Celebrity bodyguard – at first glance, it seems like a glamorous job. You’d be jetting all over the world, staying in posh hotels and eating at upscale restaurants. You’d be taking your clients to nightclubs and media appearances, and maybe even making an appearance in a few celeb Instagrams yourself.
That’s the dream. The reality is a little different. Your workday is long, and entirely dictated by the whims of people with wealth, fame, and all the yes-men that money can buy. Pop stars, royalty, billionaire business people – they’re all used to getting their own way, and think nothing of making outrageous demands on your time and efforts. As far as the posh lifestyle, some of that might be true. But, while your clients are dining, drinking, and partying, you’re stone cold sober, constantly vigilant and on the look out for trouble. You have to be prepared for long hours of standing around while they party and socialize, and tense moments when stalkers and obsessed fans want to get too close.
It’s only natural that bodyguards and their long time clients often develop close relationships, (and sometimes reeaal close). On the flip side, it’s also natural that tempers sometimes flare, and as in any break up, bodyguards and their former clients sometimes find themselves on opposite sides of an argument. Celebs with the smartest lawyers have the tightest non-disclosure clauses, but lucky for us, some of them were a little more lax, and former bodyguards to the world’s elite classes have been able to spill their secrets in the media. Naturally, it’s probably more common to snitch on a former boss when the parting wasn’t so amicable, and it’s the conflicts with security personnel that hit the headlines, not those with tight relationships. It’s a window into a rarefied world; here’s some of the juicier stories we found.
15. Mick Jagger And David Bowie In The Closet
While the debauched partying is going on, the bodyguard is the sober guy watching the door. A case in point: not long after David Bowie‘s demise early in 2016, Stuart George, his bodyguard of 14 years, went public with a series of revelations of his life with the Thin White Duke. One fateful night in the 1970s at the New York Plaza Hotel, George found himself on duty guarding the door of Bowie’s walk-in costume wardrobe as the iconic singer and Mick Jagger indulged in a threesome with a female British singer, and plenty of cocaine. George didn’t skimp on the details either. Apparently, ballet star Rudolf Nureyev wanted in on the action, but George held him off – Bowie’s instructions were to let no one in at all until the trio was done. While George kept the middle of the threesome a secret, Ava Cherry, a former backup singer for Bowie, added her own public confession that she’d been the filling in that rock-and-roll cookie.
14. Eminem And Kim
Eminem likes to talk tough about ex-wife Kim in his songs. But, according to former bodyguard Byron Big-Naz Williams, in real life, Slim Shady was actually scared of her. Williams wrote a book, entitled Shady Bizzness, about his experiences with the Detroit rapper. He says he witnessed several violent incidents, including one where Kim hurled a lamp at Eminem in the tour bus, knocking him on the floor. He also says that Shady was in the habit of sleeping with many of his fans, and that the entire team of bodyguards had to come up with stories to keep Kim from the truth. Apparently, the lies worked until the book came out in 2000. Kim is said to have attempted suicide when she read about his dressing room antics. Along with women, Williams says that Eminem was also a prodigious consumer of drugs both legal and illegal, including ecstasy, magic mushrooms, and Vicodin.
13. Kim Kardashian, Kanye West And The Flirty Bodyguard
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West – or Kimye – seem to have had their fair share of bodyguard drama over the years. At the Met Gala in May 2016, bodyguard Steve Stanulis reportedly ran afoul of Kanye. According to a story that appeared in the New York Daily News, Stanulis – a former police officer and Chippendale’s dancer – was particularly eager to volunteer to take a package up to Kim’s hotel room at the Waldorf Astoria. Kanye was next door, and heard Steve chatting up Kim. Witnesses claimed he said, “This isn’t right!” Next thing you know, Steve was told that his services were no longer required. Once the incident hit the media, Stanulis did a number of interviews. Among his other revelations, that Kanye is “the most self-absorbed person I’ve ever met,” that Yeezus refuses to press his own elevator buttons, and while the couple dined lavishly, they didn’t offer their bodyguards so much as a glass of water. He also claims, interestingly, that the much-publicized $11 million heist Kim went through in Paris was an “inside job”. Kanye responded with the threat of a $30 million lawsuit, and after a payout, Stanulis’ social media accounts have since gone into protection mode and there’s been no more comments either way.
12. Justin Bieber Allegedly Beats Bodyguard
We always thought those pics were photoshopped to show the Biebs with bigger biceps and all, but maybe Justin Bieber really is as ripped as he looks in those Calvin Klein ads. Back in 2013, he was sued by a former bodyguard who claimed Bieber had punched him repeatedly. Moshe Benabou was Bieber’s bodyguard in 2011 through 2012, and he’s a former badass Israeli soldier, which makes his claim that Biebs roughed him up even more impressive – or unbelievable, depending on which way you look at it. According to published reports, the trouble began when Benabou kept a particular individual from getting close to Biebs and his posse – something that is actually part of a bodyguard’s job. But, this unnamed individual was apparently a friend of the Biebs and things got crazy. Benabou claims that Bieber punched him in the chest several times, with his inner circle cheering him on. Then, Bieber fired Benabou in front of the crowd. Benabou’s suit claimed $421,261, including $3,758.34 for cellphone charges. The suit was quickly settled out of court to the satisfaction of both sides. This came at the same time that Bieber was facing charges for DUI and drag racing, so the move to avoid trial was shrewd.
11. Say Hello To Uncle Elton
Jeffrey Wenninger, like many bodyguards, was also a cop. He was a captain in the LAPD, working for Elton John during his off hours for several years until he quit in September of 2014. He sued British pop icon Elton John in March of 2016 for three alleged incidents of sexual harassment and battery. Wenninger says that John made sexually charged comments like “Get your todger out” and “Say hello to Uncle Elton.” He also claims that John repeatedly groped him, including nipple twists and pokes in the butt. Wenninger is something of a local hero in L.A. In 2007, he was awarded the LAPD’s Medal of Honor for his part in rescuing seniors from a burning building. The lawsuit was dismissed in November 2016 at Wenninger’s request. Elton John has always firmly denied any wrongdoing. The suit is reported to have been settled for a six-figure sum.
10. Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson remains a musical icon with a legacy of unforgettable music, but it has to be said that most of what we hear about his private life ventures out into left field. It stands to reason that his former bodyguard has some interesting tales to tell. Matt Fiddes claims that he and Jackson were close friends beyond the bodyguard and client relationship, to the point that he says he donated sperm when Jackson was trying to have a child. In fact, Fiddes claims that Blanket is probably his son. One of his more surprising revelations is that Michael Jackson dated Whitney Houston shortly before she began seeing future husband Bobby Brown. Fiddes says that, while the affair lasted only two weeks, Jackson never got over Whitney. He also claims that Jacko had a secret girlfriend for several years during the last years of his life. The biggest surprise? He says Michael was one of the best martial artists he’d ever seen.
9. Elvis Presley
Sometimes the role of a bodyguard is more about protecting your client from himself. Rock legend Elvis was apparently a fan of pills, both uppers and downers, and had been since his days in the army in the late 1950s. By the 1970s, he was often performing and filming while seriously self-medicated. Towards the end of his life, three of his bodyguards started to try and rein in the King’s self-destructive tendencies, but their advice fell on deaf ears. Elvis would have rather had them join in, as it turns out. Former bodyguard Dave Hebler claims that Elvis gave him 16 pills to take on one occasion. He later showed them to Elvis’ doctor, who told him it would have been a lethal dose. Elvis ended up letting his bodyguards go shortly before he died of an overdose, but he heard that the three bodyguards were working on a book. Elvis hired a private detective to try and buy them off, but it didn’t work and Elvis: What Happened? was published in 1977, filled with secrets like the fact that the King thought he had the power to move clouds with his mind, and that he was in the habit of shooting the TV and other appliances that annoyed him.
8. Tupac Shakur
According to Frank Alexander, former bodyguard to the Tupac Shakur, the late rapper spent as much time having sex as he did making the music that still makes his name famous. Alexander talked about his life as a bodyguard in the 2011 book, Got Your Back: Protecting Tupac in the World of Gangsta Rap. Playboy produced an X-rated version of the video for Tupac’s song How Do U Want It, and the rapper flew in several adult film stars of the day, including Nina Hartley, to participate in the shoot. However, according to Alexander, what was captured on video was nothing compared to what went on behind the scenes. Apparently, Tupac’s typical day went something like this: shooting a scene or two, then a break for sex with a dancer, then a meal, then start at the beginning again. He had so much sex that he passed out at one point, and when he was too tired to perform, he made up for it with what we can call “manual dexterity”. Former adult film princess Nina Hartley confirms the story, saying the post-production party was a foursome with Tupac, Nina, and two of her co-stars.
7. Scandalous Prince Harry
Prince Harry is our kind of royal — sure, he shows up when he’s supposed to, and performs his royal duties, but he’s also not afraid of letting that princely hair down to party. He’s had his share of public scandals, but back in 2015, a few of his former bodyguards went public with even more revelations in a magazine interview. They claim that, at least for a time, Harry was obsessed with blondes — so much so that he bought a blonde wig for a brown-haired woman he was dating. Back in 2012, Harry made headlines when pics of him frolicking with the ladies in the nude surfaced during a Vegas vacation. But, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. According to the bodyguards, Prince Harry has a thing for nude partying, including that time he invited four models over to doff their kits (as they say in the UK) to run naked through the halls of Buckingham Palace. Other surprises include the fact that Harry loves KFC chicken, and is BFFs with Victoria Beckham, often yakking for hours over the phone with her late at night.
6. Suge Knight – The Hits
As of November 2016, Marion Hugh “Suge” Knight Jr is languishing in prison awaiting trial on charges that he deliberately ran over a man with his vehicle, killing him. The incident occurred in 2015 and he’s been in jail ever since. Suge Knight, co-founder and former CEO of Death Row Records, is a former defensive end for the Los Angeles Rams and at one time, arguably the most powerful figure in the world of rap. Revelations about Suge come from a former bodyguard to Eminem, who was signed to rival label Aftermath, run by Dr. Dre. The bodyguard says Suge tried to have the Detroit rapper killed not once but on two occasions. According to the story, Suge tried to off Eminem during the 2001 Source Hip Hop Awards. A bunch of Suge’s henchmen in red shirts started a beef with Eminem in the crowd. Alarmed, Eminem’s bodyguard got Dr. Dre and his own security people involved. The security crew watched apprehensively from backstage while Eminem did his piece on stage. A second attempt happened when Eminem flew to Hawaii. When the plane landed, Eminem’s bodyguard says their party was met by 20 Honolulu police officers who warned them that Death Row already had a heavy presence in town, waiting for Slim Shady to show up.
Bodyguard turnover was said to be high in the household of the former celeb supercouple known as Brangelina. With a revolving door of security personnel, it’s no wonder there are lots of stories to tell. One of the beefs aired in media interviews was Angelina Jolie‘s demanding nature, including reportedly insisting that her bodyguards drive her to a fast food outlet at 4am because she was jonesing for a burger. Temper tantrums and knife throwing during their tumultuous arguments are among the other claims that have been leveled at Angie by erstwhile security personnel. One former bodyguard claimed that the couple had spent so long in the super celeb bubble that they couldn’t function in the real world, and often asked him how to get around town and do other everyday tasks. Stalkers were a constant issue with the couple, particularly with Angie. Back when the couple famously first kindled their romance on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, word was that the two supposedly didn’t do the deed until Brad had formally separated from then-wife Jennifer Aniston. Former bodyguard Mark Behar laid that story to rest recently when he told a reporters that the two made out between scenes in their trailers, and got Behar to pass notes to each other in secret. “They were sexual in content,” he claims.
4. Ian Robinson – Danger On The Road
Ian ‘Robbo’ Robinson was a former British paramilitary officer who became a bodyguard to the rich and famous, including George Harrison, Gary Moore and Johnny Rotten. He worked as both bodyguard and road manager for Oasis during their first rush to fame in the 1990s and wrote the book What’s The Story about his adventures with the band in 1996. Still, when he was asked in an interview about his most dangerous assignment, the battling Gallagher brothers came second to an incident he recalled from the early 2000s working on a security detail at a concert for British synthpop meister Marc Almond at a nightclub in Moscow. As he describes it, the club was filled with about equal parts rich Muscovites and gangsters, and one group of shady characters approached Robbo. First, it was about having a beer, then one of them told Robbo that his boss’ wife had taken a fancy to the stylin’ fur coat that Marc Almond was wearing that night. As in, she wanted it, and she wasn’t taking no for an answer. Robbo talked to Marc, who wasn’t about to pony up one of his favorite coats. Robbo saw to it that the band slipped out the back, but he ended up getting beaten up by the Russian mob boss’ crew for his trouble. Robinson quit the bodyguard biz not long after for the more relaxing life of a fireman.
3. Lee Weaver, Badass Bodyguard To The Rich And Famous
Lee Weaver is another celebrity bodyguard who’s turned his experiences into a book, Memoirs of a Celebrity Bodyguard, that was published in 2011. Weaver’s career spanned decades, beginning with a stint with Eddie Murphy at the height of his career. In one incident, he rushed Eddie out of a nightclub when an aggressive autograph-seeker went too far and pulled out a gun. Another bodyguard was killed during the incident, but Weaver and Murphy made it out in time. On another occasion, Eddie and Sylvester Stallone almost got into it when Stallone thought Murphy was making time with his then-wife Brigitte Nielsen. Weaver says he had to put a choke hold on Stallone until he passed out to keep him from punching Murphy out. As fate would have it, he later worked for Stallone during the early 1990s and shared the story of when Sandra Bullock and the Rocky star re-enacted fight scenes from the movie in their underwear. Among the many other stories, he says he was once attacked by Bubbles, Michael Jackson’s chimp, and that he once had to pull a gun on Arsenio Hall‘s bodyguards to hold them off while Hall and his client, Wesley Snipes, fought over a woman.
2. Jennifer Aniston
You know how there seems to be so many pics of Jennifer Aniston in a bathing suit? According to former bodyguards, that’s because it’s what she’s wearing most often — that or less. In an interview, the bodyguard claims that Jen comes to the door in underwear or less and spends most of her days semi-dressed. “I can name all the moles on her body – that’s how many times I’ve seen her undressed!” he claimed. According to one of the former bodyguards for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Pitt and Aniston kept in touch and stayed very friendly even after their much publicized 2004 split. Back in 2010, the bodyguard says that Pitt told him to keep watch while he had a secret meeting with Jen on a secluded road in the Beverly Hills. He claims to have seen the two of them kissing and getting close. He alerted them when he saw paparazzi closing in and the two drove off – but the bodyguard says it wasn’t the first or the last of their secret meetings.
1. Amber Heard vs. Jonny Depp
When it comes to celebrity couples, bodyguards can find themselves smack in the middle of a divorce. We don’t seem to have a cool name for the couple that was formerly known as Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, but it’s all in the past now anyhow. Earlier in 2016, the disintegrating couple made headlines when Heard accused Depp of abuse. She claimed that Johnny went into a drunken rage and physically assaulted her in their home, throwing her iPhone and other things at her. Public sympathies were divided, but two former bodyguards to the couple went on the record casting doubt on her story in an interview. The pair claimed that it was actually Amber who was in the habit of flying into violent temper tantrums, including throwing objects around. Heard has maintained her version of the events, however, and the former bodyguards admit they were not in the room at the time of the alleged assault.