Society - People
By: - at June 19, 2013

15 Famous Celebrity Meltdowns

The beautiful people always gracing the covers of magazines and starring in exciting movies are subject to the same trials and personal issues that the general public faces. However, because celebrities have so much money, they often get to make much bigger mistakes than we can afford to make. This often results in serious and highly publicized meltdowns from famous people. The antics are usually as large as the names involved, and we as people can have a hard time looking away when they occur. It is like watching a bad car accident, where the ability to turn our heads suddenly escapes us. Instead about worrying what could be wrong with us for enjoying celebrity disgrace, it is much more fun to read about the most famous instances of celebrity meltdowns in the last few decades. A great example is actress Lindsay Lohan who seems to keep getting into trouble repeatedly. Pictured to the left here is Lohan's mugshot from 2007.

15)  Celebrity Meltdown:  Britney Spears
Anyone who went out in public in 2007 remembers Britney Spears' high-profile meltdown. According to NBC, it began with a fly-by-night marriage to her close friend in Las Vegas, which piqued the public's interest. Then along came Kevin Federline, still fresh from a relationship with another woman carrying his baby. An unprofessional-looking man who aspired to be a successful white rapper, Federline was someone that fans loved to hate. Spears gave birth to his child, and photos surfaced of her driving with her son, Sean, in her lap instead of safely secured in the back of the car.

Britney Spears and Her New "Look":
Britney Spears and Her New "Look"

Spears then abandoned Kabbalah, gave birth to her second child, and divorced her husband a few months later, according to People Magazine. Her beloved aunt died of ovarian cancer in 2007, and Spears soon after checked in to a rehabilitation facility, which she then departed from in less than 24 hours. She then turned up at a hair salon in Los Angeles, where she boldly shaved her entire head. Spears was in a clearly unstable state as she angrily harassed nearby paparazzi in the parking lot with an umbrella and then disappeared into the night. Spears managed to make a comeback even after such a public meltdown.

14)  Celebrity Lindsay Lohan's Meltdown
None of us knew when we watched "Parent Trap" and "Life Size" years ago that the sweet little redhead girl smiling at us on screen would turn into the vacant-eyed, washed up disaster that regularly lets her meltdowns drip onto tabloids and headlines. Lindsay Lohan has been steadily falling apart for the past few years, always ready to amuse us with new sordid misdemeanors and drug induced public outings. Her fallout began with a huge career boost in 2004 from the popular movie, "Mean Girls." After that, things began to take a turn for the worse. The people who worked with Lindsay in her next several movies all referred her as an unreliable actor who partied too much. The public gave her some leeway, because she has just turned 18 years old, and most of us can relate to making a few bad decisions at that age. However, People states that in 2006, during the filming of "Georgia Rules," she had to be hospitalized due to what her publicists were calling exhaustion, but her director publicly asserted his opinion that she was partying too much to keep up with work.

Lindsay Lohan at the Cynthia Rowley Show:
Lindsay Lohan at the Cynthia Rowley Show
By Christopher Macsurak via Wikimedia Commons

Since then, Lohan has had run-ins with the law no less than 20 times, according to E! Online. She has reportedly been to rehab four times, and frankly, it seems she may have more of these visits in her future. Along with shoplifting jewelry and suing companies for not making money off of her scanty leggings, Lohan spends her time these days hiding her alleged cocaine habit and conspicuously donating to charities. Giving money away is great, but we hope she doesn't think she is fooling anybody.

13)  Celebrity Meltdown:  Charlie Sheen
Winning! Charlie Sheen's 2011 video meltdown is the stuff of nightmares. His videos, which went instantly viral, depict him ranting insanely about drinking tiger blood, being a warlock, and having superior DNA, according to AOL News.

As though one embarrassing video wasn't enough for him, he quickly posted others with bizarre antics, such as publicly cursing people he used to work for and smoking cigarettes from his nostrils. His TV interviews around the same time were no better, containing long reels of his delusional superiority complex. Sheen later blamed the outbursts on testosterone cream, according to Huffington Post. Whatever caused the breakdown, Sheen lost his exorbitantly high-paying gig with "Two and a Half Men" over it.

Sheen's drug problem has been in the public eye since the 1990s. His on-screen deterioration seemed to lead him to a better path, but Sheen will likely always be a man who enjoys his escorts and of course, the occasional glass of tiger blood. We were joking about the tiger blood.

12)  Celebrity Lance Armstrong's Meltdown
Armstrong's meltdown was much more of a public face plant. For almost a decade, he had been defying physics by completely dominating the Tour de France. No matter how strong the competition trained, no matter if Armstrong faced personal struggles (like his testicular cancer in 1996), he would overcome the obstacles and crush his opponents. For years, Americans watched Armstrong's cycling in complete awe, though the French probably watched with disgust at this American completely stealing the show.

Lance Armstrong at the 2002 Grand Prix Midi Libre:
Lance Armstrong at the 2002 Grand Prix Midi Libre
By Benutzer via Wikimedia Commons

It then came as a huge disappointment when Armstrong was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs in 2011. The USADA confirmed the accusations in 2012, and Armstrong made no attempt to fight the allegations. He went from holding unbelievable cycling records to being banned from every competitive sport on the face of the planet that drug tests. Armstrong finally came clean about his doping on Oprah in 2013, according to the New York Times. He currently holds no awards, no titles, and no glory.

11)  Celebrity Meltdown:  Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson's decline into meltdown territory came to the public as a bit of a surprise. He had always been passionate, sometimes over enthusiastic, and everyone knew he had an ego (that was quite clear after his performance in "Braveheart"), but no one expected him to come out of the works as abusive and anti-Semitic. The "Passion of the Christ" director had always managed to keep his private life to himself until his wife Robyn separated from him in 2006 after Gibson's drunk-driving charge. According to The Daily Telegraph, before Gibson's divorced was finalized, pictures leaked of him being romantically involved with a Russian pianist named Oksana Grigorieva.

Mel Gibson with Daughter Domenica:
Mel Gibson with Daughter Domenica
By Jeff Turner via Wikimedia Commons

Gibson paid dearly for his divorce settlement. ABC News reports an estimated $450 million settlement, making it the most expensive divorce in history to date. After giving birth to his child, Grigorieva turned on Gibson, obtained a restraining order against him, and likely posted the career-destroying audio clips that leaked on the Internet shortly after. The recordings are of Gibson ranting almost incoherently about hateful and some anti-Semitic comments, making him look terrible. The Los Angeles Times says Gibson's agent dropped him the day after the recordings leaked. Fans are still unsure if he was truly the victim of a bad ex, or if the clips actually revealed his deeper thoughts on humanity. Either way, like the Hulk, we don't like Mel Gibson when he's angry.

10)  Celebrity Christian Bale's Meltdown
Christian Bale has starred in some phenomenal movies, and has been known to gain and lose a hundred pounds of muscle weight in between films for various roles. Perhaps his extreme dedication led to some mental upset for the "American Psycho" hunk. In 2008, after resuming his muscles to star in "Terminator: Salvation," Bale had a bit of a rationality lapse on set. Shane Hurlbut, the films photography director, had the misfortune of waling past Christian Bale that day. Apparently, he stepped into Bale's sight line mid-scene, causing a violent uproar from Bale, according to TMZ. An audiotape of the verbal insults made it onto the Internet shortly after, and the world began to make fun of the incident. People also questioned if Bale was really holding things together in his life.

Christian Bale at the 83rd Academy Awards:
Christian Bale at the 83rd Academy Awards

Bale later blamed the incident on getting too into character for the movie he was working on, and that he had been acting more like the main character of the film than his actual self, according to Los Angeles Times. He called into a radio station and apologized publicly and thoroughly. The director claims that the incident did not affect the film, and Bale's career went on to rise again with "The Dark Knight."

9)  Celebrity Meltdown:  Whitney Houston
No one will ever know if it was Bobby Brown or just the crack, but Whitney Houston and her angelic voice spent the better part of the nineties spiraling downward. She had a powerhouse for a voice and was one of the few people who could take someone else's song and top it (see "I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton). However, after marrying Bobby Brown in 1992, International Business Times reveals that the drug problems were soon to follow. Throughout the nineties, no one was able to prove the many rumors about Houston's substance issues, but in 2000 she was finally caught smuggling marijuana from Hawaii to the continental U.S.

Houston Performing on Good Morning America in 2009:
Houston Performing on Good Morning America in 2009
By asterix611 via Wikimedia Commons

One baggie of pot does not necessarily make one an addict, but Houston's rail thin appearance in years to come inspired many more rumors. Finally on Diane Sawyer's show, Whitney admitted to experimenting with many dangerous drugs. She did not seem phased by it, since she herself admitted she had no experience with heroin. When asked if addicted, she seemed to think the drugs were more of a habit and a result of working too diligently in her twenties. Whatever she called it, she spent the next few years getting a divorce, checking in and out of rehab, and finally dying at the young age of 48 from complications of cocaine use. Before the public realized how serious her condition was, she was the subject of many jokes for her bad taste in men and penchant for drug use. Whatever she was going through at the time, we will always love Whitney Houston.

8)  Celebrity Michael Jackson's Meltdown
Michael Jackson had always been an eccentric person. He turned many heads when he suddenly showed up with white skin and straightened hair and a few more when he mysteriously had children and nicknamed the last one Blanket. From catching fire at a Pepsi commercial filming to building a childish amusement park of a house, Jackson proved himself to be a highly unique individual. Even compared with his multiple court appearances over child abuse allegations, one particular incident really seemed to put him into meltdown territory.

Celebrity Michael Jackson Meltdown
By OguzJackson via Wikimedia Commons

Presumably overwhelmed by media coverage and paparazzi harassment, Jackson had enough in 2002. His third child, Blanket had been born earlier that year to a mysterious surrogate mother, and Jackson was staying at a hotel a few months later in Berlin with his son. Michael emerged from his room onto his balcony, and hung his son out over it for several seconds before returning inside with him, according to MTV and numerous film clips. Even stranger than dangling his baby dangerously high up from the ground was his placement of a towel on Blanket's head to cover his face. It was perhaps the most insanely public plea for privacy in celebrity history. Before his death in 2009, Jackson was spotted doing many unstable things. YouTube videos depict him dancing on cars with an umbrella at court proceedings. He earned the nickname Wacko Jacko long before his death, and we can only hope he his finally at peace now. He did some completely crazy stuff in his later life.

7)  Celebrity Meltdown:  Pee-Wee Herman
Certainly amusing but even more creepy, Paul Reubens (or Pee-Wee Herman, his fictional alter ago) completely traumatized the adults who had grown up watching his imaginative "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" series with his strange antics. His behavior certainly made the public wonder many times why Reubens was able to act so childlike and if it meant something was slightly off with his mental stability. Reubens' acting choices never said much for his normalcy. The same character that talked to cheerful puppets in his award-winning kids' television series also appeared in Cheech and Chong movies with a recurring role as a raging cocaine addict. In 1991, Reubens was arrested for, to put it lightly, acting inappropriately in a public theater, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Reubens (left) at the 1988 Academy Awards:
Reubens (left) at the 1988 Academy Awards
By Alan Light via Wikimedia Commons

To be fair, he was viewing an adult film, and he was doing something adults often do while watching adult films. However, public masturbation is not well looked up by society, and officers who regularly examine adult theaters for such behavior arrested Reubens. More disturbing than the illegality of the situation is the plain creepiness of it. Fans wondered what kind of beloved children's actor would even go to such a venue, let alone act inappropriately in it. Reubens career suffered for over a decade. His shows were immediately pulled off the air. Ever since his arrest, it has always been difficult to look at him the same.

6)  Celebrity Heidi Montag's Meltdown
Barely a celebrity by even the loosest definition, Heidi Montag still managed to catch the attention of the public in 2011 with her obvious mental turmoil. Instead of posting an angry video or falling into a cycle of drug abuse, Montag's breakdown was that of a surgical variety. A naturally attractive blonde who had co-starred in the hit rich-kid reality series "The Hills," Montag had no reason to change the way she looked. She ended up doing more than that; she turned herself into a walking Barbie doll.

Heidi Montag Before and After Surgery:
Heidi Montag Before and After Surgery

Huffington Post says that she had a whopping 10 cosmetic surgeries performed on her in one day in 2010. Among them were a nose job, a drastic breast augmentation, and a chin reduction. USA Today even reveals that one of the procedures was a butt augmentation. The actress, though still attractive, has lost all of her natural glow, and resembles a permanently airbrushed human being. Her husband, Spencer Pratt, was reportedly very against the surgeries, but Montag proceeded anyway. She has since revealed regretting the procedures. She seems to like the way she turned out, so we hope she stays content and leaves her face and body alone from now on.

5)  Celebrity Meltdown:  Kanye West
Instead of melting down on his own time, Kanye West decided to take things a step farther and ruin the moment for a teenage girl winning a her first major music award as well. During the 2009 MTV Music Awards, West surprised everyone watching by rudely interrupting another musician's acceptance speech. Taylor Swift, then 19 years old, had won Female Video of the Year for her first time, and she was clearly very proud. However, before she could get her acceptance speech going, West jumped up on stage and took the microphone away from her. He promised to let Swift finish but first ranted to the audience about Beyoncé's more deserving video. Swift appeared to be in shock, and Beyoncé looked mortified. When Beyoncé did win a big award for her video later on in the evening, she gave Taylor Swift time to finish the acceptance speech that West had steamrolled.

Kanye West Performing at South by Southwest Austin, TX in 2009:
Kanye West Performing at South by Southwest Austin, TX in 2009
By Dell's Official Flickr Page via Wikimedia Commons

West was not allowed to continue participating in the audience after his outburst. Kanye West has always been over-the-top, but this public lapse of judgment was in the poorest of taste. His career has remained highly successful, but not without losing the respect of many. West is now the butt of countless Internet jokes about letting others finish. People often refer to the incident for a good laugh, and fortunately, Taylor Swift has gone on to win many more awards for her music, so she has hopefully had enough time now to thank everyone on her list.

4)  Celebrity Amy Winehouse's Meltdown
Though her death in 2011 was a somber event, most people were not shocked by the news. Amy Winehouse's drug-fueled antics began as highly entertaining and then spiraled to the point of being entirely pitiful. Winehouse seemed to defy the laws of existence in her daily lifestyle. She emerged onto the public scene in 2003 a uniquely beautiful, curvy songstress with a serious attitude. The following years, however, contained nothing but drugs, bad relationships, and public turmoil for Winehouse.

Amy Winehouse Before and After:
Amy Winehouse Before and After

Her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, admits introducing Winehouse to harder drugs, according to People Magazine. Amy then took off with her addiction, losing massive amounts of weight and behaving erratically in public. She admitted to CNN to becoming violent with her husband when under the influence of alcohol, and fans quickly began to lose respect for her. After shocking on-stage sightings of Winehouse snorting cocaine that she had hidden in her enormous beehive hairdo, the public began to expect the worse. Winehouse did indeed die in 2011 due to alcohol-related causes. She should have gone to rehab.

3)  Celebrity Meltdown:  Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. is usually just the right amount of crazy for fans. His antics on camera are both hilarious and intriguing, and his personal life has always been filled with hedonism and wild adventures. However, he has also been notorious for taking things a step too far in his partying. In 1996, according to EW, he got a little too wild and passed out in a neighbor's bed. We should also mention that the neighbor did not approve of this sleepover, and that Downey fell asleep in a child's bed, according to MSN. This crazy incident followed an arrest on cocaine and heroin charges for Downey.

California Department of Corrections Photo of Downey Jr. in 1999:
California Department of Corrections Photo of Downey Jr. in 1999

Mugshot Also Courtesy of California Department of Corrections 2001:
Mugshot Also Courtesy of California Department of Corrections 2001

These days, Downey's career has made a comeback, and after several more run-ins with the law due to drugs, Downey appears to be sober and happy. Like many, he seems to become a different person when under the influence. Even so, no amount of drugs excuses a person for walking into the wrong house and unknowingly sleeping in a child's bed.

2)  Celebrity Tom Cruise's Meltdown
Tom Cruise's meltdown was, at least, a happy one. In the early 2000s, Cruise began to show signs of a much more eccentric personality than most people realized. He went through a highly publicized divorce with Nicole Kidman, despite having adopted children with her. Of all the religions out there to turn to, Cruise sought guidance with the Church of Scientology. Shortly after, he found his new love, actress Katie Holmes. Cruise appeared on "Oprah" to discuss his career, but instead completely shocked the audience with his personal gushing over Katie Holmes. He barely mentioned the movie he was releasing, and instead focused on sharing his excitement over his newfound love, according to Gawker.

Tom Cruise in Sunnyvale, CA in 2006:
Tom Cruise in Sunnyvale, CA in 2006
By Kevin Ballard via Wikimedia Commons

Cruise jumped up and down on the couch, remained unable to sit down, and repeatedly ran over to Oprah and grabbing her hands, shaking her whole body heartily. His jumps and leaps were quite nimble, but certainly no guest has ever misbehaved so badly on "Oprah." ran a poll, and Cruise won the award for the celebrity with the craziest meltdown.  Check out the Oprah video if you like:

1)  Celebrity Meltdown:  David Hasselhoff
That must have been one good cheeseburger. Luckily for David Hasselhoff, his serious acting career was quite over already, and his embarrassing antics were so amusing that fans still loved him. A string of hospital visits beginning in 2006 all pointed to a severe alcohol problem. The public was still relatively unaware of how addicted Hasselhoff was to drinking until May 3, 2007, when a video filmed by Hasselhoff's own daughter turned up online. In said video, Hasselhoff was on the floor with no shirt on, trying very hard to eat a cheeseburger.

By Toglenn via Wikimedia Commons

Though the clip depicts a man at what was hopefully rock bottom, it is quite hard not to laugh at the ridiculous things he does and says while completely hammered. It seemed to do Hasselhoff some good anyways, because he lost custody of his daughters after its release and was forced to make some changes in his life.

Here is a portion of the drunken cheesburger eating video made into a goofy commercial:

When fans watched Hasselhoff seductively running up and down the beach for years on "Baywatch," they likely had no idea that he would end up in a drunken puddle of cheeseburger and shame decades later. The same man who starred in "Night Rider "needed his daughter to film him drunk, so he could see how bad his problem truly was. We are just glad that he survived his drinking-related injuries and did not hurt anyone else in the process. Hasselhoff took the noble route of Charlie Sheen and allowed Comedy Central to roast him, so at least he knows how to take a good joke these days.

Final Words
Whether the meltdowns are entirely self-inflicted or the result of major, upsetting life events, we as humans love to watch celebrities fall from grace. We especially like it when there is picture or video evidence of the publicized outbursts. For whatever reason, there is something amusing about seeing these larger-than-life personas brought back down to earth a bit by their own foolishness. Perhaps it reminds us that no one, not even these inhumanly attractive celebrities, is anywhere close to perfect. It also shows us that even in the darkest of times, we can still recover if we try. Either way, because of the amount of money involved, and the scrutiny that every detail of their lives receives, celebrity breakdowns will generally be more over-the-top than the average person's rock bottom. It makes them far more entertaining to watch, and certainly distracts from our own troubles for a while.





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