Not everything that glitters is gold– this worn-out cliché cannot be more true when we think Hollywood glitter. Sometimes, when we watch the stars stride the red carpet in their full magnificence and glory, we tend to forget that they are people just like us. Yes, they may have yachts and sleep in bigger houses, and wear insanely expensive designer clothes, and yet, they too get their fair share of hardships. When something bad happens to a celebrity, the whole world becomes instantly all ears and is kept updated on a regular basis about the progress of the situation. In 1994, we followed live on TV the long police chase of OJ Simpson’s made-famous white Ford. In 2009, we sympathized with Rihanna who was given a black eye, a split lip, a bloody nose and bite marks by her then boyfriend Chris Brown. We all were in shock and awe by the untimely deaths of such outstanding celebs like Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Robin Williams, and when Paul Walker died in a horrendous car crash in 2013, we were all reminded that speeding up in fast cars is not an innocent fun-game.
However, there are some tragedies that surrounded famous people you might not have heard of— prepare for what are probably the saddest stories of these 15 celebs’ lives.
15. Teri Hatcher Was Abused By Her Uncle
In 2006, the “desperate housewife” Teri Hatcher revealed in an interview for Vanity Fair that as a child she was a victim of sexual abuse. The nightmare began with her uncle raping her when she was five. This, however, was not a one-time incident– he continued molesting her until she reached the age of eight. Back then, Hatcher was made to believe it was her fault and like most abused kids, she told no one and didn’t dare to speak about the assaults for years. When she was finally ready, she shared the most painful memories, “He’d pull over in some deserted parking lot and do things to me. I feel such shame, because it felt like I was special. I was being paid special attention to, told how fabulous I was […] I didn’t like looking at him ejaculate; I didn’t want to touch it. These are haunting things I’ve remembered all my life.”
14. Willie Nelson Lost A Child To Suicide On Christmas Day
On December 27th, 1991, one of the brightest stars on the country music scene, got a phone call that would change his life forever. Somebody had informed him that his son, Willie Hugh Jr., had passed away. The 33-year-old son from Nelson’s first marriage had apparently committed a suicide by hanging himself in his home. A friend of Billy’s, who visited him on the 24th, said he seemed perfectly happy then– he had gotten himself a haircut and some new pants and boots. The year before his death, Willie Junior had undergone a thirty-day hospital program for alcohol abuse. The father and son shared a very special bond through music; they had even been working on a new gospel-inspired album together at the time. The worst part was that the suicide took place on Christmas Eve, so we figure the holiday season has never been the same again for the Nelson family.
13. Mike Tyson Attempted Suicide
You know what they say, strong guys are not supposed to show weakness. Yet, it was no problem for the former boxing champion Mike Tyson to talk openly about his suicide attempt in 1988. As a matter of fact, back then the heavyweight champ used to rigorously deny any reports that he beat his wife and underwent mental treatment. He’d also deny having tried to kill himself in a deliberately caused car accident. 25 years later, however, the former “Baddest man on the planet” gave a conference, during which he was asked a question about his drug problems and depressive moments, to which he answered, “Hey, check this out – I was planning on killing myself. […] I was overdosing every night. I was going full blown. I was just, Wow! I can’t believe I was waking up.” Up to this day, Tyson still blames promoter Don King for manipulating and using him, which inevitably led to all his problems and the suicide attempt.
12. Sofia Vergara Was Diagnosed With Cancer At The Age Of 28
In 1994, after a short early marriage, an unknown 20-year-old, Colombia-born Sofia Vergara moved to Miami with her son to pursue a TV hosting career. Eight years later she went to see her doctor for a routine check-up, and while examining her, the doctor felt a lump in her neck. The actress was subjected to numerous tests, which eventually confirmed the doctor’s suspicions: she had thyroid cancer. The news came as a shock to the very young single mom. Vergara, however, tried not to panic and decided to take charge of the situation. She read a lot about that type of cancer before she underwent surgery that removed her thyroid gland. After that, she received treatment with radioactive iodine, which was supposed to take out any remaining cancer cells. During the treatment she had to be kept in total isolation in the hospital– not even nurses were allowed to come closer. Fortunately, Vergara fully recovered, but now she realizes how lucky she was, because her kind of cancer is typically very “silent” and the patients often only become aware of it when it’s already too late.
11. Kelsey Grammer’s American Horror Story
Accidents and tragedies happen even in the best regulated families, but some families are just unbelievably unlucky. That’s the case with the family of the comedian Kelsey Grammer, whom we know best as Dr. Fraser Crane from Cheers. His parents got divorced when he was two and he and his sister were raised by their mother and grandfather in New Jersey. The guy was only 13 years old when his father was shot dead by a psychotic man outside his home. In 1975, Grammer’s 18-year-old sister was abducted, raped by four men, and murdered by the serial killer Freddie Glenn. Five years after her horrible death, in 1980, both of Grammer’s half-brothers died in a scuba-diving accident. The body of one of the boys was never recovered. And if that wasn’t all bad enough, the comedian’s good friend, David Angell, was aboard one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center in the 9/11 attacks.
10. Nick Stahl Was Reported Missing Twice
At the age of 37, the actor known for The Man Without a Face, Terminator 3, and the TV series Carnivale has already a solid list of accidents on his account. For starters, Nick Stahl has always spoken openly about his problems with drugs and alcohol abuse, which is the reason why his marriage with actress Rose Murphy was more or less doomed to fail from its very beginning. After their separation, the actor was involved in several public incidents. On May 14, 2012, Rose filed a police report on his disappearance. After five days, Stahl materialized from a downtown LA crack house. He didn’t need much persuasion to agree to enter a 30-day rehab program. However, the drama didn’t end there. Less than a month later, Stahl was reported missing again! Rehabilitation was apparently not to his liking, so he checked out of the facility and just disappeared. This second time he wasn’t missing for long, either, and when he finally emerged from his couple-of-days of binge drinking, his estranged wife announced to the press he was now willing to attend AA meetings. But since the leopard can hardly change his spots, Stahl continued to get himself involved in deep troubles. In December 2012, he was arrested in a LA adult movie store for vulgar misconduct while watching a movie in a private booth. Six months later, he was arrested again, this time for alleged possession of crystal meth in a Hollywood motel.
9. The Stormy Life Of Marlon Brando’s Children
Apart from his outstanding professional life, the personal such of Marlon Brando was pretty much a downward spiral of disasters. On January 4, 1991, with one word— guilty— the long and tragic path of Brando and his family hit the bottom. The previous year, the actor’s son, Christian, shot and killed the boyfriend of his pregnant half-sister. Christian pleaded guilty and spent five years in prison. Cheyenne, his half-sister, had not a less tragic fate. She was left with multiple scars after a severe car accident in 1989, and since her release from the hospital she’d often be out of control. Even while pregnant, she continued to take hallucinogenic drugs and attempted suicide twice. The second time was during the trial of her brother, when she tried to hang herself with a dog chain after coming home from a disco at 3 am. After the trial, she was flown to Paris where she checked into a very exclusive psychiatric clinic.
Christian died at the age of 49 in his hospital bed after years of constant drug abuse. A high school drop-out and failed actor, he lived on his famous father’s fortune till the end of his life in 2008. As for Cheyenne, it came as no surprise when she finally succeeded in taking her own life in 1995 by hanging herself at her home in Tahiti. She was 25.
8. Brooke Shields Struggled With Postpartum Depression
She seemingly had it all– world fame, dazzling beauty, a happy marriage, and a successful Hollywood career. Yet, after her first child was born in 2003, the iconic actress and model Brooke Shields fell into an agonizing postpartum depression. Instead of singing lullabies and learning how to change her baby girl’s diapers, Shields would stand completely motionless by the window of her spacious Manhattan apartment, contemplating leaping out of it. Later, she frankly admitted that she really didn’t want to live anymore. It wasn’t for a couple of years later that she started talking about this, as she called it, the most tumultuous time in her life. She remembered that she struggled really hard to get pregnant, but then, after her labor and delivery, she fell into a state of desperation of which she could see no way out. Fortunately, she won the battle with depression and even wrote a book, which recounts her struggles and hardships.
7. The Son Who Left His Mom
We came to remember the name of the budding Playboy model and actress Anna Nicole Smith when in 1994, at the age of 26, she married the 89-year-old oil tycoon J. Howard Marshal. She was hugely criticized for marrying the guy for his money, although she claimed she loved him dearly. Thirteen months later Marshal died leaving his young widow an incredible fortune, over which, however, she led endless suits with the billionaire’s sons. Despite her outstanding looks and riches, Anna Nicole had anything but a fabulous life in the years to follow. In 2006, her 20-year-old son Daniel died in his mom’s hospital room while visiting her and his half-sister (she had just given birth). The coroner labeled the death “reserved”, but Smith hired a forensic pathologist to perform a second autopsy, which revealed that Daniel died from a lethal combination of antidepressants and methadone. Sadly, Smith died from almost the same drug combination overdose less than a year later, on February 8, 2007.
6. Natalie Wood’s Unsolved Mystery Death
The American film and television actress of Russian descent, best known for her screen roles in Miracle on 34th Street, West Side Story, and more, died at the age of 43 under very mysterious circumstances. 35 years after Natalie Wood’s death, there is still nothing known for sure about what really happened on the night of November 29, 1981. The actress was on a yacht trip with her husband Robert Wagner and her Brainstorm co-star Christopher Walken. A pleasant night of partying was about to turn into tragedy. According to Wagner’s account, when he went to kiss his wife goodnight, he didn’t find her in her cabin. A couple of hours later, her dead body emerged floating in the water. Initially, her death was ruled as accidental drowning. However, the case was reopened in 2011 after a confession of the boat captain that he witnessed a fight between the spouses, which might have led to her death. Nine months of new inquiry operations followed, at the end of which the investigation hit a dead-end street. One possible conclusion was that Wood struggled for her life after falling into the water, but her body eventually succumbed to hypothermia, and she lost consciousness only 200 yards from the shore. Whether she accidentally fell or was pushed overboard remains unclear.
5. John Landis Charged With Manslaughter
It’s not necessary that you’ve watched The Twilight Zone to know that this sci-fi, psychological, supernatural horror TV show was huge both during its first original airing (1959 – 1964) and its second revival (1985 – 1989). What you might not know, however, is that the making of the The Twilight Zone: The Movie was marked by a horrible fatal accident. On July 23, 1982, a helicopter crashed on the movie set at Indiana dunes in Santa Clarita, California, killing three people on the ground– actor Vic Morrow and two children, who were extras. The civil and criminal actions that followed revealed some disturbing facts. For one, director John Landis had violated child labor laws by hiring the two 7-year-old kids, who were involved in the accident, without the required permits. When the helicopter fell, it decapitated Morrow and one of the children, while the other one was crushed to death by the rotor blades. John Landis was charged with involuntary manslaughter and although he was later acquitted of the charge, he had to pay $2 million to each of the families of the dead children.
4. Angelina Jolie’s Difficult Recovery From Depression
One of the most fabulous Hollywood stars fell victim to the treacherous disorder first in her teens and early 20s. Jolie would describe herself during that period as destructive and miserable. She said that success at a young age made her feel guilt. “You attain all those things and realize you still couldn’t be more empty. I didn’t know where to put myself.” It was her work for UNHCR that helped her back then to pull her through the intense feelings of emptiness. But when she lost her mother to breast cancer in 2007, Jolie was once again hit by depression. This time it was a really hard blow. She again tried to find herself a distraction from the grim thoughts and desperation by agreeing to shoot the movie Wanted. “I felt I was going into a very dark place, and I wasn’t capable of getting up in the morning,” is her account of that period. Her mother’s death must have had a really deep impact on her as the actress decided to undergo a preventative double mastectomy in 2013.
3. Michael Douglas And His Double Trouble
Six years ago, Michael Douglas revealed that his then ten-year-old son had “special needs” without elaborating further. He only added that he and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones had to move from Bermuda back to New York so that young Dylan could get the needed treatment. Douglas has had problems also with his other, older son, Cameron, who started using drugs at the age of 13 and by the age of 25 was already opioid-dependent. Cameron was arrested in 2009 in a New York hotel room for methamphetamine possession. He was first sentenced to two years in prison, but this sentence was extended, as he was caught with Xanax and heroin, which his lawyer at that time was smuggling for him. In August, 2016, he was released after spending seven years behind bars. Presently, Cameron is writing his memoirs, in which he is telling about his time in prison and the struggle with substance abuse. As for Dylan, his father couldn’t be more proud of him. In April, Douglas shared a precious moment with his Facebook followers, as he watched Dylan speaking publicly at a fundraising event. This wouldn’t have been that special an event if it wasn’t for the fact that the 15-year-old boy has been a student at a premier school for children with dyslexia and language-based learning difficulties.
2. Grace Kelly’s Dreadful End
The fairytale life of one of the most emblematic old-school Hollywood stars, who later became a real princess by marrying Prince Renier of Monaco, came to an end on September 14, 1982. She was driving from her country home to the Palace of Monaco when she suffered a stroke and drove off a cliff. She survived the crash with major injuries but was taken off life support the day after. Even in a world without internet, news of the princess’ death spread around the world instantaneously and threw millions of people into shock and disbelief. Grace Kelly was not a reckless driver and would rarely drive herself, but earlier on the day of the accident, she dismissed her driver as there were many boxes and dresses in the back seat. Princess Stephany, her daughter and her only passenger during the fatal drive, survived miraculously. Although Princess Grace was initially considered out of danger, her head injuries were quite severe and she died from a second brain hemorrhage.
1. Rebecca Gayheart Kills A Child With Her Car
Sometimes when a celebrity commits a serious crime and gets away with it, we consider them arrogant and unscrupulous, because of their fame and money they think they are allowed to go around killing people. However, that might be far from the truth. In 2001, actress Rebecca Gayheart hit a 9-year-old boy with her car, and he died the following day. The actress was sentenced to three years of probation, a one-year license suspension, a $2, 800 fine and 750 hours of community service. That may seem an unfair punishment for such a crime, but her greatest punishment came from another place. Her own guilty conscience. In 2005, she told People magazine that what happened has stuck with her and will haunt her for the rest of her life. She further admitted that after the crash she was unable to function for quite some time– she could neither sleep, nor eat. “I just got to the point where I realized I needed help and got into therapy. And I’ve been in therapy ever since.”