Living the life of the rich and the famous means that you’re never free from the scrutiny of the public or the paparazzi’s camera lens. Every move is captured, every outburst is transcripted, every meltdown is filmed – all for our consumption and amusement. Plus, thanks to social media, we can often witness the downward spiral of celebrities first-hand – clearly, when you’re going crazy, staying off of Twitter doesn’t always come to mind!
There have been tons of instances in which celebs freak out. On a cameraperson, on a talk show, or on Instagram, there’s no meltdown that doesn’t get documented, no breakdown that doesn’t see the light of day. In short, there’s really no privacy if you’re among the Hollywood elite. No matter the type of celebrity – from the A-list action hero to the resident reality show trainwreck – celebrity meltdowns come fast and furious. Sometimes it leads to the downfall of the star, since they’re unable to recapture the public’s love and interest, but other times it only serves to further their reputation as a hot mess! These are just 15 times paparazzi caught these celebs acting like their true selves, as long as we have celebrities and cameras to cover them, we can be sure that there’s plenty more to come!
15 Alec Baldwin’s Foul Temper
Alec Baldwin’s volatile relationship with paparazzi is well documented, thanks to the cameras that are clicking away to snapshot his every move. One of the most memorable instances, however, occurred in no less than THREE separate meltdowns over a period of 24 hours!
In 2013 (about a year after he unleashed his wrath on another unsuspecting photog), Baldwin had clearly had enough of the people taking his picture and decided to get violent. Screaming homophobic and racial slurs at various paparazzi, shouting in the face of reporters, crashing into a photographer’s car, and assaulting another photographer while attempting to smack the camera from his hands – all in a day’s work for Alec Baldwin! Not surprisingly, the other photographer and reporters in the immediate vicinity captured the incident(s), which led to the cancellation of Baldwin’s MSNBC interview show. Considering how well-known he is for being a hothead, we’ll bet that this won’t be the last meltdown of his that gets caught on camera!
14 Snooki’s Day-Drinking Disaster
It might have been documented on MTV’s Jersey Shore, but Snooki’s public intoxication meltdown was totally unscripted. In July 2010, during the height of Jersey Shore’s fame, the pint-sized reality star was arrested for disorderly conduct while stumbling her way down the boardwalk of Seaside Heights, New Jersey. Naturally, cameras – those for MTV and other paparazzi – caught the whole thing on tape, which culminated in Snooki being charged with public drunkenness.
Not to be outdone, in 2012 during the Italy-set fourth season of the successful trainwreck of a show, Snooki got caught imbibing a little too much yet again. This time, she crashed into a police car while attempting to navigate the narrow streets, and ended up sending two Italian “police officers” to the hospital (it was later revealed that the officers were actually members of the production crew, so perhaps this drunken debacle was more staged that the one that preceded it). Now married with two kids, we’re betting that it’ll be a while before we see another public meltdown from the tiny guidette.
13 Justin Bieber’s Paparazzi Attacks
Coming into fame at a young age can have its drawbacks, and perhaps no one knows that better than Justin Bieber. The Canadian superstar has had a pretty messy go of things the past few years, but does seem to have gotten himself together. Unfortunately, that was definitely not the case in 2013, when the Biebs wouldn’t stop at anything to be declared the brattiest kid in music.
In London in March of 2013, Bieber got into a scuffle with a photographer, who allegedly told the singer to go back to the United States. Bieber, eschewing the traditional politeness of us Canadians, came out swinging, threatening to “f***ing beat the f***” out of him, before being held back by a member of his security team. Naturally, with paparazzi everywhere, the incident was caught on video, solidifying his rep as a jerky, entitled musician, and despite apologizing for his actions, he was at it again in a slew of other incidents that only blacklisted him further among his fans.
12 Michael Jackson’s Baby Dangle
Parenting is a hard gig and parent-shamers are everywhere, but you’re just letting it fall into their lap when you choose to dangle your child over a balcony! The troubled King of Pop, the late Michael Jackson, chose the wrong way to engage with his overzealous fans back in 2002, when he dangled his son, Prince Michael II, over his hotel balcony in Berlin.
At the time, Jackson was fiercely private of his family life and the infant, nicknamed “Blanket”, had a towel over his face to protect him from eager shutterbugs. Naturally, everyone who saw the incident was outraged and questioned Jackson’s ability to properly parent his young son, citing negligence and reckless endangerment as reasons his three children should be stripped of his guardianship. Forced to issue a public apology in which he called the incident a “terrible mistake”, it was caught on camera and dispersed throughout the papers, signifying a scary instance of a celebrity meltdown that caught others in the crosshairs.
11 Britney Spears’ Umbrella & Shaved Head
Arguably the most notorious and tragic celebrity meltdowns in recent history, Britney Spears’ 2007 was a year she would probably sooner forget than ever relive. In 2007, following her divorce from Kevin Federline and removal of her two young sons from her custody, Spears had a mental break that culminated in a widely-publicized head-shaving incident and attack on a paparazzi vehicle. Spears entered the hair salon in California and asked the stylist to shave her head. When the stylist refused, Spears grabbed the clippers and used them herself.
Initially, Spears said that she was auditioning for a film role to explain away her bizarre behaviour. It obviously didn’t take and soon after, her father was granted a conservatorship over her estate and the star herself, which exists to this day. Since then, she’s managed to come back with a vengeance, holding a successful Vega residency, releasing more and more hit singles and albums, and earning her spot as the reigning comeback queen we all want to see succeed.
10 Amanda Bynes’ Downward Spiral
Next to Britney Spears, Amanda Bynes’ downward spiral is one of the saddest we’ve ever witnessed. While partly captured by paparazzi photos and videos, Bynes also has the unfortunate distinction of tracking much of her public meltdown all on her own, thanks to social media.
From 2012 to 2013, Bynes was involved in a DUI, hit-and-runs, public Twitter beefs with Rihanna, Drake, and more, before throwing a bong out of her high-rise apartment and setting a fire in a neighbour’s driveway. Her changing appearance, with colourful wigs, cheek piercings, and spidery fake eyelashes provided more physical evidence of her meltdown, and she was eventually placed on a 5150 hold and under the conservatorship of her parents. Later diagnosed with schizophrenia and manic depression, Bynes has since enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and is said to be doing well. We hope that this is the last we see of an unmedicated Bynes and that she finds happiness, health, and success, because this was a rollercoaster we don’t ever want to see again!
9 Tom Cruise’s Couch-Hopping
As far as celebrity meltdowns go, this one left us scratching our heads rather than fearing for our favourite star’s life. In 2005, Tom Cruise appeared on an episode of Oprah and the interview quickly devolved into a strange declaration of his love for Katie Holmes. To the shock of Oprah, Cruise began to hop up and down on the couch in his excitement and later dragged Holmes out, a forced smile on her face.
Considering that Cruise had been such a heartthrob beforehand, his unusual antics definitely coloured his perception in the public. Adding an extra layer of WTF was his next interview with Matt Lauer, in which Cruise denounced Brooke Shields for taking medication for her post-partum depression and labeled psychiatry a “pseudoscience”. Chalk it up to his hardheaded devotion to the controversial Scientology or the fact that Cruise has always been one weird dude, but his couch-hopping episode certainly changed how we all see him and while he’s still making movies, we’re pretty thrilled that Holmes managed to detach herself from that mess!
8 Lindsay Lohan’s Repeated Offences
The fact that Lindsay Lohan has made more of a career out of her public meltdowns than for her acting prowess should say everything you need to know about her. Since 2007, Lohan has managed to make a name for herself as being the most unreliable – and unbankable – actress in Hollywood who squandered her potential, messed with her face, and has ended up starring with Charlie Sheen in a Scary Movie sequel.
In 2007, Lohan began amassing her DUIs, arrests, and breakdowns that came from her extensive partying and precarious mental condition. Charged with crimes such as grand theft, DUI, and drug possession, she has posed for no less than six mugshots! Her breakdown is more of a saga than a one-time occurrence, but every instance of disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, and courtroom tears has been documented by the paparazzi. It’s hard to blame the photographers for snapping her every messy move when she makes it so available so often!
7 Chris Brown’s Post-Interview Meltdown
Chris Brown has had way too many public brawls and meltdowns, so many that we could probably write an entire article dedicated to him! Instead, we’ll pick just one instance, back in 2011, when he was asked a few interview questions that rubbed him the wrong way.
Brown’s temper is well-known and publicized – in fact, it probably gets more exposure than any of his music! The 2011 interview with Good Morning America saw Brown be asked about the infamous altercation with Rihanna in 2009 and the rapper suddenly snapped. With the cameras still rolling, he stormed off to his dressing room, screaming obscenities with such violence that security was called. He then broke a dressing-room window, stared down a producer who got into his way upon his exit from the building, tore his shirt off, and tried to fight anyone who attempted to calm him down. Other mini-meltdowns for the rapper include his feud with Drake, which culminated in homophobic slurs being shouted at a club and his bizarre Twitter behaviour.
6 Solange Knowles’ Beatdown
Rather than discuss the fashion and the stars that came out that night, all anyone could talk about at the 2014 Met Gala was the fight that happened in the elevator between mega-stars Beyoncé, her sister Solange, and Jay-Z. Elevator footage was obtained by TMZ and spread like wildfire. With no sound to supplement the story, we simply had the visuals of little sis Solange attacking Jay-Z, kicking, slapping and punching her brother-in-law.
While a security guard attempted to hold the singer back, Knowles definitely got a few good whacks in, as is evident by this photo, which shows Jay-Z holding his face following her repeated blows. Many assumed (correctly, it seems), that Knowles was defending Queen Bey and attaching Jay-Z for his infidelity (it is alleged that one of his mistresses may have been in attendance at the event). Despite the grainy black and white footage and decent reason behind the fight, this definitely qualifies as a pretty public celebrity meltdown!
5 Shia LaBeouf’s Fashion Decision
2014 was a rough year for Shia LaBeouf. The former child star and Disney Channel darling went way, way off the rails in what began as his declaration that he “wasn’t famous anymore”. At a film premiere, LaBeouf walked the red carpet wearing a paper bag that read, “I am not famous anymore”, but he certainly continued to make headlines!
His bizarre behaviour really took a dark turn when her suffered a very public meltdown in New York. LaBeouf was arrested for causing a disturbance during a theatrical performance at Studio 54, slapping and groping people and smoking in his seat. Prior to that, he had gotten drunk in Times Square and chased a homeless man around. Following his arrest mid-performance, LaBeouf cursed and spat at the police officers detaining him. Maybe he was just trying to figure out his “art”, but since his very public freak-out three years ago, LaBeouf has sought treatment for alcohol abuse – which didn’t work out so well: he was arrested again this past July for public intoxication and disorderly conduct.
4 Kanye West’s Concert Tirade
Kanye West has never been one to keep his mouth shut about anything (remember his random declaration during a live TV broadcast in which he declared, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”?), but he really showed his crazy side in a year ago when he took to the stage during his concert to discuss politics, shade Jay-Z, and not play any music.
Prior to this major meltdown, West had infamously stormed the stage to tell Taylor Swift that he’d let her finish, freak out on Jimmy Kimmel for the late-night host’s spoof of the rapper’s BBC interview, and lashed out at the people at Saturday Night Live for a perceived slight at his set – and that’s just a sampling! During the November 2016 concert in Sacramento that ended abruptly in West’s hospitalization and tour cancellation, the notoriously egotistical rapper bemoaned his strained relationship with his former mentor Jay-Z, criticized radio stations for not playing certain rappers, argued about Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, and let the mic drop after three songs.
3 Christian Bale’s On-Set Freak-Out
Unlike every other instance on this list, the footage of Christian Bale’s on-set freak-out doesn’t come in visual form – it’s in a voice recording that was, naturally, leaked to the press and made headlines everywhere.
While on the set of Terminator: Salvation, in 2008, Bale got a little too testy with one of the crew members who he said ruined his concentration. According to the tape, the director of photography was walking around the set behind the camera, which infuriated the Welsh actor, who really laid into him for four whole minutes! The expletive-laden rant hears Bale calling out the director of photography for a perceived lack of professionalism and constant challenges to his abilities. Obviously, once the tape was publicized by TMZ, Bale earned a well-deserved reputation for being impossible to work with and possessing a hair-trigger temper. Considering this, it seems just desserts that the flip was a huge flop!
2 Mariah Carey’s Surprise Striptease
It seems like a distant memory, but back in 2001, Mariah Carey got Britney-level crazy when she showed up unannounced to MTV’s TRL to promote the box-office and critical bomb Glitter. (And if you had that stinker to promote, who wouldn’t go a little nuts?)
While on the set, Carey stripped, wheeled out a container of Popsicles (which she proceeded to hand out), muttering to herself, and providing the endlessly quotable and disturbingly apt line: “If you don’t have ice cream in your life, sometimes you might just go a little bit crazy.” Unsurprisingly, the very public meltdown was the capper on the downward spiral Carey had been falling into that led to her hospitalization for an “emotional and physical breakdown” brought on by exhaustion. She came back better than ever, only to have a similarly embarrassing – although not quite as shocking – lip-sync debacle during the New Year’s Eve broadcast in Times Square.
1 Charlie Sheen’s Tiger Blood
As far as public meltdowns go, Charlie Sheen’s was of truly epic proportions. Over a few weeks in 2011, it seemed like there was no stopping the actor from shooting his mouth off in interviews, taking to Twitter to air his personal grievances, and make bizarre statements to anyone who asked him anything!
Where to begin? In January of that year, Sheen voluntarily entered a rehab program, but shortly afterward, photos emerged of Sheen and his “goddesses”, which included an adult film star and a nanny. Around that time, he lashed out at the creator of his hit show, Two and a Half Men, calling Chuck Lorre a number of derogatory terms. On different morning shows, he provided some of the best soundbites of the years, including, “I’m not bipolar, I’m bi-winning”, “I got tiger blood, man”, “I am on a drug, it’s called ‘Charlie Sheen’”, and “I’m tired of pretending like I’m not a total b*****n’ rock star from Mars”. Since his very public breakdown, Sheen has calmed down, and admitted to being HIV-positive, something he learned during his insane year.