30 Interviews That Derailed Celebrities’ Careers
It's a miracle that some of them staged a comeback
When you’re a celebrity, it’s fair to assume that every word you say is on the record. That means that every word can be used against you. And trust us: it will. Need proof? Just ask Katherine Heigl or Billy Bob Thornton—or Jesse Eisenberg or Dina Lohan. (Can you recall the last time you saw any of them?) All of these A-listers went OTR with some questionably bonkers antics, and, in many cases, their careers fell off a cliff as a result. Herein, we’ve rounded up the 30 most career-catastrophic celebrity interviews of all time. And for more celebrity fails, check out these 30 Celebrities Who Lost Millions Practically Overnight.
If you want to keep your job, it’s probably best not to compare him to Hitler. As it turns out, actress Megan Fox did just this when describing her boss, Transformers director Michael Bay, in a 2009 interview with Wonderland. Not only did this result in her immediate firing from Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, it also led to the actress being blacklisted in Hollywood for the next few years until she apologized to her ex-boss. And for more cringe-worthy (but still hilarious) celebrity moments, check out The 30 Funniest Red Carpet Moments Ever.
During a 2005 interview with former Today show host Matt Lauer, Tom Cruise wanted to make it clear to the host that he knew more than Lauer about the history of psychiatry. This interview came at the height of Cruise’s foray into Scientology, which became the (painfully awkward) main subject of their discussion. The highlight of the interview occurred when Cruise was asked about his previous criticism of Brooke Shields’ use of antidepressants, to which the actor responded by calling her a “glib.”
While it may not have destroyed John Mayer’s career completely, his 2010 interview with Playboy most definitely lost him a few fans. It was clear during the interview that Mayer didn’t feel the need to hide anything from his personal life…and we mean his very personal life. The musician overshared intimate details of his sex life—including his sexual preferences, ultimately admitting that he only preferred to sleep with white girls. Ouch. And for more dirt on your favorite celebrities, check out these 30 Times Famous People Dissed Other Celebs In Hilarious Ways.
From the start of the interview, it was clear that members Andrew Taggart and Alex Paul wanted to be taken seriously as, ahem, completely unserious party boys. Throughout their 2016 Billboard interview, the pair wanted to make it clear that they partied hard each night and enjoyed fooling around with groupies (though they both had girlfriends at the time)—a move that only made them look like desperate high school freshman at a college frat party.
Her 2007 interview was so strange that it instantly went viral, posing the familiar question of the decade: was Paula Abdul drunk? Though Abdul vehemently denied these drunk claims, it’s hard to explain what else may account for Abdul’s slurred speech and general confused appearance. Two years later, the singer failed to renew her contract with American Idol and soon disappeared into obscurity. And for more celebrity hilarity, check out these 30 Funniest Photos of Celebrities as Teens.
America’s favorite villain couldn’t keep it together when asked about his past flame, Taylor Swift, in a 2017 interview with GQ. In fact, when given the chance to open up about his previous relationship, he couldn’t seem to stop—even showing up at his reporter’s door at 6 a.m. to clarify points he had made in the interview. In this case, Hiddleston’s earnestness only harmed him.
The Grey’s Anatomy washed-up star Katherine Heigl has disappeared from the silver screen for a reason—one of them being her 2008 interview with Vanity Fair. During this trainwreck of honesty, Heigl let it slip that she actually hated that way her character was portrayed in Knocked Up.
The young Whiplash actor had plenty of potential until he subsequently closed the door on all future roles with just a single interview. Throughout the 2015 Esquire interview, the actor compared his private parts to a glass, asked the writer to cut his meat for him (at the restaurant where the interview took place), and that he believes he’s better-looking than the public thinks he is. Looking back, he admits to being a huge jerk. You took the words right out of our mouth, Miles.
At this point, we’re all well aware of R. Kelly’s penchant for dating young girls, and during his 2008 interview, a reporter bluntly asked him about these underage dealings. R. Kelly’s troubling reply, “when you say ‘teenage,’ how old are we talking?” left the journalist completely stunned and instantly went viral.
5 Seconds of Summer
During a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, 5 Seconds of Summer managed to alienate both their fellow celebrities and fans alike with a cringe-worthy conversation that involved the band criticising the American Music Awards, Justin Bieber, and their female fans (AKA their entire fan-base).
Unfortunately, it took the actor far too long to realize that steering clear from the press would be wise for his already-flailing career. Case and point: his uncomfortably calm 2015 interview with the Today show about being HIV positive and the reference to his prior public meltdowns as “‘roid rage.”
Jim Carrey’s interview style has become famous for being off-the-wall existential and overwhelmingly dark. Perhaps the greatest example of these twisted tangents was an interview conducted while he was attending a New York Fashion Week event—one in which a simple red carpet question about icons turned him down a dark and thoughtful path—one that hilariously mystified the journalist interviewing him.
Jesse Eisenberg is yet another high-profile celebrity guilty of being a tough egg to crack in the interview chair. In fact, during an interview with Univision, Eisenberg actions were deemed incredibly cruel as he worked to completely belittle her throughout the entire ordeal. After this interview, we haven’t seen many others scrambling to interview the star.
It’s clear from Paris Hilton’s 2011 interview with ABC that she still viewed herself as the world’s top reality TV star—despite being constantly overshadowed by her former bestie Kim Kardashian. Regardless of her attempts to remain calm while being grilled by the reporter intent on discounting her worth, after Hilton was asked whether she felt her time as a reality star was over, she walked off the set altogether. She wasn’t ready to face what the rest of the world knew already—that her time indeed had come.
An interview described as “bloodthirsty” shed a permanently negative light on the polarizing talk show host, who is known for speaking his mind openly to a fault. This interview took place on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show and ended with many convinced that Bill Maher was a heartless vampire.
Kathie Lee Gifford
Give Kathie Lee Gifford a glass of wine and she is sure to do crazy things. Often cited as the most awkward interview Gifford ever conducted on the Today show, her interview with Martin Short chartered embarrassingly cringe-worthy territory when, unaware that Short’s wife had passed away 2 years previously, peppered the actor with questions about his relationship with his wife. Though the actor didn’t correct the host on live television, it did appear as though he had a brief word with her during the commercial break, as Gifford apologized profusely after the fact.
In an interview with an Australian newspaper, Denzel Washington made it clear that he really didn’t have time for press nonsense. His terse, often sighed responses instantly went viral.
During the press frenzy surrounding the Twilight series, Robert Pattinson made it clear that he did not want to talk about his rumored relationship with costar Kristen Stewart. So, naturally, that became the question that every media outlet was dying to ask him—including On Air With Ryan Seacrest. When asked about their relationship status, Pattinson’s agent immediately instructed him to flee, which he gladly did. As it turns out, the star is no stranger to awkward interviews—making it harder for the public to cast him in a positive light.
If there’s one charitable act vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin did during her campaign, it was to provide Saturday Night Live with a plethora of awkward interviews to mock. In this gem of an interview with Katie Couric, when asked about foreign policy, Palin began instead to comment on her native state’s relation to Russia—where the famous “I can see Russia from my backyard” was crafted by Tina Fey.
One of the more infamous public celebrity meltdowns, Joaquin Phoenix made an entire nation squirm in a 2009 interview with David Letterman—one in which he declared that he would be quitting acting and picking up a new hobby—rapping. The actor’s dark sunglasses and mumbling demeanor raised questions about his mental health.
During a 2010 interview with WGN-TV, Mel Gibson was obviously annoyed with the reporter’s questions about his previous drinking escapades. After the interview wrapped, Gibson mistakenly thought that his mic had cut off as well—which it hadn’t—and his softly uttered expletive was heard by everyone. Awkward.
The Back to the Future star ruffled quite a few feathers in his 1987 interview on Late Night With David Letterman. The actor showed up as Rubin—a character from an upcoming film that he was promoting, Rubin & Ed—which came as a total surprise to host David Letterman. In fact, the whole interview consisted of Letterman attempting to keep up with Glover’s wild tangents—until he ultimately gave up and walked off the set.
Billy Bob Thornton
When the actor and musician’s band, the Boxmasters, were interviewed, the only logical explanation to describe Thornton’s behavior was that he had to be putting on some kind of an elaborate act. He seemed to redirect every question back to the host and looked generally confused, leaving his bandmates perplexed and forced to answer all of his questions.
As you might’ve already heard, Kanye West thinks slavery is a choice—a statement that obviously angered many people. This TMZ interview from earlier this year caused a massive public outcry and made people question his mental stability—again.
Before an interview with a local news station even began, Tony Danza was heard slamming the local news in very colorful language–all of which ran on live television, unknown to the star at the time. To make matters worse, when the news anchor finally got his attention and gently reprimanded him for his words, Danza didn’t even apologize for the unkind words he used.
Courtney Love doesn’t choose her battles wisely—and this point was driven home when she decided to crash a 1995 MTV VMAs interview with Madonna. After she began drunkenly throwing items at the pop princess, the host invited her up to a part of the interview—despite Madonna’s pleas for her to stay away. As you may already guess, excruciating awkwardness ensues.
Hugh Grant’s 1995 interview with Jay Leno came on the heels of allegations that he had hired a sex worker—allegations that Leno immediately brought up as he quipped, “what were you thinking?” Though it wasn’t just the interview that gave a swift kick to Grant’s career, his brutal honesty about his mistakes made for some awkward tension.
Things got heated very quickly during Gary Coleman’s 2010 interview with The Insider. When one of the hosts attempted to ask the actor about his ex-wife, Susan Price, Coleman immediately exited the interview, yelling expletives at the shocked hosts. We’re guessing it was a very touchy subject.
During a strangely violent interview with MTV, Vanilla Ice got so angry that he literally started destroying the set. We’re still confused about what exactly set the rapper off in the first place.
Ironically enough, when Lindsay Lohan’s mother, Dina Lohan, appeared on the Dr. Phil Show, her actions appeared to indicate that might be in need of some counseling by the doctor. She put on a wide array of emotions, attempting to fist-bump the doctor to sobbing in a matter of minutes. And to catch up on the latest celebrity news, check out these 20 Crazy Things Celebrities Have Already Done in 2018.
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