Stars Who Get Taken Advantage Of For Being Too Nice

Making it in Hollywood is about so much more than just being talented and ready for a performance, because as the old song says, "there's no business like show business." Off-screen personalities are often just as relevant as the actual work when it comes to excelling in the industry, and while there are a lot of famous folks who could stand to take a few notes in crowd courtesy, there are a handful of celebs who've proven that it doesn't always pay to be nice. Here are some of those stars who've been taken advantage of for being too nice.

Jennifer Lawrence

Even though she reached supernova status at a very young age, Jennifer Lawrence still paid her dues by working on the small-time circuit for several years before finally catching everyone's attention with her acclaimed work in 2010's Winter's Bone. After the public got a taste of her talent in that film, the cornucopia of cinematic choices dropped right in Lawrence's lap, and she nabbed not one, but two blockbuster franchise opportunities with The Hunger Games and X-Men: First Class. She also began her collaborative relationship with director David O. Russell, whose Silver Linings Playbook won her an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Given the speed at which she achieved such status, Lawrence wasn't prepared for one dismal reality of the business — the hush hush wage-gap issue between male and female actors. After the Sony Hack of 2014 revealed the company had paid her less than her male co-stars, despite the fact that she was just as marquee a name as the rest by then, she revealed in a Lenny Letter that the revelation was just the start of her realization about the unequal treatment she was receiving as a woman.

"All I hear and see all day are men speaking their opinions, and I give mine in the same exact manner, and you would have thought I had said something offensive. I'm over trying to find the 'adorable' way to state my opinion and still be likable," she wrote. "F*** that. I don't think I've ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It's just heard." She went on to famously put her foot down and demand of a hefty payday for her next film with the same studio, Passengers, even reportedly asking for more money than her male co-star Chris Pratt.

Emma Stone

As another "it girl" actress who rose to fame for her quirky "cool" girl persona on-screen, Emma Stone has also recently revealed her experience with the underbelly of unfairness in her journey through the real-life La La Land. In a cover interview for Rolling Stone, she revealed that she had also felt the sting of silencing and theft of worth in her work, with what seemed to be sexist motivations by those involved.

"There are times in the past, making a movie, when I've been told that I'm hindering the process by bringing up an opinion or an idea," she told the mag. "I hesitate to make it about being a woman, but there have been times when I've improvised, they've laughed at my joke and then given it to my male co-star. Given my joke away. Or it's been me saying, 'I really don't think this line is gonna work,' and being told, 'Just say it, just say it, if it doesn't work we'll cut it out' – and they didn't cut it out, and it really didn't work!'" she added. By speaking out about the marginalization, it's pretty clear Stone's not going to suffer the set-aside treatment anymore.

Billy Joel

If anyone needs an example of just why money and family matters don't mix, Billy Joel's story is it. His former brother-in-law Frank Weber, worked as his manager for years before being flagged for possibly extorting the legendary singer. Joel then filed a lawsuit against the man, who was even previously named his daughter's godfather, to recoup the $30 million that had been scammed from his earnings during Weber's tenure as his fiscal chief, plus punitive damages, but he ultimately only recovered a fraction of the money. Joel had reportedly given Weber, who was considered a close confidant, near complete control of his business and experienced "shock and outrage" to learn of Weber's costly deceit after a private investigator discovered his fraudulence and long-running bad deals. Even worse, the fact that he had to tour aggressively to recoup his substantial losses cost him his marriage to model Christie Brinkley.


Elton John

The Piano Man is hardly the only point of reference for what happens when trust is taken advantage of on a catastrophic financial level by someone close. Sir Elton John, who was coincidentally touring with Joel at the time of John's own dispute in the early aughts, had to sue his tour manager Frank Presland for substantial fees that he believed were fraudulently charged to him during the tour. Among the millions in excess charges, John alleged, was a 4-million pound bill from Presland himself who dismissed the allegations as "just business." It wasn't just business, however, when it came to his former manager John Reid, whom John had a personal relationship with, but collected 2 million pounds from in an out-of-court settlement with for improper charges.

The judge presiding in the matter with Presland ultimately dismissed John's claims but did say the singer's downfall was that he was both "a man of uncommonly generous disposition" and "indifferen[t] to the details of financial and business matters," which cost him a great deal.

Robert De Niro

This time it's a-personal. Robert DeNiro became a real-life raging bull in 2007, when a dozen paintings done by his late father Robert De Niro, Sr. were given to another gallery in settlement for one art house's debt without his permission. The actor had consigned 12 paintings with the Salander-O'Reilly gallery, which was permitted to sell them on his behalf only on the honor that they'd pay up and notify the owner when done. But not only did they wind up selling pieces without notifying or paying De Niro, they also ended up transferring the artwork to another gallery to settle its debts. De Niro was successful in aiding prosecutorial efforts against the gallery's director, who was found to have defrauded the actor of $1 million in his father's valuable art, pursuing justice against the scam artist who took advantage of himself and his dad's work for years after discovering the malfeasance.

Aaron Paul

Celebrity endorsements can be pretty expensive to secure, but Airbnb attempted to get some free advertisement out of Breaking Bad alum Aaron Paul, at the expense of his privacy. The actor revealed that after he listed his Idaho home on the site for rent, the company posted his listing and associated the house with his name without his permission, which meant he suddenly began to receive very strange messages from prospective renters and felt taken advantage of by the company, who he now has a "love-hate relationship" with.

As he told The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, "Secretly, I was renting out my house in Idaho, but then Airbnb blasted it out to the world that it was my house ... Shame on you Airbnb." He added, "They just threw out the listing and I started getting all these messages from people wanting to stay at my house. I'm like, 'This is great,' but then the messages were like, 'Oh my God, I love you b***h. I can't wait to sleep in your bed, b***h.' I'm like what is happening here? And then I just Google 'Aaron Paul Airbnb' and it's just everywhere."

When put on the spot to share one of those specific messages from the crowd, he read the following madness: "Dude, would love to rent your place for a few days to a week. Huge Breaking Bad fan. My dates are flexible. Would be driving from Northern Cali, just me and an older female friend of mine who had a stroke and definitely does not party. I will throw in some extra cheddah to have you knock on the door and when opened, call us b***es." It's amazing he still uses the service at all after that experience.

Selena Gomez

Yet another layer of the fame game coming back to bite its players is the media fallout that attends buzzy relationships and break-ups. The bigger the couple is, the harder it is for the public to let go of that reality of them being together, and for Selena Gomez, she's been constantly, almost endlessly associated with her ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber at every turn. For years, the singer was hit with questions about Bieber's latest public woes or whether they were ever returning to the makeup zone, and after the umpteenth question was flung her way by Rolling Stone, she cried uncle once and for all.

"What I would love to be printed is that I am so beyond done with talking about that, and him," she said, making her meaning plain. It's not that she hadn't been hinting at this before; Gomez had previously explained to W Magazine just a few months prior that she was "so done" worrying about her ex because she was "exhausted" over trying to care anymore, but apparently that wasn't clear enough even still. But it really doesn't seem to matter how she phrases her polite attempts to quash the story; the subject is still rolling forward as ever, with press even questioning her grandfather about the status of "Jelena" recently. Some things will just never change without a fight.