With the recent Harvey Weinstein scandal, numerous popular female celebrities have come forward and revealed their horrendous encounters with numerous other high-profile men in the entertainment industry, including Lars Von Trier, famed magician David Blaine, and even Harvey’s brother, Bob Weinstein. While the media and focus is now on bringing awareness and change to the prevalence of s*xual assault that women face in institutions as ingrained in our society as the work force, another issue brought about in the midst of prosecuting and seeking justice for victims by these major motion picture and television business moguls is the lack of true knowledge as to what lies in the pasts of many of these highly-regarded, accolade-achieving individuals and what secrets they may be currently hiding in their personal lives.
Additionally, while it is evident that the vast majority of “dirt” and dark personal histories may be mostly affiliated with the male gender in the sphere of the Hollywood work environment, some of the women in movies and television today, who have gone on to receive Oscars, Emmys, and Golden Globes, have additionally had some truly horrifying and dark pasts in their now-celebrated lives.
The following are 15 iconic Hollywood starlets with some of the most dark and disturbing histories within the realm of celebrities:
15 Michelle Pfeiffer
After arriving in Los Angeles as a promising and aspiring actress, the now highly-acclaimed Michelle Pfeiffer once became involved with a couple who were teachers of “Breatharianism.” Breatharians believe that like plants, humans too can achieve photosynthesis and can therefore absorb any and all nutrients accordingly from the sun’s light, without any food or water. The eccentric ‘religion’ is currently guided by Jasmuheen, a self-proclaimed “Ambassador of Peace, International lecturer, author, and leading researcher,” and has moreover been the cause of numerous fatalities in multiple deaths over the years.
In a historic interview with Michelle Pfeiffer by The Telegraph, Pfeiffer said, “I had to pay for all the time I was there, so it was financially very draining. They believed that people in their highest state were breatharian.” Pfeiffer and the other minds that the couple managed to manipulate were expected to live in accordance with this strict lifestyle. Michelle Pfeiffer didn’t realize that she was involved with a cult until she was helping her first husband, Peter Horton, prepare for a role in a movie about Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s cult. Only then did the actress realize that the couple she was involved with was most certainly a truly disturbed cultist practice and decided to leave.
14 Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder is one of the most beloved actresses of our time, establishing herself early as a young Goth romantic in the popular comedy-horror movie Beetlejuice, and moving on to Oscar-winning, critically acclaiming roles in Heathers, The Crucible, and Black Swan, as well as the new popular Netflix original production Stranger Things. One would have trouble believing that the starlet had any trouble growing into her high-profile status as a celebrity. When Ryder was merely seven years old, her family moved to the “Rainbow Family Commune of Living,” a large farm complex in Mendocino, California where the family lived with seven other families. At the complex, which lacked any electricity, television, or music, the intense societal repression pushed Ryder into the world of literature, and she first began developing an interest in acting. After her time at the complex during which Ryder rose to stardom, the young actress still managed to get involved in some petty offenses, even getting caught shoplifting while nonchalantly attempting to carry thousands of dollars worth of merchandise right out the front door at the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills.
13 Glenn Close
Glenn Close, the 6-time Oscar Award-nominated actress, has made a notable mark in numerous motion picture productions throughout her career. Despite her current popularity as one of the most talented actresses in Hollywood, what Glenn Close’s past contains is rather dark. When she was seven years old, her parents joined the Moral Re-Armament (MRA) cult, an extreme conservative group, and remained involved with the group for 15 years. Practices and beliefs of the MRA cult were based around four absolutes—absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness, and absolute love. Despite the harsh ideals of the group, Glenn Close ending up touring the world with the MRA singing chorus, Up The People, until she was in college. She now holds that the cult experience actually helped boost her abilities as an actress, having had to fake her role and belief in the cult throughout while she was with her family.
12 Rose McGowan
Rose McGowan has made recent headlines for her involvement with the recent shocking discoveries about Harvey Weinstein, but this was not the only time McGowan was involved in more sinister aspects of an institution. Growing up in Florence, Italy with her father, who ran an Italian chapter of the Children of God cult, Rose McGowan got her fill of patriarchal misogyny early on in life. As a child, McGowan traveled to several other communes in Europe as part of her involvement with the cult, which believed in the maintaining of free love, in coordination with prepping for the second coming of Jesus Christ. The cult encouraged members, including the children, to 'do the deed' at a young age. Fortunately enough, McGowan and her family escaped before she had to engage in any of the abhorrent practices of the Children of God.
11 Patricia Arquette
Internationally-recognized Oscar and Golden Globe Award-winning actress Patricia Arquette, known for her role as Allison Dubois in episodes of the Golden Globe Award-nominated series Medium, as well as for her role in the renowned drama Boyhood, has also seen her fair share of cultist practices prior to her rise to fame in Hollywood. Arquette was raised in the Skymont Subud commune, a community free of “privileged conveniences,” such as bathrooms, electricity, or running water. The belief held by those who practiced this rare religion believe in awakening the inner self in order to gain more fulfillment in life. Arquette lived in the commune with the rest of her family and her parents’ friends where they endured the wrath of her abusive drug-addicted father, Lewis Arquette, who treated the family’s five children horribly.
10 Charlize Theron
In recent years, the gorgeous, talented, fierce-eyed Charlize Theron has made her move towards roles as a producer on upcoming feature productions, having already established herself on top as one of the most acclaimed actresses of her time for her unparalleled deliverance in roles like Aileen Wuornos in Monster (for which she received an Oscar), as well as her roles in Mad Max: Fury Road and Prometheus. Before all of the A-lister’s success as a superbly-performing actress, a young Theron experienced a very dark childhood filled with abuse. Verbally abused by her alcoholic father, Charlize Theron underwent years of childhood trauma until the age of 15, when she watched her mother kill her own father. The shooting occurred after Theron’s father began threatening her mother, which escalated to a shootout by the two parents. Theron’s father was killed and her brother wounded.
One of the most iconic pop artists throughout the history of music, Madonna was responsible for many, paving the way for female performers and established herself as one of the most memorable performers in history. She is equated to be as important as The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe in regard to her relationship with global societal issues. Despite her omnipotent complexion and worshiping fandom, Madonna was not always treated with the respect that the artist commands in this era. One of her first experiences in the crowded city of Manhattan was being assaulted at gunpoint on the roof of one of New York City's buildings. Madonna revealed in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar that the perpetrator dragged a then-young Madonna–approximated to be in her early 20’s at the time–with a knife to her back.
8 Pamela Anderson
Pamela Anderson is one of the most iconic blonde bombshells of television, having distinguished herself on the hit series Baywatch. Although the model and actress, as well as animal rights activist, is presently enjoying a lavish lifestyle, having already established her career of slow-motion running on beaches and in numerous high-profile productions where she made notable appearances, Pamela Anderson mustered through some truly horrible times in her past. As a victim of numerous assaults from her female babysitter, Anderson has proven her perseverance and will to succeed, failing to let any of her past victimizing experiences define her future career as a stunning motion picture and television starlet.
7 Oprah Winfrey
The globally-successful billionaire entrepreneur, philanthropist, television host, and 2-time Oscar Award-nominated icon is known to have gone through trying times while first attempting to make her big break. Dealing with institutional and social racism as an African-American woman, Oprah managed to make her way up to the top of the industry ladder and is now one of the most well-regarded philanthropists. Prior to all of her career battles as she made her way to fame, Oprah experienced one of the more disturbing childhoods of those in entertainment. As a child, Oprah dealt with an abusive father who got her pregnant as a child at the age of nine. As she was barely of age to have even understood pregnancy, naturally, the child did not survive the birth and died two weeks after being born.
6 Angelina Jolie
Probably one of the most gossip-inducing actresses ever to strut her presence on camera, Angelina Jolie has had her fair share of controversial headlines, from her scandalous “theft” of Brad Pitt from Jennifer Aniston, to her bouts and separations with former husband, Brad Pitt, with whom Jolie recently divorced. Although, prior to her odd publicity stunts throughout her celebrated award-winning celebrity career, Angeline Jolie mustered through some darker times in her childhood. Her past saw numerous instances of drug use, from her daily use of heroin and cocaine in her early twenties to a reportedly intense experience at California’s Disneyland Theme Park while on LSD. The now-sober actress was supposedly required to do drug testing to land her leading role in the 2000 action-adventure production of Tomb Raider.
5 Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore is a brilliantly-talented actress known for her early child-starring roles in E.T. and other movies, as well as her more recent box office hits like Charlie's Angels, Scream, and Donnie Darko. She has additionally gone on to win a Golden Globe Award, as well as numerous other prestigious industry awards and nominations. Prior to all of her critical acclaim and commercial success as a leading Hollywood actress, Drew Barrymore also suffered through some harrowing times. As a young up-and-coming motion picture doll, Barrymore developed an immaturity that led her to exceedingly early-aged drug use. Taking up excessive smoking and becoming an alcoholic from the prevalence at which she was drinking, Barrymore was forced into rehab at the early age of just 13.
4 Caitlyn Jenner
Olympic champion and transgender member of the Kardashian family, Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner has risen to fame through his family’s reality television shows, as well as his recent decision to transition from male to female. The former Olympic winner and television star has also been known for his past offenses. Jenner caused a fatal car accident on the Malibu stretch of PCH in 2015 where, according to eyewitnesses, Jenner rear-ended a white car in his SUV and sent it straight into oncoming traffic. The white vehicle was then struck by a Hummer, and the driver was killed while seven others involved sustained injuries. Jenner was not hurt in the wreck and initially claimed that he was being chased by the paparazzi (believed by law enforcement to be untrue).
3 Laura Bush
The wife of former President George W. Bush has made her political mark on the world, achieving such great feats as her role in the success of the No Child Left Behind Act and working internationally with building rural communities for the underprivileged. Although the distinguished politician and philanthropist is most known for her benevolent actions in politics and the global society, Laura Bush has also gone through troubling times in her youth prior to her surmounted success. At the young age of 17, Laura Bush, known then by the name of Laura Welch, ran through a stop sign and hit a Chevrolet Corvair. The Corvair was being driven by her close friend, Michael Dutton Douglas, who ended up breaking his neck and getting killed in the accident. Laura Bush was not charged for the accident.
2 Sofia Vergara
Officially the highest-paid television star of 2016, Sofia Vergara has made quite the name for herself and has raked in big through her roles in numerous television, film, and commercial productions. Most known for her role as “Gloria” on Modern Family, as well as for her various commercial endorsements by big brands like Pantene, the star was originally glorified as a model and actress in Bogota. Her early start in the industry resulted in some rather atrocious incidents, including the murder of her brother, Rafael. Vergara stated on the incident, “We come from a successful family, and he knew he was a target for kidnapping. He always had bodyguards. Then one day he went out alone and was shot dead. I was devastated.” Vergara went on to experience some darker times with her soon-to-follow love life as well, dating both a convicted murderer and a drug lord.
1 Marie Osmond
Marie Osmond is another widely-praised celebrity, known for her acclaim as a singer, actress, and host of the television variety show Donny & Marie with her brother, Donny Osmond. For her various influences in motion picture and television, Marie Osmond has been awarded numerous Daytime Emmy Award nominations, as well as an additional TV Land Award and award nomination. Despite the accumulated success by Marie Osmond throughout her impressive career, Marie Osmond has suffered through some truly dark times in her lifetime. In 1999, after the birth of her son, Matthew, Marie Osmond revealed that she was suffering from severe postpartum depression. As if that wasn’t trying enough for the distinguished talk show personality, Osmond’s son, Michael, committed suicide at age 18 in 2010, jumping from the eighth floor of a building.