We might think celebrities have it easy. They have more money than they could ever need, and they are beautiful, successful, and famous. But sometimes celebrities work themselves so hard that they end up losing it a little. Exhaustion can do weird things to people. The pressure of fame can take its toll, and some people handle it better than others.
For some of the celebs on this list, all they needed to get back on track was a little rest and relaxation, while others breakdowns were a signal that something was seriously wrong. Going to rehab for one reason or another seems to be commonplace in Hollywood these days. Either way, the media was there to capture all the ups and downs of these celebrity meltdowns.
10. Mel Gibson
The Academy Award-winning director and star of Braveheart has had his ups and downs. He went from action-hero super stardom, to alcohol-fueled lunatic status shortly after his divorce from wife of 26 years, Robyn Gibson. The couple had seven children together, but in the end Mel’s struggle with alcoholism and rumors of infidelity are what ended the marriage. He went on to have a daughter with girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, who soon after filed a restrained order against him, citing domestic abuse.
Shortly after that, audio recordings alleged to be Mel Gibson, were posted on the internet. They featured the actor screaming profanities and threats at the mother of his child, including saying he was going to burn her house down. Gibson later claimed the tapes were heavily edited and said “you have to put it all in the proper context of being in an irrationally, heated discussion at the height of a breakdown, trying to get out of a really unhealthy relationship.”
9. Martin Lawrence
Lawrence is most famous for his role opposite Will Smith, in the Bad Boys franchise, but it was during filming his directorial debut, The Thin Line Between Love and Hate, that he suffered a bit of a breakdown. He reportedly lashed out in a violent rage and had to be hospitalized. His mental state only declined from there. A few months later, he was arrested after waving a pistol around in an intersection on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles, and screaming “They’re trying to kill me!” His PR rep stated exhaustion and dehydration as the causes of the episode, but Lawrence was arrested again a few months later for carrying a loaded weapon in his suitcase at the Burbank Airport. He followed that up with being arrested for punching a man in a Hollywood club. His downward spiral culminated in a 3-day coma caused by heat exhaustion after he went jogging in several layers of heavy clothing. His near brush with death inspired him to clean up his act.
8. Mariah Carey
In 2001, pop sensation, Mariah Carey was busy promoting her debut movie, Glitter. She was also just starting an album at her new record company, Virgin Records, and had recently broken up with boyfriend, Latin icon, Luis Miguel. She began posting erratic letters on her website about being overworked and never having anyone who knew her around, for support. In July of 2001, she made a surprise appearance on MTV’s TRL, walking onto the set pushing an ice cream cart. Host, Carson Daly, seemed confused, yet amused by her behavior, which included stripping off the over sized men’s T-shirt she was wearing, and rambling incoherently. She said “I just want one day off where I can go swimming, and eat ice cream, and look at rainbows”
Not surprisingly, days after, Mariah was hospitalized for extreme exhaustion and a “physical and emotional breakdown”.
7. Robert Downey Jr.
Here is an example of multiple breakdowns caused by a severe addiction to drugs and alcohol. Robert Downey Jr. was a critically-acclaimed actor, having been nominated for both Academy Awards, and Golden Globes. From 1996-2001, he was arrested on numerous charges relating to cocaine, heroine, and marijuana possession.
Despite his history, he was cast in Ally McBeal, and remained on the show through arrests, and stints in rehab. It wasn’t until he was arrested after being found wandering around barefoot and high, that the show’s producers wrote him out of the script. It was then that he finally decided to make a real effort to beat addiction.
Robert Downey Jr. has made one of the most successful comebacks in history, as he is now one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood.
6. Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise was arguably the biggest movie star in the world at the time of his infamous appearance on Oprah, to promote his latest movie, War of the Worlds. But it wasn’t the film that got all the attention, it was his strange over-the-top behavior. When asked about his new relationship with Katie Holmes, he proceeded to jump on the couch, and then go backstage to drag her out on set. At the time, everyone seemed to take it as two people head over heels for each other, but that was only the beginning.
Cruise went on to reveal his devotion to Scientology on The Today Show, where he bashed psychiatry, and argued vehemently with Matt Lauer about the dangers of psychiatric drugs. His career hasn’t been the same since he made his devotion to Scientology known.
5. Courtney Love
Courtney Love was always a bit of a wild child, but it wasn’t until after the lead singer of Nirvana (and father to her infant daughter), Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994, that she really went off the deep end. She was in rehab at the time of his death, and was hated by the majority of his fans. She managed to get clean long enough to star in The People Vs. Larry Flint in 1996, but years later, relapsed and attempted suicide on her 40th birthday. After, she made multiple talk show appearances while clearly intoxicated, most notably on The Tonight Show with David Letterman.
Love has since publicly bashed former Nirvana band member, Dave Grohl, and even accused him of hitting on her daughter. Frances Bean took out a restraining order against her mother in 2009, and they have been estranged for years. Love continues to try to connect via Twitter, although most of her efforts are ignored.
4. Lindsay Lohan
At this point, Lindsay Lohan is most famous for being a train wreck that happened to be in a couple good movies back in her younger days. The success of films such as Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, and even her attempt at a music career, made her a huge star in the early 2000’s, but her teen queen reign didn’t last for long. After one of her highly publicized stints in rehab she released a statement, saying “it is clear to me that my life has become completely unmanageable because I am addicted to alcohol and drugs.” Her appearance deteriorated, and she was unable to maintain roles in any legitimate projects, as she was consistently showing up late, hungover, and generally unable to work.
Still, the public is fascinated by Lindsay. She currently has a reality show on Oprah’s network OWN, called Lindsay, but Oprah has spoken out about how difficult Lindsay still is to work with, saying “this is exactly what everyone said was going to happen, and I believed differently.”
3. Charlie Sheen
Even before the media spectacle revolving around Sheen’s exit from his hit TV show, Two and Half Men, started, he was no angel. He was hospitalized in 1998 following a cocaine overdose, but that did not inspire him to clean up his act. His second wife, Denise Richards filed for divorce in 2005, accusing Sheen of drug and alcohol abuse, and threats of violence.
After trying, and failing, to get more money for another season of Two and a Half Men (he was already the highest paid actor in television), Sheen was let go, and he subsequently went on a series of rants against the network and the show’s creators. His highly publicized meltdown included television interviews where he suggested he was a “warlock” with “tiger blood” and “Adonis DNA”. He launched a nationwide tour called “The Torpedo of Truth Tour” which involved him ranting erratically on stage. Somehow, Sheen has come back with another successful TV show, Anger Management, so I guess, despite everything, he is still “winning”.
2. Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes is another teen star who didn’t make the transition to being an adult in Hollywood very smoothly. She was the popular star of Nickelodeon’s All That and The Amanda Show, and was set to have a successful film career. Her problems started in 2012 when she was arrested for driving under the influence and side-swiping a police car. She continued to deal with legal problems stemming from her erratic driving habits, but it was her bizarre antics on Twitter that really caught the world’s attention. She started numerous Twitter feuds with other stars, calling random people “ugly” and even tweeting Rihanna, “Chris Brown beat you because you’re not pretty enough.”
Finally, in 2013, she was arrested after starting a fire in someone’s driveway, and was hospitalized under a 72-hour mental evaluation hold. Her mother was granted conservatorship over her medical care and finances as Amanda lacked “the capacity to give informed consent to medical care.” She has since been released and seems to be doing better. She announced her retirement from acting in 2012, and is now hoping for a career in fashion.
1. Britney Spears
Britney Spears may be the reigning Queen of Pop, with multiple platinum records, guaranteed hits every time, and a successful Vegas show, but she has had her low points too. After her divorce from Kevin Federline, and the death of a beloved aunt, Britney inexplicably shaved her head bald, one night, sparking the interest of the media. There are also multiple photos of her attacking a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella. She lost custody of her two sons, and was admitted to the hospital multiple times, including a stint in a psychiatric involuntary hold. She performed her single “Gimme More” at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2007, clearly not at the top of her game.
Her father was given conservatorship over her finances, and she was eventually allowed visitation with her sons. Despite her personal struggles, she has continued to release consistently successful music throughout her career, proving that a meltdown or two does necessarily spell the end of a promising career.