Celebs Who Were Held Back By Their Spouses

Sharing the spotlight is easier said than done, and sometimes a star's shine is significantly dimmed by their significant other. These celebs were all held back by their spouses...and not all of them broke free of their partners' influence.

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey's first marriage to record executive Tommy Mottola sounded terrifying. According to New York Post, Mottola isolated Mimi inside their mansion. "Carey had two bodyguards assigned to her at all times, even when she went to the bathroom. She called the house 'Sing Sing'—a morbid reference to her caged-bird status." He allegedly even tried to control her after their split in 1997. 

Irv Gotti told XXL magazine (via Fox News) that Mottola attempted to sabotage Carey's 2001 Glitter soundtrack and was spying on the singer. "Ja [Rule] wrote a song with him and Mariah singing back and forth on the title track," Gotti said. "I get a call from Tommy Mottola, who I have a great relationship with, and he's like, 'I need you to do me a favor. I want you to do this remix for Jennifer Lopez. I want you to put Ja on the record.' Immediately I knew what he was doing because we just finished the Mariah record." Ja Rule's track with Carey was "If We," which had an eerily similar vibe to his "I'm Real" remix with Lopez. 

But that wasn't the only music Mottola nearly muted. Carey sampled Yellow Magic Orchestra's "Firecracker" for "Loverboy," and J.Lo also sampled that same disco song for her original version of "I'm Real." 

"Mariah was so paranoid about the music getting out that we had another singer sing the temporary versions," an insider said. "When Jennifer Lopez's record came out, and had the exact same song, we knew she had a right to be paranoid. We couldn't believe it."

For his part, Mottola denied everything. After they divorced, Carey's career soared with Butterfly.

Jennifer Garner

While Affleck was winning Oscars for Argo (2012) and becoming Batman, actress Jennifer Garner was essentially a housewife for nearly a decade. She explained to W magazine in 2010, "It's hard because I've taken so much time off [work] already. But I have this internal battle between, 'I need to work, I need to work, I need to work' and 'I need to be home with my kids.' And the kids win."

In March 2015, while the pair was quietly separated, she told Us Weekly, "Ben is super busy and I'm super happy for him. I chose to stay home this year and just said, 'Go for it babe. Do it all. Do Gone Girl, do Batman, do The Accountant. Do everything.' I want that for him and I'm happy for him. And he says the same to me. Except that he's really busy. But he understands that when I really have to do it, we figure it out."

Now that Garner and Affleck are in the midst of a divorce, things seem to be looking up for her. She's slated to go back to her action star roots in Peppermint (2018), a revenge thriller for which she's already getting back into fighting shape.

Brent Grimes

NFL star Brent Grimes' wife, Miko, is in headlines more than he is, and not for her athletic ability. Miko is notorious for her social media rants, which have ranged from homophobic to anti-Semitic, as well as her 2015 arrest.

"Gotta respect ross for keeping his jew buddies employed but did he not see how tannebaum put the jets in the dumpster w/that [Mark] sanchez [contract extension] deal," she wrote in a July 2016 Twitter rant. That wasn't her first social media fit. In December 2015, the New York Post reported that Miko attacked Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, as well as local sports press in Miami. In a scathing, profanity-filled Twitter rant, she not-so-subtly hinted that she wished they'd all get HIV. In September 2015, the Sun-Sentinel reported that Miko was arrested after lashing out at police officers when they stopped her from walking through a restricted gate.

Sources told Bleacher Report that Miko's history gave three different NFL general managers pause before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked up Brent. "It makes you question [Brent Grimes], if he's enabled his wife to continue to do this. It shows that maybe he thinks it's fine and doesn't have an issue with it," a sports industry insider told the New York Post. "Or maybe he just doesn't have a desire to stand up to his wife, but it's his professional career that is [supporting] the family, so I think it falls squarely on his shoulders."

Huma Abedin

Huma Abedin was one of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's closest confidantes and a vice-chair of Clinton's campaign. She was also the wife of troubled former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, whose notorious sexting habits landed him in hot water with the law—and may have played a role in Clinton losing the 2016 election to Donald Trump.

In late September 2016, the Daily Mail reported that Weiner had "carried on a months-long online sexual relationship" with a 15-year-old girl from North Caroline. He reportedly even included his and Abedin's young son in some of the photos he exchanged with the teen. As if that wasn't bad enough (and close enough to the election), in October 2016, less than two weeks before Election Day, the FBI reportedly reopened an investigation into Clinton's emails after it was discovered that "pertinent" Aberdin emails were on one of Weiner's laptops. Investigators discovered the emails while looking into Weiner's electronics in a criminal probe about his alleged sexting.

Weiner admitted in a letter to a judge (via The New York Times) that he "crushed the aspirations of [his] wife."

Janet Jackson

In April 2016, Janet Jackson revealed that she was canceling her tour to focus on "planning a family" with husband Wissam Al Mana, People reported. Soon after, she revealed that she was expecting her first child at age 50. However, insiders close to Jackson claim she may have wanted to focus more on her music career than her husband allowed.

"Wissam wanted a wife who stuck more with the Muslim traditions. Even before the baby was born, they clashed and butted heads a lot," a source told Us Weekly. "She felt like she couldn't be herself anymore... [she] thought her career was suffering, and she started resenting Wissam for it. She couldn't settle down and be what he wanted her to be. Janet wanted more freedom."

An insider told Page Six that Jackson's family felt like Wissam pressured her about her appearance. "He was on her all the time about doing things right, eating right, as if she [weren't] already," the source said.

Janet's brother, Steven Randall "Randy" Jackson, told People that the "Control" singer was verbally abused by her controlling husband, pointing to Janet's tearful performance in Houston, Texas in Sept. 2017 as a sign. "What you saw in Houston, it was her situation coming out, what she's been going through," Randy said. "The abuse is still going on... She has custody [of son Eissa] and he of course allowed her to bring the baby on tour, but it's constant harassment. This tour almost didn't happen, but by the grace of God we're here and we're very prayerful."

Since splitting from Al Mana in 2017, just months after son Eissa was born, Jackson has been back on tour—and slaying.

Steph Curry

In June 2016, Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry's wife, Ayesha, accused the NBA of being rigged. "I've lost all respect," she said in a since-deleted tweet (via the New York Post). "Sorry this is absolutely rigged for money. Or ratings in [sic] not sure which. I won't be silent. Just saw it live sry." 

Ayesha later apologized, but an industry insider told the New York Post that her tirade damaged Steph's reputation just as much as her own. "She is paying the price for it. The first couple of weeks after the game, she was posting on social media for her regular [food] endorsement partners and people were just putting 'L' [for 'loser'] comments on her Instagram page," the source said. "She really harmed her and her husband's brand in the short term. She needs to be careful to not make that mistake again."

Katie Holmes

Katie Holmes couldn't compete with Tom Cruise's spotlight when they were married—and some insiders say that he made sure of it, which threw a wrench into her plans for stardom at his side.

People reported that Holmes skipped out on promotional duties for Thank You For Smoking (2005) and that Cruise actually hindered her ability to get cast in projects. "She thought [being with Tom] was going to help make her career, but it didn't," an industry insider told People. "People who don't want to have Tom Cruise on film sets don't want to hire Katie Holmes."

Holmes' blockbuster role as Katie Dawes in Batman Begins (2005) was recast in the sequel, The Dark Knight (2008), reportedly because Holmes turned down the reprisal. According to TMZ, Cruise wanted his wife to eschew interacting with her Batman Begins castmates in favor of staying with him on press tours and allegedly ordered Thank You For Smoking staffers to remove any and all images of her and co-star Aaron Eckhart kissing from promo and advertising materials.

Since TomKat's 2012 divorce, Holmes has worked consistently, but her star turns are rare. It seems her career has yet to rebound to its pre-couch-jumping levels.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian

Depending on who you ask, either Kanye West is wrecking Kim Kardashian's career, or she's destroying his.

When West and Kardashian started dating in 2012, a music industry source told the New York Daily News, "His personal life is overpowering his music. Every time he plays, people are wondering if Kim is going to be there. It's not a good thing for him, especially if he wants to be taken seriously." The source added that West had little to no interest in appearing on Keeping up With the Kardashians, noting, "He made it clear to her he doesn't want to be on her show, but Kim gets upset so he caves in... He has been meeting with top-level music executives seeking advice. He's not happy with the direction things have been going."

Fast forward to July 2017, and it seems like the tables may have turned. Rumor has it that Kardashian is furious about KUWTK's diminishing ratings and blaming it on West's drama, including his November 2016 breakdown. "She knows that everyone is just over her now and she is right. But she just doesn't know what to do about it," a source told Radar Online. "Kim thinks that things have never been the same since [her robbery and his breakdown] and she is blaming Kanye for all of it... That is why she has been focusing so much of her time and energy into her makeup empire. It's all she really has left."

Elsa Pataky

Chris Hemsworth confessed—quite candidly—that he put his own career ahead of wife Elsa Pataky's. "In terms of work, [Elsa has] certainly given up more than I have," the Thor: Ragnarok (2017) star told GQ Australia. "She'd like me to step back and be at home with the kids more, and of course, I want that too. But I feel like I'm at this crucial point in my career—I've just got to set up for longevity or I'll slip off."

Tina Turner

Ike Turner molded a young stunner named Anna Mae Bullock into the legend we now know as Tina Turner—but their relationship was rife with domestic abuse, which Tina revealed in her memoir, I, Tina, and which was the crux of her biopic, What's Love Got to do With it (1993). Tina separated from Ike in 1976 after he reportedly broke her jaw, and she divorced him two years later.

Her star rose even higher after the split. In 1984, she had a massive career resurgence with her album Private Dancer, which featured her first No. 1 hit, "What's Love Got to do With it." Tina was clearly at her best flying solo.

Olivia Munn and Aaron Rodgers

Actress Olivia Munn and NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers blamed one another for their career woes while they were together.

Munn told Collider that she took a role in the all-female reboot of Ocean's Eight (2018) because, "During that time, I was in a relationship where I didn't work. He played football, so during the season, for three years, I'd have to go do press, but I wouldn't work. I just wanted to be there to be supportive. But then, this came up. It worked out that it was on a day off, so I flew out and did it." 

However, if you take a peek at Munn's IMDb page, it appears she worked a comparable number of projects before, during, and after her relationship with the Green Bay Packer. 

Rodgers, meanwhile, appeared to hint that his team's lackluster performances could be blamed, at least in part, on his personal life. "When you are living out a relationship in the public eye, it's definitely...it's difficult," he told ESPN. "It has some extra constraints, because you have other opinions about your relationship, how it affects your work and, you know, just some inappropriate connections."

Shania Twain

Shania Twain went a whopping 15 years without releasing an album, and a lot happened in that time. Between the releases of 2002's Up! and 2017's Now, Twain went through a brutal divorce from husband and producer Mutt Lange, who allegedly cheated on her with her best friend and assistant in 2008. E! News reported that Twain had an album originally slated for a June 2009 release that kept getting delayed, partly as a result of the drama. She has also battled Lyme disease

Thankfully, Twain recovered on all fronts. She married Frederic Thiébaud (her ex-assistant's former husband, on whom said assistant cheated with Lange) and dropped Now in September 2017.

Megan Fox

Megan Fox reportedly wanted to move past the generic "hot chick" roles in Michael Bay fare and nab meatier parts in Hollywood, but husband Brian Austin Green may have had other plans. 

A source told People, "Megan has always been career-oriented and noted because she was so beautiful. Now she is being recognized for her talent, and like anyone else with Hollywood ambitions, she wants to pursue those options." 

Sources told People that Green wanted Fox to settle down into domestic life and quit acting to focus full-time on motherhood. "Megan is young and hot and sought after for work, and she is eager to move ahead in her career," an insider alleged. "Brian wants more of her time than she can allow. She was overwhelmed with the children and her husband's expectations, which got in the way of work responsibilities. They had many disagreements and arguments about her time at home, which led to problems."

The couple split briefly, but before actually divorcing, Fox became pregnant with their third son. They've since reunited, and aside from a brand partnership with lingerie line Frederick's of Hollywood and some guest appearances on New Girl, Fox has only one project on her docket at the time of this writing: Zeroville, scheduled for a 2018 release.


Fergie and Josh Duhamel announced their split in September 2017, but sources say it was a long time coming—in part because Duhamel allegedly wanted to transform Fergie from a superstar into a housewife, or at least a solo artist. 

A source told People, "Josh is low-key and laid back. Fergie is more high maintenance and very focused on her career. He definitely wants more kids and has always wanted to be a family man." 

According to Radar Online, the singer took a backseat to let "controlling" Duhamel influence her work, which may be part of why she had not released an album in a whopping 11 years before September 2017's Double Dutchess. "Josh is pushing hard for Fergie to make a much cleaner and clearer break from The Black Eyed Peas so she can reinvent herself as a solo artist without the looming specter of will.i.am influencing every creative decision she makes," an insider said. 

"[Fergie] was very focused on her album and being a rock star again, and Josh felt like she was going back to her 'old ways,'" an insider told Page Six.

Now that Fergie's a single lady, let's hope she can come back with some bigger bops before 2028.