Once a rumor hits the internet, it often spreads like wildfire. Even when there's proof the story isn't remotely true, good luck containing it. After a story gets repeated again and again, it gets virtually accepted as truth.
So no, for the 1,00th time, Mr. Rogers wasn't a sniper. Here's that and 8 more celebrity "facts" that are totally false.
1. Mariah Carey
Myth: In 1996, Mariah Carey reportedly said this: "When I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can’t help but cry. I mean, I’d love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff.”
Truth: Mariah admittedly plays a character of the "detached diva" while in public, but even she's not horrible enough to say the above quote. When it was first reported back in the '90s, she had to hold a press conference in London to deny the rumors. Today, the quote is still attributed to her, appearing in listicles as recently as 2016.
2. Jennifer Lopez
Myth: Jennifer took out a billion-dollar insurance policy on her most important asset — her butt, obviously.
Truth: Before the Kardashians and the Nicki Minajes of the world made it trendy, J.Lo had the biggest booty in Hollywood. Maybe that's why this 20-year-old rumor was so easy to believe back in the day. However, in 2016, Jennifer denied it on Carpool Karaoke.
“No! There is no such thing as that,” she said. “I think there is a place in your homeland where you can insure certain things, parts of your body – seriously. I think that exists. I’ve heard that. Not here, I don’t think!" Host James Corden then agreed that insuring a rear-end didn't make much sense. "[Is it in case] something happens to it? It disappears?" she joked. "Somebody steals it?"
She's right. Why did we all believe this again?
3. Lauryn Hill
Myth: During an MTV interview, Lauryn said, "I would rather die than have a white person buy one of my albums."
Truth: Despite the runaway success of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Lauryn pretty much disappeared after the hype died down, with many suspecting it was because she ticked off her fans with the above quote. However, she didn't even say it! In 1998, she went on MTV to defend herself.
"You know, everybody has to be really careful, you know, what they … what they read and hear, because you never know what’s true," she said, according to Snopes. "You know, a couple of years ago some kid had heard that I’d said that I didn’t want white people to buy my records, and that really, really hurt me a great deal, because I like to think my music is really universal, you know, and I’ve been everywhere and I have fans everywhere, but because of some rumor that, you know, some radio personality chose to, you know, to say on his radio show, he had a bunch of people believing something that they’d never seen or never heard themselves but just heard a rumor."
4. Mr. Rogers
Myth: Despite being a soft-spoken children's show host, Mr. Rogers had a violent past as a military sniper! He also had gnarly tattoos that he kept hidden under all those sweaters.
Truth: I don't know about you, but this rumor was really popular back in middle school when classmates, in an attempt to appear knowledgeable, would go on and on about Mr. Rogers' alleged "dark" past. It's all BS, obviously. But the rumors persisted and even escalated after his 2003 death. The reality is Mr. Rogers never served in the military, nor did he have any tattoos. In fact, there was really nothing scandalous about him.
5. Ozzy Osbourne
Myth: He purposefully bit the head off a bat in the '70s, spurring rumors he was dark and deranged.
Truth: OK, technically he did bite the head off a bat (I mean, there's proof), but he didn't do it on purpose. He thought the bat was fake and was thoroughly grossed out when he realized it wasn't. "For a start, my mouth was instantly full of this warm, gloopy liquid, with the worst aftertaste you could ever imagine," he wrote in his memoir. "I could feel it staining my teeth and running down my chin." Ew.
6. Marilyn Monroe
Myth: Marilyn was a curvy size 16, proving that women can be beautiful at any size.
Truth: This is technically true, but only because women's sizing conventions have changed. A size 16 in the '50s was a lot smaller than it is now. In modern sizing, Marilyn was more like a size 4 or 6, according to actual measurements from her clothing designer. The hourglass bombshell had an insanely tiny 24-inch waist and a large 36-inch bust. At the time of her death, according to medical records, she weighed only 118 pounds.
7. Steven Speilberg
Myth: He directed Poltergeist.
Truth: Now this is one even I believed, but Steven only wrote and produced the movie. It was actually directed by Tobe Hooper; however, it's been an ongoing rumor that Steven did all the work. In 2017, an assistant cameraman confirmed it, as well as an actress who appeared in the film. But filmmaker Mick Garris defended Tobe and, in 2017, explained to Entertainment Weekly why he deserved the credit:
"It was Tobe’s first studio movie. Here he is, on a studio lot, on a big soundstage. Steven Spielberg had written the shooting script, was on the set, and was producing, and Spielberg is a consummate filmmaker and he lives and breathers movies. [...] And, yes, I would see him climb on the camera and say, ‘Maybe we should push in on a two-shot here,’ or ‘do-this-or-that,’ there. And Tobe would be watching. Tobe was always calling action and cut. Tobe had been deeply involved in all of the preproduction and everything. But Steven is a guy who will come in and call the shots. And so, you’re on your first studio film, hired by by Steven. I mean, Tobe directed that movie, Steven Spielberg had a lot to do with directing that movie, too."
8. Albert Einstein
Myth: Despite inventing the Theory of Relativity, Einstein was a terrible math student.
Truth: Do you honestly believe the guy who invented the Theory of Relativity wouldn't be able to memorize his multiplication tables? Please. This rumor has been around since 1935, and when Einstein first heard it, he laughed. "I never failed in mathematics," he replied. "Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus."
The rumor that Einstein "flunked a math test" came from a semi-true story where he failed a high school entrance exam. He did fine on the math portion, but it was the essay section that tripped him up since the questions were written in French, a language he didn't fully understand.
9. Celebrities Dying in Threes
Myth: The "rule of three" specifies that celebrities always die in threes.
Truth: Your brain might give the perception that celebs die three-at-a-time, but that's statistically impossible. "Celebrities die every day -- there’s no pattern at all of, course,” Michael Shermer, author of The Believing Brain told NBC. "There’s no rule! Is it six hours? Six days? Three weeks? What constitutes a celebrity? How big do you have to be?...They die by the dozens every week!"
So before you share another fake quote or present another urban legend as fact, remember: Google is your friend.