12 Cherished Celebs Who Did Terrible Things You Wish You Didn't Know About

These celebs might be universally loved, but they've all done horrible things in their pasts.


Apr. 15 2020, Updated 10:52 p.m. ET

celebrities who are jerks
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Although the average person can write a dissertation on their hatred of the Kardashians (we've written several of them), for those few celebrities who are loved by literally everyone, criticizing them becomes a bit tricky. After all, no one wants to read anything bad about Beyoncé or Steve Jobs. But although fans don't want to hear it, celebs are human, and they sometimes act like jerks. Below, a few universally-loved celebs who've done some shady things in their day.

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1. Steve Jobs

steve jobs jerk
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Although Apple fanboys treat his legacy like he's the Second Coming, Steve Jobs was no saint. In fact, his success can be attributed to his ruthless behavior. In his biography, there were plenty of examples, from firing people at Pixar without notice to even storming out of a five-star hotel he thought wasn't up to his standards. One time, he even berated a Whole Foods employee. "Once we went to Whole Foods market to get a smoothie," Steve's best friend Jony Ive said. "And this older woman was making it and he really got on her about how she was doing it."

In addition to neglecting his daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, who he had with an ex-girlfriend, probably his biggest douche moment was when he cheated his friend and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak out of money. While the two worked together at Atari, Steve asked his partner to build a scaled-down version of Breakout, saying they would split the profits. After four sleepless nights, Wozniak finished the game and got a whooping $350 for it. He later learned that Steve had lied to him about how much money he made from the game and actually pocketed most of the profits for himself. Now, that is just evil.

2. Albert Einstein

einstein jerk
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After you invent the Theory of Relativity, I guess you can get away with being a bit of jerk. Albert definitely was, from being incredibly racist against Asians in his travel journals to being a serial adulterer. However, probably the cruelest thing he ever did was create a baffling to-do list for his first wife, Mileva Maric. The list included such rules as, "You will see to it (1) that my clothes and linen are kept in order, (2) that I am served three regular meals a day in my room," and, "You will expect no affection from me . . . You must leave my bedroom or study at once without protesting when I ask you to.''

Although, to his credit, Albert was self-aware enough to admit in later letters that he sucked at relationships. "What I admire in your father is that, for his whole life, he stayed with only one woman," Albert wrote in a letter to a son of a friend. "This is a project in which I grossly failed, twice."

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3. Jerry Seinfeld

jerry seinfeld jerk
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Sure, he's a legendary comedian, and those endless Seinfeld reruns on TV aren't going anywhere, but Jerry isn't all sunshine and roses. In addition to rudely rejecting a hug from Kesha and calling Lady Gaga a "jerk" simply because she had the audacity of sitting in his box during a Mets game, he also once dated a teenager when he was 39. 

Shoshanna Lonstein was a senior in high school when Jerry approached her in the park one day. The two started dating and became tabloid fodder back in 1993. “I am not an idiot,” he told People at the time. “Shoshanna is a person, not an age. She is extremely bright.” They broke up a few years later, but their relationship became an ongoing punchline for late-night comedians. "Jerry Seinfeld proposed to Shoshanna Lonstein on the night of her 21st birthday," Conan O’Brien joked on Late Night. "Apparently he wanted to wait to make sure she wasn’t just using him to buy beer." *Ba-dum ching*

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4. Julia Roberts

julia roberts jerk
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"America's sweetheart" has a pretty damning track record for rude behavior. Back in 1991, she broke up with fiancé Kiefer Sutherland on the day of their wedding. Poor Kiefer had to hear the bad news from a friend, not Julia, who instead was spending her wedding day cheating on him with actor Jason Patric. She later got entangled in another affair in 2001 when she started dating cameraman Danny Moder while he was still married to makeup artist Vera Steimberg. When Danny tried to divorce Vera so that he could marry Julia, Vera refused to sign the papers. Angry that Vera wouldn't go through with the divorce, Julia went out in front of the paparazzi wearing a shirt that said "A Low Vera." When Oprah Winfrey asked about the shirt, Julia said it was "private." She said, "I stand by my T-shirt."

And her reputation on set wasn't better. Julia was nicknamed "Tinkerhell" for being a nightmare on the set of Hook, and she also was so allegedly terrible to her sister, Nancy Motes, that Nancy blamed her in her suicide note. However, if it's any credit to Julia, she later admitted in 2017 that she used to be a "selfish, little brat" back then.

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5. Beyoncé

beyonce jerk
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There's no debating that Beyoncé is pop royalty, but she climbed to the top with dubious beheavior. For one, she was pretty shady during the great Destiny's Child fallout, when three members of the girl group were unceremoniously kicked out. Shortly after the drama, Beyoncé gave several interviews where she said she was happy the "bad seeds" were gone and that the group "can all sing now." She even rudely slammed group member Michelle Williams' voice for not being as "clear" as Kelly Rowland's.

But the biggest blotch on her career is her track record of stealing other people's ideas without credit. She even admits this in a video about feeling bad for attending Broadway shows only to copy their ideas. And let's not forget all the times she's taken credit for songs she didn't write. "'Crazy in Love' was really hard to write because there was so much going on," she told Vanity Fair. "I mean, I had written — what? —seven, eight number one songs with Destiny's Child, in a row." Beyoncé might be one of the best entertainers of all time, but boldly lying like that is just not a great quality for anyone.

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6. Jon Hamm

jon hamm jerk
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The handsome Mad Men star has a lot of female fans that love his charm, but the actor, like his famous character, is good at hiding his dark side. In 2015, news broke that the former frat boy was in the middle of a violent hazing ritual in 1991 where he allegedly set a guy on fire. Not only did Jon beat up a pledge by punching him in the kidney, he also led the poor guy around the frat house “with the claw of a hammer beneath his genitals.” As for the pledge, the whole experience made him sink into a deep depression. 

Earlier this year, Jon weakly fessed up to everything without giving a solid apology. "Everything about that is sensationalized," he told Esquire. "I was accused of these things I don't…It's so hard to get into it. I don't want to give it any more breath."

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7. Elvis Presley

elvis jerk
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Sorry, but the King of Rock was also the King of Teenage Girls. Although everyone knows he famously met wife Priscilla Presley when she was only 14, that wasn't the only time he fraternized with teens. "He was fascinated with the idea of real young teenage girls," said Lamar Fike, a former member of his entourage. "It scared the hell out of all of us." He was particularly obsessed with virginal 14-year-olds, which he called "cherries." According to Baby, Let's Play House, Elvis felt insecure about pleasing older women and would invite groups of young fans to his house for sleepovers instead. 

Once he met Priscilla, those fantasies didn't change. Determined to keep her virginal until their wedding day, he would instead have "role-play sessions" where she would dress up like a schoolgirl and he would dress up like a teacher. Once the two married and had their first child, however, the sexcapades stopped. Priscilla wrote in her memoir that Elvis "had mentioned to me before we were married that he had never been able to make love to a woman who had a child." 

When Elvis finally upgraded to adult women, dating 21-year-old beauty queen Ginger Alden after his divorce from Priscilla, he continued to treat them like crap. Ginger wrote in her memoir that Elvis once fired a pistol into her bedroom when she refused to bring him yogurt. What a swell guy.

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8. David Bowie

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David Bowie was an amazing musician, visionary and, on most accounts, a decent guy. However, he did kind of sleep with 13-year-old groupies. One of them, Lori Mattix, who was 15 when she slept with David while he was still married to his first wife, said the whole thing was "consensual," but you can't deny the inappropriateness of it all.

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9. Lucille Ball

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Although the lovable redhead is still worshiped for her sitcoms I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show, she wasn't the easiest person to work for. "A lot of people found her very, very tough to work with," Tony Randall said. "She bossed everybody around and didn’t spare anybody’s feelings." Co-star Richard Burton's words were less kind. "She is a monster of staggering charmlessness and monumental lack of humor," he said back in 1979. "Milady Ball can thank her lucky stars that I am not drinking. There is a chance that if I had, I might have killed her." Of course, this could also just be a case of men hating to work with strong women. 

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10. Mahatma Gandhi

gandhi jerk
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Yes, he was an activist who led India to independence, but he was also kind of a racist. In the book The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of Empire, it was revealed that Gandhi was a separatist who wrote to the Natal parliament that "general belief seems to prevail in the Colony that the Indians are a little better, if at all, than savages or the Natives of Africa." He later wrote to a health officer in Johannesburg that he was concerned "about the mixing of the Kaffirs [South Africans] with the Indians."

But an even more disturbing allegation against him was that he frequently used his power to take advantage of young women in their late teens and early 20s. His inappropriate behavior was so bad, it caused his personal secretary, R. P. Parasuram, to blast him in a strongly-worded letter. "I object to your having massage done by girls...Those people who know that you are naked during massage time say that you could at least put a cover over it," he wrote. "However great you may be, you cannot do these things." Parasuram gave Gandhi an ultimatum: either stop manhandling women or he won't work for him anymore. Gandhi's response? "You are at liberty to leave." 

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11. Dr. Seuss

dr suess jerk
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The famed children's book author was an interesting character, to say the least. He didn't like children, only wrote kid books because his erotica didn't sell, and even based The Grinch on himself. However, the worst thing he did was allegedly cheat on his wife while she was dying of cancer. The infidelity caused her to commit suicide in 1967. "I am too old and enmeshed in everything you do and are, that I cannot conceive of life without you,” she wrote in her suicide note. “My going will leave quite a rumor, but you can say I was overworked and overwrought. Your reputation with your friends and fans will not be harmed.” Well, she wasn't wrong. After her death, the famed author married his mistress.

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12. John Lennon

john lennon jerk
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John's awful behavior isn't a secret these days, especially ever since his son Julian Lennon, who John abandoned when he was five, was old enough to start talking to the press. "I have to say that, from my point of view, I felt he was a hypocrite," Julian said back in 1998. "Dad could talk about peace and love out loud to the world but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him: his wife and son. How can you talk about peace and love and have a family in bits and pieces. No communication, adultery, divorce?"

And he wasn't wrong. John straight-up admitted in a 1980 interview that he "hit women" and even lusted after his own mother. "That is why I am always on about peace, you see," he told Playboy two days before his death. "It is the most violent people who go for love and peace." 


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