The 15 Most Scandalous Celebrity Families In American History
Every family is a little dysfunctional. But these famous families take scandal to a new level. Check out our list of the 15 Most Scandalous Celebrity Families in American History.
So many untimely deaths haunt the Kennedy family that most people say they are cursed. President Kennedy’s father, Joseph, outlived all of his sons, except for Edward. His daughter Kathleen died in a plane crash in 1948. Both of his sons were assassinated: President Kennedy in 1963 and Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968. In 1984, Senator Robert Kennedy’s son David died of a coke overdose. His other son, Michael, died in a skiing accident in 1997. Two years later, John F. Kennedy, Jr,. the former president’s son, died in a plane that crashed into the Atlantic. Most say this generational curse is karma for the political and familial scandals the family has been involved in for years.
Paris Hilton’s scandals pale in comparison to her grandfather Conrad’s. Conrad Hilton’s wife, actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, says he raped her while they were married. She, in turn, had a long affair with his son Conrad Hilton, Jr. that lasted well after his engagement to actress Elizabeth Taylor.
Yes, we know they’re not American but the family has had some scandalous connections to the US. It doesn’t take much to shake a scandal out of the royal family tree. King Edward VIII had to abdicate the throne in 1936 when he married twice-divorced American, Wallis Simpson, who was a Nazi sympathizer who sold state secrets to the Nazi lover she kept on the side. Prince Charles and Princess Diana cheated on each other for most of their marriage before they split in ’92. Now the next generation of Windsors is up to shenanigans. Prince Harry has admitted to smoking weed and been photographed streaking and dressing as a Nazi at a costume party.
Angelina and her brother James scandalized the world when they made out at the Oscars. Neither have a great relationship with their father John Voight — possibly because of his philandering ways — and Angelina legally changed her name from Voight to Jolie in 2002.
Music’s most dysfunctional family is a hot mess. Joe Jackson beat the kids into stardom. There’s hardly a Jackson that hasn’t been under the knife. And poor Michael built his own wonderland, battled child molestation allegations and had two kids of questionable parentage — one of whom he dangled out of window so fans could get a look. Let’s not get on Randy and Jermaine having kids by the same woman.
The whole world gasped when they found out that Thomas Jefferson had six children by Sally Hemings. Not only was Sally his slave, she was the half-sister of his wife and only 14 when Thomas started sleeping with her.
The Bush Family
Near the top of this shady family tree is President W. Bush’s grandfather, a famous American banker and Nazi. Dubya brought his own share of shame to the family. He skipped out on service in Vietnam, allegedly arranged an abortion for his girlfriend in the 70s, did coke throughout the 80s and 90s — all while declaring himself a champion of family values. His wife Laura isn’t clean either. She ran over and killed her friend when she was 17 and rumor has it that she sold drugs while at Southern Methodist University.
The Other Jacksons
Jesse Jackson, Sr. shocked the world in 2001 when he admitted to fathering a child outside of his marriage. Later it was revealed that he regularly had extramarital affairs and that that might not be his only illegitimate child.
Jesse Jackson, Jr. followed his father into politics and scandal. He had to take a break from office when his bipolar disorder flared up. Later he was asked to step down after he used $750,000 worth of campaign funds to buy vacations, furs and Michael Jackson memorabilia. He was recently sentenced to 30 months behind bars.
Actor and “Girlfriend’s” producer Kelsey Grammer has been followed by tragedy. In 1968, his father was shot and killed. In 1975, his sister Karen was kidnapped, raped, and murdered. Five years later, his twin brothers died in a scuba diving accident. While those tragedies weren’t necessarily rapped in scandal, Kelsey himself has a sordid past. Married four times, the 58-year-old began drinking at age 9 and also took a liking to coke which led to legal issues for him in his early years. The cheater has also been sued by an ex-girlfriend for defamation and by a former White House aid for copyright infringement.
Lindsay’s scandalous apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Her mother, Dina Lohan, is one of the biggest party animals in Hollywood. Her father was arrested for threatening his fiance’s life and he had a daughter — that Lindsay refuses to acknowledge — while still married to Dina .
Few families feature more suicides than Ernest Hemingway’s. Ernest’s father shot himself when Ernest was 29. Ernest shot himself when he was 62. Five years later, his sister Ursula overdosed. She was followed by Ernest’s brother who shot himself when he learned he may have to lose his legs to diabetes. Then in 1996, Ernest’s granddaughter Margaux overdosed to commemorate the 35th anniversary of his death.
The Onassis Family
Jacqueline Kennedy was a member of two scandalous families. She married shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in 1968. Five years later, Aristotle’s son Alexandros died in a plane crash. His ex-wife committed suicide soon after. In 1975, Aristotle died of pneumonia. His daughter Christina inherited the family fortune but squandered most of it, got divorced five times and died in 1998 at 37 after taking a lethal combination of diet drugs and sleeping pills.
On the surface, the Osmond family was picture perfect. But their family tree is full of scandal. Marie Osmond was sexually assaulted by a family member for most of her childhood. Donny Osmond descended into a crippling depression once his career tanked. Merrill Osmond went banckrupt, Wayne Osmond is battling brain cancer, Alan Osmond has multiple sclerosis. And recently, Marie Osmond’s 18-year-old son committed suicide.
Actor Balthazar Getty comes from a tangled family tree. Back in 1957, his great grandfather — oil magnate John Paul Getty — was named the richest man in America. Since then, the billionaire Getty family has been rocked by scandal. John was married and divorced five times. In 1971, his son’s wife died of a drug overdose. In 1973, John Paul Getty III was kidnapped by the mafia. They cut his ear off and sent it to the family to demand $3.4 million in ransom. He was so traumatized that he turned to drugs, overdosed, survived but became a paraplegic. Shortly after, his sister Aileen died from HIV.
Marlon Brando is the most famous member of a family that has been rocked by scandal for years. His mother was an alcoholic. So was his first wife Anna and their son Christian. In 1990, Christian shot and killed his sister Cheyenne’s boyfriend and went to prison. In 1995, Cheyenne committed suicide. Christian died of pneumonia a few years later — after he was released from prison.