We’d be crazy to think that every single time a celebrity steps out—whether it’s to show face at a Hollywood hotspot or hit the gym—they’re 100% flawless. But that’s exactly what celebrities want you to believe, and so in order to control their image they work with the paparazzi. That’s right, despite how much celebrities claim to hate the paparazzi, most of the biggest stars make deals with the photogs to stay relevant. Or to promote a brand. Or if you’re a Kardashian… to promote yourself.
In the early days of celebrity-driven blogs, MTV reality stars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt were the king and queen of staged paparazzi photos. They most famously staged the photos of a bikini-clad Montag frolicking on the beach post-plastic surgery… not at all casual. According to Pratt, the onslaught of Spedi photos was thanks to a deal he struck with photo agency company Pacific Coast News. When there is high demand for a certain photo, celebrities often call on paparazzi to take the first photo, and then they sell it and make millions. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s first photo of their daughter Apple, was staged in New York City and sold to a major magazine. According to a celebrity paparazzi, the photos sold for close to a million dollars and the money was split between the celebs and the photographer.
So which other stars are guilty of the calling on the paparazzi for a quick photo-op? Here are the 15 paparazzi shots of celebs you’ll never believe are actually fake.
15. Kim Kardashian’s Ice Cream Run
Kim Kardashian doesn’t even have to call the paparazzi anymore, she has her own hired staff of photographers who follow her every move around the world and take fake paparazzi photos. Her image is her entire career, so whenever there’s a new Kardashian app, a rumor, or a new fashion brand to pimp out, she turns to her faithful shutterbugs to help her promote herself. She then reviews each and every Photoshopped photo and sells her favorites to magazines. Take for instance the first time we saw KimYe, Kim Kardashian didn’t have to confirm that she was dating Kanye West, photos of the two holding hands and eating ice cream in Manhattan hit the internet first. The most recent clearly staged photo came after her traumatic robbery when Kardashian staged her first post-robbery photo walking out of a frozen yogurt shop with best friend, Jonathan Cheban. According to a marketing guru, “that was a staged photo to portray Kim as likeable — a shot where she wouldn’t be wearing makeup, and not [be plugging] any brands.”
14. Every Single Taylor Swift Romance
The same insider who called out Kim Kardashian’s secret staff of paparazzi also notes that Taylor Swift is also one of the celebrities who has an “unspoken deal” with the papz. The source says that if the photographers are professional and listen to her team’s instructions, Swift smiles and poses for the paparazzi to make sure they get a perfect picture… which will be sold on magazines that’ll plaster her all over the newsstands. As for her relationships, the amount of money photographers can make snapping a photo of her and the latest boyfriend can “put a down payment on a very nice house.” A huge rumor floating around even the paparazzi circles was that the photos of Jake Gyllenhaal and Swift cuddling up on a Brooklyn sidewalk where faked. When her ex-boyfriend, Tom Hiddleston was photographed with Swift wearing a “I Love TS” shirt, even her fans called her out for clearly staging a photo-op.
13. Rihanna’s Fashion
Rihanna has become a bonafide style icon – but it’s not just because of her red carpet looks! Have you ever noticed that when she’s revealing a brand new hair style or fashion trend Rihanna is photographed leaving a studio alone? Months before the release of her Puma creepers collection, Rih was spotted in SoHo wearing the shoes. She also teased her first clothing line by stepping out in a hoodie and skirt. When promoting a brand, especially their own fashion lines, celebrities know that in order to get your product seen by even more eyes is to get a photo on the cover of a magazine. She’s a style icon because we only ever see her looking her best. The photo of Rihanna wearing a Hillary t-shirt just before the election? Staged.
12. Janet Jackson Confirms Pregnancy
Janet Jackson is rarely photographed, so it was an obvious sign that she most likely called a paparazzi to take the first photo of her baby bump one month after she announced her pregnancy. To make matters even more obvious, she was photographed visiting a baby furniture store. Also, it’s a little odd that Jackson, who usually shields her face from photographers, is allowing them to photo her face, bump and location. When the celebrities who typically avoid attention are smack dab in the middle of it, we have to wonder whether or not they’re providing the face time in exchange for even more privacy. It’s an age old trick to give certain photographers access, get the photo over with, and move on – that’s totally what Jackson is doing here.
Angelina Jolie is not new to this, she’s true to this. Multiple outlets have noted that she’s a mastermind at playing the media and spinning any bad news to protect her image… and that includes working with the paparazzi to make sure she’s portrayed in the best light. Flashback to 2005 when Jolie was being cast as the marriage wrecker who got in between Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s picture perfect romance. In order to shed that bad image, Jolie hired a photographer to take a far away shot of Pitt and her then only child, Maddox. The media went wild over the first shot of Brangelina together, and slowly but surely Jolie was no longer the vixen who broke up Hollywood’s cutest couple.
10. Heidi Montag’s Bikini Body
Flashback to the height of MTV’s The Hills when Heidi Montag ruled the gossip blogs and newsstands. If we weren’t gawking over her plastic surgery and her tiny bikinis, we were speculating over her friendships and relationships. She was everywhere! And that has everything to do with Spencer Pratt’s wheeling and dealing with the paparazzi. Now that they’ve drifted off into obscurity, Pratt openly discusses his exploits with the paparazzi and recently said in an interview that he would tip off a certain photographer with their location, the couple would take a series of photos and then sell the story to all the magazines.
When Heidi was attempting to be a pop star? The paparazzi followed her to studios. When she got over 50 plastic surgery procedures in one sitting, they took a photo of her wearing a teeny bikini on the beach with a drink. It was all calculated, according to Pratt, the couple made $30k on one photo.
9. Kristen Stewart’s Cheating Photos
When photographs of Kristen Stewart cuddling with director Rupert Sanders were published, outing a secret affair between the two, the world was shocked. But what if those grainy images of Stewart and Sanders making out in a wooded area were all fake? For an actress who managed to keep her four-year relationship with Robert Pattinson pretty private, it seemed a little off that she could suddenly be careless enough to have a full on PDA moment with a married man in an area notorious for paparazzi. Think about it, the premiere of Sander’s film On The Road, starring Stewart gained tons of publicity because it would be their first appearance since the scandal. Sanders’ wife Liberty Ross, walked in Fashion Week for the first time and grabbed every headline. A video calling out the staged photo went on to point out how the image was heavily doctored, and don’t even match up to the photos of the actual location.
8. Kylie And Tyga
Kylie Jenner doesn’t really need her relationship with Tyga to keep her relevant – she’s got a reality show, a booming lip kit line and her own collection of steamy selfies for that. But that doesn’t mean that she’s against capitalizing on the public’s obsession with her relationship to the 26-year-old rapper she most likely began dating before she was 18. And it’s safe to say that the entire family has the same relationship with the papz as Kim. So when Jenner’s on and off again romance switched back to “on” after rumors Tyga was cheating on reality star, the couple staged a paparazzi shoot from their vacation in Mexico. In the series of photos, Jenner and Tyga can be seen kissing on the beach – isn’t in interesting that a paparazzi would know Kyga would be in Mexico and at that exact beach together? The next day, headlines were all about how Tyga couldn’t keep his hands off Kylie. The perfect way to squash cheating rumors.
7. Beyoncé Busts Fake Pregnancy Rumors
As soon as Beyoncé confirmed her pregnancy at the 2011 MTV VMAs conspiracists were quick to assume that Queen Bey was staging her entire pregnancy. They cited the interview in which it appeared that her prosthetic baby bump collapsed, they pointed out that her bump size would unnaturally fluctuate during public outings. But while on vacation in Croatia, Bey busted the fake pregnancy rumor by staging a photo in a white frilly two-piece bathing suit with her bump full on display. How do we know it’s all a set up? The Carters are notoriously private people, and so it’s just not common that a paparazzi would find out their location unless they were summoned. Paparazzi have noted that when a celebrity makes eye contact with the camera, it’s a huge sign that they’re anticipating the photo. Unfortunately for Beyoncé, the photos didn’t really dispel fake pregnancy rumors, but they at least gave fans some evidence that the fake bump conspiracy was a bust.
6. Ben Affleck’s Image Revamp
Another reason celebrities work with the paparazzi is to help revamp their image after they fall from grace. When Ben Affleck and Jenner Garner’s divorce was announced reports that he cheated on the actress with the couple’s nanny surfaced. Then there was the report that, actually, his addiction to alcohol and gambling spiraled out of control and caused the split. Affleck’s reputation was hurting and the only way to save his reputation was to stage photo-opps with Garner so it appeared that Affleck was winning back his ex. Days after the divorce news, Garner and Affleck were seen together in the Bahamas and appeared on People magazine. Celebrity divorce expert Rob Shuter noted that while they don’t appear to be camera ready, it is interesting that the only outlet to ignore divorce rumors published the exclusive photo of the couple after the split.
5. Tori Spelling’s Family Bonding
Tori Spelling’s relationship with the paparazzi has become a running joke among insiders who say the actress-turned-reality star relies on the photos for additional income when she’s not working…which is all the time now. Last year, Spelling was actually caught at a popular Pierce College Farm pumpkin patch in Woodland Hills with her kids and oh, a personal paparazzi. Onlookers claimed that the camera man would direct Spelling and tell her where to stand and how to pose and snap the photo. Shortly after Spelling’s photos were sold, behind-the-scene images of the sneaky photo-op, taken by another paparazzi, were released. Embarrassing! According to the insider Spelling and her husband Dean McDermott have deals with photographers where they get a hefty cut of pre-selected images.
4. Ryan Reynolds’ Movie Releases
We rarely see photos of Ryan Reynolds out and about… except for when he’s got a movie to sell. Whenever Ryan has projects flopping in the box office, he’s often spotted by the paparazzi with wife, Blake Lively who also has a love/hate relationship with shutterbugs. Rolling Stone writes that a major sign Reynolds is staging photos is when he’s pap’ed with certain brands, “Ryan Reynolds routinely finds himself ‘captured’ eating Chobani yogurt, carrying a Burger King bag, smiling at a Nespresso cafe and caressing a Can-Am motorcycle, all in apparently pre-planned shots.” It all perfectly fits his image as the average Joe who just so happens to be a movie star married to another gorgeous movie star. Reynolds also uses the paparazzi to confirm rumors, like many other stars. When he started dating Blake Lively the pair was outed as being a couple spotted at a random bed and breakfast in the middle of Utah. Not exactly the place paparazzi would be lurking for a celebrity.
3. Celeb Moms Stay Relevant
Let’s face it, we have the tendency to ignore celebrities once they go from hot actress to hot mom. They trade red carpets and glitzy club openings for a more private life, that is until they’re ready to make a comeback. According to the insider, 90 percent of the paparazzi photos in Los Angeles are taken at hotspots in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Consider a playground at Coldwater Park the hotspot for A-list moms. The insider told Rolling Stone that the playground is called “pappland” because it’s the only place outside of the red carpet “where the stars’ makeup is always perfect and their kids are freshly scrubbed and immaculate in brightly colored clothes.” Do a quick Google search and you’ll see that stars like Jessica Alba, Heidi Klum and others are doing exactly what the insider said, they’re photographed looking gorgeous and fresh faced as their chic kids frolic around.
2. Lindsay Lohan’s Party Hard Days
Lindsay Lohan’s party hard days were plastered all over the newsstands thanks to… herself. During the height of Lohan’s acting career, she loved the attention she received from the press and called the paparazzi to capture all of her high rolling moments. The time she was partying with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton was documented thanks to the trio’s relationship with the paparazzi. Her appearances at all the LA hotspots helped solidify her as the Hollywood “it” girl. At the time, according to sources close to Lohan she wanted the paparazzi to know her whereabouts at all times because she was worried that if she stopped appearing on the cover of magazines, her star power would fade. Then the car accidents and multiple DUIs happened and Lohan began to publicly feud with the paparazzi over privacy. Karma much?
1. If They’re Too Flawless, It’s Fake
Is the celebrity constantly being fat-shamed, and suddenly they’re on the cover of a gossip rag looking flawless? Than it’s definitely a fake. During Kim Kardashian West’s pregnancy with North West she was dragged across the web for her weight gain, Us got its hands on a super-flattering swimsuit shot of Kim from the Kardashian family vacation that were shot crystal clear and close-up. In another photo of the family, the photographer behind the photo is on the same yacht as the family. And it’s not just the Kardashian family who respond to fat-shaming jokes with pictures of themselves slimmed down. While Emma Watson was still filming the Harry Potter franchise, she faced a wave of articles attacking her size. Days later, a photo of Watson in a sports bar and low rise pants headed to the gym in Pittsburgh conveniently surfaced putting fat jokes to bed.