15 Most Embarrassing Celebrity Moments in Recent History
Celebrities — they’re just like us! But, in all seriousness, celebs end up in awkward and embarrassing situations the same way we do. The biggest difference? Theirs are much more often caught on camera.
Whether they were presenting an award, performing on stage, or saying something questionable on social media, these stars messed up, and everyone found out. Some have been able to recover easily, while others are still paying for their mistakes. One thing is certain: We’ve been entertained in very surprising ways.
15. Jennifer Lawrence falls down a lot
Hollywood “it girl” Jennifer Lawrence has become known for one thing above all else: She’s relatable. Lawrence has often made jokes at her own expense, sometimes about her clumsiness. And one year, we got a front row seat: As she went up to accept the award for Best Actress at the 2013 Oscars, she tripped over her gown.
Like everything else she’s done, Lawrence laughed it off. It’s a good thing too, because when attending the next year’s ceremony, she tripped over an orange traffic cone on the red carpet. But the award-winning actress has no problem talking about her biggest blunders, as she revealed on The Tonight Show to Jimmy Fallon in 2015.
14. Warren Beatty’s Best Picture Oscars mix-up
No one could have seen this one coming. At the 2017 Oscars, Bonnie and Clyde stars Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty presented the final award of the night for Best Picture. Dunaway announced La La Land as the winner, as was expected. The cast took the stage, and speeches were given.
But then chaos ensued. It was announced that Moonlight had actually won. Everyone looked around in disbelief, but the cast of that film then took the stage, and Warren Beatty explained: He had been given the wrong envelope. Details unfurled over the coming days, and Beatty certainly wasn’t to blame, but in the moment, he was embarrassed.
13. Mike Tyson fell off a hoverboard
In the years since Jackass went off the air, YouTube has stepped up to provide us with the “fail” videos we desperately crave. Audiences have long taken pleasure in seeing others take a tumble, and when the subject is a famous face, it’s even funnier somehow.
So when retired boxer Mike Tyson jumped on the viral hoverboard trend in 2015, his fall was soon the talk of the town. Tyson lasted just a few seconds on the toy, which belonged to his daughter. The champion athlete was able to laugh at himself, and uploaded the video to his Instagram account.
12. Michael Keaton says ‘Hidden Fences’
At the 2017 Golden Globes, Jenna Bush Hager (daughter of George W. Bush) combined two movie titles into one, creating “Hidden Fences.” This might not have been a huge error, but because both Hidden Figures and Fences feature predominately black casts, it was hard to simply brush this one off without bringing race into consideration.
But on the red carpet, media personalities and stars alike are speaking off the cuff, and errors are often made. However, the even bigger flub came later in the night: While reading off a teleprompter, actor Michael Keaton, presenting the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, also said “Hidden Fences.” He later apologized, but the next month, the controversy came rushing back, when yet another white person made the same mistake on the Oscars red carpet.
11. Madonna’s cape fail
Pop icon Madonna has performed many, many times on stage. So it’s no surprise that she’s had a mishap or two. One of the more prominent incidents occurred at the BRIT Awards in 2015, when she fell backward off stage after a dancer ripped off her cape. The songstress quickly got back up and continued her performance.
Madonna later explained that the cape was a bit too tight, causing the momentum, but that everything was fine. Interestingly, as noted by BBC News, those in the crowd thought at first that it may have been a part of the act, due to the lyrics, which mention falling and getting back up.
10. Zac Efron at ‘The Lorax’ premiere
The red carpet is typically less of a struggle for men. Actors aren’t tied down by the same wardrobe constraints as women. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have their own embarrassing moments involving their clothes.
Zac Efron was walking the carpet for the premiere of The Lorax in 2012, an animated film based on the Dr. Seuss book of the same name, for which he voiced the character Ted. Efron stuck his hand in his pocket, and when he pulled it out, a condom fell on the ground. He quickly picked it up, but the moment brought a lot of media attention to the actor, specifically due to the young audience of the film. However, Efron played off the incident easily, happy to spread a safe sex message.
9. Ariana Grande licks a doughnut
Actress-turned-pop-singer Ariana Grande is known for one particular awkward moment. While performing at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2014, she was smacked in the face by the wing of model Elsa Hosk. Grande took to Twitter in a well-humored nature and expressed that not only was she not embarrassed, she thoroughly enjoyed the moment, despite it quickly becoming a meme.
But less than a year later, Grande was in the news again, for a far less funny offense. A video surfaced in 2015 of the celebrity and a friend in a doughnut shop, likely from the store’s security camera. Grande was goofing around, and appeared to touch a pastry on the counter with her tongue. She also swore, and said “I hate Americans. I hate America.” The incident was disrespectful at best, and though Grande later apologized, some felt it wasn’t enough to redeem her.
8. Julianne Hough in blackface
Many seemingly well-meaning celebs have been caught being offensive, and this is never more prevalent than at Halloween. Though cultural appropriation is often the culprit, Julianne Hough made an even more irresponsible choice when she donned blackface while dressing up as Suzanne, better known as Crazy Eyes, from the hit series Orange Is the New Black.
Hough dressed up as Uzo Aduba’s character as part of a group costume, but was the only one who painted her face. The actress apologized after she was called out, saying that she was a “huge fan of the show.” Though she was attacked on several fronts, some, including Aduba and costar Laverne Cox, said that they understood that she was coming from a place of ignorance, and they knew she didn’t mean to offend anyone.
7. Robin Thicke gets handsy
Occasionally a celebrity manages to make a mistake that has a butterfly effect, causing numerous embarrassing moments. In the case of Robin Thicke, things seemed to start with “Blurred Lines,” one of the biggest singles of 2013. The song and subsequent music video quickly came under fire for their sexism and apparent promotion of rape culture, but were also chart-topping hits.
All of the attention surrounding Thicke’s newfound success may have gone to his head, because the next two years were tumultuous for him. In one instance, he was caught grabbing a fan’s behind while posing for a photo. And though his wife, actress Paula Patton, stood by his side for a time, the two separated in 2014, and the singer quickly released an album, titled Paula, in hopes of getting her back. It didn’t work.
6. James Franco on Instagram
In 2014, actor James Franco made the news for something other than one of his generally acclaimed performances. The actor posed with a 17-year-old Scottish fan named Lucy, who posted the video on Instagram. The two soon struck up a conversation, during which Franco asked the girl if she wanted to meet up.
After Lucy shared her direct messages and texts with Franco online, the actor seemed to try to deny the encounter. However, he later admitted to it, calling the situation “tricky.” Interestingly, at the time, Franco was promoting his new film, Palo Alto, in which he plays a soccer coach who starts a relationship with a teenage girl.
5. John Travolta says ‘Adele Dazeem’
Yes, the Oscars are clearly a time for embarrassing moments. At the 2014 ceremony, actor John Travolta took the stage to introduce Idina Menzel before she sang “Let it Go” from Frozen, which was nominated for Best Original Song. But when he said her name, it came out completely wrong. It sounded something like “Adele Dazeem.”
While uncomfortable for all involved, the incident played out nicely. Capitalizing on all the hype that came after, the two celebrities were paired together to present an award at the 2015 Academy Awards. Though Travolta has explained what happened, Menzel harbors no ill will. In fact, she has said it helped get her name out there.
4. Ryan Lochte
During the Olympics, all eyes are on the athletes. This was especially true during the 2016 summer games in Rio, where several U.S. swimmers were placed front and center. Specifically, golden boy Ryan Lochte.
Lochte and his teammates alleged that they were robbed at gunpoint on August 14, 2016. However, conflicting reports began to circle, and there was considerable back-pedaling on the part of the men involved. All of the media attention and changes in story created what was soon deemed “Lochtegate,” as the true story began to surface. Lochte was charged for a false claim of robbery, and was later suspended from swimming professionally for 10 months.
3. Lena Dunham says something stupid
Some famous people are really good at sticking their foot in their mouth. One celebrity who never seems to learn from her mistakes? Creator and star of Girls, Lena Dunham.
Dunham has said many controversial and embarrassing things, but she usually owns them. Sometimes, though, she has no choice but to apologize. For instance, in 2014, Dunham made what she later called “a distasteful joke” from a “‘delusional girl’ persona,” when she said that while she hasn’t had an abortion, she wishes she had. And in 2016, following an awkward interview with Amy Schumer, Dunham once again took to social media to say she was sorry for racially insensitive comments she made regarding football player Odell Beckham Jr.
2. Hilary Duff teaches a cultural appropriation lesson
The rise of Coachella-wear and excessive social media sharing has brought a long-needed conversation into the mainstream discussion. For many years, the idea of dressing up in a costume has allowed those with privilege to “borrow” the culture of those who have been repressed without causing controversy. But those days are over.
Sometimes the appropriation is subtle, but other times, it’s glaringly obvious. In the case of former Disney darling Hilary Duff and her boyfriend, fitness trainer Jason Walsh, it was the latter: The pair donned full-out Native American and pilgrim costumes as a couple’s Halloween costume in 2016. In typical millennial fashion, Duff took to social media to apologize. Hopefully the singer and actress has really learned from her embarrassing mistake.
1. Billy Bush and Donald Trump’s ‘locker room talk’
What celebrities say behind closed doors may be secret, that doesn’t mean it won’t come back around. In 2005, Donald Trump was talking with correspondent Billy Bush before a taping of Access Hollywood, and their conversation was caught on camera. On tape, Trump made several obscene comments, and Bush goaded him a bit.
Fast-forward to 2016, toward the end of Trump’s campaign for president. The tape was leaked, allegedly by an NBC staffer, and Bush was fired. According to Page Six, this may or may not have been part of the network’s plan, though the ultimate goal was to ruin Trump’s chances at getting into the White House. The outrage that followed, referred to as “Pussygate,” brought negative attention to both men, but ultimately only Bush paid the price.