Since the early days of silent cinema, the public has always had a fascination with such formidable figures.
Whether it be what they do on their days off, who they are currently involved with or even what they look like in the morning, the obsession between star and supporter is too great to be ignored. Reveling in the fact that perfection is impossible, it can become pleasurable to see what lies beneath the facade of faultiness that we are all exposed to by celebs, everyday. So often we find ourselves basking in the gossip columns and scrolling through photographs that depict our favorite celebrities being well, normal. Just like us, our idols eat, drink, cheat and even die. Yet they also make mistakes, take drugs, cheat on their unsuspecting partners and find themselves making the wrong decisions. For some reason though, it’s more shocking and exciting depending who they are and what they represent, making it even more fulfilling when it is all caught on camera.
But why are we so obsessed with them? And why are the most scandalous, morbid and shocking photographs the ones that become the most notorious? We see these people on our screens every day, in magazines, in advertisements, we listen to them on the radio and hear about them in podcasts. We know their names, their ages and even what they like to eat in the morning. On some level we feel as if we know them personally.
Overall, we admire them and we sometimes forget that they are only human too, having the right to make the same mistakes we do every day; therefore making it all the more shocking when their exploits are so gracefully captured. So take a look at these 11 of the most shocking celebrity photographs.
11. River Phoenix’s Corpse
Born in 1970, River shot to fame as the rebellious ‘Chris’ in Stand by Me. Going on to be an acclaimed actor he was even nominated for an Academy Award. With a huge amount of talent and a fan base growing by the second, Phoenix was destined for greatness. However, one night Phoenix decided to visit the immensely popular ‘Viper Room’ a nightclub in Los Angeles that was partly owned by none other than Johnny Depp.
Partying with his famous brother, Joaquin Phoenix, his sister Rain and his then girlfriend, River began taking a cocktail of drugs. Disagreeing with him, he started having seizures and moved outside to where he sadly died right there on the sidewalk, at only 23 years old. Dressed in his bands T-shirt, Aleka’s attic, River Phoenix was cremated along with a number of notes and gifts from his family and friends.
10. Britney Spears’ Public Meltdown
In 2007, Britney Spears shocked the nation with a very public meltdown. The paparazzi must have thought Christmas had come early when Britney engaged on a night of debauchery which consisted of shaving her head and running around with an umbrella. After a complicated few years, we saw the former child star marry her childhood friend only to have it annulled 55 hours later. To marrying the father of her two children who was already expecting a child with another woman, to then seeing her children taken away from her after a very public divorce, it is no wonder Spears went a bit crackers.
9. Cocaine Kate
In 2004 while enjoying a nice evening with then boyfriend, Libertines front-man Pete Doherty, Kate Moss was filmed lining up and taking cocaine whilst sitting in the corner of a recording studio. Moss, who was then 31 years old, reportedly snorted five lines in 40 minutes, washing it down with shots of vodka and whiskey. Taped by a hidden camera, the grainy footage made its way onto the front pages of newspapers everywhere resulting in Burberry, Chanel and H&M all pulling the plug on her contracts. With a stint in rehab and the British media questioning her ability as a role model, Moss’s career will forever be tainted by THAT picture.
8. Pete Wentz Penis
Poor Pete Wentz, in a month where he was ridiculed by his ex-friend and called a ”sh***y, opportunist businessman with even sh***er fashion sense” as well as “a f****ing sellout,” he was also shamefully taken advantage of when some explicit photos he had taken were leaked onto the internet. The photos, that contain a pretty pleased with himself Pete Wentz, were hacked from his sidekick account. Commenting on the pictures, Pete thanked his fans for their support claiming, ”What’s even more absurd to me is that anyone would care to see a couple of racy pictures of some sh***y, dirty boy. After feeling badly about this for about 24 hours, I am now ready to get back to laughing.”
7. George Michael Crashes Into Snappy Snaps
No stranger to scandal, George Michael topped them all when he was arrested after crashing his car into the British camera store Snappy Snaps in 2010. The impact made dents in the walls, crushed the door frame and shattered the windows yet thankfully nobody was injured. Having only just ended a two-year driving ban because of drinking whilst under the influence of drugs and numerous other charges and allegations, George was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, a fine and a five-year ban from driving.
6. The Affair That Shocked The World
In 2012, Kristen Stewart was caught cheating on then boyfriend, Twilight hunk Robert Pattinson. The two were Hollywood’s it couple for quite a while, mostly popular amongst the teens. So when the photo came out of Stewart canoodling with another man, all hell broke loose. The man in question was Kristen’s director and married man Rupert Sanders. With an affair that resulted in a divorce and Rob very publicly moving out of the home he shared with Stewart, the affair was a huge Hollywood scandal.
Issuing a public apology, Stewart wrote ”I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I’ve caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I’m so sorry”.
5. Amy Winehouse Spirals Out Of Control
When Amy Winehouse was snapped looking extremely gaunt and disheveled, the media went nuts. An immensely talented star, Amy had already won five Grammy awards and was loved around the world. However with her heavy use of drugs becoming very public, Amy began to regularly show the effects with a suspected overdose that she claimed was exhaustion. Dogged by rumors of her continued drug use, Winehouse had actually managed to kick the habit yet sadly succumbed to accidental alcohol poisoning at the tender age of 27.
4. The World Is Introduced To Caitlyn Jenner
Formerly known as Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn Shot to fame for winning gold in the 1976 Olympics and became even more famous when marrying Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner. However in April 2015, Jenner revealed that she had been hiding her true identity for years and now identified as a trans woman. With her name and gender becoming official a couple months later, Caitlyn has received worldwide fame from being called the most famous openly transgender woman in the world to receiving the award for Glamour’s woman of the year.
3. OJ Simpson Car Chase
The most famous car chase in history, OJ Simpson’s every movement was taped, snapped and witnessed as 95 million people watched the now famous white bronco speeding down the highway away from the police. It had only been a few days since the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman had been found slashed and stabbed and covered in blood. Yet the police were closing in and OJ panicked. Driven by pal Al Cowlings, the high speed chase played like a Hollywood movie with spectators flocking to the freeway to watch the real life murder case open before their eyes. Later Simpson was infamously found not guilty and released without charge.
2. Kurt Cobain Death Scene
In 2014 the Seattle Police Department released 35 never-before-seen photographs from the death of Nirvana front-man, Kurt Cobain. The photographs were originally undeveloped. However due to the re-examination of the rock star’s death, the SPD decided to develop and release them. Taken in Cobain’s Seattle home, the pictures portray syringes, paraphernalia and heroin as well as the shotgun that was used by Kurt to kill himself.
1. Princess Diana – Car Wreck
On the 30th of August, 1998 the world was silenced when Princess Diana died in a car crash after being chased by the paparazzi in Paris. Known round the world as the People’s Princess, Diana had been dining with her then squeeze Dodi Fayed. Trying to avoid the paps, the pair, along with her driver and bodyguard were chased through the streets of Paris before crashing into a pillar through an underpass. As the victims lay critically injured it was reported that some photographers began taking pictures with Diana muttering ‘leave me alone‘. Unfortunately Dodi, her driver and Diana all died leaving only the bodyguard who survived. All we have left of that terrible night are the mangled and disfigured pictures that caused the death to one of the most loved public figures in the world.