The Most Cringe-Worthy Celebrity Moments Of This Past Decade

A lot happens in a decade. At the onset of 2010, most people were still getting their Netflix fix through the mail; jumping into a stranger's car — much less one you met on the internet — was generally considered a Law & Order: SVU plot line waiting to happen; and The Hills was gearing up to air its final episode. Ten years later, we live in a world where Netflix is just one of several streaming services, Uber has made its IPO, and the The Hills is back (but this time, Heidi and Spencer are the protagonists. Who would've thought?). 

Not to mention, the United Kingdom was still part of the Europe Union in the early 2010s (ahead of making its not-so-seamless Brexit), and Donald Trump was a steak salesman with a cameo in one of the best Christmas movies of all time – Covfefe wasn't even a thing! Even with that, the past decade has had so many cringey moments that Justin Bobby wearing combat boots to the beach doesn't even register on our list. 

Amid surprising changes in the worlds of mobile apps, reality TV, politics, and more, one thing has remained the same in the 2010s: Hollywood's penchant for the embarrassing, the awkward, and the dramatic. These celebrity moments were the most cringe-worthy of the bunch.

Tila Tequila vs. the juggalos

As swiftly as MySpace was sold for a small fraction of the $12 billion it was reportedly worth in its heyday, one of the platform's biggest stars found herself in a downward spiral of Nazi sympathizing, flat Eartherisms, and GoFundMe pages. It's hard to identify Tila Tequila's tipping point, but it seems to have happened around the same time that an army of angry juggalos — literally — tried to tip her over.

In 2010, Tequila was set to perform at the annual Gathering of the Juggalos. For those who aren't familiar, it's a weekend of debauchery where Insane Clown Posse fans generally partake in some of the more innocuous actions that warrant their FBI gang classificationVice even once described the music festival as "lawless madness." Tequila was allegedly warned by band members not to perform — they even told her she could keep the money — but nevertheless, the defiant reality star persisted.

According to a couple of reports, the audience threw rocks, bottles, and human feces at Tequila when she took the stage. The former TV starlet responded by taking off her top (a move festival organizers claimed was antagonizing) before ultimately being chased to her trailer by an angry mob, who tried to flip it over. The former Playboy model, who escaped in her SUV after the windows were smashed, needed stitches following the harrowing event. She did make a full recovery; however, her ego might have sustained permanent damage. 

Robert Pattinson's blatant Today show lie

2011 was an era where vampires glittered in the sun, and Kristen Stewart's cheating scandal hadn't yet blown up the most beloved couple in the world of YA fiction. The Twilight franchise was resting on the laurels of Eclipse, which reportedly pulled in more than $64 million during its opening, and Robert Pattinson was effortlessly shedding Edward Cullen's pasty skin and racking up acting credits outside of the popular franchise. At the time, you couldn't flip a tabloid page without seeing the star's name — and in some respects, he was the ringmaster of the media circus surrounding his circus-themed drama.

For some inexplicable reason, Pattinson decided to architect a lie so shocking during a 2011 appearance on the Today show that think pieces are still being penned about it today. It all began when Matt Lauer asked the Water for Elephants star if he ever dreamed about running away to join the circus as a kid. He hadn't, he claimed, but mainly because the first time he went to the circus, a clown died when his tiny clown car exploded in front of the audience, triggering an evacuation. "Everybody ran out," he said. "It was terrifying. It was the only time I've ever been to the circus."

As it turns out, this entire story about deep childhood trauma was completely fabricated, but why? Per Metro, Pattinson came clean about a week later and claimed he simply had "nothing interesting to say."

Remember when Kim Kardashian was married for 72 days?

Today, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are duel enigmas — from their sinks that defy the laws of physics to West's ersatz church. Most of us don't remember that half a decade before the reality star made National Snake Day a religious holiday on behalf of her husband, she was walking down the aisle with another man. Yes, Kardashian's short, 72-day marriage to basketball player Kris Humphries is a true thing that actually happened, and they've got the reality TV special to prove it.

In 2011, a 30-year-old Kardashian threw an extravagant summer wedding in Montecito, Calif. It was, if anything, a lesson in excess. According to CBS News, the wedding cost a reported $10 million. Unfortunately, the entire thing — which aired on E! in a two-part special called Kim's Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event — was doomed from the start. Kardashian filed for divorce in less than three months and later owned up to tying the knot for the wrong reasons.

"I just thought, 'Holy s**t, I'm 30 years old, I better get this together. I better get married,'" she told Andy Cohen during an episode of Watch What Happens Live. "I think a lot of girls do go through that where they freak out thinking they're getting old and ... all their friends are having kids." Awkward, but societal pressures get the best of us all.

Zac Efron's condom was the star of The Lorax premiere

There are still many questions left unanswered from 2012: Did NASA secretly find enough alien life with the Curiosity rover to warrant a raid of Area 51 seven years later? What happened to Kony 2012? And why did Zac Efron carry a condom in his pocket to the premiere of a children's movie? Why?

The same year that Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast, the veil of our Disney-like child innocence was lifted — if we're the type of people unwilling to admit that Troy Bolton, the veritable MVP of the East High Wildcats, probably already rounded the bases with high school sweetheart Gabriella. The incident was a just moment. Efron's shallow pants pockets betrayed him. The condom broke free from the tight grip of his denim and jumped out onto The Lorax premiere's red carpet like the star of the film. You could practically hear the embarrassment in the High School Musical star's inaudible voice when he mouthed to his publicist, "Oh my god!"

Shortly after the incident, Efron appeared on Today to promote the Dr. Seuss film, but was forced to relive the horror in front of a giggling Matt Lauer. "I never really had a pocket checking policy prior to going onto the red carpet before, but now we've fully instated one," Efron said. Hey, at least he planned to use protection. His head is clearly in the game.

Jennifer Lawrence face-planted at the 2013 Oscars

Jennifer Lawrence is the kind of relatable queen who photobombs her friends and orders McDonald's from the Oscars red carpet. While we're not sure if she's a Big Mac or chicken nuggets kind of gal, we do know one thing: she needs to watch herself in heels. Katniss knows her way around a bow and arrow, but a pair of stilettos is an entirely different kind of weapon.

At the 2013 ceremony, Lawrence was crowned the best actress for her role in Silver Linings Playbook. Maybe she was famished because her Happy Meal hadn't yet arrived, or maybe she was just being J-Law, but she tumbled up the stairs on her way to accept her award. She ended up repeating the move again on the red carpet the following year, but thankfully, her then-boyfriend, Nicholas Hoult, was there to help her up, according to the Daily Mail.

It seems like J-Law has evolved since her early days face-planting all over the Oscars. In 2018, Lawrence tested fate by climbing over chairs and guess what? She emerged completely unscathed. Let's not forget her famous on-screen counterpart did win the Hunger Games.

Miley Cyrus' 2013 VMAs performance

2013 marked the twerk heard around the world. That year, Bangerz-era Miley Cyrus (you know, the one who stuck her tongue out in every single photo and sang about dropping molly) hit the MTV VMAs like a wrecking ball and scandalized middle-aged mothers everywhere by twerking on the loins of "Blurred Lines" singer Robin Thicke while dressed in a nude, latex bikini set. The performance was so controversial that, according to The New York Times, some critics labeled it a "minstrel show," while others claimed, "There's pushing the envelope and there's porn."

To make things even more cringe, Thicke — who was wearing some sort of Beetlejuice cosplay outfit — ended up throwing Cyrus under the bus a la Janet Jackson circa the 2004 Super Bowl. During an interview with Oprah Winfrey (via People), the singer claimed he didn't think of Cyrus' performance as sexual because he allegedly "didn't see it." He was so busy singing he didn't pay attention to what the singer was doing at all. "That's all on her," he told Winfrey. Okay dude.

Apparently, Thicke's involvement had some blurred lines, because Cyrus told a completely different story. "He acted like he didn't know that was going to happen. You were in rehearsals! You knew exactly what was going to happen," she said to The New York Times. "...He wanted me as naked as possible, because that's how his video was." Whoops!

Jay-Z's billion-dollar elevator brawl

A couple years before Becky with the good hair made the entire internet amateur detectives, we had the first whiff of trouble in the Carter household. What better place (besides the Louvre) to go totally apes**t than a fancy after party?

According to TMZ, a security camera in a lift at the Standard Hotel in New York City appeared to catch Beyoncé's sister, Solange, in the middle of a full-on brawl with her brother-in-law as they were leaving a 2014 Met Gala after party. In the video, Beyoncé casually stood in a corner while her sister lunged at Hov, physically striking him at least three times as a man who appeared to be a bodyguard attempted to hold her back. She even got in a good purse-smack, but the real kicker was a photo that was snapped as the trio exited the premises. Per E! News, Solange looked angry, Jay-Z looked absolutely flabbergasted, and Beyoncé was quietly smirking.

The cringe-worthy incident caused such a media circus that Beyoncé gave it a shout-out in her "***Flawless (Remix)" and Jay-Z felt the need to address it three years later. In a podcast interview posted on Tidal (via ABC News), the rapper admitted he only had "one disagreement" with his sister-in-law, saying, "Before and after, we've been cool. That's my sister. Not my sister-in-law, no, my sister. Period." Hey, as Queen Bey put it, "Of course sometimes s**t go down when it's a billion dollars on an elevator."

Steve Harvey's Miss Universe mistake

Though it might seem like Moonlight should have won the title of most cringe-worthy awards show mishap of the decade, the trophy has to go to Steve Harvey at the 2015 Miss Universe pageant (that is, if we've read the card correctly). There is nothing — and we repeat nothing — more brutal than watching a Miss Universe contestant awkwardly fake a smile on national television while her crown is revoked.

According to CNN, Harvey initially crowned Ariadna Gutierrez, Miss Colombia, the winner when it should have gone to Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, Miss Philippines. After the TV host left the stage, he quickly realized his mistake and jumped back out to rectify it in what is probably the most uncomfortable few minutes of live TV ever. Period. "OK folks ... I have to apologize," he said (via CNN). "Let me just take control of this. This is exactly what's on the card. I will take responsibility for this. It was my mistake. It was on the card."

If that wasn't bad enough, we had to watch Gutierrez stand there and smile as the coveted crown was pulled off of her head and placed on Miss Philippines' perfect updo. Harvey later apologized on Twitter and admitted that he felt "terrible," but the star still received death threats for the mix-up. Mostly, we just wish we could shed the secondhand embarrassment, but mad props for owning up, man.

Ariana Grande scorned childhood obesity by licking some donuts

Ariana Grande has undoubtedly revamped her image since she first began to make the transition from Nickelodeon actress to pop star, but it wasn't without making a brief — and highly embarrassing — detour into Divaville. Hey, she totally earned all those comparisons to Mariah Carey.

In 2015, a video appeared to capture the pint-sized star licking trays of donuts in a California bake shop, and remarking, "What the f**k is that? I hate Americans. I hate America." Her excuse? According to CNN, Grande was "frustrated" with the rates of childhood obesity in America. Girl, must we remind you that you walked into a doughnut shop!

After an onslaught of backlash (and a police investigation), the star issued a video apology. "Seeing a video of yourself behaving poorly, that you have no idea was taken, is such a rude awakening, that you don't know what to do — I was so disgusted with myself," Grande said (via CNN). This isn't just one of the cringiest moments of the decade, it's probably the singer's cringiest moment of all time, though we'll give an honorable mention to the moment she almost got knocked off a runway by an oversized pair of angel wings at the Victoria's Secret fashion show. If God is a woman, she needs to keep better track of her angels.

Kendall Jenner ended racism in a Pepsi Commercial

If only Kendall Jenner really could end racism and police brutality by cracking open a cold, crisp Pepsi. In 2017, the soft drink behemoths put the reality star at the forefront of one of the cringiest KarJenner controversies of the decade when they cast her in a commercial that "borrowed imagery from the Black Lives Matter movement," according to The New York Times.

Like you'd expect, the commercial wasn't well received, and it was pulled almost as quickly as it came out. Pepsi swiftly issued a statement, and Jenner tearfully apologized on her reality show. "I just felt so f**king stupid," she said. "The fact that I would offend other people or hurt other people was definitely not the intent."

For many, Pepsi's commercial was a testament to why brands should probably keep their nose out of political and/or pop culture movements — or at the very least, stop trying to co-opt them for financial gain. Unless of course, you're whoever is running Wendy's Twitter. In that case, you're killing it. Nonetheless, Coca Cola and Taylor Swift are probably laughing all the way to the bank.

Ja Rule and the sad cheese sandwich

Ja Rule's name might have been cleared from the $100 million class-action lawsuit, but that doesn't change the fact that Fyre Festival — which devolved into a sort of rich, millennial version of Lord of the Flies — was the decade's biggest laughing stock. The music festival, which had an average ticket price between $4,000 to $12,000, was initially meant to have luxury accommodations on Pablo Escobar's private Bahamian island, but turned out to be a total scam that saw attendees fighting for "bare, soggy mattresses and disaster relief tents," according to the Daily Mail.

Anyone who's seen the Hulu and Netflix documentaries knows that the festival was a disaster (with the FEMA tents to prove it), but the gourmet catering was perhaps its crowning achievement. That small, sad slice of cheese on a plain, unbuttered, untoasted piece of bread was so laughable it immediately went viral. 

Despite the obvious scam (which landed organizer Billy McFarland a six-year prison sentence) and the sad cheese sandwich (which anyone who's paid their way through college can probably relate to), Ja Rule still stuck by the doomed festival. "I'm not ashamed of Fyre at all," he said during an episode of the Drink Champs podcast. "Because man, the idea, it was brilliant. It was f**king beyond brilliant ... It was amazing, but it wasn't what I dreamed it of being,"

Slavery was a choice, said Kanye West

It's almost impossible to pick which of Kanye West's most cringe-worthy moments deserves a coveted spot on this list. The dude kicked off the decade by famously jumping on stage at the 2009 MTV VMAs and usurping Taylor Swift's acceptance speech. He also launched his own church service that allegedly charged $55 for some Bisquick-looking pancakes. He also wrote this song. Nonetheless, it's almost impossible for Kanye to out-Kanye himself after crashing the TMZ offices and alleging that slavery was a choice.

"When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sound like a choice," he said during the May 2018 appearance. If the look of secondhand embarrassment from executive producer Charles Latibeaudiere wasn't enough, Van Lathan, an African American TMZ employee, delivered a powerful rebuttal to West's claims that centuries of systemic racism and abuse against people who share his same heritage was voluntary. Taking the cake (or Brunchella breakfast)? The rapper opened up about his decision to wear a MAGA hat moments prior to making this declaration. (Was it some of that big dragon energy talking?)

According to The Cut, #IfSlaveryWereAChoice started trending on Twitter following the interview despite West's various attempts to clarify his comment. The Wrap reports that Latibeaudiere also called the rapper "an under-medicated, mentally unstable megalomaniac" in the interview's wake. Cringe!