Doing press is an obligatory task for those who dream of stardom. These days, celebrities are worshipped as gods and we are driven by the need to know the smallest details of people’s personal lives. Anyone in the public eye is under immense pressure to share!
Giving interviews is part of the deal, and while some stars wish it wasn't, the majority of celebrities grin and bear it. That said, there are also those celebrities who refuse to give interviews or do press. They might answer a few questions here and there, but they choose not to do the kind of intense press tours that other stars do.
Their reasons range from wanting to conceal the details of their private lives to not wanting their fans to be distracted from their work to wanting to avoid being misquoted by the press.
In some cases, the decision to withdraw from talking to the media is a useful strategy that actually helps a person’s success in the industry, because it preserves them as something of an enigma. In other cases, it’s detrimental to their success, and they have to be okay with that. And sometimes, a star is so successful already that it makes no difference whether they speak to the press or not.
Keep reading to find out which celebrities don’t like giving interviews and why.
When they were growing up in the public eye, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were okay with giving interviews. But as they became adults, they became a lot more private and retreated from the public eye. In a 2011 interview with Style.com, the former child stars revealed that they have anxiety about sharing personal information with the world, which is why they find doing interviews challenging.
“We’ve spent our whole lives trying to not let people have that accessibility,” explained Mary-Kate. These girls have captured the attention of the world since they were a few months old, so it’s understandable that they want their own space!
Between 2014 and 2018, rapper J Cole decided to pull the plug on doing press altogether. In a number of written interviews, he revealed that he did not find the interview process genuine, and consequently did not want to be part of it, confirming with Billboard that he was “through trying to play whatever game is going on.”
Nicki Swift reported that, interestingly, the rapper feels the same way about social media, which is why he’s not an overly active user.
“If I’m in a conversation with somebody and it’s natural and it’s organic, I’m going to speak freely,” he revealed to Billboard. But rarely do I feel the need to hop on Twitter or social media and chime in, especially on rap and music …”
Another star whose presence in the media does not reflect his stellar professional trajectory is Joaquin Phoenix, who avoids doing interviews as much as possible. “I don’t mind one-on-ones occasionally, or round-tables where there’s a discussion,” he admitted to The Independent. “It’s the TV stuff I struggle with where it’s just soundbites … and press conferences where you’re up on a stage and people are down there constantly taking pictures …”
Phoenix has done some interesting interviews in the past, and it’s clear from those that he’s out of his comfort zone when his private life is being probed. Fair enough!
As Beyoncé has transformed from ordinary pop star to global superstar phenomenon and queen bee of the music world, she’s done significantly fewer interviews.
While we used to see her being interviewed all the time, either alone or with Destiny’s Child, nowadays it would be quite a sight to see B sitting down with a journalist.
“She has to be studying how effective her interviews have been so far,” says writer Margo Jefferson (via the Times). “She may have decided that they do not contribute as dazzlingly to the portrait of Beyoncé as the other stuff. It's a perfectly reasonable decision.”
Kanye West is another artist whose profile has become higher over the last few years. We know he has a lot to say, because he’s famous for his long opinions on social media, in past interviews, and even on stage. But we still don’t see him doing many standard interviews anymore.
He’s pulled back significantly since various comments of his have received backlash from the press. And while he still attends interviews every now and then, he’s not the same interviewee he once was. During recent interviews, he’s argued with the interviewer, and sometimes, sat there and said nothing at all.
Jesse Eisenberg avoids interviews as much as anyone in the spotlight can. From what we’ve seen of the Batman v Superman actor during interviews, he’s not the best person to chat with because he’s often rude, awkward, or both.
But Eisenberg has explained that he doesn’t act that way during the interview process because he’s arrogant or bratty.
In reality, he suffers from anxiety and that’s why he finds giving a normal interview so difficult. He can’t get away without doing them altogether since few celebrities can, but he definitely limits when he’s available to talk to the press.
Model Kate Moss doesn’t like giving interviews so much that, for a while there, the world wasn’t sure whether she was actually mute. She quickly put this talk to bed and explained that the reason she doesn’t do many interviews is that she chooses not to open herself up to so much criticism.
“I just didn’t like it. When I first started I did press because I wasn’t really aware that they would write something really [negative] but then they did, and I was like, ‘Oh no, I don’t want to go back there. I don’t really want to open myself up to that kind of criticism.’”
Johnny Depp is known for being one of the most private stars on the planet. Struggling with the concept of being famous, he’s chosen to live as much of his life free from the spotlight as possible.
Over the years, the number of interviews he does has decreased, and it’s clear that he’s not his most comfortable while answering questions about his life in front of an audience or a camera with a microphone attached to him.
Now that he’s cemented his place among A-listers, and his roles become iconic whether he speaks to the press or not, he avoids interviews when he can.
The relationship between Shia LaBeouf and the press has been rocky, to say the least. Nicki Swift reported that in late 2013, LaBeouf came under fire when he was accused of plagiarizing the work of comic book writer Daniel Clowes.
“In light of the recent attacks against my artistic integrity, I am retiring from all public life,” he wrote on Twitter.
Following this, the actor famously wore a bag over his head to the premiere of his film Nymphomaniac, which read “I am not famous anymore.” Since then, the actor has done very few interviews and really has appeared to at least semi-retire from public life.
Being one of the most iconic actors in the industry hasn’t stopped Harrison Ford from being short and abrupt in his interviews. He isn’t interviewed often, but when he is, the answers he gives are very basic (usually either yes or no).
The actor has been open about the fact that he doesn’t like doing interviews (and promoting his own movies is his most disliked activity) because he’s always been independent, and doesn’t appreciate having his feelings censored by people twisting his words, or having to put on a pretend smile. “… so if I’m grumpy, then call me grumpy. I’m all right with that,” the actor revealed.
In August of 2018, Lauryn Hill revealed in an extensive blog post that she hadn’t given an interview for ten years. After releasing her popular solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, she decided to step out of the limelight.
“I wanted a real life as well outside of public scrutiny,” she told FUSE. “I wanted that freedom to do whatever I wanted to do.”
Choosing to remove herself from interviews, and public life altogether meant that Hill’s children had something of a normal childhood because they had “privacy and the right to be real people without the scrutiny and the pressure and the challenges the media can put up sometimes.”
NFL star Marshawn Lynch doesn’t seem to revel in the attention that comes with being a pro athlete. While some athletes live for the spotlight and adore being the center of attention, Lynch doesn’t like doing interviews so much that he’s actually been sued on several occasions for not making himself available to be interviewed by the media.
It’s not clear why the athlete doesn’t like doing interviews, but many believe that it’s because he wants to protect his privacy. When he does answer questions, it was reported that he usually gives cheeky responses, only infuriating the press even further.
In the beginning of her emergence on the music scene, there was no issue with Taylor Swift and interviews. But as she’s experienced the highs and lows of being one of the biggest acts in the world, Swift has become increasingly more private and less willing to share.
In the lead up to the release of the singer’s most recent record, Reputation, she didn’t mention it once to any members of the press, and kept the interviews in general to a minimum, BBC reported.
The Sun even trolled her by publishing “our version of what a chat with the pop diva might have gone like.” Some suspect that Swift is taking a page out of B’s book and allowing her music to speak for itself.
Today The Weeknd is more open to talking to the media, but in the early days of his professional life, he avoided it at all costs. Though there are several factors at play behind his decision to stay out of the press, the biggest one seems to be his own insecurities. “I was everything an R&B singer wasn’t,” he confessed to Rolling Stone. “I wasn’t in shape. I wasn’t a pretty boy. I was awkward … I still have this insecurity when I’m talking to someone educated.”
While it was insecurity that kicked off the artist’s mysterious vibe, he soon realized that it was a good strategy to “run with the whole enigmatic thing” to keep his fans wanting more.
Acting is her passion, but Kristen Stewart wishes she could make a living from films without the side effect of fame, which she finds “obviously disarming.”
In 2011, she told Harper’s Bazaar U.K. how much she disliked the concept of being famous “especially if it’s pointless.”
The part she finds the most challenging is all the press and interviews, and has been honest about how much she wishes that she could just do her job. “I [dislike] the interview process. I do my work same as you, why do I have to talk about it? I just want to be an actor.”
As of August 2018, Frank Ocean had only given fifteen interviews in his entire professional life, which has spanned nearly fifteen years. When asked about his desire for anonymity, he explained to GQ that by appearing heavily in the visual press, he “could potentially be misrepresented.”
He went on to explain that by mainly communicating through his own social media, he has more control over what he says. “When you’re completely minimal with media, there’s a lot of pressure on whatever one thing you’re doing, the stakes are higher. Social media helps that, ‘cause you’re fully in control and can message that how you want.”
Similarly, Nicki Swift reported that Dave Chappelle feels like being famous has taken away some of the control he has over his own life.
In 2005, he walked out not just on press and interviews, but on most of his professional gigs, and didn’t return for ten years.
In 2014, he returned for an interview on The Late Show with David Letterman and explained his feelings towards being famous and allowing the world into his private life. “At the end of the day, it’s so—you don’t have that much control over it. You just try to conduct yourself as best you can.” Today Chappelle chooses to limit his fame to a smaller scale.
For an in-demand actor like Bradley Cooper, it must be difficult to dodge interviews and attention from the press. But the A Star Is Born actor believes, according to Madame Noir, that when he gives too many interviews, it actually takes away from his movies. The more his fans know about him as a person, the less they can get into the character he’s playing.
“For me, maybe I’m old-fashioned, if I know so much about you and you’re playing a character in a movie then that’s a lot of work I’m gonna have to do to forget who you are so that I can believe the character and therefore enjoy the movie.”
While Bill Murray has been known to give interviews in the past, he is another star who doesn’t like doing them. Unlike the majority of celebrities, however, Murray doesn’t have his own publicist or any kind of PR person working for him, explains Nicki Swift.
So it’s really hard for the press to get in touch with him.
They usually have to track him down via friends of friends, making it difficult to land interviews and other meetings. Murray revealed that he’s “not trying to be coy” by not hiring a PR team. “It’s just practical for me. When the phone started ringing too many times, I had to take it back to what I can handle.”
A lot of celebrities seem to have a problem with the way their words are misquoted and twisted by the press. Adam Sandler, in particular, is reluctant to give any interviews because everything he does is so harshly critiqued, even when it’s not misquoted. “I know what they’re writing about me,” he told The Independent. “I could almost write the piece for them by now. But then remember that I didn’t get into movies to please the critics.”
The actor later told ScreenCrush that he avoids interviews as much as he can now because he “used to be misquoted all the time.”
Sources: Nicki Swift, Fame10, TheRichest, Madam Noire