We all may have told a little white lie or two in our lives. Okay, maybe more than one or two; some studies show we lie on average of over 1.5 times a day! But when it comes to lying, the point is to avoid getting caught. When all eyes are on you, knowing that you did something blatantly dishonest can tarnish your reputation among your friends, family, or – perhaps worst – your place of work. If you’re caught in a lie, probably the best thing to do is come clean immediately. Probably the worst thing you can do is continuing to lie and build upon the lie you previously told… Because then, as Sir Walter Scott famously said, ‘what a tangled web we weave!’
Everything is starker under the spotlight and so, typically, celebrities who get caught out manipulating the truth suffer the consequences on a larger scale than us common folk. Celebrities might well tell a white lie or two in order to save their reputation and image but unfortunately for them, the lives of high-profile stars can be researched by suspicious journalists. This means that telling a lie in the public eye is a very risky endeavor and the more well known you are, the greater the odds are that your lie will be exposed. Some celebrities will eventually come clean. Like Star Jones, for example; the television personality dropped a lot of weight, which she credited to diet and exercise. But later, a heart problem forced Jones to admit that she had gastric bypass surgery. Or take Rick Ross, the famous rapper who denied allegations that he was formerly a corrections officer -the very antithesis of the rap culture. It wasn’t until a photo of Rick Ross in uniform surfaced was when he eventually came clean.
Of course, the bigger and more popular the celebrity the more scandal a lie will cause. So here, for your entertainment and a dose of schadenfreude, is a list of the top ten richest public figures that have, very publicly, lied. Of course, given the research suggesting lies are prevalent in daily life – and considering all those conspiracy theories about cover-ups – we certainly can’t say that these are the only liars out there in the limelight: But these are the richest celebs who got caught!
10. Flo Rida – $30 Million
Flo Rida told a bit of a little white lie when he was being sued by a former employee for paying her slave wages. Rida didn’t respond or acknowledge the lawsuit and he told a judge that it was because he wasn’t served the papers, and therefore wasn’t aware of the legal trouble. Rida stated that the papers were sent to the wrong address and to a woman that he didn’t know. However, Flo Rida later admitted to the judge that the woman that he previously said he didn’t know was really one of his employees. The judge wasn’t amused with being lied to and fined him $7,000 for lying.
9. Nicki Minaj – $45 Million
This one is a rather minor white lie and one that people often tell, but because Nicki Minaj is a high profile celebrity so any white lie can turn into a newsworthy headline. So what happened? In 2011, the singer told the world that she was 26, but later that year she got into some trouble with the authorities and in the fuss it emerged that she was actually 28 and not 26. Okay, it’s a two-year difference…big deal.
8. White Stripes – $50 Million (combined)
This one comes across as a little creepy, but stay with us on this one. When Jack and Meg White of White Stripes first made it big, they told the press that they were brother and sister. But it eventually came out that the couple had in fact been married, and – thankfully – were not brother and sister. It seems they told the public that they were siblings so that the media would stay out of their personal lives. It was discovered that the couple was married from 1996 to 2000 when a news outlet produced the couple’s marriage and divorce certificates.
7. Brandy – $60 Million
The singer was newly pregnant in 2002, and said she got married in 2001 to producer Robert Smith. A few years later, Smith revealed during a radio interview that the couple had broken up, and had actually never gotten married. It wasn’t until 2008 that Brandy would finally confess that she was never married to her baby’s daddy. Why she decided to lie about something like this, the world will never know. But given that Brandy had a squeaky clean image, and a pregnancy out of wedlock would have certainly tarnished it, that’s a likely motivation.
6. Bill Clinton – $80 Million
It was one of the hottest scandal’s to hit the White House in years. We all remember Bill Clinton telling the press, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” in regards to accusations that he was engaged in sexual activity with a 22-year old intern named Monica Lewinsky. After recorded conversations surfaced where she revealed her affair with the President to a friend, investigators discovered hard evidence in the form of a dress on which traces of the President’s bodily fluids were found. At that point, Clinton had no choice but to come clean about the inappropriate misconduct.
5. Paris Hilton – $100 Million
The Hilton heiress and socialite was once caught with some cocaine in her purse, but she tried to get herself out of trouble by telling authorities that the purse didn’t belong to her. Even though all of the items in the purse belonged to her, Paris Hilton insisted that the purse belonged to a friend. Hilton probably should have trashed the bag right afterwards, but a month after the incident she posted a photo of herself on Twitter holding the same purse that she claimed belonged to her friend. She had to admit to lying about the situation, and confessed to a judge.
4. Lance Armstrong – $125 Million
This was probably the world’s most disappointing story of deceit, as Lance Armstrong was a symbol of survival, perseverance, and honor. The professional cyclist was the toast of America, having won the Tour de France seven times, and having defeated testicular cancer. When asked if he had ever used any performance enhancing substances, Armstrong vehemently denied it. However, an investigation in 2012 showed that he did indeed use these substances – for most of his career. Armstrong was stripped of several of his awards and titles, and is still trying to rebuild his career.
3. Britney Spears – $200 Million
Back in the early days – before Britney got married, went a bit crazy, and then made her comeback – she presented herself to the world as virginal, and was vocally against premarital sex. Her younger fan base admired her choices and she became a family-friendly role model for teenagers. However, after Britney’s relationship with Justin Timberlake, the *NSYNC member implied that perhaps the couple had been more intimate than Britney would have liked to admit. The pop star eventually came clean that she did, in fact have sex with Justin out of wedlock – although she noted that she made him wait three years.
2. Martha Stewart – $300 Million
Unless you’ve been locked out of the pop culture loop, you’ll know about Martha Stewart serving time in prison for conspiracy and obstruction of justice during a notorious insider stock trading case in 2004. What exactly did she do? She and stockbroker Peter Bacanovic told investigators that they had agreed to sell their stock in a drug company if the price fell below $60. In fact, the truth was that they had been tipped off that the FDA would not approve the drug they’d invested in. This lie got Steward sentenced to prison for five months.
1. Tiger Woods – $500 Million
The revelation that Tiger Woods was a cheater and a liar not only destroyed his marriage to Elin Nordegan, but it nearly destroyed his career – with several companies who sponsored the star dropping endorsement deals with the golfer during the fall-out. The scandal was such a hot topic that even Woods’ teachers from his childhood began to come forward and tell the world that his lying started way back when he was a child. Woods’ lying habit came to light when it emerged he’d been having illicit relations with numerous women, cheating on his model wife and the mother of his children. Text messages tracing back to Woods’ phone confirmed that the multi-million-golf icon had indeed been involved in a number of extramarital affairs: hot on the heels of the scandal, Woods declared he was sex addict and was seeking treatment.
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