The majority of celebrities may be mostly honest people, or at the very least, understand how difficult it is to keep the truth under wraps when millions of people are paying attention. For those famous folk who decide to play fast and loose with reality, there is something of a sliding scale. Sure, we expect most actors to speak highly of their co-stars, at least while the film is still in theaters, and age is just a number that can easily be fudged.
We’re going to be looking at those stars that chose to fib in far more grandiose fashion. When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie chose to deny they’d become romantically involved on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, it was pretty silly, considering they would go on to have children and get married. That is the caliber of obvious and silly dishonesty we were looking for to make our list.
10. Lady Gaga Wasn’t Unpopular
The heir apparent to Madonna’s Queen of Pop throne, Lady Gaga is a unique entity in pop culture. Fully embracing anyone who has felt ostracized or has struggled with accepting their true selves, the “Born this Way” singer has spoken about being bullied as a youngster. Stating she “didn’t even want to go to school sometimes” because she was “being teased for being ugly, having a big nose, being annoying”, her empathy for fellow outcasts made perfect sense.
Some of her peers have come forward to tell the tale of her teens in a different fashion, however. One commenter said, “I like her music and shtick, but lately, she’s been relying a lot on being a victim of bullying—which just does not jive with any of my experiences, or with anyone I know who went to school with her”. Another fellow student was quoted as saying “She was always popular,” “I don’t remember her experiencing any social problems or awkwardness”. Although we weren’t there, so we can’t possibly know how she was treated, the consensus amongst those who knew her seems to indicate she is being less than forthright.
9. The White Stripes’ True Relationship
One of the most respected rock bands in decades, this duo out of Detroit, seemed to come out of nowhere. Everything about their image was carefully crafted, from their sound and wardrobe to their supposed past as siblings. As you may predict, the other shoe eventually dropped and the façade they created was torn asunder when a newspaper uncovered that they were, in fact, husband and wife in 2002.
Finally admitting the true nature of their past, during a Rolling Stone interview in 2005, Jack White revealed they’d deceived the public simply because they wanted to be taken seriously. Reasoning: “When you see a band that is two pieces, husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, you think. ‘Oh, I see…’ When they’re brother and sister, you go, ‘Oh, that’s interesting’.” Makes sense to us, if only it weren’t for those damned reporters ferreting out the truth.
8. Brian Williams’ Helicopter story
For a journalist, there is nothing more important from a professional point of view than integrity. That is why Brian’s choice to tell a credibility-destroying lie about barely surviving an attack during the first Iraq War was so ill-conceived. Claiming that a helicopter he was traveling in was “forced down after being hit by an RPG”, he also said that his “NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry”.
In actual fact, another copter they were following was shot down and he and his crew only arrived at the scene a half hour later. Over the course of twelve years, Brian’s version of the event became more and more embellished until Lance Reynolds, a flight engineer who was there, learned of his claims and blew the whistle. Officially suspended without pay for six months, his career has yet to rebound.
7. Beyoncé “Songwriter”
One of the most discussed and revered musicians alive today; Beyoncé has a hell of a lot to brag about. A member of one the most successful girl groups ever, she broke out on her own and somehow became even more successful. Having sold more than 118 million albums as a solo act, she has also far too many awards for us to list here, to brag about.
So we’re stuck here, scratching our heads in confusion as to why she might feel the need to take credit for work she didn’t actually complete. Credited as a songwriter on many, many songs, her actual contributions are highly questionable. Called out by the likes of Linda Perry, Renee ‘Shi’ Wisdom and many others, it has been claimed that she might change a word here or there, add background harmonies or nothing at all. That doesn’t sound like a songwriter to us.
6. Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky
It goes without saying that, The President of the United States is a position of immense power that takes a special kind of person to attain. Bill Clinton, the 42nd man to hold the office, has had several women come forward over the years, to claim that he used his charisma and career to solicit sexual favors from them. Unlike the others, Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern, had revealed to her supposed friend that she had fooled around with the man and it was leaked to the press.
A story that captivated the world, Clinton eventually stated in an official deposition that “I have never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky”. Unfortunately, his former conquest for some reason had held onto a blue dress she’d worn during one of their more intimate interactions and his dried semen made the truth indisputable. A dalliance that resulted in extensive legal maneuverings, and a president being impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice, it headlines news broadcasts for months. After everything was said and done, Clinton remained in office and the public mostly moved on.
5. Rick Ross, Correctional Officer
In some music genres, reputation means a hell of a lot more than others. Nobody cares if Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus grew up in wealth but 50 Cent’s persona was incredibly wrapped up in the fact that he’d survived being shot at point-blank range nine times. Rick Ross, like other performers in his genre, largely based his persona around boasts of how much of a gangsta he is.
Employed as a corrections officer for eighteen months in the mid-1990s, the rapper was so dead set on maintaining the illusion he’d created that when a photo of him in uniform came out he still denied it. Stating “online hackers” put “my face when I was a teenager in high school on other peoples’ body”, the claim was downright silly. After details like his salary, duration of his employment and place of training were released, it still took months for him to admit his law enforcement past.
4. Lance Armstrong and Doping
The most famous cyclist of all time, Lance’s story of extreme commitment to his sport, overcoming of a deadly decease and founding a charity made him a beloved celebrity. Winning the Tour de France an astounding seven times in a row, few athletes have reigned on top of their sport for so long. Retiring in 2005, he likely could have remained a beloved figure if he hadn’t mounted a comeback that would result in a protracted doping investigation.
Forced to come clean after years of increasing evidence and allegations from more and more former competitors, he admitted using performance-enhancing drugs and receiving blood transfusions. Choosing Oprah Winfrey to tell the truth to, he came off as egotistical and far from contrite. His image was forever tarnished, he was stripped of his Tour de France wins and even his charity distanced itself from him.
3. Stephen Rannazzisi and September 11th
One of the stars of The League, Stephen is a stand-up comedian and comedic actor whose career required comedic timing, not a sob story. Yet for some reason, he spent far too many years living a lie that linked him to one of the greatest tragedies in United States history. Claiming to have worked for Merrill Lynch in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001, the man described in great detail how his death-defying experience changed his life.
Of course none of it was remotely true. He never worked for Merrill Lynch and even if he had, the company never had an office in the World Trade Center. His elaborate story of survival against all the odds flew in the face of the facts and was unbelievably disrespectful to all of the victims of the horrific attacks. Contacted by a reporter for the New York Times and faced with the obvious facts, the actor issued an apology on Twitter, of all places.
2. Brian Dennehy’s Five-Year Tour in Vietnam
A beloved actor with pivotal roles in First Blood, Silverado, Cocoon, Tommy Boy and lots of other movies, television shows and theater productions, Brian played the tough guy to perfection. A truly respected actor and man, who brought a believable bravado to his performances, his history as a former Marine was a big part of his mystique.
According to the book Stolen Valor, his claims of serving 5 years in war-torn Vietnam, where he was wounded in action and witnessed horrific events, were wildly inaccurate. Only active in Okinawa, where he played football instead of firing his weapon, he eventually admitted his claims were false and apologized for it. Absolutely amazingly, he later reverted back to his lies in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
1. Milli Vanilli’s Music Career
The Wizard of Oz story brought to life, the two men the world was introduced to as Grammy Award winning, Billboard-topping and six times platinum-selling singers weren’t what they seemed to be. A couple of pretty boys who lip-synched and danced while a recording of other people singing played, it seems impossible to believe that anyone thought the ruse would hold up.
During a live MTV performance in 1989, the first cracks appeared, when the group’s recording jammed and began to skip, which resulted in the two men running off stage, but nobody batted an eye. All it took was one of the actual singers, becoming sick of someone else getting all the glory, choosing to come forward and tell the truth. Though he was paid to retract his statements, the genie was out of the bottle and before long, they were stripped of their Grammy, publicly ridiculed and drummed out of the business.