It's no secret that celebrities are often hero-worshipped: We admire and envy the luxurious lives they lead, to the point that it can be difficult to separate the celebrity image from the talent for which the celebrity is known. The sometimes morbid fascination with celebrity is intriguing: How far does it stretch? In many cases, star worship seems to surpass the boundaries of what is reasonable. Some of the stars we know and love have led questionable lives and some of them have gone as far as to commit serious crimes - yet, public loyalty remains, either thanks to fans' unconditional love or a clever PR team's damage management skills.
What's truly frightening is when a celebrity is so unanimously loved that the almost overwhelmingly negative aspects of their personality are ignored or disregarded. Should a celebrities’ wrongdoings take the back seat when it comes to their successes? However difficult this question is, it certainly seems like people who abuse others sexually or emotionally should not be idolised by the public. Take a look at our list to read about some of the most controversial celebrities who are adored by the public, despite the fact that their actions are extremely questionable.
7 Terry Richardson
Terry Richardson is one of the most renowned fashion photographers in the world today, loved by celebrities and fashion industry professionals alike. While his skill as a photographer is irrefutable, Richardson’s morals are questionable: Richardson’s trademark is highly sexualised fashion shoots. However, in recent years, the famous photographer has been hit by a tidal wave of sexual assault claims. Model Jamie Peck claimed that Richardson forced her to touch him inappropriately during a shoot, while another model Sena Cech claims that he forced her to perform a sex act. Although Richardson has yet to be charged, many people now view him in a negative light. Vogue and other high-profile organisations now refuse to work with him. Despite this fact, many celebrities still support him. Miley Cyrus worked with him to direct her Wrecking Ball video.
6 John Lennon
Many argue that John Lennon was The Beatles. Lennon achieved worldwide fame thanks to his impeccable songwriting ability, both with the Liverpudlian quartet and as a solo artist. His iconic song Imagine is constantly referred to as one of the best songs ever written, and serves as an anthem for peace worldwide. However, Lennon’s private life was anything but peaceful. His relationship with Yoko Ono was dysfunctional at best. Lennon is known to have cheated on Yoko and he began his relationship with Yoko while he was still married to his first wife Cynthia. It's apparent that Lennon all but abandoned his son Julian - while soaking up the limelight, he was completely absent from his son’s life. Despite his fight for world peace, it seems Lennon was not a particularly pleasant person when it came to those closest to him.
5 Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein's work, particularly his theory of relativity, heralded a revolution in the scientific world. While Einstein's name and face are iconic, not many know the details of Einstein’s private life. As it turns out, Einstein was an incredibly domineering husband who attempted to control every aspect of his wife Mileva Maric’s life. Einstein drew up a list of ‘conditions’ that his wife was forced to follow. Below is an excerpt:
C. You will obey the following points in your relations with me:
1. you will not expect any intimacy from me, nor will you reproach me in any way;
2. you will stop talking to me if I request it;
3. you will leave my bedroom or study immediately without protest if I request it.
Mileva was also expected to follow a tight cooking and cleaning schedule. It seems that Mileva led a particularly dull existence. However, recent investigations suggest that Mileva may have aided Einstein’s research - this theory, if proven, could take some level of glory away from Einstein himself.
4 Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder was one of the most famous actresses of the 90’s. Ryder certainly seemed made for the big time - she was beautiful, talented, and dated high profile actors such as Johnny Depp. However, Ryder was caught shoplifting in Sak’s Fifth Avenue in 2001. Despite the actresses' wealth, Ryder was caught on camera stealing thousands of dollars worth of designer clothing from the store. Ryder brought the clothes to the changing room and cut the security tags off them but she was caught before she could leave the store. It was claimed that Ryder told security that she was preparing for a role as a kleptomaniac, but this was never confirmed. The case garnered significant media attention and afterwards, Ryder shied away from the limelight.
3 Carmen Electra
Carmen Electra first found fame on the world-famous television show Baywatch, alongside Pamela Anderson. Despite Electra’s innocent appearance, in 1999 she was arrested in Miami for domestic violence charges against her then-husband, Dennis Rodman. The pair’s turbulent relationship appeared to have come to a head when, Rodman bizarrely claimed, Electra poked him awake with the stem of a rose and began to punch him in the face. Rodman and Electra soon ended their relationship. Rodman was further charged with domestic violence in 2003 and 2008.
2 Chris Brown
Chris Brown is one of the wealthiest people in the music industry. With an estimated net worth of over $24 million and nine BET awards under his belt, it's easy to understand just how influential Brown is. So of course, the world was shocked in 2009 when Brown assaulted his girlfriend Rihanna. Rihanna had been beaten and bitten by Brown in the back of a limo after an argument. The image of Rihanna’s battered face was soon making headlines, and an international hate campaign against Chris Brown began.
Brown released an apology video, claiming that he witnessed domestic violence at home as a child. Shockingly, in a few years, the world seems to have forgotten about the incident. Brown is once again topping the charts. He also rekindled his relationship with Rihanna for a brief period, a fact that didn't help RiRi's reputation. Many claimed that choosing to take back a man who had abused her gave a terrible message to her young female fans.
1 Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the world’s most beloved musicians. However, a certain incident that occurred in California in the 1960s contrasts heavily with his well-loved public image.
In 1965, Cash caused a serious forest fire in the Los Padres National Forest. When Cash’s truck caught fire in the forest, the fire quickly spread. This incident was incredibly serious, as the park in question was home to an endangered species of vulture. Of the 53 vultures alive in the forest, Cash wiped out 49 of them, meaning that he almost caused an entire species to become extinct. Cash showed absolutely no remorse for his actions, telling the press "I don't give a damn about your yellow buzzards!” Harsh!