Old School Scandals We (Almost) Forgot About

June 10, 2013  |  
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Image Source: WENN.com

Celebrity drama is nothing new. Way before Rihanna and Chris Brown, there was Tammi Terrell and David Ruffin. Kenya “Miss USA” Moore may be a fool, but Vanessa Williams was stripped of her title. Check out a few more of these old school scandals that most of us forgot.

Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack was a habitual line stepper. After Sam Cooke discovered him, Bobby paid him back by sleeping with his wife. Then Bobby Womack married Barbara Cooke three months after Sam was brutally murdered in East LA.

And Sam’s wife wasn’t the only thing Bobby took. Bobby was riding around in Sam’s car and wearing his clothes.

Sam’s family told Bobby that if he showed his face in Chicago again, they were going to have a misunderstanding. Bobby Womack not only came back to Chicago, he attended Sam Cooke’s niece’s wedding. Sam’s brother Charles beat Bobby to within an inch of his life right there at the church.

Tammi Terrell

Halle Berry isn’t the only celebrity with terrible choices in men. Back in the day, Tammi Terrell dated two famous woman beaters: David Ruffin and James Brown. David Ruffin allegedly hit her in the head with a hammer, although the incident has been denied by her family and Motown. Ruffin did hit her on the side of her face with his motorcycle helmet, which ended their relationship in 1967. She died three years later of complications from brain cancer a month before her 25th birthday.

Teddy Pendergrass

In 1982, Teddy Pendergrass crashed his Rolls-Royce while spending a drug-fueled night with Tenika Watson. The most scandalous part of the story is that Tenika’s name used to be John. And John had been arrested 37 times for prostitution. Teddy said that he was just “giving her/him a ride” but nobody believed him.

Chuck Berry

Nude picture leaks aren’t a new thing. In 1990 High Society Magazine published pictures of unclothed Chick Berry with a bunch of smiling women.

Chuck was 63 at the time. He said he took the pictures for insurance purposes:

“I’ve seen too many times when girls misused their relationship with fellas. I wanted something to show everything was merry-merry.”

But Chuck said he never intended for the pics to go public. He sued the magazine claiming they published stolen pics. The magazine said they bought them fair and square and refused to hand them over.

Al Green

Al Green is almost as famous for getting hot grits thrown on him back in 1974 as he is for his music. But most of us forgot that the woman that did it — his ex-girlfriend Mary Woodson — killed herself with Al’s gun after the incident.

It took Al Green months of hospitalization and rehab to recover from the physical damage. He never really got over the emotional trauma. The attack changed Al forever and helped prompt him to leave pop music and the life and return to his gospel roots.

Marin Gaye

We all know that Marvin Gaye’s father shot him in 1984. But no one is really clear on whether it was murder or suicide. During the time, Marvin was suicidal, strung out and losing his mind.

Marvin’s daddy had always said that if any of his kids ever raised a hand to him, he’d kill him. Marvin punched his father during an argument one night. Then he waited while his father walked calmly into the other room, came back and shot him right in the heart.

His alleged dying words to his brother Frankie were:

“I got what I wanted…I couldn’t do it myself so I had him do it…it’s good, I ran my race, there’s no more left in me.”

Ray Charles

Ray was so scandalous, they made a movie about him. Ray started using heroin at the age of 16. He was also a serial cheater. He cheated on his wife Della constantly, leaving behind 12 children, 20 grand children and 5 great-grand children when he died.

Jerry Lee Lewis

Rock and Roll and scandal go hand in hand. Jerry Lee Lewis was one of the first Rock and Roll stars. He was also the most scandalous.

When Jerry was 22, he married a 13-year-old girl named Myra. Myra was also his cousin. And Jerry committed bigamy when he married her: he was still married to his second wife (who he married when he was 15) at the time.

Barry Gordy

Remember Jennifer Hudson’s character Effie White from Dreamgirls? Her story is true. Barry Gordy kicked Florence Ballard out of The Supremes and moved Diana Ross to the head of The Supremes.

The move was cold and came out of nowhere. Florence Ballard never really recovered. She spiraled down itno drug abuse, alcohol, depression and poverty. Finally she died of a heart attack in 1976 at the age of 32.

Don King

We barely have room to talk about all of Don King’s scandals. In 1954, he shot a man in the back and killed him. In 1967, he beat a man to death.

In the 80s he moved on from murder to theft. He cheated Muhammed Ali, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and many other superstar boxers out of hundreds of millions. He may just be one of the biggest swindlers in sports history.

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Marilyn Monroe

Before Monica Lewinsky made headlines, Marilyn Monroe had history’s biggest presidential affair. President Kennedy was the last person that she called before she died. And the rumor mill suggests that her mysterious death may have been a consequence of her presidential affair.

Image Source: WENN.com

Rick James

We all know that Rick James was a fool. But most people forgot that he tortured people. Back in 1991, a woman named Frances Alley came forward with a horrifying story. She said that Rick and his girlfriend Tanya Hijazi tied her up, forced her to perform sexual acts and burned her repeatedly with a hot crack pipe. He spent several years in jail for the crime.

Milli Vannilli

This was one of the funniest scandals in music history. In 1990, the pop duo Milli Vanilli was on top. They’s won a Grammy and had a bang of number one hits.

Then, while singing their hit “Girl You Know It’s True” live on MTV, the backing track skipped. It was clear that neither Milli nor Vanilli sang any of their songs. Soon after they were found out, they were stripped of their Grammy.

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Vanessa Williams

In September 1983, Vanessa Williams was crowned the first black Miss America. But just 10 months later, nude pictures of her surfaced in Penthouse magazine. Vanessa said she never authorized the release of the photos but the damage was done. She had to step down from her position before her reign was over.

Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes

Back in 1994, TLC’s Lisa Lopes was dating football player Andre Rison. Lisa says that during the relationship he abused her mentally and physically. So Lisa set his house on fire. We bet Andre doesn’t hit women anymore. Too bad reality shows weren’t big in 1994. This would have made a helluva episode of Football Wives.


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  • Kai

    Not taking anything from Diana Ross’s talent, and solo success but everything you said was true… I agree..took some of the words out of my mouth ..

  • Kai

    I remember when that Rick James scandal about him and the girlfriend at time (his sons mother ) burning some woman with a crack pipe..and being sent to jail. He was another talented but very wild man. I want to get his autobiography so bad.The excerpts on Amazon were so juicy I know that his book is a good read. They didn’t call him “SuperFreak “for nothing.
    Al “Grits” Green.. Heard that story too, and no scandals are nothing new.. Them old school artist had many that could give many of the young artist a run for their money..it was just covered up better (no internet)I have heard that Al Green was abusive to women too.. I bet he did get some religion after she flung them damn grits on his azz.. not that I condone violence… but you have to treat people right.

  • Kai

    I have always been saddened by the story (tragedy ) of Florence Ballard of the Supremes , and also Tammi Terrell, both very young and beautiful, talented when they passed away. I know that it was said that Marvin Gaye went through depression when the died. They weren’t a couple (surprised about that ) but they made beautiful music music together and connected as friends!I always wonder if deep dew inside Marvin was in love with her! Tammy hooked up with 2 very abusive men.. James Brown and David Ruffin were habitual women beaters of several women. Talent aside they obviously didn’t know how to really treat a woman.

  • melle

    thats probably why she had brain cancer getting beat upside the head so sad, the abuse.

  • Kiyaa TheElder’sLady Bowens

    Left Eye didn’t set the house on fire! She set fire to sneakers, which she then put in the tub. Bad move!

  • kimmy

    Who could forget these?! The only one I hadn’t heard about was Bobby Womack…damn he was a mf…

  • Berri

    Tammi also dated Marvin Gaye..

  • Berri

    That’s how Harry Hippy came to be

  • crys

    WORST SPELLING EVER!!! Do you not spell check before posting!!! I would assume this article wasn’t legitimate if I had not known some of the stories myself!!!

  • LiLi

    It was James Brown who beat Tammi Terrell over the head with a motorcycle helmet. They reported that on her episode of Unsung on TVOne.

  • Kassie e

    Can we fix the typos please?

  • whylie2014

    Let’s not forget that, at the time of his death, Sam Cooke had gone to a hotel room with another woman…while he was a married man.

    • Kai

      True but his death was tragic too.. I always wondered if that lady he was with and the hotel manager/owner set him up?

  • ♏ ®

    Jerry Lee Lewis was an incestuous child molester. It is what it IS.

    • Kai

      YES and I wondered where her parents were? Who allows a grown man to marry their 13 yr old barely a teen daughter? Doesn’t someone that young need their parents permission to marry?

      • MizMi

        They were cousins, so it’s safe to say….

  • ♏ ®

    BOBBY WOMACK!!! Mannnn really? Good gawt! He was waaaaaay dirty….and he got SERVED!

  • Shakhira Webb

    More articles like this one…,,.ENTERTAINING

  • Cheryl

    LMAO @ this Bobby Womack story!


    not va jay jay…strong jaw !

  • Ye

    Berry Gordy NOT Barry

  • Mallory

    I’m so glad to hear someone speaking truth! It’s one reason why I could never feel saddened for her in her failed relationships. How can you as a woman or a person, expect any type of happiness and peace when you are the source of destruction of another’s. Diana Ross was never even beautiful to me so I really don’t get why Berry went the way he did..

  • sha

    And yet, we still continue to persecute Chris Brown. Several of these were a lot worse and spoke more to the low moral standards of the person that what he has done in his young life. IJS, dont ever think I heard of boycotting Marvin Gaye’s music and heard that he abused Tammy on the regular.

    • Resa

      she was abused by James brown and David Ruffin.

  • BoredAtWork

    for the people who complain about ads. if you are using chrome just install the “ad-blocker app. it works…..that’s just my 2 cents.

  • gussie

    that was sad about marvin gaye. I had no idea that he was suicidal

  • FoReal!

    you should seriously cut back on the freakin ads on this page.. it would be such a good site if it wasnt for that… terrible!

  • Beverly Snowden

    I remember, growing up, that David Ruffin got blamed for causing
    Tammi Terrell’s death by beating her in the head, leading to her brain cancer,
    but people have recently come forward with details of her relationship with
    James Brown when Tammi was 17 and James was 30.
    Gene Chandler supposedly called Tammi’s parents after James beat her
    with a metal folding chair, while on-lookers were kept away by his body
    guards. Tammi’s sister also tells of a
    silk dress James gave Tammi, that their mother discovered covered in blood,
    resulting from an incident with an umbrella.
    I lost all respect for Brown after hearing these stories.

    • Kai

      With them both being very abusive its difficult to pinpoint exactly who caused the most trauma, but her story is sad and I hated that they treated her that way. Her UNSUNG episode on TV One was good! Lots of info from her sister and people who knew her.

  • MissWeatherWatcher

    Let’s not forget Diana Ross had Barry Gordy’s love child. Saw a picture of her years ago with Diana Ross, and she denies that the girl is his, but my eyes must be lying! The daughter looks JUST like him!!!!! She can deny it all she wants. There’s certainly no denying the daughter is his.

    • Kai

      She doesn’t deny it anymore, though she did for yrs. She does look just like Berry Gordy. He couldn’t deny her if he wanted to.. She is a very talented jazz singer too. I was on a date yrs ago and saw her at the famous club “Birdlands”

  • MissWeatherWatcher

    Never saw the attraction of women towards Jerry Lee Lewis. Other than the money, and maybe he was/might be good in the sack, and his talent, he’s got nothing going for him. He’s not much in the looks department, and I usually go for personality before look, but he didn’t even have a nice personality. Like I said, never understood why he had all the women he did.

    • Kai

      22 yr old man with a 13 yr old girl= perverted loser.. He couldn’t find a legal aged woman to get with? What did they have in common? Then again I was also surprised that Jan was so much younger than Marvin Gaye and only a teen (16 or 17) when he hooked up with her. I want to get her book also. It seems that some of the most talented are the most tortured souls.Still a fan of many of their music ..but these stories of their indiscretions are mind blowing..

  • MissWeatherWatcher

    Whenever I hear the name Ray Charles, I think of a quote one of his Raylettes said. “If you want to be a Raylette, you better let Ray….” I was disillusioned after that. I always thought he had such a cute, innocent, kindly smile. Little did I KNOW!!

    • Kai

      Exactly..lol me too I thought the same about the great Stevie Wonder! Inability to see did;t stop anything for these men. With had more than their fair share of women, and have a tribe of children too!

  • Jessica2248

    People talk smack about V.Williams, but I bet not many people remember Suzette Charles, the runner-up who was given the crown after it was taken from her.

  • Jessica2248

    People talk smack about V.Williams, but I bet not many people remember Suzette Charles, the runner-up who was given the crown after it was taken from her.

  • Jessica2248

    i remember that day back in 1984, i was 14 and i remember that being all over the news. however, this is my first time hearing (reading) about those dying words.

    • Kai

      Me too.. Is his brother still alive?(Marvin Gaye) My first time hearing those alleged “final words” too… Interesting!

  • Jessica2248

    did not know that about teddy!

  • randomtandem

    I don’t think Left Eye’s scandal was quite old enough to fit in with those other ones.

    • Mallory

      I think so, because I don’t think too many people remember it unless you were old enough and around to remember. I remember the story, but I was really little but I remember it was quite the scandal.

  • randomtandem

    how come Don King is not in jail or at least beat up! He did that to all those boxers and he’s still able bodied?

    • Kai

      Probably intimidation tactics.. He seems shady enough to get away with it.. connections.. old school snake…

  • Realityh03$Anonymous….ohwait

    I always wondered if Al Green still eats grits ….

    • Mallory

      Terrible just terrible lol

  • Vandellish

    Is the story about Eric Benet beating the shyt outta Adrien Brody’s azz at an after-party after Brody tongued down his then-wife Halle Berry true?
    I’d heard that from Andre 3000 on a TV show somewhere back in the day.

    • Mallory

      Why should Eric Benet have cared, didn’t he cheat on Halle a million times over? Some men have some serious entitlement issues.

      • Kai

        Yes true but aren’t those usually the ones..have the nerve to be jealous and possessive while dipping and diving in every hole available. THE NERVE!

    • Michael Williams

      They were split up by that time.

  • Sandy Shore

    What they also failed to mention about Barry Gordy was while married he & Diana Ross were sleeping together & she got pregnant, Barry tried to cover it up by fixing Diana Ross up with a white man to marry & pretend that this child was his but it failed because even though Barry denied being the father, the child looks just like him now talking about sleeping your way to the top!

    • Kai

      Yes she wouldn’t publicly admit that Rhonda Ross was his until she was a grown adult , on some show where they were honoring Berry Gordy.. and she either presented or got up and spoke and stated in so many words what most of us already knew. She looks just like him. Further more Tracey Ellis Ross and Chudney’s dad was a white man, and you can clearly see that they are bi racial ,just like her 2 sons by that deceased rich shipping tycoon.

  • gr8p

    Rick James’ wig is laid by the gods. Curls of Mount Olympus

    • Zee

      Haha! I thought the same thing looking at that picture!

    • BobbyBrownsUnhingedLowerJaw

      those were what we called “individuals” back in the day in l.a. the best i had ever seen up until that time…and had the nerve to have that curly remy died champagne golden honey wheat toast!

      • Kai


  • Is It 5:00 Yet?

    Florence Ballard’s story is so sad. She really had the bigger voice in the Supremes.

    • randomtandem

      word! dying of a heart attack at 32? she was literally heartbroken

    • RealTalk

      I actually think Berry Gordy made the right choice having Diana Ross as lead singer. Florence’s voice was nice but sounded like many others. Diana has a unique voice that’s hard to match. Smart move.

      • Michael Williams

        I agree.

  • Beckster14

    Lisa only wanted to burn his shoes not the whole house and wouldn’t it just be horrible to be killed by your own father? That’s crazy!

    • siStar Sassy

      That was the 2nd time she had taken his stuff in the bathroom and burned it! When he replaced the tub, the new one was made with a highly flammable material.

    • Kai

      That story about Marvin Gaye’s dad killing him has always disturbed me.Obviously drugs change people. I wonder what his father felt in the yrs after .. and if he had any regret for what he did.

  • AncientSpiritNewDay


  • Bored With Your Mediocrity…

    …let’s not forget the Milli Vinilli dude, unfortunately, killed himself soon after it was made public they weren’t the actual voice behind all those hits.

    • Ms.Brilly

      It was ruled an accidental death and it was like 8 years after they were exposed as frauds. But yeah, the whole Milli Vanilli thing was HUGE.

      • Bored With Your Mediocrity…

        uhh, okay, guess i stand corrected. LoL
        Thnx for clarifying that for me, Ms Brilly.

        • T

          ….and he was also known to have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

  • Man some of these men were just scandalous! Especially Bobby Womack & Barry Gordy…I guess níggas ain’t never been shít!


    WOW. Didn’t know alot this, this was wayyy before my time. Verrryyyy interesting. Chris and Rih got nothing on most of these ppl.

    • Mallory

      Where have you been living!??? Scandals NEVER go away, I’m in my 20s and wasn’t around for any of those and still somehow managed to hear the bulk of these hot mess stories lol

  • bee

    Very interesting thread!

  • sammi_lu

    Bobby Womack a habitual line stepped indeed! Let’s not forget that his triflin’ tail also slept with his stepdaughter (Sam Cooke’s teenage daughter) while married to Cooke’s widow.

    • womackfever

      good Lord! What is his deal lol. I mean he clearly doesn’t give any damns, not one!

    • thegoodluckpig

      so why am i at my desk, reading this and trying to fight back tears (of laughter and joy) while listening to if you think you’re lonely?

    • bigdede

      OMG, he slept with Sam Cooke’s daughter also! Makes u wonder if he set up Sam Cooke getting shot

      • sammi_lu

        Yes the Womack brothers obviously never met a boundary they had a problem crossing and liked to keep it ‘all in the family’.. Cecil Womack (Bobby’s younger bro) ended up marrying the stepdaughter after divorcing Mary Wells whom he had 3 children with, Mary started having an affair with Curtis Womack and had 1 child with him. Just scandalicious! It was widely speculated that Bobby played a hand in Sam’s murder.

    • Jessica2248

      this mickey fickey just didn’t care!!! omg!!

    • Kai

      Yes that was a mess..but his Brothers were just as scandalous..Didn’t Mary Wells marry and have children with one brother and later hook up with and have a daughter by his other brother ?Even though Sam Cooke had died, and was said to step out on his wife(cheat).. he considered Bobby a close friend and took him under his wing like a mentor. I heard this story before.. how he hooked up with Sam’s widow and married her months after Sam passed away..I also heard that he eventually hooked up with Sam’s daughter. Now that’s trifling..and I’m a Bobby Womack and Sam Cooke fan but truth is truth!

  • cryssi

    Left eye said burning down the house was an accident. She was merely just trying to burn his clothes in a tub.

    • Kai

      He stayed with her too after the house burned down..

  • IllyPhilly

    I freakin’ died at Bobby Womack was a habitual line-crosser. Yes, from that description, if true, he damn sure was Bobby Womack, b!tches.

    • marquis2sade

      NO…Katt Williams is NOT V. Williams ‘brother lol…funny you would ask tho lmbao

      • Michael Williams

        Her brother, Christopher, is an actor and comedian.

    • Gulie

      This “Type Of Behavior” is due to “Low Self Esteem and Poo Judgemen”…..how sad.

      • Gulie

        Poor Judgement.

    • bigdede

      Vanessa Williams brother is a comedian. He’s been in some movies like Dodgeball and that great Curb Your Enthusiasm episode as rapper krazy eye killer

      • IllyPhilly

        Well, I didn’t see those movies there’s a guy that was on a internet clip show and he looked just like her eyes and all. Chris, wanna say. I’ll look it up. Thanks.

        • Yvette

          Yes that is him. His name is Chris Williams. He does look just like her. They both have those pretty eyes.

      • Kai

        wow I used to love Curb Your Enthusiasm with Larry David.. wonder what happened to that show… I remember that character Crazy Eye Killer..lol and although I saw pics of Vanessa Williams brother never made the connection..lol Cool!

    • Michael Williams

      Yes.He’s an actor too.