The paparazzi and celebrities have been feuding forever. Like Tom and Jerry, these two sides of the fame coin go back and forth at each other—the paps trying to catch celebrities in the most compromising and controversial of positions and the celebs trying to discredit, dishonor, and even troll the camera-snapping photojournalists. While we can certainly empathize with the celebs, imagining just how frustrating it can be to try and live a peaceful and private life with cameras always in your face, we also understand that not all paparazzi are horrible human beings. Some are respectful and courteous, just trying to do their jobs. But even the bad ones manage to impress us sometimes. We may not agree with how they got their photos, but we enjoy looking at them.
Over the years, there have been countless embarrassing photos snapped of celebrities. From wardrobe malfunctions to bad falls, scandals to just unflattering looks, we’ve seen them all. But it takes a special photo to cause a career to virtually collapse on itself. Sure, in many cases, these photos are more of a representation of a celeb’s career exploding than the cause of explosion, but each of these photos have become synonymous with failed careers.
For some of the celebs featured in these photos, their careers may have rebounded at some point, but their reputations never did. These photos represent some of the most humiliating moments in the celebrity world, moments so massive, we have never been able to forget them Here 20 Paparazzi Photos So Bad These Celebs Could Not Recover From Them.20
BRITNEY AND THE UMBRELLAIt was one of the biggest moments of 2007. Britney Spears was going through a turbulent custody battle and career downswing and had just shaved her head. It was crazy. On this night, the singer stopped to get gas, her freshly shaved head gleaming in the moonlight, and photographers encircled her like predators on prey. They snapped photo after photo, each photographer trying to get a reaction out of Britney. Well, they got one. One paparazzo, Daniel Ramos, took the hit for the team. Britney grabbed an umbrella and went haywire on his SUV. This iconic image is one that Britney could never overcome. Despite managing to revive her singing career, no fan will ever forget Britney’s crazy period.
KATE MOSS LIKES WHAT?For the younger generation who weren’t around when Kate Moss was one of the biggest models on the planet, many only associate her with cocaine. This is because of a long-lasting ripple effect from the fallout of scandalous photos printed on nearly every magazine and newspaper cover in the early 2000’s of Moss next to lines of white powder. After the scandal, Moss lost several high-profile modeling gigs and was the target of quite a bit of industry backlash. Obviously, her career survived, and Moss managed to do quite well, but her reputation as a wild child never left her side.
MICHAEL JACKSON AND THE BABY BALCONYThe thing that triggered the downfall of Michael Jackson’s professional career may have been his 2001 album flop, but the moment that made everyone pay attention to his career falling apart came in 2002 with the dangling baby photo. While in Berlin, ironically for his philanthropic efforts for children, Jackson was bombarded by photographers outside his hotel window. Cheerfully and naively, Jackson grabbed his nine-month-old child, Prince Michael II, to show off. With a towel over its head, the King of Pop dangled the struggling baby over the balcony. In truth, it probably wasn’t the worst thing ever. But the photos and the headlines made it seem like Jackson was mentally unstable.
TARA REID AND THE WARDROBE MALFUNCTIONIt’s tough to really pinpoint the moment that Tara Reid’s career started going downhill, but if we were forced to make a judgement call, it would probably be the wardrobe malfunction at Diddy’s birthday party in 2004. It’s a strange moment because it wasn’t like this was Reid’s fault. One of her dress’ shoulder straps fell down and exposed her breast. It has happened to many women, famous and not. But with Reid, it was perceived differently. The public saw her as drunk, aloof, and “out of control,” as silly as that may seem. It wasn’t long after this incident that Reid got some particular bad work done on her body, and now we have like six Sharknado movies.
LINDSAY LOHAN IS NOT-ALL-THEREThis photo is one of the most recognizable of the 21st century. That’s a little sad, isn’t it? But this was a picture that represents one of the most talked about falls from grace in Hollywood. Lindsay Lohan, once the Disney princess from our childhoods, was now a bad seed. How? Why? Well, this photo came from the tail end of the weekend from hell for Lohan in 2007. She had just been giving a DUI on the Friday (her first of a string of a charges). She then partied throughout the Memorial Day long weekend and ended up at the Roosevelt Hotel on Sunday. This legendary picture of the passed-out starlet came shortly after they left the party to go home. Lohan never was able to shirk the stigma that this picture helped create in fans. She was a bad seed.
TOM CRUISE IS A MADMANIt wasn’t the paparazzi who took this photo, but we’re including it regardless. We’re including it because it marks the time when Tom Cruise basically lost his mind. Or, maybe more accurately, it marks the time when the world, all at the same time, realized that Cruise was a madman. The whole thing was simply nuts. Cruise, in case you forgot somehow, went on Oprah’s show to profess his love to (his now ex-wife) Katie Holmes. The entire act was ludicrous. He jumped on the couch, made a big deal of it, then they got married. It was silly, but it was about as Tom Cruise as it gets.
FERGIE’S GOTTA GOPoor Fergie. You know, it wasn’t that long ago that we actually felt like Fergie was on the way back. Then she did that thing that she did at the NBA All-Star Game and we’re right back at square one. Fergie has had a phenomenal career, both in her solo efforts and with the Black Eyed Peas. But, no matter how much good there is or was, no one will ever be able to erase from their minds the picture of the singer who peed herself. It happened back in 2005 when Fergie was on stage with the Black Eyed Peas. Of the photo, the singer said:
“We were late for stage, driving down the freeway, it’s Friday traffic…get to the stage, we have to start right the show … I’m running on and we jump and do ‘Let’s Get It Started,’ and I get crazy and I jump and I run across the stage and my adrenaline was going and gosh … I wish it didn’t happen…It was so embarrassing!”
CHRISTINA AGUILERA AND THE MYSTERY FLUIDIn 2012, Christina Aguilera was asked to sing at the funeral of the great Etta James. After what should have been a much talked-about performance, the only thing fans were mentioning was the strange fluid running down the singer’s legs. There were many different theories about what it was, some more unflattering than others, but a rep for Aguilera cleared the air afterward. It was apparently a bad mixture of sweat and spray tan. Still, fans have not fully accepted the truth as images from the event have spread far and wide and being used to mock Aguilera.
KANYE WEST IS ROUGH-HOUSINGKanye West is a very bold personality. Kanye is very confident about his abilities. The only thing he is more confident about is that he is the greatest person alive or dead. Well, that has nothing to do with this photo, but his attitude doesn’t help clean up his image. Back in 2008, Kanye first got into trouble because of a photographer. He allegedly smashed a camera and was arrested for it. For us, the more important moment came when West was photographed and recorded running after another photographer. The photos of West wrestling down the paparazzo (the same Ramos from Britney and the umbrella fame) went viral and left people with an even worse taste in their mouths about Kanye.
MICHAEL RICHARDS IS TROUBLEYou’re right, it was a video that got Michael Richards of Seinfeld in trouble. You caught us. But, how can we talk about insurmountable celebrity moments without talking about Richards’ racist tirade in 2006? It shocked everyone. Richards, on stage at the Laugh Factory, was being heckled. Rather than deal with it humorously or ignore it altogether, Richards lost his mind temporarily. He unleashed racist insults and seemed to be teetering on the edge of a psychotic break. It didn’t only ruin his entire career, but it forever damaged the reputation of one of TV’s greats.
MARTIN LAWRENCE GOES BANANASEven though he would go on to make Bad Boys 2 and several other successful films after this moment, Martin Lawrence was forced to fight off the perception that he was a little loopy for a while. This is all because of pictures and a video, as well as the accompanying police report, of Lawrence in the street yelling at cars. Suffering from what doctors said was complete exhaustion, Lawrence was screaming at cars and pedestrians while allegedly carrying a loaded gun in his pocket. He was yelling things like “fight the establishment.” Years later, even Dave Chappelle would comment about Lawrence’s strange break, blaming it on the pressures of Hollywood.
AL FRANKEN IS A GROPERAl Franken is both a comedian and a politician. The former SNL cast member was one of the vocal supporter of the Me Too movement going on in Hollywood and elsewhere, but then, things flew back in his face. A picture was released of Franken from 2006 when he was performing as part of a USO show with the troops. The picture shows Franken in the act of assaulting a female soldier while she was sleeping. According to the woman in the photo, this wasn’t Franken’s only offense either. He would later release the following statement when confronted by the photo:
“For instance, that picture. I don’t know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn’t matter. There’s no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn’t funny. It’s completely inappropriate. It’s obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture. And, what’s more, I can see how millions of other women would feel violated by it — women who have had similar experiences in their own lives, women who fear having those experiences, women who look up to me, women who have counted on me.”
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH KESHAHer career will be just fine. In life, we’re sure that she’ll continue to be successful. But, no matter how big Kesha does get, no matter how many huge hits she releases, there will always be one thing that she is best remembered for. Sadly, that one thing isn’t her accusations against her former manager or her music. The one thing Kesha will be remembered for is going in for a hug with Jerry Seinfeld and then being turned down. The whole thing was just so awkward to watch. It’s actually tough to relive. Hilarious, yes, but still pretty tough to watch.
RENEE ZELLWEGER LOOKS DIFFERENTRenee Zellweger had been gone from the public eye for a bit. When she left, she looked one way. When she returned, however, she looked another. Her return was back in 2014 at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards. Zellweger appeared looking remarkably different than she once did, almost recognizable. Was there anything wrong with her new look? No, but it was all anyone could talk about. Rightly or wrongly, Zellweger became the face of celebrity makeovers. When asked about it, Zellweger appeared quite bothered by the concern for her looks. Perhaps she has that right.
TRAVOLTA GETS WEIRD WITH SCARLETTThere was a time when John Travolta was the biggest star on the planet. He probably could have walked up and kissed anyone on the cheek, and they would have let him. Nay, they would have thanked him for gracing their cheek with his Travolta lips. But 2015, Travolta is not that same guy. Now, after he walked up and gave Scarlett Johansson a weirdly intimate kiss on the Oscar’s red carpet, Johansson was all class and said it didn’t bother her. But it bothered us. Why did you have to put your hand on her stomach, John? Why was it so soft and romantic? Just move along, old timer. You can’t just kiss any beautiful actress you see because you were in Grease.
KRISTEN STEWART IS A TROUBLE-MAKERTo be quite honest, many fans were looking for looking for an excuse to hate Kristen Stewart anyway. Simply because she was in such a divisive film franchise (Twilight), fans were extremely critical of her. Then, in 2012, the people found something to get mad about. Stewart, who was in a relationship with Robert Pattinson at the time, was photographed kissing Rupert Sanders, the married director of Snow White and the Huntsman. It was an enormous scandal, perhaps even the most blatant affair in Hollywood in the 21st century. The critics were rabid, tearing Stewart down for her personal life choices. In the end, her career survived, but her image was severely tarnished.
NICOLE RICHIE’S BIKINICall it whatever you want, but body shaming is a real thing in the life of celebrities. This becomes especially apparent when stars experience drastic changes in weight, such as when Nicole Richie was spotted at a beach in 2006 looking unusually skinny. Despite Richie’s insistence that she did not have an eating disorder of any kind, the tabloids were quick to suggest exactly the opposite. Sadly, Richie was open and honest about her look, saying that she was well aware that she was too skinny, but she couldn’t overcome it. Her humanity during this time sure didn’t stop the presses from printing this picture and telling the world that she was anorexic even though she wasn’t.
BIEBER IS A SCARY DUDEJustin Bieber is one of the most successful musicians in history. We would never try to suggest that his career was ever in jeopardy because of a photo or two, but the star does have a nasty reputation, one that he has struggled to overcome. This is because of his antics when he was a young kid growing up in the public eye. Many of his critics have a hard time forgiving Bieber for how he acted on a few occasions.
There are two photos in particular that rubbed people in the worst way. One was taken in London in 2013. As the Biebs roughly waded his way through a group of photographers, a few of them said some things to the singer, which caused him to lash out at them. Critics ridiculed the young man for putting on a tough-guy act while being held back from his security. Later in the year, Bieber was snapped spitting off a balcony in Toronto. The targets, people claimed, were adoring fans below. Despite Bieber’s reps denying the claims that fans were the targets, the public was not quick to forgive. Many still hold a grudge.
BEYONCÉ IS JACKEDThe year was 2013 and Beyoncé was simply beautiful. She is always beautiful. She is beautiful even in the most unflattering of poses and photos. OK. Maybe not in this exact photo, but she’s almost always beautiful. This photo, however, the one snapped during her 2013 Super Bowl Halftime performance, is easily the least attractive photo one can take of the world’s most popular (and beautiful) singer. Regrettably, Beyoncé’s team tried to get this image removed from the internet and had it go viral instead.
KATHY GRIFFIN HOLDS TRUMP’S HEADIt could be argued that comedian Kathy Griffin’s career was over a long time ago, but she put the nail in the coffin in 2017. Even if Donald Trump has more than his fair share of critics and reasons for them, when Griffin posted a photo of herself holding a bloodied head that looked like Trump, she was roasted for it. The backlash from the media and fans was enormous, as it should have been. The photo was pretty disgusting and showed that Griffin was unfamiliar with where the line was (or if there was even a line to begin with). Though she has since apologized for the photo, it has done its damage and caused her to lose out on several gigs (which is also why we can’t display the actual photo here).