Things We Got Wrong About Celebs For A Really Long Time

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Aside from randomly and falsely declaring just about every celebrity dead from time to time, one of the internet's other pastimes is passing around salacious celeb rumors. Some of them, like Arnold Schwarzenegger fathering a love child with his maid, turn out to be true. But most of them are either total fabrications, or the result of an online game of telephone in which over the years the rumors acquire new details and become harder and harder to debunk. Lots of stars choose to simply remain silent on their personal fake news stories, but others have set the record straight. Here is some false celebrity gossip we believed for way too long.

Ciara was born a man

Now that LGBTQ rights have finally become an issue that is getting taken seriously by the mainstream, it's hard to imagine such an ugly and offensive rumor like this one gaining any kind of traction today. But for years, singer Ciara was the subject of rampant speculation that she was actually born a man. People even believed she confessed to this on Oprah even though no such tape of it exists. But we will point out that Ciara had a son with rapper Future, and at the time of this writing, she is pregnant with her current husband, NFL quarterback Russell Wilson's baby, so she pretty much took care of squashing those rumors with sheer biology.

Just for good measure, take a look at Ciara's complete shutdown of this nonsense before she had her first child. On what is admittedly a pretty crappy looking YouTube upload of her 2007 appearance on BET's 106 & Park, Ciara offers $100K to anyone who can produce the supposed Oprah appearance before finishing the brief segment by saying, "One thing I feel about in life is that, the bigger and better things get for you, the more people try to bring you down." Boom! Spoken like a true queen.

JLo's butt is insured for a million dollars

It is a fact that celebrities have definitely taken out insurance policies on body parts they're famous for. Former Playboy Playmate and Hugh Hefner ex, Holly Madison admitted to People that Lloyd's of London insured her breasts for $1 million after she landed a gig to appear nude in the Las Vegas show, Peepshow. "I've heard about people getting body parts insured and I thought, why not?. Because if anything happened to my boobs, I'd be out for a few months and I'd probably be out a million dollars," she said. "I thought I'd cover my assets." In her case, this actually makes sense, as odd as it must have been to take those photos and send them off to an insurance company.

But in JLo's case, such a thing isn't necessary. Yes, she is famous for having one of the most noteworthy backsides in all of pop culture, but showing it off is certainly not the only talent JLo has. (No offense, Holly.) On her Carpool Karaoke appearance (via People), JLo dispelled the booty rider rumors once and for all. "No! There is no such thing as that. I think there is a place in your homeland where you can insure certain things, parts of your body — seriously. I think that exists. I've heard that. Not here, I don't think!"

And yes, JLo does have a song called "Booty" that is literally an ode to her plentiful posterior, but she's also a cross-platform diva and branding mogul who isn't worried about sudden unemployment or relying on a claim check made out to "Dat Ass."

Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton wore vials of each other's blood around their necks

Of all of the creepy things Angelina Jolie has actually done, like getting weirdly intimate with her brother on the red carpet, and stealing Jennifer Aniston's man, the one that actually got blown out of proportion was the claim that she and Billy Bob Thornton were wearing vials of each other's blood around their necks. It was an easy story to believe, since the eccentric couple had a habit of publicly displaying their passion — though their brief marriage only lasted from 2000 to 2003. But it's really not as crazy as everyone made it out to be.

Finally opening up about the infamous accessory in 2008, Jolie told Entertainment Weekly (via Access Hollywood), "It was never a vial anyway. It was like a flower press," she said. "It was like from a slight cut on your finger and you press your fingerprint in. It was kind of a sweet gesture. I thought it was kind of romantic!"

The best part of this story has to be the fact that actual lunatics jumped on this trend and started wearing their own blood vial necklaces. In fact, you can still buy them on Amazon and elsewhere on the internet, like Etsy where amateur jewelers are claiming to put actual human blood in them. Now, that's actually crazy.

Marilyn Manson is Paul from 'The Wonder Years'

Back in 1997, Marilyn Manson was already denying rumors that he played Paul on The Wonder Years. In his keynote address to the CMJ Music Marathon (via The Hartford Courant), Manson said, "I was not on The Wonder Years. But the thing with rumors is that it doesn't matter what's true. What's popular is what people believe.” Apparently that was some sage wisdom, because fast-forward to a 2012 interview with Loudwire, and the shock rocker was still batting away the same lie 15 years later. "Rumors, stories...I'm used to them. I got my rings removed. I was on The Wonder Years. You know there's a different story every day. I'm amused by them," Manson said.

Josh Saviano, the real dude who played Paul, didn't mind the rumor when it started either. "I had no idea who [Marilyn Manson] was at the time. So I'd spoke to one of my friends at school who did know who he was. It became a progressively more entertaining story line amongst me and my friends," Saviano told Yahoo.

He even said he's glad to have never appeared together with Manson, because he enjoys that the rumor has stuck around so long. Manson seems to have enjoyed it as well. During a cast reunion on ABC News, Wonder Years star, Fred Savage relayed his own tangential experience with what he refers to as "the first internet rumor." "I met (Manson) once. He came up to me, and he goes, 'You know, we worked together.' I was like, 'I do. I do know that.'" Who would've guessed the guy behind such nightmare-inducing music videos also has such a good sense of humor?

Michael Jackson slept in a hyperbaric chamber

If Angelina Jolie is the queen of bizarre rumors, then Michael Jackson was definitely the king. There are too many to mention, so we'll stick with one of the most ludicrous and most enduring of them all: He supposedly slept in a hyperbaric chamber. The story started in 1986 with a photo the National Enquirer ran of Jackson laying down inside an actual hyperbaric chamber. It was alleged that he bought the machine, because he believed it would allow him to live to the inhumanly old age of 150. While that is now sadly ironic, since the pop icon died so young, people were quick to believe he would do something like this on account of his unending quirkiness and fondness for plastic surgery. But the truth isn't nearly as entertaining.

In a rare all-access 1993 interview in which he let Oprah explore his entire house, she revealed that she didn't see the chamber anywhere, and gave Michael the chance to explain once and for all. Notably annoyed, Jackson said the photo was taken in the Michael Jackson Burn Unit which was the wing of the Brotman Medical Center made possible in part by his generous donation of the settlement money he got from the Pepsi commercial accident that left him with burns on his scalp. He was merely checking out the piece of equipment, which is used to treat burn victims, when the infamous snapshot was taken. The rest is all nonsense. And really, with all of the actual, nutty, and provable things Michael Jackson did — remember him hanging his baby over the balcony? — there should never have been a reason to make things up.

Will and Jada Pinkett Smith have an open marriage

For whatever reason, there was already rampant speculation about Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's supposedly "open marriage" when Jada made her now infamous remarks during a HuffPost Live interview. One of the big takeaways that ended up stoking the open marriage flame rumors even further was when she said that Will could do "whatever he wants" as long as he can "look himself in the mirror and be okay." Many interpreted that as a "hall pass," but the reality isn't so cut and dry.

If Jaden Smith's eccentric Twitter account is any indication, the Smith household is an open-minded place that seeks deep reflection on just about any topic. And Will and Jada's marriage definitely falls under that umbrella. In order to address the fervor over her HuffPost Live statements Jada headed to her Facebook page and got straight-up philosophical about it. She wrote, in part, "Do we believe loving someone means owning them? Do we believe that ownership is the reason someone should "behave"? Do we believe that all the expectations, conditions, and underlying threats of 'you better act right or else' keep one honest and true?" She finished the statement with "This does NOT mean we have an open relationship... this means we have a GROWN one." So, that's about as clear as that's going to get, right? But there was another subtle message there in her use of capitalizing certain words as well as pointing questions back at all those internet busybodies. In case you missed it, we'll go ahead and interpret: Mind. Your. Damn. Business. Haters.

Richard Gere and the gerbil

We try not to get too raunchy around here, so in the spirit of keeping things PG, we're going to tiptoe around this one a little bit. For years, legendary actor Richard Gere has been the subject of a rather disturbing rumor involving a gerbil, an emergency room, and probably a prescription for a rubber donut to sit on for a few days after. According to Snopes, not only is this not something people actually do (thank goodness!), but Gere isn't the only celeb to face this rumor — he's just the unlucky one to have it actually stick.

Surprisingly, we do have a clue as to how this whole thing got started. Sylvester Stallone, surely pleased to still be associated with this lurid story, has confirmed that at some point Richard Gere believed he was the originator of the tale of the backdoor vermin. During a Q&A for Ain't It Cool News, The Italian Stallion told an anecdote from the set of the 1974 film, The Lords of Flatbush. After he and Gere got into a fight, Stallone alleges, "The director had to make a choice: one of us had to go, one of us had to stay. Richard was given his walking papers and to this day seriously dislikes me. He even thinks I'm the individual responsible for the gerbil rumor. Not true... but that's the rumor."

So, Stallone inadvertently admitted that the gerbil story has been around since 1974. Pre-internet, and pre-gossip tabloids, and it just so happened to start around the time he and Gere had a huge falling out? Sounds like Rambo might have pulled a Mean Girls move back in the day.

Rod Stewart's nasty stomach pumping

This one gets filed under into the same "Weird and Gross" category as Richard Gere's alleged gerbil escapades. And we're attaching this false fact to 70's rocker, Rod Stewart, since he's actually gone on record to dispute it, but the story has actually been connected to everyone from Mick Jagger to Britney spears over the years.

Anyway, according to Snopes the story always includes the following details: [Insert pop culture figure here] collapses on stage or at a party; he or she is rushed to the hospital; he or she has a gallon (or other randomly chosen large quantity) of semen pumped from their stomach. Horrible, right?

Now, the move here for any star who gets associated with this obviously ridiculous urban legend should be to ignore and move on. Or to point out, as Snopes does, that there are so many outlandish details to the story that it couldn't possibly be true. But Rod Stewart didn't do any of that. Instead, he wrote about it in his autobiography and blamed the whole thing on Tony Toon, a former assistant he fired. "Toon's revenge was absolutely inspired. He fed the press a story in which, as a consequence of an evening spent orally servicing a gang of sailors in a gay bar in San Diego, I had been required to check into a hospital emergency room to have my stomach pumped ... I have never orally pleasured even a solitary sailor, let alone a ship's worth in one evening," Stewart wrote. Cool, guess that settles that. If you'll excuse us, we'll be over here puking in a bucket.

Bert and Ernie are a closeted gay couple

First of all, really? We'd honestly love to meet the folks who have so much free time on their hands that they sat around speculating on the sexual preferences of two Muppets. But this is a real thing that's been going on pretty much since Bert and Ernie moved onto Sesame Street in 1969. Although according to Cinema Blend, the gay couple theory really gained traction around 2014 after the Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized gay marriage. Somehow, a legal decision concerning human beings translated to romanticizing a relationship between two fictional, non-human dolls who just happen to share a bedroom.

But that didn't stop a change.org petition from circulating which urged Sesame Street to "Let Bert & Ernie get married" like the two of them have been repeatedly denied or something. Amazingly, the show responded to the insane petition on its Facebook page with the following: "Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation." Anyone else feel like they left out a much needed, "Attention morons!" right at the beginning of that message?