Retouching Gone Wrong: The Worst Celebrity Photoshop Mishaps

March 7, 2014  |  
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We are not going to lie: Photoshop can definitely be a good thing. It can provide people with a little nip and tuck action without ever setting foot in an operating room. It can help when lighting and weather conditions simply aren’t your friend. But when abused, it can also become one of the most problematic tools in any editors’ arsenal. And celebrities seem to be baring the brunt of Photoshop catastrophes. So as 2014 chugs along, we take a look at some of the most egregious celebrity photoshop mishaps in history.

Nicki Minaj

Miss Minaj was far from pleased when she saw the cover of ESPN the Magazine in its annual music issue. Posing with baller Kobe Bryant, Minaj was quick to point out that there was something a tad bit off about her beauty shot. “I love my personal unretouched photos where my forehead doesn’t mysteriously grow in length,” she tweeted.

Oprah Winfrey

We’re going back, way back for this retouching atrocity. This image above of a very slim, glamorous looking Oprah Winfrey is not her at all. Sure, it’s Oprah’s face, but that body? Say hello to ’60s star Ann Margret. Not sure we can even wrap our head around how strange that is … and neither could Oprah, who was less than pleased.

O.J. Simpson

One of the most well-known instances of photo manipulation, came at the hands of Time magazine back in 1994. This image of O.J. was considerably darker than the exact same mugshot image other magazines ran. The controversy immediately ignited discussions of racial bias regarding someone who was already in the eye of a media and judicial firestorm.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Harper’s Bazaar China, we expect better from you! When Sarah Jessica Parker graced the cover of the magazine in March 2013, there was something seriously off. Her demonic looking eyes and way too angular face were the clearest sign that someone got a little too excited using Photoshop.

Kim Kardashian

Whether they want to admit it or not, this could be one of celebrities’ worst fears: A mistaken release of an unretouched set of photos. Kim Kardashian got to experience that first-hand when Complex accidentally released an unretouched photo of the reality star. Though, quite frankly, Kim still looked great, it was obvious where some of the digital nipping and tucking had occurred.

Jennifer Love Hewitt

When some of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s posters for her show “The Client List” were released, there were two assets that seemed just a wee bit different. Her buxom bosom was downgraded a few cup sizes to make the posters seem a little less risque. If it wasn’t so ridiculous, Hewitt probably would have been furious. But the bombshell largely laughed off the chest controversy. This was definitely a first in the celebrity Photoshop drama department.

Kate Middleton

Is there really much that needs to be said about this unmitigated retouching disaster? No matter how much of a trim figure Kate Middleton may have, there is no way that her waistline is that abnormally skinny. And having butchered such an iconic photo really piled on the hate against Grazia.

Gabourey Sidibe

Yet another instance of suspected skin-tinkering. Though the claims were denied over and over again, there continues to be questions surrounding Gabourey Sidibe’s Elle cover. Featuring a noticeably lighter-skinned Sidibe, the cover definitely irked many readers who couldn’t help but see some racial undertones in that retouching decision.


One of the most interesting case studies in Photoshopping horrors belongs Beyonce. The singer has been very vocal about her disdain for Photoshopping, so when H&M dared to touch that subject, Queen Bey was not having it. When H&M said it would retouch Beyonce’s shots for their ad campaign, the singer immediately insisted that only the un-Photoshoped version of her shots be released. And what Bey wants, Bey gets.

Kate Moss

Now we almost have to give this photo editor some credit: It takes someone special to ruin a photo with one of the most beautiful women in the world and her daughter. But someone managed to do just that. In the September 2011 issue of Vogue, a beautiful photo of Moss and her daughter Lila Grace was marred when a Photoshop error caused several of the young girl’s fingers to be accidentally erased. Oh Vogue, if Anna Wintor wasn’t at your helm, it would be a lot trickier to get past a mistake like that.

Kate Winslet

Of all the starlets in Hollywood, Kate Winslet might be one of the most abused and battered on the Photoshop front. And while many wrongs have been committed against her over the years, one of the most egregious instances of over-retouching occurred for the February 2003 cover of GQ. Winslet’s figure was noticeably thinner than in real life, so much so that she spoke against the excessive Photoshopping: “The retouching is excessive. I do not look like that and more importantly, I don’t desire to look like that.” Preach, girl!

Demi Moore

There is no denying that Demi Moore is one of the world’s most beautiful women, with a body to die for. But when readers got a look at Moore on the cover of a 2009 issue of W magazine, some eyebrows were definitely raised. From the missing chunk of Moore’s left hip to the questions that surfaced about whether the body featured on the cover was Moore’s or was actually a model’s, this photo tinkering definitely goes down as one of the worst in Hollywood history.

Melissa McCarthy

Comedienne Melissa McCarthy has embraced her size and loved her shape since her breakout role in “Bridesmaids.” But when fans saw her on the U.K. movie poster for “The Heat,” they knew something was up. With her head and neck oddly disproportional to her body, McCarthy was made to look ridiculous by a way-too-Photoshop-happy hand.

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