Everybody Can’t Handle The Spotlight: Celebrities Whose Fame Literally Drove Them Crazy
Some stars seem like they were born crazy, but for others, it seems like were it not for the fame, and all associated pressures (and readily available substances), they would never have been so nutty. Can you think of a celebrity who’s lost it right before your eyes? – I can think of fifteen. Flip to find out a few entertainers who can’t seem to handle the spotlight.
When Katt Williams made his comedic debut he was crazy funny, but now that he seems to have gone crazy crazy, few of us are laughing. Over the course of just one month, Katt has been accused of punching his personal assistant, arrested for hitting a man over the head with a bottle, sued for fudging up a performance at the Oakland Oracle Arena, arrested for attempting to outrun the police on a 3-wheel motorbike, and filmed “pimp” slapping a Target employee. What’s the next stop on Katt Williams’ crazy train? Hopefully somewhere he can get some help.
There’s no gentle way to describe how crazy Britney Spears was from 2004 to 2008. I’m talking 55-hour marriage, driving with a baby on your lap, psychiatric ward, bald-headed paparazzi attacking crazy. But though it sounds ridiculous, there’s really no wonder Britney lost her mind with fame. Back in her heyday she was THE teen idol. The only thing more obsessed over than her music was her personal life – and she hardly had that given how badly the world stuck its nose in her business. But to her credit, Britney has really turned it around. She may not be wholly in charge of her personal and financial affairs (her father and attorney act as conservators to her estate), but she is working and regularly recording music.
Lark Voorhies may be adamant that she doesn’t have any issues, but we can clearly see she isn’t – mentally – the same Lisa Turtle we remember from “Saved By the Bell — a sentiment shared by Lark’s mom, Tricia, who first expressed concern over her daughter’s mental state in October. Tricia says that Lark’s mental well-being initially began to decline in 1993, when “Saved By the Bell” ended, but that she didn’t fully lose it until 2001: around the time her marriage to Miguel Coleman fell apart.
Mel Gibson may be a racist, homophobic, alcoholic, but he’s also a lunatic – and as such, deserves mention on this list. Mel didn’t always seem crazy and actually had a very successful career early on. But as fame, money and – by his own admittance – alcohol, got to his head the star became crazier and crazier. During his most manic spells, Gibson has blamed Jewish people for “all the wars in the world,” referred to his employees as “wetbacks” and called his baby mama to cuss her out in a way I’ve never heard before, and never want to hear again. Mel can give excuses for his derogatory comments all he wants, but he sure can’t explain away his craziness.
Who would have thought that the beautiful singer with the angelic voice would eventually go bat sh— crazy? I know I was shocked in 2001: the year Mariah Carey attempted to do a striptease on TRL before her reps released a statement saying that the star had suffered an emotional/physical breakdown, which really meant that she had gone crazy – especially considering her stay in a mental facility. And it’s not like Mariah’s walk on the crazy side was temporary (or attributed to her Glitter failure, as some people have suggested). Remember her drunken, rambling acceptance of a Breakthrough Actress award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in 2010? That little episode reminded us just how lovably crazy our Mariah really is.
On a pleasant May afternoon in 1996, Martin Lawrence stepped into heavy traffic on a Los Angeles avenue to wave his hands, curse at cars, and scream “Fight the establishment!” – with a pistol nestled in his pocket. When the police arrived, Martin attempted to fight them off but was eventually overpowered and taken to the crazy ward of a local hospital. It was at this point, that we knew Martin had officially lost his damn mind.
Initially, the incident was explained as some kind of seizure, but when that explanation didn’t work, Martin’s publicist insisted that a doctor had determined “complete exhaustion and dehydration” to be the cause of the deranged incident. But when it came to Martin’s arrest for punching a man in a nightclub, probation for attempting to board a plane with a loaded handgun, and many accusations of threatening women, I’m not sure exhaustion and dehydration were so easily rattled off as excuses.
If you’d like to know just how much crazy it takes to be fired from the gig that makes you the highest paid actor on television, study Charlie Sheen, he’ll show you the way. Despite an early career characterized by hard-work and normal behavior, Charlie began to lose his mind in sync with his growing fame.
But it really wasn’t until 2011 that he went full nutso, following a number of rehab visits and public statements slamming “Two and a Half Men” series creator, Chuck Lorre. In addition to calling Lorre a “piece of sh—“, Charlie claimed he was underpaid, prompting the show’s producers to fire him. What followed was a crazy meltdown of epic proportions; warlocks, tiger blood and Adonis DNA mentions included.
Angus T. Jones
We all know Charlie Sheen is certifiably bonkers, but who would have thought that the half man from “Two and a Half Men” was also? Just weeks ago, the 19 year old star teamed up with Christopher Hudson, a Seventh Day Adventist church member known for his extremist views and utter insanity, to record a video in which Angus calls “Two and a Half Men” “filth” and pleads with the audience to “please stop watching it.” The craziest part: Angus is still on the show and receiving his sizable $300,000-per-episode check, despite the comments.
Tyra Banks has all those Victoria’s Secret runway shows to thank for her becoming a household name. But after tiring of the modeling world, Tyra moved into the TV world; establishing her own production company and creating “America’s Next Top Model.” It was from this point that Tyra began to go noticeably cray cray. Her ANTM antics became increasingly more ridiculous, she blew up on that poor black girl she eliminated, screaming “you don’t know where the hell I come from” with crazy-person eyes, and transferred her loony tune behavior over to her talk show “The Tyra Banks Show.” You might think that all of that psychosis was just for on-camera hijinks, but even fellow judge Nigel Barker has playfully admitted that Tyra really is as crazy as she seems.
Like the other two comedians on this list, Dave Chappelle didn’t reach the peak of crazy until he achieved a certain level of success. For him, that point was in 2004/2005, before production of the third season of his highly acclaimed “Chappelle’s Show” was set to begin. During a standup comedy act in 2004, the star expressed his concern over the direction of the “Chappelle’s Show” before losing it and calling his audience “stupid.” But he wouldn’t fully lose his mind until months later in 2005, when he walked away from a $50 million contract to so famously take that trip to South Africa for no particular reason.
Lindsay Lohan may once have been an adorable Disney child-star, but none of that means much of anything, now that her crazy antics far outweigh anything else. Lindsay long ago lost her mind to fame, money, and partying – lots of partying, and the paparazzi and tabloids have been right there to document the entire thing; from her terrible, drunken photos to her frantic, rambling telephone calls. Linlo is truly one of our craziest celebrities.
Some people may argue that Kanye West doesn’t belong on this list, which is fine. But in my opinion, West’s ridiculously inappropriate comments coupled with his outlandish behavior make him a perfect fit. Where should I being with this one? There was the Hurricane Katrina madness, when Kanye felt impelled to declare his feelings on George Bush’s feelings on black people – which, true or not, shocked the world and scared the stuffing out of Mike Myers. There were the two times Kanye ran his crazy self onstage at award shows to dispute the winning announcement. And oh, there were the hundreds of other times Kanye displayed his crazy – through Twitter rants, paparazzi attacks, and various statements (like when he compared himself to Hitler during a performance).
Amanda Bynes’ descent into craziness has followed the path of fellow child-star Lindsay Lohan in intensity and sadness. Just this year, Amanda has sideswiped a police car, been charged with hitting-and-running on two separate occasions, locked herself in a dressing room, had her license suspended, been caught driving with a suspended license, assaulted a member of the paparazzi (allegedly)… all this from a seemingly sane girl with a budding acting career.
Naomi Campbell may have walked runways in New York and Paris, but she is a hot, crazy, and dangerous mess. She has physically and verbally assaulted assistants and drivers, friends and enemies, people she knows and people she doesn’t. In 2008, Naomi went psycho crazy on an airplane after being told that one of her bags would not make the flight. She screamed and cursed until police officers arrested her, and then screamed and cursed some more, calling everyone “a-holes” and spitting. In Naomi’s case, it seems that if she doesn’t get her way, she loses her mind.
Paula Abdul is one crazy biznyee, and I’m not even almost the first to say that. Her heavily medicated adventures are extraordinary. Her delirious comments are worthy of psychiatric study. Her nervous breakdowns are the stuff of legend. Paula’s loony behavior over the years has truly made her one of our most beloved crazy celebrities.
Meghan Williams is a freelance writer living in Florida. Follow her on Twitter at @Meggsndbacon