30 July 2008
Category: Celebrities, Features
It just took one skimpy bathing suit and a few seductive poses on a sandy beach to catapult these women into Hollywood immortality. Who knew achieving fame could be so easy and bring joy to so many adolescent boys and young men? Check out this list of some of the hottest celebrity swimsuit photos in history.
- Farrah Fawcett: This legendary photo of Fawcett in a red, one-piece bathing suit was taken in 1974 and is credited with kicking her career into overdrive. Posing with a southwestern-print blanket as a backdrop, the photo in poster form sold 8 million copies across the globe. Two years later, Fawcett became one of the original and most popular “Charlie’s Angels” on the then-new Aaron Spelling-produced show.
- Bo Derek: The scene from the movie “10” where Bo Derek jogs down the beach sporting cornrows and a flesh-toned one piece became an instant classic and has even been imitated and parodied in several other films. Derek netted a Golden Globe nomination for her performance, but the real reward came from the fact that she was instantly labeled the sex symbol du jour upon its release. While “10” would represent the film highlight of her career, Derek capitalized on her physique and modeling experience, going on to appear in “Playboy” several times.
- Pamela Anderson: A list of sexy swimsuited celebrities would absolutely not be complete without the famous “Baywatch” photo of Pamela Anderson in her regulatory lifeguard uniform – a high-cut, red one-piece – bounding down a California beach, Rescue Can in hand. Even though this photo is tame compared to some of the other material available on Anderson, it’s still the most renowned.
- Demi Moore: While in her 40s, Demi Moore staged a miraculous body comeback when she was asked to appear in the “Charlie’s Angels” movie in 2003 as a nemesis of the three Angels. She shocked and wowed the crowd by looking fitter than anyone else in the film with not a jiggle to spot as she did her obligatory run down the beach in a black string bikini. Photos of Moore’s new bod from the taping of this scene instantly appeared in every celebrity news publication known to man.
- Marilyn Monroe: This photo of Monroe decked out in a hot-white one-piece represents one of Norma Jean’s most famous photo shoots. While several of the shots taken at the shoot can be found in poster form, this one of her looking somewhat coy could be considered the best of the bunch. Want to see it really large? Check out one of the many Internet poster dealers who sell life-sized cut outs of The Blonde Bombshell.
- Christie Brinkley: In this “Sports Illustrated” photo, Brinkley is modeling a type of swimsuit called a maillot tanga, which is essentially a G-string with a small triangle of fabric at the top. Both the suit and the fact that Brinkley was wearing it in a mainstream magazine were considered something of a breakthrough for its time. However, while this particular suit and pose has more character, it wasn’t the first time Brinkley had modeled the style. She appeared in a tanga bikini on the cover of “Sports Illustrated” in 1975 when she was only 20.
- Paulina Porizkova: Czech model Pauline Porizkova is best known for two things: marrying “The Cars” lead singer Rick Ocasek and making every man’s mermaid-come-to-life fantasy come true in this shot where she casually models a suit made up of two tiny seashells and a loin cloth. Porizkova is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful, though not the most financially successful, supermodels of all time.
- Elle Macpherson: Elle Macpherson has been in “Sports Illustrated” so many times that asking someone to name her sexiest photo could easily start a lengthy and heated debate. But the argument for this photo is clear – the Thailand Fling was a popular issue due to Macpherson’s most intense come-hither look. Though Macpherson has graced other covers of the magazine, but this one routinely gets top marks from subscribers.
- Kathy Ireland: But while Macpherson’s “SI” covers always sell well, no one can top the 1989 issue featuring a playful Kathy Ireland bouncing in the surf wearing a white bikini. This issue is the best selling issue of “Sports Illustrated” on record. While Ireland is now a multi-billion dollar business woman as CEO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, a motivational speaker, and one of the top 5 celebrity entrepreneurs to be named by “Inc. Magazine”, those envious of her success might be comforted to know she was once known for nothing more than her ability to look good at the pool. Or, actually, maybe that’s not so comforting after all.
- Heidi Klum: In 1998 this German-born bombshell made many a man happy to get the mail one fine day in February. The photo of Klum wearing a modest-but-sexy suit on the cover of “Sports Illustrated” was instantly praised for its suggestiveness and beauty. Klum, who now hosts the hit show “Project Runway” and is married to singer Seal, is yet another seasoned “Sports Illustrated” veteran to achieve legendary status.
- Brigitte Bardot: This risqué bombshell from France set herself apart from Hollywood actresses in the 1960s and 1970s with her seductive and forward nature. A style icon, women everywhere admired her big blond hair and large oval sunglasses. But men liked her for far different reasons. This photo, which appeared on the cover of the “Paris Revue” in 1964, was considered to be extremely tawdry for its time, especially in the States. Bardot starred in more than 50 movies during her career and was often cast in roles that highlighted her sexuality.
- Rita Hayworth: This “Life Magazine” cover of Hayworth giggling on a beach in a modest, white two-piece debuted in 1941 and quickly became one of the most popular WWII pinups to be seen on an Army barrack wall (along with the famous “Life” cover of her in a white negligee taken the same year). Hayworth’s nickname was “The Love Goddess” and her cute and easygoing beauty makes it easy to understand why this photo consistently ranks high when considering the best swimsuit pictures in history.
- Cheryl Ladd: Cheryl Ladd, one of the original Charlie’s Angels, had a successful acting career in the 1970s and was thought to be one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood – an assumption that is clearly backed up by this photo of a glistening Ladd in a striped bikini. Ladd has also appeared in both Playboy and Maxim.
- Raquel Welch: Whether or not what Raquel Welch is wearing in this photo is an actual swimsuit seems to be besides the point, considering the picture’s rampant popularity. The legendary shot was taken in 1966 to promote Welch’s movie “One Million Years, B.C.”, a fantasy film in which Welch plays a cavewoman named Loana. It became a bestselling poster in no time and was part of the reason why“Playboy” dubbed Welch the “Most Desired Woman” of the 1970s.
- Betty Grable: Compared to today’s standards, this photo’s timidity probably wouldn’t warrant even a glance from most modern men. But Grable was a legend in her time and rightfully so. This photo of the actress in a modest one piece and a pair of heels became iconic and was considered the most popular pinup of the World War II era. It was even included in the “Life Magazine” list of the “100 Photos that Changed the World.” Despite stiff competition from contemporaries like Hayworth, Grable’s pinup was the number one choice for GIs across the nation, probably due to her knockout legs, which her studio insured for $1 million each.
- Ursula Andress: One of the most – if not the most – popular Bond girls of all time, Ursula Andress came booming onto the scene with her role in “Dr. No” in 1962. The movie opens with this iconic shot of Andress emerging from the ocean in a fitted white bikini and is often referred to as one of the sexiest movie moments of all time. She went on to star in movies with both Elvis and Frank Sinatra.
- Phoebe Cates: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” is a cult classic from the early 1980s partially due to the every-teenage-boy’s-fantasy scene where Cates removes her bikini top for Judge Reinhold while standing underneath a waterfall. The scene launched her sex-symbol status and helped her movie career – Cates starred in 7 successful subsequent movies that decade before her career slowed in the 1990s.
- Beyonce: In 2007, Beyonce made history by becoming the first musician to ever appear on the cover of “Sports Illustrated”. To top it off, she was sporting a bikini of her own design, which is part of her House of Dereon label. The issue was wildly popular and featured a more curvaceous model than is usually chosen for the cover.
- Niki Taylor: No stranger to “Sports Illustrated,” Taylor has many hot photos for the magazine under her belt. This one, shot in the Galagapos Islands in 1998, was featured in the “Ultimate Swimsuit” edition and is noted by many for its uber-sex appeal. Taylor now co-hosts “Make Me a Supermodel” with male model Tyson Beckford on the Bravo Channel.
- Cameron Diaz: If this photo of Cameron Diaz isn’t legendary now, it will be soon. Shot for the cover of the May 2008 Hollywood UK “GQ” edition, Diaz shows off a buff body and an extensive set of legs. Not bad for an actress who, at 35, could be considered out of her prime.
Although these shots may forever be known as some of the most famous swimsuits in history, nothing is more memorable than a one of a kind swimsuit. Visit CustomizedGirl.com and make your custom swimsuit!
23 July 2008
Category: Celebrities, Features
In Hollywood, Scientologists and Kabbalists alike worship the same God – the almighty lord of fashion. In a town where Versace and Armani retain deity status, it’s pretty much a career deal-breaker to not follow the style laws set forth by the more innovative stars that set the bar of fashion very high. Here are 25 celebrities known for their ability to make and break trends.
- Madonna: Definitely the oldest celebrity on this list, Madonna is still setting trends even in her 50s. Madge has been gracing the pages of fashion magazines since she first hit the scene in a pair of fingerless, lace gloves back in the 1980s. The Material Girl made layering, hair bows, and leggings cool over 25 years ago, and she had teenage girls from L.A. to Scranton mocking her style. In the 1990s, she got a little chicer, and, in some respects, much more risqué, before adopting a gothy, hippy look for her Rays of Light era. Madonna’s proving that she’s still got what it takes – for her Confessions tour in 2006, she sported a coveted purple leotard from Dolce and Gabanna that turned the heads of every major fashion editor.
- Sarah Jessica Parker: Sarah Jessica Parker was basically hand-delivered her role as one of the most fashionable celebrities on the planet when she nabbed the role of Carrie on “Sex and the City”. While her on-screen character sported ever-more-enviable outfits week after week, Parker seemed to almost be competing with her fictional self in real life. The New Yorker was constantly photographed walking around her trendy downtown neighborhood in even trendier outfits. During the filming of the “Sex and the City” movie last year, Parker’s on-screen costumes made the tabloids and the pages of Vogue. From Christian Dior to the man she made uber-famous, Manolo Blahnik, Parker is trendsetter that will go down in history. She now, predictably, even has her own line of affordable clothes called Bitten.
- Katie Holmes: Katie Holmes is perhaps both the most surprising and relevant celebrity to make this list. Less than a decade ago, she mostly graced the “who cares what she’s wearing” pages, as she was usually spotted out and about wearing a ponytail, a bulky Abercrombie sweater and a pair of corduroys. But today Holmes, the wife of megastar Tom Cruise, can more commonly be seen in Armani, Lagerfeld, and Chanel. Her swan-like transformation must have surely involved the hand of a high-paid stylist, but the pricey price tag on that service was well worth it. Holmes may not have look-a-like, copy cats following her around, but her sleek and classy style is definitely worth copying and certainly worth noticing.
- Victoria Beckham: Famous for being one-fifth of the UK pop group The Spice Girls, Beckham’s fame survived the group’s disbanding when she married soccer hottie David Beckham. With her music career in the dumps, Posh Spice had some free time on her hands. So she turned to fashion and hasn’t looked back since. Beckham is well-known to always be wearing the latest and greatest items from the highest-end designers and she has even started a few trends of her own – remember her angular, bob haircut? She sent stylists across the country back to training so they could recreate the look on every plain Jane who started demanding it. In addition to inspiring trends, Posh Spice has also done some designing of her own – a denim line for Rock & Republic called “VB Rocks” and in 2006 a line of jeans and sunglasses called dvb. She has also landed quite a few spokeswoman contracts, and has even worked as a stylist on many photo shoots.
- Nicole Richie: When Richie began dropping weight like crazy following the first season of “The Simple Life”, it seemed like every pound lost was chronicled in the press. But with her new waif figure came a more concentrated approach to her style, and while the tabloids criticized her figure with one hand, they praised her fashion know-how with the other. Richie is known as one of the best-dressed stars in Hollywood today, and there’s even a blog that chronicles her outfits every day! Whether she’s cleaned up in a sleek Missoni dress or dressed down in a flowy shirt and ripped jeans, Richie always looks spot-on cute.
- Gwyneth Paltrow: Paltrow is a girl that designers love to dress – especially her good friend Stella McCartney, who recently made her a stand out one-piece jumpsuit that got the actress lots of ink while she was out promoting her new film Iron Man. Paltrow has even been tapped to be the face of Estee Lauder, a high honor for a non-model. But ever since she first became famous, Paltrow’s tasteful, simple style has been praised and lauded in the press. A reporter at Style.com even congratulated her for being the “classiest label slut,” always wearing the right designer at the right time – Calvin Klein in 1995; Gucci in 1996. Today, Gwyneth gets photographed more for being out with her kids, but, typically, the photo captions will also reference her well-chosen outfit.
- Mary Kate Olsen: This tiny actress made a name for herself in the fashion world by taking all the latest trends and wearing them at the same time. Mumu, floor-length scarf, floppy hat, gigantic sunglasses – why not? But though Olsen took loads of hits from the press for her bag-lady style, she also seemed to be sparking something in trendsville. Not long after she began tromping around in her combat boots and layered shirts, lots of starlets starting adopting a more frumpy approach, wearing tunic shirts, scarves, hats, and leggings out shopping or to the park. While Olsen gets to keep the prize for the most overzealous frumpy dresser, she did succeed in inspiring others to layer like crazy. Oh, and accessorize! Don’t forget her rule of thumb: always, always carry a Venti Starbucks in your hand.
- Paris Hilton: Hilton’s style is not really that exciting. Yes, she’s always sort of well-dressed, in the sense that her outfits are cute and cost an arm and a leg, but really there’s never anything super notable about her attire. That was until she got a little dog named Tinkerbell. One thing Hilton can certainly get credit for is reinvigorating the “pets as fashion accessories” movement. While it’s true that many starlets from old Hollywood used to do this very thing, it seemed to have completely got out of style in the past few decades. But Hilton resurrected it, even inspiring Britney Spears to run out and get her very own arm-Chihuahua. Lately though, Hilton seems to have swapped out her canine friend for herself, as many recent paparazzos have snapped the socialite sporting T-shirts with her own face and name on them. Narcissism at its finest.
- Gwen Stefani: No matter how bold or how crazy, one can’t help but love Gwen Stefani’s rockin’ sense of style. When she started out as the front woman for No Doubt, boys and girls alike drooled over Stefani’s cool, tomboyish look that was always made more feminine by the fact that her abs were exposed and she wore colorful hair accessories and make-up. Pairing plaid work pants and a chain wallet with a bikini top, Stefani looked both sexy and approachable, inspiring a cadre of young teenage girls who didn’t fit the Britney Spears mold to follow Stefani’s lead. Now, Stefani’s style has definitely evolved into something a little more classy, but still funky, creative, and one of a kind. In 2004, she launched her own fashion line L.A.M.B.
- Rachel Bilson: Bilson is best known as Summer from the former hit series “The O.C.,” but while her acting career hasn’t given her anything more notable to put on her resume, her personal style has won her tons of fans. The tiny actress is always put together in the latest styles, making trend setting look totally effortless. One blogger, who writes a weekly tribute to Bilson’s outfits, wrote this recently, “Seriously. Her outfits are just always great and this is just how she dresses when she is running errands.” In fact, there are several blogs dedicated solely to the task of monitoring what Bilson is wearing. It’s safe to say that one of her biggest charms is the fact that Bilson makes fashion seem doable to the rest of the world. Her not-over-the-top style makes average, non-Hollywood girls think, “That’s something I could pull together, too.”
- Kat Von D: It’s hard to tell how quickly Kat Von D’s covered-in-tattoos look is catching on with the general public, but this ink artist has definitely opened a whole new door in the fashion world for women who aren’t interested in having too much natural skin showing. Von D, star of the new reality show L.A. Ink, owns her own tattoo parlor in L.A. and sports tattoos all over her body. She’s also a fan of tight jeans and cleavage-revealing vests. She’s made rocker girl look both real and cool and has given tattoos a place in women’s fashion.
- Jennifer Lopez: J. Lo has not only brought big booties back from the dead of the curve-loving 1950s, but she has also managed to make hip-hop street style (as well as Miami-inspired floral prints and cut-out dresses) classy and glamorous. Remember her floppy hat and lace-up pants from the “Jenny from the Block” era? Who could have thought that an outfit normally reserved for a prostitute from 1975 could look so stylish? But then she turns it around and starts making plunging necklines the thing to do. Who could possibly forget the outfit she wore to the Grammy Awards in 2000, with its neckline nose-diving well below the naval and its see-through skirt? That dress is surely one for the history books.
- Amy Winehouse: While we hate to call a crack addict and alcoholic a trend setter, we have to admit that Winehouse’s look is certainly a signature one. Who else could sport a beehive, dramatic, thick eyeliner, tattoos, and miniskirts and look great? Well, great if you don’t count the crazy-eyes and cut marks. Winehouse’s musical and personal style are definitely one of a kind and they’ll stay that way. Anyone who even tried to copy her would quickly fall to wanna-be status.
- Missy Elliott: Big, ornate hoop earrings, head-to-toe matching outfits, messenger caps, and flamboyant sneakers – that’s the style of hip hop artist Missy Elliott in a nutshell. She’s the woman who made the old school track suit both stylish and feminine. Wo said only guys can wear tricked out Nikes? Elliott is also a trendsetter in her music videos. Remember the trash-bag-looking thing she wore in her “Supa Dupa Fly” video? While Elliott’s copycats most certainly come from a different sort of sub-culture than those emulating Rachel Bilson, she can be given partial credit for at least one mainstream trend – the sideways pageboy cap. Heck, even Paris Hilton kicks those these days!
- Chloe Sevigny: On her TV show “Big Love,” Chloe Sevigny plays a polygamist Mormon and her costumes consist of floor-length denim skirts and turtleneck prairie shirts. But in real life, Sevigny is a fashionista of the highest caliber. She’s the girl hipsters fawn over with her heroin-chic figure and her adventurous way of dressing. She’s been known, on separate occasions, to rock only a sweater with ankle boots or a tiny leotard dress that looks like it was meant for the Ice Capades. Sevigny usually sticks close to the hipster designers of NYC, like Marc Jacobs and Zac Posen, but overall she has a pretty wide palette and is definitely worthy of style icon status.
- Jay-Z: Jumping genders for a minute, let’s talk about Jay-Z. The so-called “best rapper on Earth” is also known to be quite the style setter in hip-hop fashion. Jay-Z himself always looks classy and in charge, whether he’s wearing a suit or a basketball jersey. And he’s taken his love for fashion a little further than simply being a model for other people’s clothes. He co-founded the label Roca Wear, which sells over $400 million each year in merchandise. Jay-Z also designed a line of Reeboks that made him a cool $100 million. The man clearly knows clothes and business.
- Joel and Benji Madden: These brothers, who head up the band Good Charlotte, have had their own signature styles ever since they came on the scene in 1996. With Benji’s trademark fedora cap, which he is rarely seen without, and Joel’s mini-mohawk, both brothers are always decorated from head to toe in tattoos, diamond earrings, sunglasses, and loud, vintage T-shirts. So recently, they decided to parlay their personal styles into a little extra moolah. They launched their own clothing line DCMA in 2006, which used to be called MADE clothing. Originally just a T-shirt line, DCMA now makes hats, belts, baby clothes, hoodies, and soon will release a line of sneakers. Because the brothers just opened their first retail outlet in L.A., the line has been garnering lots of attention from both the press and other celebrities who are helping the Maddens promote the line by wearing the products all over Hollywood.
- Travis Barker: Before the Madden brothers, however, there was Travis Barker, former drummer for Blink 182, who almost single-handedly brought the Mohawk back into style. In addition to setting a new hair trend, the tattooed and pierced drummer also has his own line of skateboard apparel called Famous Stars and Straps. Barker started the line in 1999 when he began making T-shirts for his friends and band mates. Those designs generated interest from outside parties and so he expanded his hobby into a business that now makes shirts, sneakers, and skateboard gear.
- Kimora Lee Simmons: The ex-model and ex-wife of Russell Simmons latched onto the coattails of her ex-husband and rode them high. During their marriage, Russell Simmons launched the ubiquitous hip hop clothing line Phat Farm. Kimora Lee launched a side line off of that venture for women called Baby Phat, which specializes in booty-licious clothing for the hip hop girl looking to add a little sex appeal and bling to her wardrobe. Think huge, gaudy handbags, loud sneakers, six-inch heels, and blinging belts and earrings. It’s doubtful that you would catch the Chloe Sevignys of the world decked out in Baby Phat gear, but Kimora Lee has managed to become a style icon in her own right amongst many women with a little junk in their trunks.
- Fergie: The female component of the Black Eyed Peas recently launched a successful solo music career, but she has been getting kudos from magazine editors and fans alike for more than her musical chops. Fergie’s fashion-forward style leans more toward short shorts, sleek pantsuits, high heels, and any outfit that shows off her chiseled abs. She makes hip hop style feminine and demure by pairing baggy bottoms with tight, cropped tops. And she’s not afraid to show off her physique, often wearing short, short, tight dresses. Fergie makes her style her own by combining elements from many different genres.
- Lauren Conrad: While it’s easy to argue that Laruen Conrad, of “The Hills” and “Laguna Beach” fame, doesn’t really deserve any street cred for her pseudo-famous status, she is getting more and more press for her efforts as a fashion designer rather than her non-efforts at being a reality TV star. Her brand, Lauren Conrad Design, is pretty staid and not at all exciting, but then again it’s the sort of stuff you see just about everybody wearing these days. Did she copy the masses or did the masses copy her? Hard to tell, but we think that among the high school contingent of gossipy girls who hang on every word Lauren Conrad mutters on “The Hills,” she probably holds some sway. At this point, though, it’s doubtful Vogue will come calling anytime soon.
- Mischa Barton: This other former star of “The O.C.” may not be quite as iconic as her buddy Rachel Bilson, but Mischa Barton is definitely a favorite of the photogs for always rocking high fashion on the streets of L.A. Tapped to be the face of Bebe, Barton’s tall figure has gotten her more modeling contracts than petite Bilson can ever hope to see, but Barton’s personal style is much less skimpy Bebe and much more 1960s hippy. She digs leather, high-waisted pants, suede moccasin boots, and head scarves. Her free love fashion has definitely earned her some fans – there’s a few websites dedicated to tracking her daily styles, as well.
- Agyness Deyn: This British model may not be known to too many folks in the regular world, but when it comes to fashion she makes big waves of which bloggers, reporters and designers alike are taking notice. Her pixie haircut and popularity with European designers has earned her the nickname “the new Kate Mosss.” And when she’s not posing for the cover of Vogue or singing with her band, she’s being photographed walking down the street in shredded jeans or loud layers of scarves, T-shirts, and hats.
- Cameron Diaz: Spunky, sporty Cameron Diaz has a pretty moderate, yet tasteful, style day-to-day, but the actress really makes a big fashion splash when she’s out attending events. Consistently named on all the media’s “best dressed” lists, Diaz recently made headlines when she paired a fuchsia floor-length Dior gown with turquoise Fred Leighton jewels. In 2007, she was named best dressed at the Oscars when she wore a white, off-the-shoulder Valentino gown and $2.9 million worth of Cartier jewelry.
- Natalie Portman: Natalie Portman is not often spotted at Fashion Week events, but she is seen as a style icon in her own right. This socially-conscious star is known for her red carpet pizzazz, wearing timeless, classic designs with a dramatic flare. Ruffles, lace, stripes and anything by Lanvin are her friends, as are non-leather accessories. In fact, Portman recently launched her own line of vegan footwear called Te Casan.
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15 July 2008
Category: Celebrities, Features
When you see celebrities all dolled up in their million dollar jewels, pulling up to the most exclusive restaurants in the latest Bentley, it’s hard to imagine that any of them could have ever known what it was like to be poor. But in fact there are many stars who come from humble beginnings and dysfunctional families. Here are 10 who have overcome great obstacles to get to where they are today.
- Jim Carrey: Jim Carrey is widely known as one of the funniest, most outrageous comedic actors to grace a Hollywood movie. But before he rose to his multi-millionaire status, Carrey lived a difficult life in Canada with his three siblings and out of work parents. His father, an accountant, lost his job to a younger man when Carrey was just a kid. To generate income, Carrey’s father accepted a job offer at a tire factory that wanted to hire the entire family. In exchange, the Carrey’s were allowed to live in a small building next to the factory. In the 10th grade, with pressures to work and big dreams, Carrey dropped out of school and started doing stand up routines at a local comedy club in addition to working at the factory. But eventually, succumbing to the pressures of the situation, the family left the factory and ended up homeless. They moved into a van and Jim began performing at a comedy club called Yuk Yuks. Though initially not accepted there, he worked his way into the crowd’s graces by the age of 16. In the early 1980s, Carrey moved to L.A. and began performing at the legendary club The Comedy Store. One night comedian Keenan Ivory Wayans came to see a show and ended up casting Carrey in his sketch comedy show “In Living Color.” The rest, as they say, is history. With more than 35 films under his belt, Carrey is one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, earning more than $25 million per film. He is currently dating Jenny McCarthy.
- Hilary Swank: Born in Nebraska, Swank moved to Bellingham, Washington when she was six and was raised, for the most part, in a small trailer by a lake. Outcast from her peers and poor, Swank has often said that the only time she felt accepted was when she was reading a book or acting in a play. When she was 13, her parents divorced. Though Swank was a gifted athlete, she also adored acting. So, she and her mother packed their bags and headed for Hollywood when Swank was 16, living out of a car while Swank auditioned for roles. She dropped out of high school and quickly landed a role in “The Next Karate Kid.” Soon after she met actor Chad Lowe, whom she moved in with while still a teenager. Though the couple was together for more than a decade, Swank’s career skyrocketed, while Lowe’s stagnated. She won an Oscar, he booked a made for TV movie. In 2006, amid rumors of Lowe’s drug problem, the couple divorced. Swank continues to star in movies, most recently the romantic comedy “P.S. I Love You.”
- Oprah Winfrey: Now the richest and most powerful woman in television, Winfrey’s life started off on anything but the right foot. Born in rural, poverty-stricken Mississippi to two teenage parents, Winfrey grew up mostly with her dirt-poor grandmother on her languishing farm. Her parents split town early on, and when she got a little older Winfrey decided to move up to Wisconsin to be with her mother. But once she got there, she was repeatedly molested by male relatives. Traumatized, Winfrey turned to drugs, alcohol and sex and gave birth to a premature baby when she was just 14. It died soon after birth. Looking for more stability, Winfrey decided to move in with her father in Nashville, where she got her start as a reporter with a local TV station. In just a few years, she was promoted to co-anchor and, soon after, the host of a local talk show. In 1984, she landed a national talk show spot in Chicago, competing in the ratings with Phil Donahue. Though she has struggled publicly with her weight, Oprah has reigned supreme in her career, and her talk show is now the most watched talk show on television. In most recent years, Winfrey has used her post to speak about the importance of philanthropy in the world.
- Charlize Theron: Theron was born to a French father and German mother on a small farm outside of Johannesburg in South Africa. Her businesswoman mother often left her in the care of a nanny. Theron showed a penchant for acting and dance as a child, but at the age of 12 her parents sent her away to boarding school – away from the dramas of their home. Theron’s father was a longtime alcoholic who abused and cheated on her mother. Though Theron’s mother put up with the behavior for many years, the situation came to a head one night, when, while Theron was upstairs, her mother shot her father dead as he was trying to attack her. It was ruled self-defense. In an attempt to get Theron’s mind off of what had happened, her mother forced her to enter a modeling contest. She won and was sent to Europe to model in many countries. But wanting to be more than a pretty face, Theron moved to New York to study ballet. After a knee injury killed her dreams of being a dancer, she moved to LA to pursue acting. Within months, she landed her first acting role in the horror movie “Children of the Corn III.” Things got better from there and Theron won an Academy Award in 2003 for her portrayal of serial-killing prostitute Aileen Wuornos in “Monster.”
- Anna Nicole Smith: Born Vicki Lynn Hogan in Houston, Texas, Anna Nicole was raised by her mother and her aunt for most of her childhood. Her father took off when Anna was only two years old. Her mother, a law enforcement officer in Houston, entered into a string of bad marriages in the 1980s and when she was a teenager Anna Nicole went to live with another aunt in small town Mexia, Texas. There she got a job at a fast food fried chicken restaurant, where she met a boy named Daniel Wayne Smith. She dropped out of high school and they married when she was just 17 and he 16. Soon after the couple had a baby, but they split up when their son was only 1. Anna returned to Houston, working odd jobs at Wal-Mart and Red Lobster before she became a stripper in 1991. That same year, she auditioned to be a Playboy model and landed the cover. From there, Anna Nicole’s career took off and she became a model for Guess jeans and married oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall, who was 89 at the time of their marriage. Now known as a sexy model and gold-digging wife, Anna Nicole began landing movie roles in the 1990s and her looks catapulted her to full-blown stardom. She became even more famous after she agreed to star in her own reality show on E!, in which she often came across as a clueless woman unsure of what to do with herself and her riches. In 2007, Anna Nicole died after an apparent prescription drug overdose. Right before her death, she had given birth to a baby girl, who now lives with her father Larry Birkhead.
- 50 Cent: Born to a cocaine-dealing, 15-year-old mother, rapper 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, had it bad from birth. His mother, a native of Queens, continued to sling cocaine until she was murdered when Jackson was 8. She died after someone drugged her drink and then gassed her apartment with her in it. Fatherless, Jackson then moved in with his grandmother and his eight aunts and uncles. He said this was the moment he turned to the streets. At 11, he started selling crack on the streets. By the age of 12, he was carrying drugs and a gun with him to school. In 10th grade, he was caught and decided to come clean with his grandmother, telling her straight up he was a dope dealer. He began getting arrested in the mid 1990s for drugs and served six months in prison where he earned his GED. In 2000, Jackson was rapping locally in New York and getting attention from many lyrical big wigs, though he still didn’t have a record deal. One day, he was sitting in a friend’s car outside his grandmother’s house when another car pulled up and a gunman shot Jackson nine times at close range, putting him in the hospital for 13 days. The alleged shooter was said to be Mike Tyson’s bodyguard, who was himself killed a couple of weeks later. After his recovery, Jackson put out an independently produced tape, which caught the attention of Eminem. Eminem signed Jackson as 50 Cent and in 2003 Jackson became a star. Since then he’s put out 4 multi-platinum albums.
- Demi Moore: Born in New Mexico to an 18-year-old alcoholic and bipolar mother, Moore’s father took off before she was even born and her parents were only married for two months. She was named Demetria Gene Guynes and given the last name of her former stepfather. Her stepfather struggled to hold down a job due to his own addictions and because of this the family moved more than 40 times. Both her mother and stepfather were serious alcoholics who also physically abused each other. In 1980, Moore’s stepfather committed suicide. During her childhood, however, the family suffered in poverty and Moore had both a vision and a kidney problem that she could barely afford to treat. As a teen, Moore moved to L.A. and then dropped out of high school to pursue acting. She worked as a model and an actress in some B movies before landing a role on General Hospital. She then started getting movies and in 1987 married Bruce Willis. The couple had three children and then divorced in 2000. Moore then went on to marry Ashton Kutcher, who is 15 years younger than her. She is now estranged from her mother.
- Naomi Watts: Watts’ father was a roadie for the band Pink Floyd and her mother was a wanderlust hippie, who Watts has described as having “passive-aggressive” tendencies. Her parent split when she was four and she and her brother moved with their mother to Wales to live on her grandparents’ farm. But Watts moved frequently, as her mother followed boyfriends around the U.K. Watts has said that her mother often threatened her own parents, saying she would send Watts and her brother to foster care if they didn’t financially support them. When Watts was a teenager, the whole family moved to Sydney, Australia, where Watts attended high school with fellow actress Nicole Kidman. She started her career on Australian television, acting in soap operas, but had much difficulty landing the film roles she coveted. After many years of scoring only B roles in Hollywood, Watts finally was cast in David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” in 2001, several years after first moving to L.A. She has gone on to star in many acclaimed films, such as “21 Grams”, “The Ring” and “King Kong.” She is dating actor Live Schreiber. They have one son and another child on the way.
- Christina Aguilera: Aguilera was born in New York to a father who served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army and a mother who was a Spanish teacher. Aside from moving around a lot in early childhood, Aguilera has discussed how she, her mother, and her sister were subject to much physical abuse at the hands of her father. Though police would often come to their home to break up domestic disputes, Aguilera says that because many other of her father’s peers in the military abused their families, little was done to punish him. When she was 7, her parents divorced and her mother moved the family to Pittsburgh, where Aguilera’s grandparents lived. There she began singing in local talent shows, making a name for herself in Pittsburgh. Because of this fame, other children resented Aguilera and taunted and shunned her at school. But despite having few friends, Aguilera broke into show business quickly, singing the National Anthem at Pittsburgh Steelers games, getting on Star Search, and eventually getting cast on the Mickey Mouse Club. In 1998, she was chosen to sing the theme song for the Disney movie “Mulan.” Two years later, she released her self-titled debut album, which catapulted on the charts. Aguilera is now a multi-million dollar recording artist, who is also married and just gave birth to her first child.
- Jewel: Jewel was born in Utah to a folksinging Mormon father and an artist mother. She was raised mostly by her father in Homer, Alaska, where she lived in a small house without plumbing and sang songs with her father at local bars to make money. Though she had a bohemian and poor upbringing, it was not without its charms. After high school, Jewel lived in her van while she traveled the country, broke, and performed on the street or in small coffeehouses. In 1993, Flea, from The Red Hot Chili Peppers, saw Jewel perform at a café and was mesmerized by her voice. She took him back to her van and played songs for him. But it was an agent in San Diego that actually helped Jewel attain success after hearing her perform at a coffee shop. In 1995, at the age of 19, she released her acclaimed album “Pieces of You.” Her music career skyrocketed after that and she has released several albums, some of which were more successful than others. She has now taken a departure from her folk roots to make country music. She is dating professional bull rider Ty Murray. They live in Texas.
8 July 2008
Category: Celebrities, Features
It’s hard to be on point every minute of the day, especially when you’re a celebrity. Having to do scores and scores of media interviews each year must truly be taxing, and no one is going to nail every question every time. So, it’s understandable when stars slip up. But it’s still pretty funny. Here are some celebrity quotes that will leave you scratching your head and holding your side.
- Jessica Simpson: “Is this chicken what I have, or is this fish? I know it’s tuna but it says Chicken by the Sea.” In 2003, Jessica Simpson uttered the above sentence, which would forever seal her status as a dumb blonde, while being taped for the reality show “The Newlyweds.” At the time, she and her then-husband Nick Lachey were casually eating a bowl of tuna on their living room sofa, when a bewildered Simpson asked him what it was exactly that they were eating. She was confused by the brand name Chicken of the Sea, which, to Simpson, suggested that her dinner could be either chicken or something from the sea. The snafu was major fodder for the press, who couldn’t help but question Simpson about her dimwittedness time and again during subsequent interviews. Instead of feeling embarrassed by it, though, Simpson reveled in the attention, saying she didn’t care if the world thought she was a bimbo – she still honestly couldn’t figure out if it was chicken or fish. She was even invited to the Chicken of the Sea conference so company leaders could help her solve the mystery once and for all.
- Paris Hilton: “What’s Walmart, do they like make walls there?” Yes, Paris. Walmart is a place where they make walls. WTF?!? But it’s not surprising to know that: 1) Hilton said something stupid, and 2) Hilton’s never been inside a Walmart. Fine. We wouldn’t expect the richest, most pampered person on Earth to be either intelligent or relegated to shopping at America’s biggest discount chain. But, c’mon – you’ve never even heard of the biggest store in the world? For a shopaholic like herself, that’s a little embarrassing. But also, what kind of store makes walls anyway? Oh, well, we couldn’t really expect too much else from the woman who was responsible for saying these other gems: “What’s a soup kitchen?” and “I don’t think, I just walk.”
- Brooke Shields: “Smoking kills. And if you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.” Sage words of wisdom, Brooke. But isn’t it true that when you die you actually lose your whole life and not just part of it? Call me crazy, but I think that is what happens at death. All parts of you and your life stop existing. The end. Next time, try Googling things before you speak and see what happens. The greatest part about this quote from Ms. Shields? She said it while being interviewed to become the spokesperson for a federal anti-smoking campaign. Let’s bet the tobacco giants were crossing their fingers that she would get the job.
- R. Kelly: “All of a sudden you’re like the Bin Laden of America. Osama Bin Laden is the only one who knows what I’m going through.” During R. Kelly’s several-year-long child pornography criminal investigation and trial, he, in a moment of distress, claimed that people were making untrue claims about his guilt without knowing the facts. Then he shockingly stated that the only person who could possibly know what he was going through was Osama bin Laden – the Islamic head of the terrorist group Al Qaeda. R. Kelly – you are on trial for child pornography, not a misdemeanor shoplifting charge. For Pete’s sake don’t make it worse by comparing yourself to the number one enemy of the U.S. and the biggest terrorist on Earth. What lawyer actually let you talk to the press? It’s a wonder a jury managed to find you not guilty.
- Linda Evangelista: “I don’t diet. I just don’t eat as much as I’d like to.” Ummm, last time we checked, not eating as much as one would like to is the very definition of dieting. It’s like saying, “I’m not anorexic. I just don’t eat.” We know there’s lots of pressure for supermodels to make it look like they’re rail thin naturally, but trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the public with a statement like that is a bit insulting.
- Britney Spears: “I’ve never wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don’t like eating fish. And I know that’s very popular out there in Africa.” Damn, the Louisiana public school system really is as bad as they say. First, Spears utters this hand-wringing quote, in which she states that the country of Japan, located in Asia, is actually located on the continent of Africa. On a separate occasion, Spears has also been quoted as saying, “I get to go to lots of overseas places, like Canada.” We know Spears is more accustomed to looking at blank walls rather than maps of the world, but someone get this girl a Carmen San Diego book STAT! Otherwise, her toddler sons are going to know more about geography at the ages of 3 and 2 than she does at 26.
- Marion Barry: “Outside of the killings, Washington, D.C. has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.” Marion Barry is the former mayor of Washington, D.C. who was unceremoniously dumped from his post when he was arrested for possession of crack-cocaine while in office, and then later sent to prison for six months. But before this downfall, Barry was not shy about his accomplishments as Mayor, bragging that despite the city’s incredible murder rate there was little other crime to report. So, can we attribute the fewer drug-related arrests during his tenure to the fact that he was diverting law resources away from his dealers? Obviously, a low crime rate is nothing to brag about if your murder rate is second to none in the country. It’s the most serious crime in our penal system.
- Keanu Reeves: “I am a meathead. I can’t help it, man. You’ve got smart people and you’ve got dumb people.” Phew. Well, this one sort of takes the pressure off. Here we all were going around feeling bad about calling Keanu “Excellent” Reeves an idiot behind his back, when it turns out that he’s known it all along! We think this quote has actually elevated Reeves’ cool factor. Just be yourself, buddy.
- Nicole Richie: “When I pictured heroin, I pictured some crazy crackhead with no shoes under a bridge. You never think that is going to be you. And it never was me. I was never under a bridge, and I always had shoes.” It’s funny, isn’t it, that people with shoes who live in actual houses can also become addicted to drugs? Drug addiction really is the “everyman’s disease” it seems. Because despite the fact that Richie was raised in a nice, big house with loads of money and a closet full of shoes, she still became addicted to heroin, which got her arrested in 2003.
- Christina Aguilera: “So, where’s the Cannes Film Festival being held this year?” Is this a trick question? It seems akin to asking someone, “What year did the War of 1812 take place?” The fact that Aguilera would ask this question is made even funnier by the fact that she has been to Cannes several times. In fact, this is a photo of her at the festival last year. We know she’s blonde, she’s a pop star, and she was on the Mickey Mouse Club at the same time as Britney. But up until this the public had reasonably assumed that she had come through all of that with most of her intelligence intact.
- Dolly Parton: “I love being out here rather than in the big cities. You hardly ever hear of a drive-by shooting from a hay wagon.” Yee haw, Dolly! We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. It’s true that you rarely hear about drive by shootings by way of hay wagons anymore. In fact, you rarely hear about hay wagons at all these days, unless you’re out in the sticks, in which case you have other things to worry about, like Moonshine-fueled murderers armed with a toothpick and a pick ax. But Parton has been a quotable source for many years. Consider these other spot-on observations: “I’m not offended by dumb blonde jokes, because I know I’m not dumb. I also know I’m not blonde” and “I’ve always said if I hadn’t been a woman, then I’d damn sure have been a drag queen.”
- Axl Rose: “It’s really hard to maintain a one-on-one relationship if the other person is not going to allow me to be with other people.” Poor Axl Rose. Monogamy is hard enough as it is without having to answer to a demanding romantic partner or wife who asks – sorry, requires – that you only have sexual relations with her. I think many people can relate to Rose, here, right? Wrong! What’s great about this quote though is its feigned innocence and the fact that he seems to be seeking sympathy. Welcome to the real world, Axl. Unless you’re dating a porn star, you’re going to find most women seek actual commitment when entering a committed relationship.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger: “I think gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” This is one of Arnie’s most famous gaffs, though there have been many others. He clearly just jumbled his words, but it’s pretty funny anyway. If gay marriage should be between a man and a woman, perhaps regular marriage should be between two men or two women?
- Alicia Silverstone: “I think the Clueless movie was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it’s true lightness.” This confounding statement, which Silverstone made in 2000, won her the “Foot in the Mouth” Award from Britain’s Plain English campaign that same year. The “Foot in the Mouth” Award goes to the person who made “the most baffling verbal statement of the year.” Enough said. Anyone who has seen “Clueless” knows first hand that it is not deep, nor did it come from a deep place. It was an entertaining, airhead comedy that did nothing to further the course of humanity except allow a few weary souls to rest their feet and their minds. Silverstone was obviously clueless herself when making this comment.
- Vanna White: “I never get bored, because there’s always different puzzles, I’m wearing different clothes, there’s different contestants, there’s different prizes.” Who would have thought that the very same reasons people tune in to Wheel of Fortune every night – new puzzles, different people, exciting prizes – are the very things that keep Vanna White on her toes. For 25 years, White has been dutifully walking across the stage, touching light boxes, and turning them to reveal letters that eventually spell words, phrases, places. A lot of people want to know how she keeps doing the same mind-numbing task every night without going bonkers. But apparently the minute changes in scenery are enough to keep her interest fueled to the max.
27 May 2008
Category: Celebrities, Features
Sometimes it can be both frustrating and mind-blowing to think that some celebrities make millions simply off their good looks and penchant for being in front of a camera. While many celebrities have arguably worked hard to earn their millions, it can still seem a little unbalanced in the scheme of things. Which is why it is so refreshing to know that so many celebrities recognize their good fortune and choose to give back to the world and to those people who have to struggle through life. Here’s a list of some of the world’s most famous givers and do-gooders.
- Angelina Jolie: The most high-profile celebrity philanthropist, Jolie has been a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees since 2001. She began her involvement with the group after taking an 18-day tour of refugee camps in Africa. She then traveled to Asia and donated $1 million to Afghan refugee programs. Since then, Jolie has dedicated much of her time to traveling the world in an attempt to create awareness about people who are suffering. She has met with many powerful political leaders, including Colin Powell and President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan. Aside from her travels and advocacy, Jolie has donated millions of dollars to charitable organizations all over the world. In 2006, Jolie and her partner Brad Pitt founded the Jolie Pitt Foundation. It’s said that together the couple donated over $8 million to charity in 2007 alone.
- Oprah: The Queen of Network TV is one of the richest people, if not the richest, in show business. And Oprah doesn’t let her gigantic paycheck go in vain. She has been named the most philanthropic African American person of all time. She started in 1991 advocating for better laws to protect children who had been abused, but perhaps her most well-known charitable venture is the Oprah’s Angel Network, a $51 million foundation that provides grants to people and nonprofits trying to do good in the world. It’s estimated that Oprah has given away well over $300 million to charitable causes. In 2005, she gave $52 million away. Most recently, she started a school in South Africa called the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. She also produced a prime-time game show called “The Big Give”, where people competed to see who could do the most good with the same amount of money.
- Bono: The lead singer of Irish band U2 has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize on account of his intense involvement in charitable work, which started in the mid-1980s when he joined efforts with Amnesty International. Bono’s work focuses largely on AIDS relief and education and poverty. He was an integral player in the Live 8 concert, which raised money for AIDS, and he also helped found the hugely successful ONE Campaign, a celebrity-backed effort to fight AIDS and worldwide poverty. He also co-founded the Product Red Initiative, which partners with national retailers to raise money for AIDS. On Valentine’s Day 2008, Bono held a charity auction that raised $42 million for the Global Fund of the United Nations Foundation, which works to fight AIDS in Africa. Aside from the millions of dollars Bono has helped raise, he speaks frequently and passionately about his work all over the world.
- Brad Pitt: Pitt’s domestic partnering with Angelina Jolie led to more than just the conception or adoption of six children. It seems her philanthropic bug rubbed off on him big time. Through their foundation, Pitt gives millions of dollars away to international and domestic causes. His most publicized and biggest effort to date is the recent “Make It Right” project, which will build 150 houses in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward for people displaced by Hurricane Katrina. He has given at least $5 million of his own money toward the effort. He’s also co-founded the nonprofit advocacy group Not on Our Watch with several other celebrities. The organization raises awareness about the crisis in Darfur.
- Paul McCartney: Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, supports a number of charities that do good work for children, animals and the environment. But his most public affiliation is through the Adopt a Minefield organization, to which he and former wife Heather Mills donated $2 million in 2005. Mills also does advocacy work for his first wife’s pet cause PETA. In 2005, McCartney also got involved with the Harp Seals group and McCartney spoke out passionately against seal hunting in Canada.
- Bill and Melinda Gates: Famous for founding Microsoft, one of the most influential technology companies of all time, Bill Gates is one of the world’s richest people. Now he and his wife Melinda preside over the world’s largest charitable foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which was founded in 2000. With an endowment of about $40 billion, the Foundation gives more than $1.5 billion each year to worldwide public health programs and programs that assist developing countries. In the area of global health, the Gates’ focus largely on grants to vaccination programs and AIDS research. They also give to programs that aim to alleviate world poverty. In 2004, the foundation gave $3 million to assist with the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Earthquake.
- Steven Spielberg: Steven Spielberg’s net worth is $2.6 billion and of that he’s donated $100 million to charity efforts. Percentage-wise he falls way behind givers like Gates, but taken as a raw figure he’s one of the biggest Hollywood philanthropists on the scene. Through his foundation, The Righteous Persons Foundation, Spielberg has given over $70 million to Jewish causes in the United States, though he’s also given $1 million to help with relief efforts in Israel. Most of the money funneled through the charity comes from Spielberg’s profits off of his Academy Award winning movie Schindler’s List. Aside from Spielberg’s advocacy for the Jewish community, he also donated $1.5 million to help with the relief efforts after the tsunami.
- Sandra Bullock: Sandra Bullock has faded a bit from the blockbuster movie scene in recent years, but she still extremely active in her philanthropic activities. One of Bullock’s favorite charities is the American Red Cross. She’s written two $1 million checks to them – one after the Sept. 11 attacks and one after the tsunami. Aside from her check-writing prowess, however, Bullock is also a hands-on philanthropist. Following Hurricane Katrina, the part-time, Austin, Texas resident was a constant presence at the Austin Convention Center trying to help the evacuees. She also given some significant cash to the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders.
- Michael Bloomberg: The Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, may not be a star in the traditional sense, but he is definitely a household name. And his giving patterns are incredible. In 2007, he gave away $205 million dollars to New York arts, education, public health, and social services. Bloomberg traditionally has donated privately and anonymously and likes to spread his wealth around to different issue areas, though it’s also known that he gave a pretty penny to the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation. He’s also purchased two town houses on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to house his new foundation.
- George Clooney: George Clooney co-founded the charity Not on Our Watch with several other Hollywood leading men, like Matt Damon and Brad Pitt. The charity is aimed to help stop the genocide in Darfur and the militia rule in Burma. But while many people may sign the title “co-founder” Clooney has really been the one to take the reins. He travels and speaks frequently about the Darfur atrocities. In 2006, Clooney and his newspaper columnist father snuck cameras into the Darfur region to capture firsthand what was happening. Though Clooney has donated a lot of money to relief efforts in the region, he has also lost a lot of shoe leather in his quest to raise awareness. Aside from Darfur, Clooney is a UN Messenger of Peace and sits on the board of trustees at the United Way.
- Barbara Streisand: Barbara Streisand is not only a great singer and a highly politically-charged star (backing Hillary Clinton this election), but she is also a terrific example of celebrities putting their wealth to good use. The singer has her own foundation that dishes out grants to a variety of causes, like the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund, and the Center for Public Integrity. Babs’ main issues seem to be politics, civil rights, the environment and women’s health. In 2006 alone, Streisand gave out almost $12 million to these causes, and if you take the foundation’s cumulative giving since its inception in 1986 then Streisand has given well over $30 million of her fortune to charity. Streisand does not fund local charities, only national organizations focusing on the issues mentioned above, as well as children’s issues and AIDS. Streisand also does make exceptions for local L.A. children’s charities.
- Rosie O’Donnell: Most of the press about Rosie O’Donnell is directed toward her brash personality. But something many people don’t know is that the steel-willed woman has a very soft spot. While O’Donnell focuses mainly on children’s issues, she does spread her money around. In 2006, she personally donated over $5 million, mostly all toward Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in both Louisiana and Texas. But O’Donnell does have her own charity, called For All Kids, which focuses on helping children born into poverty. Donnell has donated over $53 million to charity, and the foundation has handed out more than $22 million in grants to over 900 nonprofits. In 2003, she also co-founded Rosie’s Broadway Kids, a nonprofit that helps low-income kids in New York City get free music and dance lessons. She also raises money for various gay and lesbian civil rights groups.
- Tiger Woods: Tiger Woods is quite possibly the best golfer to ever live. And that distinction, along with all of the tournament wins, has given him quite the savings account. But Woods has been a perfect steward with his millions, founding at least seven charitable programs through the Tiger Woods Foundation, which he started in 1996 with his father Earl Woods. In 2006, Woods gave $9.5 million out of his pocket toward children’s education, health, and welfare issues. The Tiger Woods Learning Center began in 2006 as an afterschool program to help kids of all ages find their true potential by allowing the kids to create their curriculum. Woods’ foundation deals solely with issues surrounding childhood education.
- Martha Stewart: This queen of crafty home improvements is out to improve peoples’ lives in addition to improving their living rooms. In 2006, Stewart gave $5 million to establish the Martha Stewart Center for Living at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, which “serves to promote and facilitate access to health care resources for older adults and to enhance the public perception of aging.” The center provides medical care, caregiver resources, and educational opportunities for older adults. On top of this big gift, Stewart supports other healthcare charities, such as the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. She also gives to Heifer International and Dogs Deserve Better, a nonprofit that advocates against the chaining of dogs.
- Nicholas Cage: Nicholas Cage is not a loud philanthropist. In fact, judging by the low-brow movies he chooses to star in, one might think philanthropy would be furthest from his mind. But in fact he doles out quite the sum for charitable causes. In 2006, he gave $2 million to an Amnesty International fund to help out child soldiers. During the same year, he also starred in a Montblanc commercial and donated his entire salary from that job to < a href= http://www.healthebay.org/>Heal the Bay, a nonprofit dedicated to keeping the coastal waters of Southern California clean and healthy.
- Andre Agassi: Tennis legend Andre Agassi has been involved in many charitable works throughout his career, and, like many philanthropic-minded stars, even has his own foundation, the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which he founded in 1994. In 2006, he donated almost $1.1 million to that foundation, which assists disadvantaged youth in Agassi’s hometown of Las Vegas. Not surprisingly, the foundation focuses on helping children reach their potential through different athletic endeavors. Agassi also gives money to help children who are abused and neglected and those who have developmental issues or are handicapped, started a charter school in Las Vegas, and is a co-founder of Athletes for Hope, an organization that assists and encourages athletes to get involved in charity work.
- Lance Armstrong: Lance Armstrong has won the Tour de France seven times, and he’s survived testicular cancer. Some might say he’s a pretty disciplined guy. But he’s also a pretty disciplined guy when it comes to charity. Armstrong founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation in Austin, Texas in 1997, which is dedicated to raising money for cancer research and advocacy. Over the years, Armstrong has donated millions to the foundation, including a $1.5 million donation in 2004 and a $500,000 donation in 2006. But given his active nature, one would expect Armstrong to bring his cause to a whole new level, which he does by working solely on developing better legislation and support for cancer research.
- Denzel Washington: Denzel Washington is one of Hollywood’s most dapper men and has even won an Oscar. He’s also a pretty charitable fellow, donating $1 million in 2006 to Save Africa’s Children, an organization dedicated to helping orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa. According to reports, there are more than 17 million children orphaned in Africa because they lost a parent to AIDS. But his charity work doesn’t stop there. He is also a spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Club and works through the Fisher House Foundation, which provides a place to live for wounded soldier. Washington visits the soldiers regularly and has also made a significant contribution to the charity. He is also a lifetime founding member of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
- David Geffen: David Geffen, co-founder of Dreamworks Studios is one of the richest people in America, worth over $4 billion. But he does give back some of that dough to charity, mostly to his own foundation, The David Geffen Foundation. In 1997, he dumped more than $3.5 million into the charity, which gave away almost $5 million that year. Through the 1990s, the foundation dispensed over $25 million to AIDS, higher education, and Jewish causes. In 2006, Geffen gave $1.6 million to the charity. It’s said to be one of the most active celebrity foundations in Hollywood.
- Madonna: One of Hollywood’s more controversial philanthropists, Madonna gives most of her money and time largely to two causes: Kabbalah, the ancient practice of Jewish mysticism, and Malawi orphans. Madge underwent a lot of criticism when she adopted a boy from Malawi, but since then she has founded her own charity called Raising Malawi, which aims to help the orphans in that country. Madonna also has supported multiple charities throughout her career, including, the Afghanistan Relief Organization, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the American Foundation for AIDS Research.
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22 May 2008
Category: Celebrities, Features
When you make millions of dollars yet get everything for free, it can be challenging to figure out just how to spend your fortune. But these stars have it all worked out. They just blow their greenbacks on tricked out cars outfitted with more TVs than are commonly found in a five bedroom McMansion. Here are some of the more ridiculous celebrity car habits out there today.
- Jay Leno: Jay Leno, host of The Tonight Show, is legendary for his love of unique automobiles. While the exact number of cars in Leno’s 17,000 foot garage is unknown, it’s said to be well over 100. Leno’s car collection represents 100 years of automobile history, and he definitely has a penchant for cars with unique features. Consider his 1956 Chrysler Imperial that has a record player installed beneath the dash, or the Blastolene Special, a 21-foot-long roadster with an aluminum body and the same v12 engines used in an M47 Patton Tank. Leno is said to drive all of the cars he owns, and he takes a different one to work each day.
- 50 Cent: 50 Cent, also known as Curtis Jackson, took part of the fortune he made off his successful rap career and sunk it into a 2006 Rolls Royce Phantom, which he then had turned into a convertible long before the car company began offering drop top models. The conversion was said to cost him almost as much as the car itself – about $350,000. 50′s Phantom also has TVs inside it and came “fully loaded.” No word on whether he had it bulletproofed as he did his other vehicles.
- Simon Cowell: The American Idol host has a love for fast, flashy cars, which he proved by purchasing a $1 million Bugatti Veyron, a sleek bullet-like car made by Volkswagen. The car has over 1,000 horsepower and can go faster than 250 miles per hour, going from 0 to 100 in 2.5 seconds. And it’s not the only fancy car in this TV mogul’s garage. He’s also the proud owner of a Rolls Royce Phantom and a Ferarri.
- Lebron James: When Lebron James turned 18 in 2003, his mother gave him a platinum Hummer H2 for his birthday. The ostentatious car was just incredibly splashy enough to spark an investigation by the Ohio High School Athletic Association about whether James accepted the car as a gift inappropriately before he started in the NBA. But five years later the controversy has been long cleared up and James’ career is flying high. In 2007, the show SPEED did a makeover of James’ Hummer adding in several extra features. James’ car now has three TVs, leather seats embroidered with the words “King James”, a new grille, and the latest in all technological features. The base price for Hummers is about $55,000, but the value of James’ car is said to be three to four times that amount.
- Donald Trump: Just days after one was delivered to the White House, Donald Trump ran out to buy his very own Cadillac DTS Presidential Limousine. Trump was the first lay person to purchase the car, which seats six and comes with a magazine rack, humidor, 22-inch flat screen TV, DVD player, and wireless laptop computer, among many other things. Perhaps one of the most luxurious limousines on the market, the amount Trump paid to be cruising around in presidential style is certainly high though the price has not been revealed.
- P. Diddy: Not only does P. Diddy own a few outrageous cars of his own, but he’s also the brainchild behind the Sean John Navigator, the bling-heavy SUV he designed for Lincoln. The cars retail to the public for $85,000 and only 100 of them exist. They come replete with tinted windows, satellite radio, heated and vibrating leather seats, six TVs, three DVDs, and a Playstation, among other things. And Diddy can boast rights as first owner.
- Britney Spears: It’s really not at all surprising that Britney Spears would have a multitude of outrageous cars, and guess what? She does! Recently, her father was awarded the responsibility of figuring out what to do with her current fleet of seven luxury vehicles. She seems to change rides more than her underwear. Oh, wait … that may not be the best comparison. Anyway, one of Spears’ most outrageous cars was her 2002 pink Hummer H2. It had a 6-liter V8 engine, but really who cares? Surely, the most important feature to Spears was the Louis Vuitton upholstery on the inside. The exact value of this vehicle is unknown, but, like James’ car, it could be triple the $55,000 base price, if not more.
- Busta Rhymes: Wild and crazy hip hop star Busta Rhymes is known for his brash vocal style and his in-your-face lyrics. Car junkies, though, may regale him for his taste in automobiles. Rhymes is the proud owner of a metallic silver Mercedes G500 with all the amenities available. But perhaps the most notable amenity is the studio-quality sound system he had installed by Unique Autosport in New York. Rhymes swears the sound quality is the same as being in a recording studio and that it serves as a perfect testing ground for his music, since he can hear every click and crackle that was picked up while he was recording his tracks. Prices for the G500 start at $89,000 and go up to $111,000 for all the amenities. Rhymes audio installer Will Castro typically charges $40,000 for an install, and you can bet Ryhmes spent a little extra on his flashy rims. Simple mathematics would put this car’s value close to $200,000.
- Flea: Flea, the edgy guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, made news when he purchased a brand new Tesla Roadster, a completely electric sports car that was first debuted in 2006. Currently, fully-loaded Teslas run about $109,000. Flea said he had to have the car when he saw it and that he was motivated to purchase it mainly for its environmental benefits. And in a posting on Tesla’s blog Flea wrote that it drove like a dream and made hardly any noise at all. More specifically, he said it made his Porsche feel like “a golf cart.” This car, developed in part by Lotus, is definitely no golf cart. On a single charge of its battery it can go as fast as 225 mph and gets from 0 to 60 in under 4 seconds. The 100 prototypes made in 2006 sold out quickly; in 2008, the 650 planned also sold out. In 2009, Tesla plans to make 1,500 cars.
- Tony Stewart: Car racing great Tony Stewart drives fast cars for a living and even owns a Lamborghini. But the vehicle that really turns heads is his 1984 Cadillac Hearse, tricked out by the same folks who brought you Lebron James’ car. Installed in the funeral-ready car is a motorized TV wall between the front and back seats that takes a standard limousine-like window and cranks it up a dozen notches. Instead of a solid piece of plastic, backseat riders can stare at a 32-inch flat screen TV. The front dash was completely ripped out and in its place a command-center arrangement was installed that includes two 12-inch TV monitors, a DVD player, video iPod hook-up, and a top of the line speaker system surrounded by black leather. The sound system features six amps and the designers even installed a hidden mini bar. Luxury and fist-pumping sound throughout makes Stewart’s hearse a hands-down one of a kind.
- Scott Storch: Hip-hop producer Scott Storch has a cavalcade of fast and fancy cars at his Miami home, which has eight garages to hold all of his beauties. While he counts a Ferrari and an Aston Martin as part of his impressive fleet, Storch’s favorite car is a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 – the fastest street-legal car in existence. And with a $1.7 million price tag, it should be. When Storch bought the car in 2007 there were only 70 in existence, part of the reason that he bought it. “I live the shock value,” he told a reporter. “People don’t get to see these cars.”
- Funkmaster Flex: This longtime hip hop DJ made a name for himself spinning records on the radio and building a music empire on his name. Now he’s lending his moniker to something else – pimping out cars for celebrities. Following a lifelong passion for cars, especially Chevys, Flex launched a Spike TV show called “Ride with Funkmaster Flex” and enlisted a host of celebrity clients from Queen Latifah to Eminem to Ludacris. And of course this entrepreneur has his own collection of tricked out cars, including a purple 1970 Plymouth Duster and a 1966 Red Impala SS 396. In addition, Flex released his own 2008 Ford Expedition that comes in a red and black two-tone paint job and black leather seats with red interior. Other features include 20-inch chrome wheels, a 340-watt Audiophile Sound System, third row seating, computer navigation system, and TV with DVD player in the back. Starting price: $75,000.
- Snoop Dog: It would be wrong for Snoop Dog not to have a pimped out car. Thankfully, he does. “Tha Doggfather of Rap” has several cars, but perhaps the one most fitting for his personality is his 1967 Pontiac Parsienne Convertible painted in gold with purple trim – the colors of Snoop’s favorite sports team, the L.A. Lakers. The best feature? Hydro pumps that let the car jump and bounce up and down and from side to side. The system is controlled by purple and gold zirconium-encrusted controls implanted onto Snoop’s dashboard. Snoop declares his heritage on the back window, which is emblazoned with “Tha Doggfather” and “Crip.” The car was designed by Snoop’s personal car builder, Big Slice, and their partnership has also resulted in the Snoop DeVille, a customized Cadillac Deville that sells for $80,000.
- Green Day: Green Day had a 1968 Mercury Monterey customized for them to use in two music videos – one for the song “Holiday” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” The car was of course painted green and outfitted with custom leopard upholstery on the interior. You won’t find any TVs in this car, but you will find some pretty impressive hydraulics, a silver chain link steering wheel with a skull shifter, and the band’s name on a cursive, metal emblem on the front hood.
- Ludacris: Ludacris rolled up to the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards in a shiny black 1975 Convertible Pontiac Granville with some ostentatious detailing that brought this muscle car to a whole new realm. While these classic cars are available on the used market for as little as $33,000, you can bet the southern rap star paid a hefty sum to make his look so amazing. First off, the 24-inch wheels were installed so that the car rises four feet off the ground. Second, the interior upholstery was done all in black leather and the black and multi-colored Louis Vuitton print, the same fabric used for the drop top. The rest of the car is somewhat bare bones compared to some of the others on the list, though it does have a decent stereo system. But there’s not a whole lot of need for extras when you’re cruising in classic simplicity like this car.
- Shaquille O’Neal: The NBA superstar is well known for his affinity for fancy cars that come with a personal flare. He’s got a 1991 convertible Mercedes-Benz Diesel that has the Superman emblem embroidered into his seats and steering wheel. But perhaps one of his most sought-after vehicles is his Lamborghini Gallardo – Lamborghini’s most popular sports car that, as of 2008, is the only one to use a V10 engine. Shaq’s final price tag is unknown, but the base models can run up to $263,000. He surely paid more than that to have his 2008 model stretched to fit his 7-foot-1-inch stature. The car had to be outfitted with custom doors, a roof, and special windows to lengthen the car by 12 inches.
- Paul Wall: Paul Wall, the Houston-based rapper known for his signature grill of silver teeth, is now making grilles of his own for cars. He teamed up with Zenetti to make a custom line of “iced-out” grilles and rims that are covered in cubic zirconium and will come available to fit Cadillac Escapades, coupes, Dodge Magnums, Chrysler 300s, and other SUVs. Wall has his own 2007 Chevy Tahoe tricked out with his flashiest grille and a set of 26-inch, ice-encrusted wheels. The interior features classy two-toned leather upholstery, a state of the art sound system, and diamond-stitched paneling. No word on the total price tag and the Texas resident says the Tahoe isn’t even his favorite vehicle. That honor goes to his 1976 Convertible Cadillac El Dorado.
- Wyclef Jean: The former Fugee has a collection of flashy cars that includes a Ferrari 360 Spider. But his pride and joy is a 543-horsepower Pagani Zonda C12-S that sells for $350,000. The Italian-made vehicle is often described by automotive reporters as being “ultra-rare,” since few people have heard of the brand and even less own one. No more than 25 models have been made each year since the car was released in 1999. The car goes from 0 to 60 in 3.3 seconds and can reach a speed of 215 mph. But while Jean loves himself a flashy and expensive car, he is embarking on a new project to build replicas of cars like the Zonda that regular people can afford.
- Dwayne Wade: This Miami Heat basketball player loves automobiles as much as his teammate Shaquille O’Neal, and in 2006 he was even crowned the “King of Bling” at the GM All Car Show – an invite-only affair where celebrities and car enthusiasts showcase their most over-the-top vehicles in a competition for the most ostentatious. Wade’s white 2006 Hummer H2 SUT took the cake that year. The base price for that vehicle is about $53,000, but it’s assured that Wade wouldn’t have taken home the award he did without putting at least that much extra into tricking out the truck. In addition to the Hummer, Wade owns a pearl blue Cadillac Escalade EXT that sits on matching 26-inch wheels. Wade was also tapped by Lincoln recently to represent the Navigator in TV ads.
- Missy Elliott: Missy Elliott, who is said to own 1,000 pairs of Adidas sneakers, seems to be also madly collecting something else, as well – cars! In fact, her car addiction is so bad she told reporters that her mother has begged her to stop purchasing them. In addition to her 2004 Aston Martin V12 Vanquish, 2004 Rolls Royce Phantom, and 2004 Lamborghini Gallardo, Elliott also has a 1979 tricked out, bright purple and chrome Ford Mustang. Elliott says it’s the car that gets the most attention on the street. Her fleet of automobiles is easily worth more than $1 million, if not more. She confesses to have purchased more than three cars in one year, including a $5,600 upgrade to a scooter that she rode once, crashed, and then trashed. Disposable income just took on a whole new meaning.
- Stephon Marbury: This Knicks player took his love for cars so far that he even invented his own automobile, the Viant SLV 365, which is a luxurious SUV combo of a Cadillac Escalade and a Rolls Royce Phantom. The 500-horsepower engine is included for those looking for power, while other features cater to the child in us all – such as the Playstation 2, satellite TV and wireless Internet. It even has a wine cellar and humidor. At a price of more than $300,000, the Viant is not made for laymen, but Marbury does count celebrities like Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z among his clients.
- Edward Norton: Edward Norton is no Nelly. He doesn’t have a bunch of big-wheeled, chrome-covered vehicles. But he was selected by BMW to be one of the celebrity drivers of the BMW Hydrogen 7, the very first hydrogen-powered luxury sedan. The car is driven by a combination of hydrogen and fuel and emits nothing but water vapor. There are only 100 models in existence and they’re not for sale. The German car company has tapped notable celebrities, like Norton, to drive the car in a huge PR push. While some auto bloggers contest just how environmentally sound the car is, since it isn’t; a zero emission car and does have its challenges, BMW contends it will be the future of automobiles.
- Magic Johnson: The former L.A. Lakers sensation is just the latest in sports stars to design their own cars. Johnson joined forces with Lincoln and DUB Magazine to create the “Magic” Dub Edition Lincoln Mark LT, a luxury pick-up truck rthat has 24-inch rims, suede and leather interior, a 15-inch flip-down TV, as well as TVs inset in the back of each seat’s headrest. It’s got a 5.4 liter, V-8 engine with 300 horsepower. The car was auctioned off to benefit Johnson’s charitable foundation for education, but suggested retail places it in the $65,000 range.
- Fergie: Fergie, the only girl-member of the hip hop group The Black Eyed Peas, received a pretty tricked out Hummer not too long ago that came with a custom grille by Grillcraft Sport Grilles and drop-down steps with her name engraved on them in Old English. The car came with the works in the audio and visual departments, and some pretty sweet leather and suede upholstery. But alas the Fergalicious one deemed the Hummer not her style and put it up for auction in 2007. It brought in almost $70,000, which she promptly donated to Global Green USA.
- David Beckham: When your salary is a whopping $250 million, a $400,000 car isn’t going to put much of a dent in your savings. Which is exactly why David Beckham of the L.A. Galaxy recently purchased a Porsche 911 Cabriolet for $200,000 and then put another $200,000 of upgrades into it, like custom upholstery and a special all-black exterior. The car comes with a 3.6 liter engine and an overboost function that can make it go even faster. Oh, and there’s a compartment for extra luggage, which his wife Victoria “Posh” Beckham can use.
14 May 2008
Category: Celebrities, Features
The implosion of tacky reality television has once again made Hollywood a ripe playground for certain stars whose careers have become a shadow of what they once were – stars who have sunk to the notorious “D List”. Producers of shows like “The Surreal Life”, “Celebrity Boxing,” and “Dancing With the Stars” have found that there is a profit to be made off of these forgotten stars – most of whom are desperate to get their names back up on the marquee no matter what the task at hand. Turns out the American public likes nothing more than to see a few washed-up actors from decades past subject themselves to humiliation and physical torment. Hey, a paycheck is a paycheck and a camera is a camera.
- Kathy Griffin: The Illinois-bred comedienne is the self-proclaimed queen of D List stars, and even has her own reality show called “My Life on the D List.” Griffin has succeeded in taking her rock bottom status and parlaying it into a lucrative, if not respectable, career. Griffith got her start in the early 1980s on the L.A. comedy club circuit and even performed alongside comedic geniuses like the late Phil Hartman. She’s appeared in HBO comedy specials, a few unsuccessful movies, as a guest star on several TV shows, and even has a regular role as Brooke Shields’s coworker on the sitcom “Suddenly Susan.” After two decades of continued, moderate success, though, Griffith’s “D List” reality show took off and she continues to use her self-deprecating humor as her main comedic currency. The show has plans to continue through 2008.
- Dustin Diamond: Dustin Diamond’s one and only claim to real fame is his legendary role as Screech on the high school sitcom “Saved by the Bell.” His cracking voice and nerdy persona were a perfect fit for the cheesy teen show, but after it was canceled Diamond found himself adrift in Hollywood with no worthwhile offers coming in. He has attempted to reignite his celebrity with an appearance on several exploitative reality shows, like “The Weakest Link,” “Celebrity Boxing,” and, most recently, “Celebrity Fit Club.” In 2006, Diamond went on several talk shows to talk about how he was about to lose his Wisconsin home because he had been ripped off by his mortgage broker. After raising lots of money from the public, he admitted he was never in danger of losing his house. In 2006, a third party company also released a sex tape featuring Diamond. He’s scheduled to appear on “Celebrity Fit Club” again this year.
- Gary Coleman: Gary Coleman got his start as a child, starring as the cute and adorable Arnold on the hit show “Different Strokes”. In that role, he was made famous, most notably for coining his signature line, “What you talking about, Willis?” After “Different Strokes” was canceled, however, Coleman’s career tanked. He landed some guest appearances on other sitcoms throughout the 1990s, but was essentially not taken seriously as an actor. In 2003, Coleman earned press for his failed bid to be governor of California. He’s also had his fair share of legal and financial troubles — in 1998 he was charged with assault after hitting a woman. In 2007, Coleman married a 22-year-old actress, but the couple recently appeared on “Divorce Court” for their marital problems.
- C. Thomas Howell: Howell, a good looking, popular actor in the 1980s, starred in hit movies like “The Outsiders” and “Red Dawn.” But as he grew older his career failed to keep up with its shotgun start. Though he has stayed busy as a working actor over the years, it has been mostly through bit roles, guest spots on TV shows, and parts in B movies. These days you are most likely to spot Howell on the new reality show “Celebracadabra,” a competition show in which several D-List stars try to become magicians.
- Daniel Baldwin: Daniel Baldwin is perhaps the most notorious of all the Baldwin brothers. Baldwin’s career started off on a pretty good foot with roles in “Born on the Fourth of July” and indie faves like “Mulholland Falls” and “Trees Lounge.” He also had a starring role on the TV show “Homicide: Life on the Street.” But in the late 1990s, his drug addictions began putting him in the spotlight for more illicit activities. In 1998, he was arrested for cocaine possession after he was caught running naked through the halls of the New York Plaza Hotel. He went to rehab afterward and told People magazine that he had been battling cocaine addiction since 1989. Almost two decades later, Baldwin was again in legal trouble for drug related activities, and he has since appeared on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” though he walked off the show before its completion.
- Joey Lawrence: Joey Lawrence became famous playing Mayim Balik’s idiot brother on the sitcom “Blossom” in the 1990s, in which his character coined the phrase, “Whoa!” Prior to that he had guest starred on several sitcoms, but after the show was cancelled he found few roles available for him. He landed parts in a few B movies and attempted to start a music career, though that effort was also unsuccessful. Lawrence faded from the public’s memory during the latter half of the 1990s and didn’t pop back on the scene until recently, when he scored a spot on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2006. He placed third on that show and afterward landed a few guest roles on TV shows like “CSI: New York.”
- Brigitte Nielsen: This former model became a household name when she married Sylvester Stallone in the 1980s. She morphed from model to actress with roles in movies like “Beverly Hills Cop II” and “The Double O Kid.” While hardly recognizable in the U.S., Nielsen, who hails from Denmark, has had a pretty successful European career as both a TV personality and a singer. But in 2004, Nielsen refreshed the American public’s memory of her by starring on “The Surreal Life,” where she met and developed a romantic relationship with fellow D-Lister Flavor Flav of the rap group Public Enemy. That hook up solidified Nielsen’s position in the new celebrity reality show craze, and she and Flav appeared together on the VH1 show “Strange Love,” which chronicled their eventually-failed relationship. She also appeared on Flav’s subsequent dating show “The Flavor of Love.” Nielsen was also on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” for an alcohol addiction.
- Andrew Dice Clay: The comedian who became famous for his shocking and crude stand-up routines enjoyed a lot of popularity in the 1980s and has been listed as one of the top 100 comedians in history. In addition to his successful comedy career, during which he taped his legendary HBO special “The Diceman Cometh,” Clay also had lots of guest roles in movies and TV shows. But in the early 1990s his rudeness and tendency to verbally assault his audience during shows caught up to him. In the late 1990s, he acted in a few failed sitcoms and continued to release comedy albums, none of which sold well. He also had a recurring appearance on a radio show, which ended in 2002. In 2007, Clay launched his own reality show on VH1, chronicling his attempts to revive his comedy career.
- Robin Givens: Robin Givens is best known for three things: starring in the popular sitcom “Head of the Class,” surviving a tumultuous and abusive one-year marriage to Mike Tyson, and posing for Playboy. But since all of those things came to an end in the mid 1990s, Givens’ career has largely been unremarkable. An extremely religious Christian, Givens has written a book about her faith and has appeared on several failed sitcoms, TV movies, and Christian-themed television productions. In 2008, she will have a role in a Tyler Perry movie called “The Family that Preys.”
- Ron Jeremy: The legendary porn star is now legendary mainly for being creepy. He continues to keep his overweight self in the game by picking up cameos and guest roles in B movies. He, like most D Listers, also starred in a season of “The Surreal Life.” Jeremy’s porn status and outspokenness has made him a favorite among talk show hosts and musicians, many of whom have put him in their music videos to drive up their kitsch factor. A biography about Jeremy was released in 2007, and he has also appeared in advertisements for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urging people to spay and neuter their pets.
- Chyna: Joan Marie Lauer, a female bodybuilder and actress, received her nickname Chyna during her four years with the World Wrestling Federation from 1997 to 2001. She was wildly popular as a wrestler on TV and made a name for herself by wrestling male competitors and winning. She drove up ratings through many highly-publicized matches and even posed for Playboy. But in 2001 she left the WWF due to a contract dispute. Though she spent some time wrestling in Japan afterward, Chyna eventually returned to the States to pursue a career on TV. She landed some B roles and then eventually went on to star on a season of “The Surreal Life.” Most recently, she was on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew”, a VH1 show, for a drinking problem.
- Tawny Kitaen: Former hottie Tawny Kitaen had everyone talking after her appearance in the famed Whitesnake video for their song “Here I Go Again.” Her romantic relationship with the band’s lead singer also led to other starring roles in their videos. Prior to Whitesnake, Kitaen had modeled and appeared on a few TV shows. After Whitesnake, she developed a stronger identity and a real TV career, hosting “America’s Funniest People” with David Coulier for two years and starring on “WKRP in Cincinatti”. After 1994, however, her career fizzled and she didn’t reappear on the scene in a major way until 2006 when she was cast on “The Surreal Life.” That same year she was arrested at her house for cocaine possession.
- Carrot Top: Carrot Top is a comedian whose curly red hair and affinity for props made him one of the more successful funny men around in the mid-1990s. But since his height of popularity, Carrot Top has become more of a joke in Hollywood, partially due to his botched plastic surgery and ridiculously huge arm muscles. He still performs stand up and has a running show in Las Vegas, but his popularity has waned and he is frequently parodied on other comedy shows, like “Family Guy,” “The Daily Show,” and “MAD TV”.
- Corey Haim: In the 1980s, no one was hotter than Corey Haim. The teen heartthrob starred in movies like “Lucas”, “The Lost Boys”, “License to Drive”, and “Dream a Little Dream.” But the list of recognizable titles stopped there, and in the 90s Haim was working mostly on unsuccessful, straight-to-video films and suffering from a serious drug problem. By 2000, he had gone to rehab and was vigorously trying to get his career back on track. Following the reality TV craze, he and Corey Feldman were signed by A&E to star on a faux reality show called “The Two Coreys,” which chronicled the duo’s attempts to break back into mainstream Hollywood. Haim is also starring in a sequel to “The Lost Boys”, planned for release in 2008.
- Corey Feldman: Like Haim, Feldman’s career has followed a similar trajectory. In the 1980s, it seemed Feldman could do no wrong. He was a major player in movies like “The Goonies,” “Stand By Me,” “The Lost Boys,” and “The Burbs.” But despite doing the voice for Donatello in the movie “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and trying to launch a music career in the 1990s, Feldman’s career dried up quickly. In 2002, Feldman wound up on “The Surreal Life” and in 2007 he reunited with Haim for “The Two Coreys.” Feldman also has a role in “The Lost Boys” sequel, due out this year.
- Vanilla Ice: In 1990, Robert Van Winkle, better known as Vanilla Ice, was all the rage. His hit song “Ice Ice Baby” was the most popular one on the radio, and his rap album “To the Extreme” reached number one on the charts, knocking MC Hammer off the top spot. Though fans across the country mimicked Van Winkle’s baggy pants and angular crew cut, the musician and dancer fell from fame quickly. He encountered legal trouble for using a sample of a David Bowie song in “Ice Ice Baby” without permission and then it was discovered that he had made up many details of his life story, like the fact he was a gang member in Florida and a former professional motocross athlete, chronicled in his biography. Since his 15 minutes of fame have ended, Van Winkle has continued trying to make music, accepted several product endorsements, and appeared on the celebrity reality show “The Surreal Life.”
- Alexis Arquette: Alexis Arquette began life as a boy. He was born in Los Angeles – a sibling to actors David, Rosanna, Patricia, and Richmond Arquette. At the age of 22, Arquette landed her first role in an independent movie, playing a transgender character. She spent most of her career working in independent movies and playing the role of a drag queen until the age of 38 when she underwent her own sex change operation, which she documented in documentary. Arquette has had some bit roles in more mainstream productions, like “The Wedding Singer,” “Pulp Fiction,” and “the Bride of Chucky,” but she’s mostly built her career underground. In 2007, Arquette made a guest appearance on the Bravo reality show “Top Design,” where she was ridiculed by some of the contestants.
- Dave Coulier: Coulier, a stand up comedian, got his big break playing the role of Joey on the long-lived sitcom “Full House.” That plus his popular comedic style of impersonating cartoon characters and doing funny voices made him a sought after actor in the 1980s and part of the 1990s. But the end of “Full House” had Coulier struggling to find work. He’s landed gigs hosting shows like “America’s Funniest People,” “Opportunity Knocks,” and “America’s Most Talented Kid.” He’s also had a stint in the reality business starring on “The Surreal Life” and “Skating with the Stars.”
- Erik Estrada: From 1977 to 1983, Erik Estrada starred on the hit cop show “CHiPs” as Ponch Poncharella, the most well-known role of his career. After then end of the show, however, Estrada began working mostly on Spanish television, which he continued to do throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 2001, he returned to TV with a role on “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “Lizzie McGuire.” He continued his TV career with guest appearances on shows like “Scrubs”, “The Wayans Bros.” and “According to Jim.” Estrada was also on the 2004 season of “The Surreal Life” and the briefly-aired reality show “Armed and Famous,”in which washed up celebrities posed as police officers.
- Todd Bridges: Bridges is best known for playing Willis on “Different Strokes.” After the show ended, he descended pretty far into a life of crime and drugs and was arrested several times during the 1990s. In the latter part of the decade, however, Bridges cleaned up his act, found God, and began touring the country to talk to kids about the dangers of drugs. He made a return to television with slots on shows like “Celebrity Boxing,” “Skating with the Stars,” and “Fear Factor.”
- Vince Neil: The front man for Motley Crue, Vince Neil had his pick of women and work throughout the 1980s. But with the decline of glam rock bands, Neil’s music career fizzled. In the 1990s, he released a few albums, none of which sold well. In 2002, the overweight Neil was offered a spot on the first cast of “The Surreal Life.” Since then, he’s also starred on his own show called “Remaking Vince Neil,” which, surprise, chronicled his attempts to reinvent his career. Neil is now touring with Motley Crue.
- MC Hammer: Back in his hey day, MC Hammer had the coolest pants in town. Teenagers and fans ran to the mall in droves to buy the baggy leggings that moved so gracefully, especially during Hammer’s dance to his famed song “Too Legit to Quit.” In the early 1990s, Hammer dominated the top of the charts with his energetic raps songs. But once rap music began moving more toward so-called “gangsta rappers,” Hammer’s clean, mainstream style faded from popularity. Though he maintained record deals throughout the 1990s, he released few albums. The ones he did put out failed to sell well. During this decade, he also blew through his fortune and wound up completely broke. In 2003, Hammer appeared on “The Surreal Life” and now maintains his own blog.
- Carmen Electra: Carmen Electra really never was an A List star, but she’s had a good run of things. She got her break after meeting Prince in the 1980s. He convinced her to change her name from Tara Leigh Patrick to Carmen Electra and tried to make her a music act. That failed, so Electra moved to guest appearances on TV and then ended up posing in Playboy and getting cast on the hit series “Baywatch.” But when that job ended, she descended into a pattern of accepting really bad movie roles like “Good Burger” and “Scary Movie 4” and earning plenty of bad reviews for her acting. Besides bombing in movies, Electra has had career highlights such as being in Taco Bell commercials, starting the Naked Women’s Wrestling League, and being a video game character in “Def Jam: Fight for New York.” Electra also had her own reality show with former Jane’s Addiction band member Dave Navarro called “Til Death Do Us Part” which chronicled the couple’s journey into marriage. They’ve since divorced and Electra is currently engaged to the guitarist from Korn.
- Gary Busey: Busey won an Oscar nomination for his role in the 1978 film “The Buddy Holly Story” and his film career extended through the 1980s and 1990s, with roles in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” “Point Break,” and “The Firm,” to name a few. But during this height of his career, Busey was also a rampant drug user and he suffered brain damage from a serious motorcycle accident. Today, Busey is known mostly for his wild, eccentric, and sometimes rude behavior. Most recently, he shocked viewers by grabbing Jennifer Garner and kissing her on the neck during the red carpet portion of the Academy Awards. He also has lambasted an 11-year-old reporter and assaulted her camera person at an awards show. Busey did star in a strange reality-like show in 2003 on Comedy Central called “I’m With Busey.” Lately, he’s been at work doing voiceovers for video games.
- Jack Osbourne: Jack Osbourne is only famous because he is Ozzy Osbourne’s son. But when his family accepted a deal from MTV to have their lives documented on “The Osbournes,” Jack became a reality star. Since his family’s show ended, however, Osbourne has had many job opportunities in the way of guest appearances on TV shows and several tacky celeb reality shows, like “Celebrity Wrestling: Bring it On!,” “Armed and Famous,” and “Extreme Celebrity Detox”. Osbourne is currently still involved in his own reality show called “Jack Osbourne: Adrenaline Junkie”, which chronicles him training for extreme sports.
23 April 2008
Category: Celebrities, Features
It’s not uncommon that some of our society’s most brilliant and alluring individuals are often plagued with horrific personal and mental issues. In fact, sometimes these very sicknesses are connected to the individual’s shining moments – a genius and panache that come during moments of extreme highs. But unfortunately, what comes up must come down. And many times those people who seem so self-controlled, self-motivated, and self-confident are also the most haunted and self-destructive. Here’s a list of 20 celebrities who know all-too-much about mental illnesses and the terrifying mood swings that accompany a sick mind.
- Britney Spears: Britney Spears’ struggles with mental illness started to exhibit themselves most obviously after her divorce from Kevin Federline and the birth of her two sons. While Spears has yet to go public with a formal diagnosis from her doctor, she has been committed to a mental hospital, has been caught on camera shaving off her hair in a Los Angeles salon, and has had custody of her children revoked. Currently, Spears is still going through treatment and trying to regain the rights to her children. Her father Jamie Spears has been put in charge of her legal and monetary affairs, and while she seems to be keeping a lower profile these days, it’s unclear whether she is getting better at all.
- Rosie O’Donnell: With all the attention focused on Britney Spears’ antics these days, Rosie O’Donnell has sought to take some of the heat off the young starlet by speaking out about her own struggles with mental illness, saying she should be the poster child for metal disease. Recently she told a TV talk show host, “I have been on anti-depressants since Columbine.” O’Donnell has said that she believes she is bi-polar, an assumption that might be buffered by her quick temper and recent firing from The View, said to be because of her difficult personality.
- Marilyn Monroe: This legendary actress grew up in a world of mental illness. Her maternal grandparents and her mother all suffered from insanity. Her grandfather killed himself and her mother spent most of her adult life in a mental institution, where she died in the 1980s. Monroe kept a cheerful appearance in public, but in private she struggled mightily with depression. Her genetics and the fact that Monroe grew up in a series of foster homes didn’t give her much of a fighting chance against mental ills, and in 1962 Monroe was found dead of a supposed prescription drug overdose.
- Tim Burton: The eccentric filmmaker Tim Burton’s mental health has been under debate for many years, with many people assuming he was autistic. It turns out, however, that Burton suffers from bipolar disorder, an illness that afflicts many celebrities. People with bipolar disorder have violent mood swings characterized by extreme highs and crippling lows. Bipolar is also the correct term to describe what used to be called manic depressive disorder. Bipolar people are often said to be more creative, which may help explain Burton’s wildly imaginative films like Edward Scissorhands, Big Fish, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
- Mike Wallace: 60 Minutes newsman Mike Wallace is known for his hard-hitting news stories and his tough exterior. But in 1984, after one of Wallace’s news reports about the Vietnam War resulted in a $120 million lawsuit, Wallace descended into a deep depression that was misdiagnosed and mistreated for several years. Wallace has since gotten much better and is a public advocate for those suffering from depression. He talks about his experience taking a plethora of drugs in an attempt to treat his illness and he even tried to commit suicide once by overdosing on pills. Today Wallace continues to heal and spends much time talking about depression, even testifying before the Senate about the disease.
- Patty Duke: Patty Duke, the all-American TV star, earned an Oscar at the ripe age of 16 for her portrayal of Hellen Keller. But living in a household where she was sexually abused and allowed to drink from a young age, Duke’s emotional problems began to arise. She began to have violent mood swings – dangerous highs and lows, which she later chronicled in a book and TV movie, both titled “Call Me Anna”. She said her first experience with the disease came at the age of 9 in the form of a panic attack, and she then struggled with depression and anxiety during her adolescence. While acting on her hit series “The Patty Duke Show”, Duke’s illness raged forth in a manner that could no longer be ignored. Her managers and childhood guardians got her medical attention, and she became drugged out on the wrong medicines that were ineffective at treating her bipolar disease. Over the years, Duke experienced many hospitalizations and therapies before finally finding the right combination with Lithium. She now lives a happy life and is in control of her illness.
- Francis Ford Coppola: Acclaimed movie director Francis Ford Coppola has been the brain behind legendary movies such as “The Godfather” Series and “Apocalypse Now” and he’s the father to another notable director, Sophia Coppola. But despite winning 5 Oscars and earning 36 other award nominations, behind the scenes Coppola also struggles with bipolar disease, which possibly explains why he is thought of as one of Hollywood’s most unpredictable and tempestuous directors. But it’s not uncommon for the disease to afflict such accomplished individuals, such as Coppola. Bipolar disorder is often called The CEO’s Disease because it’s common among many famous and not-so-famous leaders.
- Brooke Shields: Brooke Shields has been a leading lady in Hollywood since a child and has survived a high-profile marriage to tennis star Andre Agassi. Now on her second marriage, Shields recently wrote a book called “Down Came the Rain”, which chronicled her struggles with post-partum depression after the birth of her child Rowan. Shields describes in her book about how she heard destructive voices in her head, found it impossible to bond with her baby upon returning from the hospital and had no will to care for her daughter. Shields says she thought of suicide and felt like a failure. Shields tried anti-depressants. They worked and brought her to a place where she could bond with her baby. Though she was criticized heavily by her Scientologist friend Tom Cruise over her decision to medicate, Shields credits it with bringing her out of the fog. She now has a second daughter named Grier.
- Roseanne Barr: Comedienne Rosanne Barr was a TV sensation in the 1990s, starring in her self-named series in which she portrayed a dry, mid-western housewife with ease. But Barr is also one of the more controversial and polarizing figures of her time, as her crassness and blunt way of speaking turned many fans away. Her life has had its fair share of drama: she claims she was sexually abused as a child and her highly-publicized marriage to Tom Arnold ended in bitterness with her claiming domestic abuse. Roseanne also claims that she has multiple personality disorder, also known as dissociative personality disorder. While Barr wrote on her blog that she was relieved of many of the disease’s symptoms while on a trip to Israel, she also previously told Larry King in 2001 that she has been known to “regress” during times of great stress and that the disease makes her do “crazy things that you don’t know you do or want to do.” Barr also has been hospitalized for the disorder in the past.
- Carrie Fisher: Carrie Fisher is the daughter of Hollywood star Debbie Reynolds and she is best known for playing the role of Princess Leia in “Star Wars”. But despite her privileged pedigree and successful career, Fisher battled depression and bipolar disorder for years. Not knowing what was wrong with her, Fisher turned to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. Even though a doctor suggested that she was manic and that she try Lithium when she was 24, Fisher didn’t believe him. It was only when she overdosed on drugs at the age of 28 that she began to listen to doctors more intently. Though Fisher says she’s experienced trouble with Lithium and has regressed in treatment, it eventually helped her calm her demons. Fisher wrote “Postcards from the Edge”, a bestselling book about her disease. She has also been recognized by many mental health associations for her work at raising awareness about the disorder.
- Jim Carrey: Jim Carrey grew up in an eccentric family, where everyone had to pitch in for rent. When his father lost his job, the family sank into poverty and everyone had to work, a situation that forced Carrey to drop out of high school. Now, Carrey is a riotously funny actor who’s made tens of millions of dollars acting crazy in front of the camera. Turns out part of that craziness can be attributed to the fact that he has long suffered from depression and has admittedly taken Prozac during bad spells. During a 60 Minutes interview, Carrey admitted to being on the drug for “a long time” before finding God and abandoning the medication for a strong ritual of spirituality. “I had to get off at some point because I realized everything is OK,” he said. Today, Carrey is dating Jenny McCarthy and together the two of them are raising McCarthy’s autistic son.
- Sinead O’Connor: Controversial Irish singer Sinead O’Connor made her fortune off her unique voice and buzz-cut hairdo. She also made headlines for ripping up a picture of the pope on a “Saturday Night Live” appearance. But it turned out that there was an explanation for her combative behavior and often-times attitude of anger toward the world – she was suffering from bipolar disorder and depression. O’Connor says that she started having very persistent thoughts about suicide at the age of 23 that clouded everything else in her life. She finally took herself to a hospital for the third time seeking psychiatric treatment. Though her previous therapies and admissions had never brought forth a diagnosis, this time it stuck and O’Connor was revealed to have bipolar disorder. She was prescribed medication, which she said has helped her enormously. She now lives outside Dublin and is the mother to four children.
- Hugh Laurie: “House” star Hugh Laurie plays a mentally disturbed doctor on TV, but in his real life Laurie has struggled with depression for many years, having received a clinical diagnosis for the disorder. While he continues to receive psychiatric treatment, he also has said that the disorder is not helped by the fact that he has to live in L.A., thousands of miles away from his family in London, while shooting his series. Laurie said that he first realized something was wrong with him while at a demolition derby where he felt “bored” by the exploding cars.
- Linda Hamilton: Linda Hamilton plays a tough lady in “The Terminator”, but in her private life she suffered anxiety attacks and a crippling depression from bipolar disorder. Hamilton, who says her father had also self-diagnosed himself with bipolar, said she was an overeater as a young woman trying to deal with depression. She drifted from food to drugs and alcohol, saying she was an alcoholic and wild child for some time. When Hamilton found success in Hollywood, her disease worsened and though she has been in some form of treatment since the age of 22 she was prone to frantic moods and wild outbursts. After the birth of her child, she succumbed to an even deeper depression and paranoid thoughts about his safety and suicidal thoughts of her own. Once diagnosed, she tried to treat her illness with diet and exercise, but eventually went on medication and says today she has found some balance.
- Maurice Benard: Similar to the path that Carrie Fisher took, Benard also suffers from bipolar disorder and also has had several psychotic experiences on his journey through treatment. Benard, who stars as Sonny on the soap opera “General Hospital”, recently went on the Oprah show to discuss his harrowing experience with bipolar disorder. He was diagnosed in his 20s and went on to meet and marry a woman, who knew about the disease. Benard says his lowest moment came during a night when his wife’s nieces were sleeping over and he, in a drunken and manic rage, threatened to kill all of them. Since that night, he says, he’s never stopped taking his medication again. But Benard says there were signs of his depression even before his diagnosis when he used to drink heavily as a teenager. He still works on “General Hospital” and has been recognized by many for coming forward with his story.
- Jean-Claude Van Damme: Martial arts star Jean-Claude Van Damme is best known for his ripped physique and action-packed movies. But perhaps the catalyst for his obsession with martial arts and physical training came from a depression that has plagued him since he was a child. Van Damme says as a young man he would work out endlessly to combat feelings of depression and self-loathing and that a day away from the gym was a day in the dumps. In 1993, he began using cocaine seriously to self-medicate, but three years later he checked himself into rehab. After a near-suicide attempt, Van Damme sought treatment and was diagnosed as bipolar. He now takes medication, which he says has turned his raging inward storm into a calm “lake.”
- Ben Stiller: Comedic actor Ben Stiller followed his parents’ footsteps in becoming an actor, but he also followed them in other ways. Both of his parents and Stiller have spoken out about depression. In 2001, Stiller spoke out about his own diagnosis of being bipolar, saying he has not been “the most easygoing guy.” Stiller is being treated for the disorder, and says there is a “rich history” of it in his family.
- Owen Wilson: Funny man Owen Wilson seemed to be living the life of a high-rolling Hollywood bachelor, starring in the hottest flicks and dating some of the most beautiful women, such as Kate Hudson. But in the summer of 2007, this image came to a screeching halt after it was reported that Wilson tried to commit suicide by slicing his wrists and taking a bunch of pills. The suicide attempt was attributed to many things – like his break-up with Hudson – but sources indicated that the troubles went much deeper. Wilson, who has a history of drug and alcohol abuse and spent time in rehab in 2000, was said to still be using illicit substances regularly and trying to treat a deep depression through self-medication. Friends said he had sunk into a deep depression weeks before the suicide attempt, and he is now said to be taking anti-depressants. He has since rebounded from the ordeal and appears to be doing better.
- Winona Ryder: Doe-eyed Winona Ryder became a tabloid hit in 2001 when she was caught shoplifting quite a bit of contraband from a Saks Fifth Avenue store. She stood trial for the crime, pleading not guilty. During her arrest, however, Ryder was also caught with many prescription drugs on her person for which she didn’t have prescriptions. Since that incident, Ryder has spoken about her struggles with anxiety attacks and depression, saying that she has tried hospitalizations, medication, and therapy and said she sometimes feels “broken and confused.” Ryder continues treatments, is in a relationship, and has starred in a few movies in the past few years.
- George Michael: 80s music sensation George Michael has had a glamorous life with some tawdry details. In 1998, Michael, who is gay, was in a public restroom with a cop who later arrested the singer for lewd behavior. In 2006, Michael was arrested for possession of drugs, investigated for driving under the influence, and arrested again for drugs in three separate incidents. He has admitted to problems with drugs and to suffering from depression.
7 April 2008
Category: Celebrities, Features
In Hollywood, being thin is of paramount importance. The accusation of having an eating disorder could be (and has been) made of the majority of females on the big and small screen. And, in some regards, who can blame them? Normal figures are criticized at every turn as being overweight – anything over a size 4 is considered “heavy.” With pressure coming from journalists, agents, movie producers, and fans, many celebrities have gone to dramatic lengths to shed the pounds. Here are a few who have admitted to having issues with food.
- Nicole Richie: Nicole Richie, who became famous for being Paris Hilton’s best friend, has denied time and time again that she has an eating disorder. But after appearing on the first two seasons of The Simple Life, Richie, allegedly responding to the comparison of her figure next to Hilton’s, quickly lost a stunning amount of weight. Seemingly overnight, she went from a healthy 120 pound female to an 85 pound waif. Despite the public outcry over her emaciated frame, Richie maintained she did not have an eating disorder. But in 2006, she started seeking treatment saying she couldn’t put on weight, and she also admitted that she thought she was too thin. Today, Richie looks much healthier, though still very slim, after the birth of her first child in January.
- Felicity Huffman: This thin star of Desperate Housewives has been very forthcoming about her own struggles with bulimia and anorexia, which occurred when the actress was in her teens and 20s. At one point, the 5-foot-5-inch actress dropped down to 98 pounds. Huffman, who is married to actor William Macy, said she spent a lot of time during her earlier years “throwing up and figuring out what kinds of foods you can throw up and what kinds you can’t.” Huffman credits a therapist and the support of her husband for bringing her through the ordeal and helping her to restore a healthy body image. She now works out with a trainer and maintains a healthy diet.
- Tracy Gold: Star of the popular TV show Growing Pains, Tracy Gold spent much of her early career looking like the girl next door and weighing a healthy 133 pounds. But during the 1990s, Gold underwent a bodily transformation, losing over 40 pounds and starving herself to well below 100 pounds. Observers were shocked, and Gold’s battle with anorexia was so apparent to her friends, family, and the public that Gold went on more than one trip to a therapist to seek treatment for the disorder. In 1991, Gold was suspended from Growing Pains for being so thin – reports said she weighed about 80 pounds at her lightest. At one point, Gold said she looked in the mirror and thought she was looking at “death.” After her recovery, Gold became a spokeswoman for anorexia, writing a book about her battles and starring in a miniseries about the illness.
- Allegra Versace: The 20-year-old daughter of Donatella Versace has been a walking skeleton for many years now, appearing alongside her mother at events with bones sticking through her skin. Though the family initially denied that anything was wrong, the proof was too evident to refute. In 2007, Allegra entered out patient treatment at UCLA and has since filled out a little and looks healthier. Allegra is the major inheritor of her uncle Gianni Versace’s fashion empire and is valued at more than $500 billion.
- Fiona Apple: Fiona Apple’s music career took off with the release of her first album Tidal. In the video for her song Criminal, Apple appears emaciated and clad in underwear singing to the camera. She has since been criticized by many for that video, most notably by comedienne Janeane Garofalo, who say that Apple was a hypocrite for denouncing Hollywood’s equation of thinness with beauty and then being so thin herself. At the time the video was shot, Apple weighed a measly 95 pounds and admitted to having anorexia, which she said she developed after being raped when she was 12 by an intruder at her mother’s house in New York City. Though still thin, Apple said she has purposefully tried to put on weight to be a better role model for girls.
- Katherine McPhee: The American Idol star came forward about her five year struggle with bulimia while she was on the show. During the height of her illness, McPhee admitted that she would throw up sometimes seven times a day. When she made it onto Idol, McPhee said she started to realize that her purging habit could potentially ruin her voice and her shot at stardom. She checked into a three month long treatment program with the support of her parents and then-boyfriend, now-husband, Nick Cokas. She successfully completed the program and says she is now the healthiest she’s ever been. She now practices what she calls “intuitive eating,” a program that teaches recovering bulimics and anorexics that no food is bad. Today McPhee is married and working on her solo music career.
- Mary Kate Olsen: Mary Kate Olsen and her twin sister Ashley are some of the richest young celebrities out there. They’ve been famous since they were babies and starred on the TV sitcom Full House. Growing up they starred in countless DVD movies and launched their own clothing line. But in 2003 and 2004, Mary Kate began drawing attention to herself when she started appearing at movie premiers looking gaunt and rail-thin. Despite months of public denials, including a Saturday Night Live skit where she made fun of her thin frame, Mary Kate entered treatment in Utah for anorexia and successfully completed the program. Though she looks healthier since entering treatment, Olsen is still pretty slim and has not been very forthcoming about her issues with food.
- Paula Abdul: Now known best for her crazy antics and gig as one of the judges on American Idol, Abdul used to have a pretty successful music career of her own back in the early 1990s, and she was also once a L.A. Lakers cheerleader. But behind the scenes, Abdul battled a nasty case of bulimia that plagued her for 17 years. Abdul told a prime time news show in 1995 that she always viewed herself as short and fat and believed that she hid behind bulimia as a way to inflict punishment on herself. When she decided to confront her issue once and for all, Abdul entered psychiatric treatment and has since adopted healthy eating habits.
- Princess Diana: Princess Diana broke tradition in many ways during her time as royalty. One of her taboo admissions was discussing her struggle with bulimia publicly. Speaking about her difficult adjustment to life as a Princess, Diana said she initially couldn’t understand the public’s interest in her, since she always felt like a “fat, chubby kid.” While also admitting to self-injury in other forms, Diana described bulimia in this way, “You inflict it upon yourself because your self-esteem is at a low, and you don’t think you’re worthy or valuable. You fill your stomach up four or five times a day – some do it more – and it gives you a feeling of comfort.” Diana said she would purge several times a day, and that the people around her were not very supportive to her cries for help. She suffered for several years before stopping.
- Oprah Winfrey: Overeater Oprah Winfrey has had a lifelong struggle with weight gain and yo-yo dieting, and she has lost and gained a significant amount of weight many times during her career as a talk show host. At her heaviest she weighed 237 pounds. In fact, during her early days, her weight caused her to lose TV jobs and earn the ire of many bosses. Now, Oprah focuses on living a healthy lifestyle, which she espouses through her show. Though she still has weight fluctuations, Oprah exercises every day and has made a commitment to healthy eating by working with health guru Bob Greene.
- Karen Carpenter: One of the most successful singers of the 1970s, Karen Carpenter began seriously dieting in 1967 when her doctor put her on a water diet, causing her to lose 20 pounds off her 5-foot-4-inch frame. She dropped to 115 pounds and was encouraged by the positive feedback she received. The initial weight loss would be just the beginning of Carpenter’s downward spiral. Over the next decade, Carpenter ravaged her body by taking unnecessary thyroid pills, overdosing on laxatives and starving herself. At her lowest moment, she weighed only 85 pounds. At the age of 32, her body finally gave out, and she died of cardiac arrest at her California home.
- Wynonna Judd: Country music star Wynonna Judd has had her ups and downs in the spotlight, including a failed marriage and a DUI arrest. Her weight has also gone up and down in the spotlight, and Judd entered treatment for an overeating disorder in 2006 that caused her to balloon to larger than a size 18. Judd blames her dependence on food on the fact that she sustained sexual abuse at a child and learned in adulthood that she and sister Ashley Judd had different fathers. But this year, Judd publicly supported as spokeswoman the National Association on Eating Disorders’ ‘Embrace Your Genes’ campaign, a campaign that urges women to feel comfortable in their skin and give away the jeans that don’t fit them anymore. In a TV interview, Judd said, “Unfortunately, in my 20s and 30s I spent so much time trying to just be loved and accepted. I spent a lot of time reacting to the pressures of the world. I think when you hit 40, you go, ‘You know what, I’m not gonna do that to myself anymore.”
- Sharon Osbourne: Wife of drug and alcohol addicted Ozzy Osbourne, Sharon Osbourne comes off like one tough woman. She’s survived cancer, her husband trying to kill her in a drunken rage, and a painful childhood. She’s also had every plastic surgery procedure known to man and has even had her stomach stapled shut in an attempt to “cure” her overeating and bulimia disorders. As recently as 2004, however, Osbourne has said that the operation didn’t work quite like she had hoped and that she still purged frequently, even to her family’s knowledge. She has said that she intends to get help, but whether she has finally conquered the disease or not has yet to be revealed.
- Lara Flynn Boyle: Lara Flynn Boyle has sustained years of speculations that she has an eating disorder. Pictures of her skeletal figure have long graced the pages of magazine covers with shocking headlines and photos of her bony frame in a bikini. In 2003, she was the talk of the town when she showed up emaciated in a ballerina costume to the Golden Globes. In the days since then, Boyle has managed to put on enough weight to at least cover her protruding bones, but still denies she’s ever had an issue with food.
- Victoria Beckham: Posh Spice admitted that she had an eating disorder for some time in her biography Learning to Fly. She said that she was “obsessed” with dieting and with how her body looked and that she got turned on to taking extreme measures from fellow Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, who counseled Beckham to start consuming liquid meals in the early days when the girl band was being pressured by their managers to be super thin. But while she admits to toying with anorexia and extreme dieting in the past, Beckham admits nothing about the present, despite the fact that she is as bony and thin as she has ever been at any point in her career. Today Beckham credits that with a healthy, disciplined diet high in fish and vegetables.
2 April 2008
Category: Celebrities, Features
Celebrities, with their all-consuming vanity, monstrous paychecks, and petty concerns, often don’t get along with each other. It’s only natural what with all the competition in Hollywood. There’s competition over jobs, money, and, of course, men. Here’s a list of the biggest celebrity feuds to blow up in the media.
- Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton: Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie grew up together in Beverly Hills and took their lifelong friendship onto TV when they both agreed to the hit reality show The Simple Life. But soon after the end of the third season in 2005, the two had a mysterious fight that became apparent when they stopped showing up at every social function arm in arm. While the source of the two-year feud has been somewhat mysterious, with neither party confirming how it started, the word on the rumor mill is that Richie thought it would be funny to screen Hilton’s infamous sex tape during an L.A. party held to honor Hilton. Richie denies that ever happened, and in 2006 the pair suddenly decided to make up and launched into an orchestrated reconciliation with a host of public appearances. Now, the friendship is going strong. The duo appeared on The Simple Life together again last year and are now dating twin brothers Joel and Benji Madden!
- Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag: Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag went from pseudo celebrities to front page news after their televised feud began on The Hills, the sort-of reality MTV show that spun off from Laguna Beach. When Montag began dating playboy Spencer Pratt, the arguments between the two best friends began. Montag resented Conrads constant criticism of her boyfriend, and Conrad resented the fact that Montag immediately seemed to ditch her for her new relationship. Eventually the resentment, and Pratt’s constant degrading of Conrad, split the friendship apart. Today, the women continue to fight publicly and consistently dis each other in the press. Each woman is a frequent Us Weekly cover girl, the headline often expressing a nasty sentiment. With all the bad karma generated between these two, it would seem reconciliation is a longshot.
- David Letterman and Jay Leno : Once good friends, Jay Leno began appearing on his buddy David Letterman’s late night talk show in the early 1980s when he was just a budding comedian. But when Leno nabbed Johnny Carson’s spot as host of The Tonight Show in 1992, when Carson retired, Letterman’s became incensed and his bitterness has lasted through today. After following Carson for many years, Letterman assumed he would move up into the coveted chair as host of the show. When it went to Leno, Letterman publicly expressed his frustration over having given Leno such a prominent platform on his own show. Letterman ended up leaving the network for CBS where he became host of The Late Show. He has consistently beat Leno in the ratings since, but despite a plea from Leno to kiss and makeup the two men remain estranged.
- Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff: Even though Lindsay Lohan has had many feuds with many fellow female celebrities, including Ashlee Simpson, Scarlet Johansson, and Paris Hilton, her most publicized tiff was with Hillary Duff, who dated Lohan’s ex-boyfriend — the washed-up heartthrob Aaron Carter. According to some rumors, Carter cheated on Lohan with Duff. According to others, he cheated on Duff with Lohan. The fight escalated at the 2003 premiere of Duff’s movie Cheaper By the Dozen when Lohan showed up, infuriating Duff and sparking her and her entourage to leave. Today, with Carter a distant memory for both women, the feud seems to have dissipated, and the two were even spotted hugging at a 2007 event.
- Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell: These two supermodels have held deep-seated resentments toward each other since the beginnings of their modeling careers. As two of the only black supermodels on the fashion scene, Banks publicly stated that Campbell consistently verbally attacked her at photo shoots and even had her thrown off a couple of sets because of an argument. Banks said that she had always felt threatened by Campbell, who has a notorious reputation as an aggressive diva. Banks even claimed that Campbell approached her backstage at one show and said, “You’ll never be me. Don’t think you’ll ever be me.” In 2005, however, the two women had a tearful and heartfelt makeup session on the set of Banks’ talk show and since then the whole thing seems to be water under the bridge.
- Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal : To Shaquille O’Neal, the L.A. Lakers team had one leader – him. But when young hot shot Kobe Bryant came on the team that all changed. His superstardom and king-sized ego created instant warfare between the two, with O’Neal started demanding that Bryant kowtow to his seniority and position of authority. When that didn’t happen, and when Lakers officials started rewarding Bryant’s athletic prowess with money and praise, it was a war of self-inflated egos that took off in the press. In one of his rap songs in 2004, O’Neal spit words against Bryant, and blamed him for his eventual trade to the Miami Heat. Word on the street is that these two tall guys are still not even close to being friends.
- Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears: These two have been in competition since starring on the Mickey Mouse Club together. But when their independent singing careers blew up, the friendly competition became full-blown disdain. While Spears was more of the commercial success, Aguilera’s freight-train voice brought in all the awards. In 2003, the two women tried to play nice during an MTV Video Music Awards performance with Madonna, where both Spears and Aguilera smooched Madge on the mouth. Spears’ open-mouthed approach won all the press attention, but Aguilera shot back saying that during rehearsals Spears seemed like a nervous and insecure lost little girl. While not publicly arguing, the two women still could not be described as friends.
- Heather Locklear and Denise Richards: Talk about cold, Locklear and Richards were best friends for many years, with Richards even being one of a few of Locklear’s best friends to be invited to her cozy Locklear’s 44th birthday celebration. The two women became very close after meeting on the set of Spin City in 2001. But when Locklear’s marriage to Richie Sambora crumbled in 2006, Richards, fresh out of her split from Charlie Sheen, went in for the kill. According to some rumors, Locklear suspected that Sambora and Richards had relations before their divorce, but regardless, it’s not cool to date your best friend’s ex-husband even after the divorce. Even though the romance between Richards and Sambora was short lived, chances are there’s no reconciliation in the stars for these two bombshells.
- Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur: Again a rivalry that began with friendship, rap stars Notorious BIG, a.k.a. Christopher Wallace or Biggie, and Tupac Shakur had bridged the divide between East Coast and West Coast rap and had even collaborated on songs. But as the rift between the East Coast and West Coast rap scenes deepened, so did the rift between these two men. In 1994, Tupac was shot five times outside of a New York studio. He survived the shooting, but blamed in on Biggie and his pals at Bad Boy Records, which included Sean “Puffy” Combs. Biggie denied the allegation, but alluded to it in a song on his new album. Tupac shot back with a song of his own, in which he said he had slept with Biggie’s wife, R&B star Faith Evans. The beef between the men’s two record companies was on. Tupac died a couple of years later in a drive by shooting in Las Vegas; Biggie was similarly killed in 1997 in California. Both murders remain unsolved.
- Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump: When billionaire Donald Trump announced that he would not fire his cocaine-using Miss USA winner Tara Conner, O’Donnell used her perch as a host of The View to publicly criticize the real-estate tycoon, calling him “a snake-oiled salesman.” Trump followed back calling O’Donnell a “fat loser.” And on and on it went. The feud made all of the top TV talk shows and then fizzled out. But while the heat of the moment has passed, these two TV stars still hold a deep-seated hatred for one
- Alyssa Milano and Shannen Doherty: Doherty and Milano started out as best friends on the set of their hit TV show Charmed, which also starred Holly Marie Combs. But after a couple of years of long-hard days together, the friends turned into bitter enemies, with the show’s producers even sending in an outside mediator to help squelch the bickering between the two. That didn’t work and the same diva spirit that got Doherty ejected from the cast of Beverly Hills 90210 eventually got her ejected from the cast of Charmed, making her one of the most frequently fired actresses in Hollywood. In the end, it was nothing more than on-set jealousies that stood between the two with Milano admitting, “We definitely didn’t get along. Shannen and I are two very different people.” Milano remained on the now-defunct show and the two remain estranged.
- Shanna Moakler and Paris Hilton: Pretty much everyone, it seems, hates Paris Hilton. The starlet has been implicated in dozens of feuds with fellow Hollywood celebutants, but the mix-up she had with Shanna Moakler was one of the more virulent scraps. Moakler and her hubby Travis Barker, the drummer for Blink 182, split in August 2006, at which point he began a heavily photographed affair with Hilton. Though Moakler acted initially unaffected by the romance, things came to a head in October 2006 when the ladies ran into each other at Hollywood hotspot Hyde Lounge and ended the night by filing police reports against each other. Moakler accused Hilton’s ex-boyfriend of knocking her down the stairs and pouring his drink on her; Hilton accused Moakler of hitting her in the jaw. Moakler has since reconciled with her hubby, but not with Hilton.
- Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields: The rift between these two longtime friends was short lived but pretty dramatic. After giving birth to her daughter, Shields went through a long bout of postpartum depression, which she treated by using the antidepressant Paxil for a short time. After her recovery, Shields went on Oprah to discuss her experience and encourage other women going through similar experiences. Shortly after, Cruise lashed out at Shields during an interview with Matt Lauer, during which he said that she shouldn’t have used antidepressants to combat her feelings, but that she should have turned to vitamins and Scientology for help. When Lauer questioned Cruises’ scientific basis, Cruise said that neither Lauer nor Shields understood psychiatry. Cruise has since apologized to Shields for criticizing her, and Shields even attended his wedding to Katie Holmes.
- George Michael and Elton John: This feud began when Elton John told members of the press that he thought Michael was a drug addict with “a deep-rooted unhappiness in his life.” John also called his pal’s new album Patience “disappointing” and said “My message to George would be that you need to get out more.” Michael, extremely hurt by the comments, refused to speak to John for over nine months, and wrote a letter to a British celebrity magazine saying John barely even knew him. The duo finally reconciled over dinner at John’s house catered by TV Chef Gordon Ramsey.
- Stella McCartney and Heather Mills: The daughter and former wife of Beatle’s star Paul McCartney have been well-known foes since Mills married Paul in 2002. While Stella and Mills respectfully kept their ill-willed comments about each other out of the press, it was widely rumored that McCartney felt Mills was a money-hungry gold digger. The two were rarely seen together during her father’s four-year marriage to Mills and when the two split and Mills publicly accused McCartney of hitting his first wife, Stella’s mother Linda McCartney, McCartney called Mills a “b*tch and a liar.” Mills responded by taking out a restraining order against Stella and forbidding her from seeing her half-sister. The divorce has been finalized, but the bad feelings between these two women remains.