he may not have ever scored a Billboard #1 hit and has not won a Grammy since his first in 1966, it would be hard for anyone to argue that Tom Jones is anything short of a music legend. Jones has had a career spanning roughly six decades and some of his songs — "What's New Pussycat?" and "She's a Lady," in particular — have become classics. The Welsh superstar has tackled a number of different things outside of music, but none as notable as his stint on reality TV. In 2012, he became a judge for "The Voice UK" and remained in the seat for the show's first four seasons. After a one-season absence, Jones returned for Season 6 and has appeared on every season since. The octogenarian does not seem to have plans on retiring, basically ever.

A sex symbol, Jones once claimed to have slept with hundreds of groupies, despite having married his childhood sweetheart Melinda Trenchard at age 17. They were married from 1957 until Trenchard's death in 2016, but Jones' infidelity was well-known. Shockingly, the singer said they never directly talked about his many affairs (on "The Jonathan Ross Show"). This may be why Jones denied fathering Jonathan Berkery for decades, even though a court-ordered DNA test confirmed the kid was his. Jones sent money because he was required to by law but denied being the father until 2008. The singer has never established a relationship with Berkery because he feels he "was tricked" by the man's mother (via Wales Online).

Delta Goodrem's family blocked the release of her early recordings with a lawsuit

Few people in America know Delta Goodrem, but the singer has been a big star in her native Australia for a long time. She hit the top of the charts with her album "Innocent Eyes" when she was only 18, but Goodrem had already been working toward that goal for a while by that point. She started appearing in a series regular role on the long-running Aussie soap "Neighbors" in 2002 and released an oft-forgotten single "I Don't Care" the year prior. Even before then, Goodrem was making music and it was that music that led to a big lawsuit between the singer's family and executives at Empire Records and Studio 52.

Goodrem recorded her first album in 1999 and 2000, but the album was shelved by the time Sony signed her in 2000. Though "Innocent Eyes" was a massive hit, Goodrem had to cancel all appearances and a planned American launch when she was diagnosed with cancer. It was around this time that she and her parents were sued, as others wanted to release the earlier album that predated he Sony deal. The case was settled in mediation, the album was never released, and many fans of "The Voice" do not even know about the legal battle. Goodrem was one of the original judges when "The Voice" premiered in Australia in 2012, and appeared on a total of eight seasons before departing the show after Season 9 (she took Season 3 off).

Gavin Rossdale was estranged from his teenage daughter for six years after finding out she was his

Gwen Stefani has been a fantastic coach on "The Voice" in America, even winning the show in Season 19. The series is also where she met her husband Blake Shelton, although both Stefani and Shelton were married when they first met. Stefani split from her then-husband Gavin Rossdale the following year, in 2015, and started up with Shelton not that long after (he also got divorced). And not only are Stefani and her current hubby a part of "The Voice" family, but so too is her ex-husband. Rossdale appeared on Season 6 of "The Voice UK," and even though his contestant took first place, has thus far not made a return to the red chairs.

Years before they divorced, Rossdale and Stefani weathered a huge scandal when allegations that Rossdale was the father of model Daisy Lowe, born in 1989, came out. After a paternity test confirmed he was Lowe's dad, Rossdale and Stefani went on to have three children of their own. At the same time, Rossdale and Lowe — who had a previous relationship with him as her godfather — became estranged in the aftermath of the revelation. Though he still refuses to talk to her mother Pearl, Rossdale is now very close with Lowe after their six tough years. Lowe is also close to her half-siblings, and she added another human to the family when she gave birth to a son in September 2023. Rossdale has called his granddaughter "the most beautiful part of my legacy," per The Messenger.

Adam Levine lost some fans when news of his sexting scandal broke

Everyone knows that Blake Shelton is the GOAT when it comes to coaches on "The Voice." It is undeniable, considering that he was on the show from the first season through the 23rd and mentored 11 of his team members to victory. Next in line to Shelton's title is debatable, but Adam Levine has a good case for it. Levine began the show alongside Shelton and stayed for 16 seasons before going back to music full-time. Levine's time on "The Voice" was at times controversial — Season 15 was a rough one for the star after he called for fans to vote for one of his contestants over another — but he helped turn the show into a megahit and coached a fair number of winners (with 4, he and Kelly Clarkson are tied for the second-most winning coach).

Levine's controversies did not end once he left "The Voice," and a 2022 sexting scandal became the largest scandal of his decades-long career. Many turned against Levine after multiple women revealed they had engaged in inappropriate sexual communications with the married singer. Levine denied having had a physical affair with anyone — including model Summer Stroh, who made a TikTok video detailing an affair — but copped up to sending sexual texts, a few of which leaked online and were so incredibly cringey that they turned into memes. "I used poor judgment in speaking with anyone other than my wife in ANY kind of flirtatious manner," said Levine in a statement (via Us Weekly).

Multiple people have sued Usher for not disclosing a sexually transmitted infection

Usher has been a massive star for so long and sold so many records that he is often referred to as the "King of R&B." Heck, his album "Confessions" alone sold more than 18 million copies in the United States and set the record for the best-selling album by a Black artist in the 21st century. And even though the crooner has not released a new album since 2016, he has been putting his performance skills on display in Las Vegas with a big residency and is bound to return to prominence when he releases a much-awaited album in February 2024, the same month he is set to headline the Super Bowl halftime show. Usher has a knack for doing the unexpected — he even co-owned the Cleveland Cavaliers at one point — so him signing on to coach "The Voice" contestants was not a huge shocker.

Usher was only a coach for two seasons of "The Voice" — Seasons 4 and 6 — but he has returned as an advisor for three subsequent seasons (8, 17, and 19), so he seems to be on great terms with the producers. His Season 19 appearance came not too long after Usher settled the last of a series of lawsuits related to him exposing three people to genital herpes. In 2017, the singer was sued by two women and one man who claimed he never told them he had the sexually transmitted infection, five years after settling a lawsuit of the same nature with another former sexual partner.

Ariana Grande was caught up in a cheating scandal with her Wicked co-star

Ariana Grande is beloved by many, but a number of scandals have threatened to derail her popularity throughout the course of her career. For instance, remember that incident where Grande was caught on video saying she hated America and licking donuts she did not buy? Well, that was by far her biggest controversy until the world branded her a cheater. She escaped the label the first time she was accused of cheating, which happened in 2016 — when Naya Rivera published a book with claims that Big Sean had cheated on her with Grande — but weathered a huge storm with her 2023 cheating scandal.

In July 2023, it was announced that Grande, who was a coach on "The Voice" for Season 21, had split with her husband Dalton Gomez. She was at the time filming the movie "Wicked," and it quickly leaked that the star was dating her co-star Ethan Slater. Though Grande may or may not have been separated when she got together with Slater, Slater was himself married with a young baby. Slater only told his wife, Lilly Jay, about the affair a few days before it went public, so she was understandably upset — and she had no problem airing her grievances in public. "[Ariana's] the story really. Not a girl's girl. My family is just collateral damage," Jay told Page Six. While there were "insider" claims that Slater and Jay were also separated, that has never been confirmed and many feel it was an attempt at damage control from Grande's camp.

The Voice AU host Seal was critiqued after performing for the President of Chechnya

Even if you are not sure who Seal is, you are surely aware of his smash hit "Kiss from a Rose." The Grammy-winning song is the singer's most enduring hit, but Seal is no one-hit wonder. He is a four-time Grammy winner who has been nominated 15 times, and he has had 8 songs chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Like a lot of European and Australian singers, Seal has had way more hits abroad than he has had stateside, and so he is a pretty big name in his native England and select other countries. Despite being a Brit, it was on another international edition of "The Voice" that Seal appeared. He was a coach in Australia for the series' first and second seasons, and he returned for a third go at things in Season 6.

For years, Seal's main reason for being in the tabloids was his marriage to Heidi Klum. The singer probably wished things had remained that way after he became embroiled in controversy in 2011. That was the year he performed at the birthday party of Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya. Human Rights Watch called the singer out for being paid to perform for the leader of a country that violates human rights on the regular. Unlike Hilary Swank, who was also critiqued for being at the event, Seal refused to apologize for supporting a leader who engages in extrajudicial executions and other horrific abuses. He even defended performing in a post on Twitter.

Keith Urban has struggled with addiction, like his father

Keith Urban and his family spend most of their time at their mansion in Nashville, Tennessee, but like his wife Nicole Kidman, Urban is a born-and-bred Aussie. The country crooner was one of the original coaches on the Australian version of "The Voice," but left the show after that first season. He returned in Season 10 and stayed on for Season 11, which is when a contestant actually auditioned with a co-written song devoted to him, called "Keith." Though he is one of the biggest superstars the show has had, they once again had trouble hanging onto him and Urban left before the start of Season 12. Urban is the only person on this list who appeared as a coach on "The Voice" and also a judge on "American Idol" (for Seasons 12 through 15).

Urban has a surprisingly wholesome image, thanks in large part to his marriage but also his reality television career. He always reacted with meme-worthy facial expressions and once memorably broke down in tears while watching Kelly Clarkson sing in a return to the "Idol" stage. Even though he is now viewed as a clean-cut dad, Urban used to be a hard-partying musician. He told Rolling Stone Australia that it took him a long time to view his drinking as a problem because he grew up with an alcoholic father who was an even heavier drinker. Urban went to rehab multiple times (for cocaine and alcohol) but got sober for good in 2006, after his (then) new wife Kidman planned an intervention.