Celebs Who Are Nothing Like They Seem

When it comes to the world of celebrities, it's not always "what you see is what you get." In fact, it's usually quite the opposite. Celebs are people too, and when they're not on-set or in front of the camera, they're usually, y'know, actual people.

Find out what happens when fans forget that the real Lena Headey is not as ruthless as her character on Game of Thrones, and we hate to break it to you, but Bob Saget, Tim Allen, and Florence Henderson aren't nearly as G-rated as the parents the famous parents they played on TV. Are late night hosts Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert funny and sarcastic all the time? And what about your favorite athletes, musicians, and power couples? Do they walk the walk when they're not walking the red carpet? 

The truth may surprise you. Let's take a closer look at celebs who are nothing like they seem. 

Jimmy Fallon

When NBC dumped Conan O'Brien as the host of The Tonight Show in favor of bringing back Jay Leno, it seemed the network was trying to play it safe and appeal to the biggest crowd. Leno's second successor, Jimmy Fallon, seems to have been the right move in keeping The Tonight Show as safe as possible. But when he's not hosting the late-night TV dynasty, Fallon seems to be not-so-safe after all. 

In autumn 2015, the New York Post reported that Fallon is a pretty heavy drinker, and that fact is starting to become an open secret among those who know and work with him. He suffered alcohol-induced injuries three times in a four-month span—injuries that included needing to get his hand stitched up after falling on a broken bottle of Jägermeister. 

​Florence Henderson

On The Brady Bunch, mom Carol Brady was as squeaky clean as they come. According to ABC News, the show even went so far as to make sure she was known as a remarried widower and not (gasp!) a divorcee. But off camera, it seems actress Florence Henderson occasionally walked on the wild side.

In 2001, she revealed in her memoir, Life is Not a Stage, that she engaged in a disastrous one-night stand with John Lindsay, the then-mayor of New York City, in the 1960s while she was married. "I was lonely," Henderson said of her Beverly Hills Hotel tryst (via Reuters). "I knew it wasn't the right thing to do. So, what did I do? I did it." Henderson said she caught crabs from the mayor, who promptly sent her flowers and a note of apology.

Michael Jordan

In the '80s and '90s, millions of kids wanted to be, as they said, "Like Mike." Why wouldn't they? He led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles and was one of the most famous, well-liked, and well-paid athletes on Earth. (He even helped Bugs Bunny beat a bunch of evil aliens in Space Jam.) Jordan's playing days are long over, but clues to what might be his true nature have since leaked out ... and he might be a jerk. 

When he was inducted into basketball's Naismith Hall of Fame in 2009, Jordan devoted a lot of his speech to calling out old rivals and detractors. He even told his high school basketball coach who picked another student, Leroy Smith, over him for the team his sophomore year that he "made a mistake, dude." (Smith was present at the ceremony.) When he was a player, Jordan once punched teammate Steve Kerr during a scrimmage, and during a game, he called Muggsy Bogues – the shortest player in NBA history — a "f***ing [offensive word for little person that begins with an "m"].

Lena Headey

On the Emmy-winning Game of Thrones, Headey plays the ruthless, conniving, incestuous Cersei Lannister, Queen Regent of the Seven Kingdoms. Her character is so convincing, Thrones' fans recoil from her autograph at cast events. When Headey is out and about living her real life, strangers who are also out and about (supposedly) living their real lives will routinely cuss her out

Headey is truly a delightful lady. She's hilarious and humble. Her kids seem lovely too (and were not actually fathered by her brother.) If you need a reason to hate the real Headey, here's one: she told Conan O'Brien she has not read George R. R. Martin's books, on which the show is based.

​Carroll O'Connor

Television's most famous bigot has got to be Archie Bunker of All in the Family. Perhaps no single character has more convincingly sold the role of ignorant old windbag better than Carroll O'Connor, which never ceased to amaze those who knew him because the actor was considered a very kind and intelligent man.

In his memoir (via The Hollywood Reporter), showrunner Norman Lear writes about O'Connor's eternal struggle to play the abrasive role of Bunker. Lear recalls every script as a battle, with O'Connor threatening to quit repeatedly because he was so repulsed. "It was understandable to a degree," Lear writes. "He was, after all, at the beginning of a process where he was to shed the gentle Irish intellectual Carroll O'Connor to become the poorly educated, full-of-himself blowhard Archie Bunker, spewing a kind of rancid, lights-out conservatism for a television audience that grew quickly to more than 50 million people."

Steve Buscemi

As an actor, Buscemi's curriculum vitae includes murderer, gangster, addict, and bum, but off-screen, he's a stand-up, blue collar guy from Brooklyn. Before his acting career heated up, a young Buscemi worked as a firefighter for Little Italy's Engine 55. The day after the September 11 terror attacks, he went to Ground Zero in his old gear to join his former team. He worked long shifts with them for nearly a week, clearing rubble and searching for survivors. Buscemi never boasted about his volunteerism. It was fellow firefighters that revealed what he'd done. In 2014, he collaborated on an HBO documentary called A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY.

Andrew Lincoln

We've watched for years as sheriff deputy Rick Grimes battles zombies on The Walking Dead. Lincoln's character is tough, tormented, and decidedly Southern. So Southern that his pronunciation of "Carl," the name of his on-screen son, fueled a slew of memes. Perhaps that's why it still shocks us when we hear Lincoln's authentic British accent in interviews. Do you know the guy's last name isn't even Lincoln? It's Clutterbuck. Clutterbuck! That surname belongs at Hogwarts, not in a post-apocalyptic U. S. of A.

John Lennon

The Beatle who penned "All You Need is Love" and "Give Peace a Chance" didn't always practice what he preached. Behind the scenes, Lennon was reportedly abusive toward women, unfaithful to his first wife, and an absentee father to his first born. Later in life, after spending several years as a "househusband" with second wife, Yoko Ono, Lennon addressed his ugly ways and talked about personal growth. 

"It is the most violent people who go for love and peace. Everything's the opposite," he told Playboy in September 1980. "But I sincerely believe in love and peace. I am a violent man who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence." 

Three months later on Dec. 8, 1980, Lennon was murdered outside his New York City apartment.

​Tim Allen

The star of sitcom Home Improvement and Disney's The Santa Clause film series seems like a good-natured, sometimes dopey man-child. Tim Allen, who rose to fame as a stand-up comic, became a household name playing Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor on prime time, then went on to save Christmas a time or two. It's hard to fathom that back in 1978, Allen was arrested on drug trafficking charges – nabbed with more than 650 grams of cocaine — and served two years behind bars. He was arrested again in 1997 on a DUI charge. While he's kept himself away from legal trouble of late, he did make waves for defending celebrity chef Paula Deen's use of the "n-word" in casual conversation. Talk about "tool time."

Ben Affleck

He's one of Hollywood's most sought-after actors and directors, but behind the scenes, Ben Affleck has battled substance abuse and gambling issues for well over a decade. He entered rehab in 2001, reportedly to deal with ongoing alcohol abuse. Alcohol and gambling were also said to be key factors in the downfall of his marriage to actress Jennifer Garner, according to TMZ. And let's not forget the time he was allegedly removed from a casino for counting cards. Still, the most damning case against Affleck came in Garner's first post-divorce interview with Vanity Fair, during which she alluded to multiple issues throughout their marriage, including rumors of infidelity. "No one needs to hate him for me ... Don't worry — my eyes were wide open during the marriage. I'm taking good care of myself." Yikes.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z

For years, Beyoncé and Jay-Z seemed like the perfect Hollywood couple — hip-hop royalty, so to speak. That image shattered in the blink of an eye when TMZ obtained security footage of Beyoncé's sister, Solange, physically attacking Jay-Z inside an elevator in New York City. Nobody knows what exactly prompted Solange to go on the attack, but that didn't stop the tabloids from publishing rumors about divorce, infidelity, and all sorts of relationship drama. 

Beyoncé and Jay-Z are still together today, though her 2016 Lemonade album and his 2017 4:44 project made it clear that their happily ever after has been no such thing.

Stephen Colbert

Colbert seems like a nice guy, but he's tough and savage when he needs to be. With a background that includes The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, he's the most politically-minded of the network late-night hosts and certainly not as warm and fuzzy as Jimmy Fallon or James Corden. That's why it's kind of hard to reconcile Colbert's quick and cutting onscreen wit with his off-screen gig as a Sunday school teacher. 

From 2003 to 2005, while still with The Daily Show, the devoutly Catholic Colbert volunteered to teach religious education courses at St. Cassian Church in Upper Montclair, N.J. He was reportedly a "fun" teacher — the kind who'd host religious-themed games of Jeopardy! and play songs on an acoustic guitar.

Caitlyn Jenner

As arguably the most famous trans celebrity in Hollywood, one might assume Caitlyn Jenner is about as liberal as one can get when it comes to politics. Not exactly. In fact, time and time again, the reality TV star has come under fire for her controversial political views. Take, for example, the time she claimed she wanted to become Ted Cruz's "trans ambassador" should the senator from Texas be elected president in 2016, or about the time she argued that Cruz's rival, Donald Trump, would be good for women's rights. In other words: don't expect her to be rubbing elbows with Hillary Clinton anytime soon.

​Danny Bonaduce

The wholesome and happy public image of The Partridge Family's Danny Bonaduce masked a very sad and troubled private life. At age 15, Bonaduce says he began to use drugs and alcohol, mostly as a way to cope with a tumultuous family life at home. By the time the hit show ended after four seasons, he claims he was broke, strung out, and living out of his car in Hollywood.

"I'd wake up, kind of wipe my eyes, and I'd go right through the little arch and I'd be in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater, where everybody's footprints are," Bonaduce revealed on an episode of Oprah's Where Are They Now? (via The Huffington Post) in 2013. "I was still famous and people had no idea I lived behind the dumpster. I'd be taking pictures with people and signing autographs...It was totally embarrassing to be famous and homeless."

Bonaduce's battle with drugs and alcohol continued for much of his life, most famously when he was arrested for robbing and beating a transvestite prostitute in 1991. According to his interview on Where Are They Now?, Bonaduce is finally sober.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard both saw their public images dragged through the mud after news of their divorce hit the tabloids in 2016. The months-long affair proved to be one of the messiest and most horrific celebrity splits in recent memory, and included everything from bizarre accusations of infidelity to allegations of domestic violence. Details remain murky at best, and to this day, the truth of what transpired seems likely to remain clouded behind a he-said-she-said battle. Still, if the many reports leading up to their settlement are to be believed, the time they actually spent married was anything but romantic.

Robert Reed

For six years, Robert Reed played the level-headed patriarch of the Brady family on The Brady Bunch, but behind the scenes, he was a miserable man throughout filming for the hit series. According to many reports, Reed battled his own ego and personal secrets that at times made life for the cast and crew of the sitcom exceedingly difficult. 

For starters, the Shakespearian-trained actor supposedly hated the fact that he had to act on television. "Television, in general was beneath him," Brady Bunch creator Sherwood Schwartz told ABC News. "And situation comedy was beneath television, in his opinion ... He wound up on a show that he didn't want to do in the first place, and it became more and more difficult for him."

At the same time, Reed had reportedly been boxed in by network executives who refused to let him reveal publicly that he was gay. "Here he was, the perfect father of this wonderful little family, a perfect husband," his former co-star and TV wife, Florence Henderson, told ABC News. "He was an unhappy person ... I think had Bob not been forced to live this double life, I think it would have dissipated a lot of that anger and frustration." 

Reed kept his sexual identity hidden from the public until his death in 1992 from colon cancer. After the fact, his death certificate revealed that he was HIV-positive.

Michael Strahan

Michael Strahan was one of the most popular figures on daytime television for years, thanks to his seemingly effortless chemistry with Kelly Ripa during their stint co-hosting Live! with Kelly and Michael. But in April 2016, his reputation and motives were called into question when he suddenly announced he was leaving Live! to join Good Morning America. The abrupt decision — which allegedly blindsided Ripa — exposed an ugly side to the Emmy-winning daytime talk show.

Reports quickly surfaced claiming Strahan and Ripa didn't get along, and it didn't do Strahan's image any favors when word leaked that Ripa was informed of his departure just before the press release went out. Strahan wound up exiting the show abruptly on May 13, 2016, leaving behind a tarnished image after an otherwise solid four-year run. The controversy also directed a renewed focus on his often tumultuous love life, which has included everything from messy divorces to allegations of infidelity. 

Jon Hamm

After his seven seasons on Mad Men, many now consider Jon Hamm to be one of television's all-time greats, but despite that Emmy-winning success, the actor's personal life has been anything but perfect. In March 2015, TMZ reported that Hamm had completed rehab treatment for alcohol abuse, just days before the premiere of the final season of Mad Men. "Life throws a lot at you sometimes and you have to deal with it as much as you can," he later told TV Week. "That's why you have family and friends and co-workers to help you with that."

​Meredith Baxter

In the 1980s, millions of Americans fell in love with Meredith Baxter-Birney, thanks to her starring role as hippie-turned-matriarch Elyse Keaton on the sitcom Family Ties. While her world on the small screen was all peace signs and laughter, in real life, Baxter-Birney says she was caught in the midst of a physical and emotionally abusive relationship with her now ex-husband and former Bridget Loves Birney co-star, David Birney.

"Nobody knew. It was a secret life," she told Oprah Winfrey in 2013 (via ABC News). "Nobody knew on the show at all because it was important for me to maintain some separation." Things eventually got so bad that the actress turned to alcohol to numb the pain. "I was so caught up on my own hurt ... I was so angry."

Meredith and David divorced in 1989. She revealed decades later that she is a lesbian and married her longtime girlfriend, Nancy Locke, in 2013.

​Bob Saget

For a period of time from the late-'80s to mid-'90s, Bob Saget's character on Full House was #dadgoals. Along with Uncle Jesse and Uncle Joey, the San Fran fam seemed like an awesome crew. Of course, then we all reached puberty and realized Full House was one of the smarmiest, saccharine-sweet shows on TV, and dad Danny Tanner's parenting had all the fire of a jar of mayonnaise, or so it seemed.

Since the end of Full House and his stint on America's Funniest Home Videos, Saget has returned to the world of stand-up comedy — and it's worlds away from the life of Mr. Tanner. Saget is still good-natured and friendly, but his comedy is vile, filthy, and meant to shock and surprise audiences. No subject is too taboo for Saget, who will say anything to make you laugh, or at the very least, make you terribly uncomfortable. We can't reprint many of his jokes here without an NSFW tag, so we'll just tell you that Saget's version of "The Aristocrats" is one of the raunchiest jokes you'll hear in your life. You've been warned.

Will Smith

Who couldn't like Will Smith? From West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where he spent most of his days, etc. and so forth. The star who made his mark on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is one of the most charming and bankable stars in Hollywood.

But not everyone is smitten with Smith. You may recall over the course of his breakout comedy that Aunt Viv magically changed from one actress to another. Actress Janet Hubert, the original Aunt Viv for three seasons, claims Smith was disrespectful and egomaniacal on the set while she was trying to be professional. She even blames him for her termination. In 2011, she told TMZ, "There will never be a [Fresh Prince] reunion ... as I will never do anything with an a***hole like Will Smith."

Dean Martin

This Rat Packer's whole deal was that he was a fun and flirty drunk — always just a little bit amusingly tipsy whenever he'd take the stage in Las Vegas or in a TV studio to film an episode of The Dean Martin Show. The drunk act, however, was just that — an act. 

According to Martin's son, Ricci Martin, in his memoir That's Amore: A Son Remembers Dean Martin (via Snopes), the legendary entertainer wasn't a teetotaler, but more of a sipper than a guzzler. "Dad usually had a J&B scotch and soda he nursed through the performance," the younger Martin wrote. "It was almost always a weak scotch and soda. Other times it was just apple juice."

Flavor Flav

Flavor Flav (aka "Flavor Flaaaaaav!") didn't come off as the brightest guy on all those VH1 dating and reality shows he appeared on in the 2000s, such as The Surreal Life, Flavor of Love, and Strange Love. He's also endured a host of addiction issues and legal problems. Becoming a reality TV staple and and having personal troubles certainly doesn't mean a man is stupid or untalented. Let's not forget he was a member of Public Enemy, one of the most important hip-hop groups of all time, and while it seemed like Chuck D did most of the heavy lifting on classics like "911 is a Joke" and "Fight the Power," did you know that Flav is actually some kind of musical genius?

As a child, he learned how to play an incredible 15 instruments, including guitar, piano, and drums, for which he retains an almost supernatural ability. Even more amazing: Flav is self taught. "...the way that I was able to accomplish that was by cutting my classes, hanging out in the band room all day, and going from one instrument to the next to the next, until I learned how to play everything by ear," Flav told the Daily Beast.

Rock Hudson

To be fair, Hudson (real name Roy Scherer) really didn't have much of a choice but to keep his private life extremely private. As a huge movie star and sex symbol living in the incredibly repressed United States in the middle of the 20th century, Hudson's career would have summarily ended if the general public ever found out that he was gay. 

Instead, the matinee idol starred in serious movies such as A Farewell to Arms and Giant (for which he received an Oscar nomination) and appeared in a string of enjoyable romantic comedies with America's sweetheart, Doris Day, such as Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back, and Send Me No Flowers. While Hudson's sexual preference was something of an open secret in Hollywood among co-stars and friends, it wasn't public knowledge until 1985. Tragically, his sexual orientation became part of the announcement that he was dying from complications of AIDS. Hudson passed away later that year.

Nolan Gould

His character on Modern Family is a few fries short of a Happy Meal, but in real life, Gould is a genius, literally. He's reportedly a member of Mensa, a society for people with high IQs. Gould is a kid that can talk nuclear fusion and string theory, but can also play the lovable, gullible Luke Dunphy on TV. 

He told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres (via Bustle) that the personality juxtaposition makes for awkward introductions. Strangers "always expect me to not be very smart. They talk slow," he said. Gould finished high school at age 13 and his breezing his way through college and, oh yeah, still acting on that award-winning show. What are you doing with your life?