It’s a truism everybody knows that, when two or more pop divas are in a room together, calling each other out through the press, or engaged in a Twitter battle, things are gonna get ugly. In fact, true divas don’t even need a rival to go off and get ugly- they can do that just fine on their own. These facts are as old as music and as old as the ideas of rivalry and selfish behavior. If you don’t believe me, just do a little research into the lives of the famous opera singers from where the term “Diva” actually came from- those ladies threw some serious shade at each other back in the 1700s and were often stone-cold crazy! OK, OK, I know all of you guys are saying “But Geer, I don’t want to research some boring, old opera chick.” Alright, alright, don’t worry, it’s cool, I get it. So you’ll just have to trust me on this one. Alternately, you could watch Amadeus, a movie that spends most of its time exploring the rivalry between the composer Salieri and that all-time diva, Mozart himself.
Nah, you don’t need to do that either, I promise. Let’s instead take a look at all the current divas or those of recent vintage who have been known to get it on with their peers, their fans, the press, record company execs, and just about anybody else who has gotten on their bad side. And just in case you didn’t know another universal truth- it’s pretty damn easy to get on a diva’s bad side. So brace yourselves because here it is- 15 divas getting down and dirty and just plain old ugly with the rest of the world.
15. Taylor Swift
Let’s start off with America’s current “Sweetheart,” shall we? Everyone knows that T-Swift might appear as sweet as cotton candy but that she can also be as cutting as a knife. The one thing you don’t want to do is get involved with Taylor romantically and then have the relationship fail. She will call you out, it will be your fault, and she will use her “pain” to write another hit song- about you and your evil ways. Don’t believe me? Just ask Joe Jonas, John Mayer, or Jake Gyllenhaal. Of course Taylor doesn’t stop with ex-boyfriends. For someone supposedly nice and sweet, she’s got a huge hit list of enemies, from Kanye to Selena Gomez. Her most famous feud was (is?) with Katy Perry and was (is???) over the hiring away of backup dancers from each other- it’s not even about guys! The feud has been fueled by Tweetstorms from both for years now. According to Taylor, it just “had to do with business.” Ouch!
So, on the surface, the Queen Bee appears to be a bit more removed from the fierce feuds that dominate her industry. A bit. Beyoncé has been known, though, to go at it “through sources” now and then, most recently when she got involved in Kanye West’s life (talk about a diva!), which is probably never a good idea. Everybody knows that Beyoncé’s guy Jay-Z and Kanye are involved in a massive feud of their own over, among other things, Kanye feeling hurt that Jay-Z’s kids don’t play with his! Jay-Z apparently just thinks Kanye is nuts- there’s a shocker. Beyoncé supposedly said Kanye needs to deal with his family life better and be there for Kim the K. (hmmm, I wonder if she ever feuds???). But there were also ugly rumors last year that Britney was upset that she had to perform after Beyoncé at the 2016 VMA’s (Video Music Awards) and that Beyoncé was upset that Brit was upset. Or something like that. These feuds can get confusing sometimes, especially when you never know what is fabricated for public consumption and what is real.
13. Jennifer Lopez
I suppose it’s to be expected in an industry that’s dominated by strong-willed people who have their own agendas and are adept at selling themselves, but it’s always kind of sad when two former friends get ugly. I’m talking, of course, about the famous J-Lo and Rosie Perez feud. J-Lo first came to the public’s attention when she was hired by then-choreographer Perez to be a “Fly Girl” dancer on In Living Color way back in the ‘90s. According to Perez, in her 2014 book Handbook for an Unpredictable Life, “Jenny from the Block” became quite the diva almost immediately on the old sketch comedy show, demanding special wardrobe and makeup treatment and saying she was “better” than all of the other dancers. Perez also said Lopez would hurl insults and curses at her. Lopez, for her part, allegedly made negative comments about Perez around Hollywood and refused to return phone calls- however, she was perfectly fine acting all fake, nice-nice to former friend Perez in public. Since she’s a diva after all, J-Lo has also been rumored to be in a longstanding feud with the queen of the divas Mariah Carey.
12. Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston’s death was a sad and tragic waste of talent and human life. In her prime, Whitney may just have been bigger than all of the other divas that came before and after her. This is, after all, the singer who had seven consecutive number one hits in the ‘80s. Seven! There was also the little issue of the reigning queen of pop feeling upstaged by a hot, young talent- that talent being Mariah. Mariah herself tried to put rumors of a feud to rest years ago but some people don’t believe the pop princess. Slightly more ugly were the revelations in globemagazine.com a few years ago that Whitney detested her The Bodyguard co-star (a movie that made her more famous than she already was) because he once decried her acting ability. And then there were the allegations that Whitney hated Oprah for being a “sellout.” With Whitney gone we’ll probably never know the truth of any of these rumors but the fact they exist gives testament to the crazy microscope these ladies live under.
It’s one thing to have public, knock-down, drag-out fights with famous boyfriends and one’s peers, something Madonna has certainly done before. It’s another thing entirely to act ugly in front of your fans. But that’s exactly what Madonna did last spring at a concert in Brisbane, Australia when she invited a 17-year-old fan onstage and then pulled her top down, exposing the girl’s breast. To her credit, the singer did tell the girl “you can do the same to me if you like” and later said it was an accident. But, really? C’mon Madonna, everyone knows you are definitely not above a cheap stunt every now and then to keep people focused on you. The weirdest part of it all is that the girl (and her mother!) seemingly have no problem with it and she called it “the best moment of my life.” I don’t know, maybe Madonna has the ability to brainwash people when she gets ugly onstage.
OK, now we’re getting into the good stuff. You can’t possibly talk about divas behaving badly without mentioning Rihanna. Like, over and over again… RiRi has famously thrown shade at or received it from Ciara, Amanda Bynes (remember her?), Karrueche and of course, Chris Brown. That last one I understand for sure but RiRi has also gone after basically all of Instagram whenever she has felt unloved on that medium. She has even gone toe to toe with Charlie Sheen, which is cool because Charlie is, shall we say, highly entertaining? Yeah, let’s stick with that. The diva is currently getting ugly with Azealia Banks, who apparently is a strong supporter of President Trump’s anti-Muslim immigration ban. Or at least that’s the way it’s playing out, as she responded nastily to Rihanna’s Tweets protesting the ban. It may be ugly and fascinating at the same time but this celeb feud at least is a little bit more real than many of RiRi’s other crazy rivalries.
9. Janet Jackson
All I can say for the “Black Cat” star is wow! Janet has managed to get ugly with a whole mess of different people. Hmm, where to begin? Well, how about with Elton John’s (another total diva) comments just a year ago that he always sang live, unlike, “f**king music magazines writing a review of Janet Jackson saying, ‘This is the greatest show — four and a half stars.’ It’s **king lip-synced! Hello! That’s not a show! I’d rather go and see a drag queen!” While Janet has refrained from that particular nonsense, it’s no secret that she and Paula Abdul (Geez- how many divas do we need?) have hated each other for 30 years. In a nutshell, Janet blames Paula for ruining her brother’s marriage back when Paula, a L.A. Lakers cheerleader at the time, had an affair with him. Paula blames Janet for getting her kicked off X Factor. The two do not speak. Oh yeah, there’s also that little matter of Janet’s family feud with her nephew Paris (Michael’s son), her brothers, her mom and just about everybody else she’s related to- the have all taken so many sides I’m just gonna let you sort it out on your own.
8. Grace Slick
Here’s a blast from the past. Grace Slick was a total diva of the San Francisco “Summer of Love” scene in the ‘60s. The former lead singer of Jefferson Airplane, best known for singing the legendary hit “White Rabbit” and performing at Woodstock, was also famous for being a stone cold b*tch and a stunner- she was a model before she took up singing. Among many other incidents of Grace getting ugly was her 1994 drunken, shotgun-waving confrontation with police at her home in Tiburon, California. Then there was the 1978 incident when the singer, now heading the newly named Jefferson Starship, drunkenly attacked a crowd in Germany, calling the audience “Nazis,” shouting “Who won the war,” and giving the “Heil Hitler” salute to the crowd. That is throwing some serious shade as well as showing remarkable drunk ugliness onstage. Grace Slick was definitely an old school diva!
7. Katy Perry
Well, I’ve already brought it up and most people probably fall on Katy Perry’s side in her feud with T-Swift. After all, she does seem more “real,” approachable and friendly than her rival. But the truth when you’re talking about divas is always a bit more complicated. Rumors that she’s not the nicest starlet out there have occasionally followed Perry. One such incident supposedly occurred last year, when songwriter Ryn Weaver (of the viral sensation “OctaHate” and Lollapalooza fame) accused our Katy of “bullying” her by ignoring her while they were at a Drake concert in the same group. Weaver also claims that Perry told everyone in their group that Weaver herself was obsessed with Perry. Say it ain’t so Katy- don’t be a hater! Katy has also been accused in the music press of “cultural appropriation,” as she often seems to be cluelessly perpetuating negative racial stereotypes in her videos.
6. Nicki Minaj
I almost feel like, with super-diva Nicki Minaj, I should just list all of her fights, feuds, “misunderstandings,” outrageousness and everything else controversial about her and let someone else sort it all out, but that wouldn’t be right now, would it? Especially since she told Ellen “I’m a sweet person, and I don’t wanna be mean to people.” Umm, earth to Nicki? Maybe you are sweet but here’s a little sampling of your victims (or opponents, I suppose): One, Taylor Swift (shocking!) and their mini Tweet war over racism at MTV’s VMAs. Two, Miley Cyrus and more allegations of racism. Nicki also called Miley a “b*tch” onstage at those same VMAs. Three, Nicki starting a Tweetstorm with non-star Farrah Abraham (I know you know who she is) over both her treatment of her mother and her parenting skills. For all I know this one is still going on. Four…well; I think you get my point. Nicki might be a “sweet person” but she has an odd way of showing it.
Cher is an all-time, classic diva. She’s been around for decades and I don’t think she’s ever mellowed out. Pretty much all you need to know about Cher and her always over-the-top, diva-esque behavior and sometime ugliness happened on a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” in 2013 when the singer said of Madonna, “I never hated her, I just thought she was a b*tch. Actually I quite respect her.” OK Cher, that explains everything. She is also famous for her ongoing (like years-long) war of the words with David Letterman- on his own show. When someone famous becomes more famous for calling someone else famous an “A**hole” you know there’s some serious shade being thrown. Or, a crazy like a fox conspiracy by the two. With Cher and Dave you just never know. Whatever the real motives Cher has proven herself to be an expert at the ugly diva game.
4. Britney Spears
So apart from the maybe real, maybe made-up throw down with the Queen Bee, most of Britney’s ugly diva behavior has been more of a detriment to herself than anyone else. I mean, how could it not be, after her much-publicized total meltdown a few years back. Britney really did go totally crazy for a few years, didn’t she? For one, the hair-shaving incident from 2007 alone is enough to get Brit on a list of ugly behavior by a pop diva. But she’s also lost custody of her children, gone to multiple rehab centers and has to endure a court ordered conservatorship over her life and career decisions. Yeah, our girl went a little crazy for a while. Britney seems to be better nowadays so there’s hope yet. Oh yeah, she and longtime frenemy Christina Aguilera (remember, they starred on the Mickey Mouse Club together!) may or may not be tight.
3. Lady Gaga
Given that she seems to court controversy in her music itself, her lyrics, her fashion choices, her political choices and, for all I know, her choice of car, it should come as no surprise that Lady Gaga, the original “Mother Monster,” should make this list. As with all of these diva disputes, some are more real than others but there’s no doubt “Gagaloo” has gotten it on over the course of her career. She may or may not have had a thing with Christina Aguilera, way back in 2008, when Christina supposedly threw shade at her for not knowing who the rookie Gaga was. Far more interesting is the crazy shade Estonian pop singer Kerli (Estonian?) kept bringing her way in 2009 for copying everything Kerli did fashion-wise. Umm, no. She is probably most famous for her ongoing feud with Madonna. That started way back in 2011 when Madge accused Gaga of severely imitating “Express Yourself” with “Born This Way.” That particular feud is real and is still going on, with both singers taking too many shots at each other to list here.
2. Miley Cyrus
Miley’s a tough one when it comes to what’s real and what’s not in the naughty divas behaving badly lottery. Mostly because she seems legitimately insane, doesn’t she? How do you know when a crazy person is being mean or ugly as opposed to just acting, well, crazy? There’s no doubt, though, that some of her behavior is pretty ugly. I’m not talking about her feuds with other starlets, though she does have a few. No, I’m more interested in weird stuff like her candid from a few years back where she appeared to be mocking Asians by making “slant eyes.” Or how about her infamous Twerking performance at the VMAs. People basically now equate Twerking with Cyrus, and not in a good way. Then there’s the constant weird nudity and references to being a big Bob Marley fan, if you know what I mean. And don’t even get me started on her X-Rated videos like “Wrecking Ball.” Miley may be having the time of her life but I hope she’s knows what she’s doing ‘cause some of her behavior is downright eccentric.
1. Mariah Carey
Here she is, the queen of the divas, the one and only Mariah, she of the eight-octave voice and insane demands. Mariah behaves like a true diva should, believing herself to be the only one who should receive the treatment she receives. Sure, Mariah has had some feuds but, really, do you or I or anyone else think she cares? I’m not sure she even acknowledges that there is any world but Mariah’s world. After all, this is the woman who works out on treadmills in stiletto heels, accepts awards drunk, has her assistants change the lighting in rooms she’s entering, plays her own music when entering restaurants, and happily orders assistants around doing her wardrobe changes- while on camera! Oh yeah, she also occasionally mentions that she has no idea who J-Lo is. Never by name, though, never by name. Finally, in case you weren’t quite sure about the ugly behavior of this most awesome “Diva of All Divas,” just remember this; when asked by reporters who should sing at her wedding Mimi’s answer was “F**king nobody.” That’s the coolest diva answer ever.