Celebrities may be put on a different sort of pedestal than the rest of us, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t run into their fair share of trouble. Much like the rest of us, also, a lot of that trouble is self-inflicted, except our mistakes don’t become national news. Let’s take a look at entertainment history and break down the five most controversial celebrity scandals that shook up the industry.
Before we start the list, some of the scandals that just missed the cut include Chris Brown’s abuse of Rihanna, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s ‘adult’ tape, Roman Polanski’s arrest, and the affair between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
Woody Allen’s Marriage
Woody Allen is a critically acclaimed director who has won multiple Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and even a Grammy. Allen is responsible for films including “Annie Hall”, “Crimes and Misdemeanors”, and “Hannah and Her Sisters”. Early on in his career, Allen was married to Harlene Susan Rosen, and after his divorce in 1962 got married four years later to actress Louise Lasser.
Allen and Lasser split after four years of marriage, and he began a relationship with actress Mia Farrow. Farrow had adopted Korean-born Soon-Yi Previn, and after Allen and Farrow split, the young Previn began a relationship with the filmmaker. At the time, Previn had just become an adult while Allen was in his mid-50s. The two tied the knot in 1997, and have been together ever since, but not without controversy.
Natalie Wood’s Death
Only a handful of people will really know the true story of what happened to actress Natalie Wood. Born Natalie Zacharenko in 1938, Wood began her acting career as a child and transitioned into a successful career as an adult which included Oscar nominations. Wood’s films included “Splendor in the Grass” and “Love with the Proper Stranger”, but on November 29, 1981, she passed away at the age of 43.
Wood had been in a relationship with Robert Wagner, whom she was married to for five years before their 1962 divorce. She then married Richard Gregson, and in 1972 divorced Gregson and remarried Wagner. Wood was with Wagner and actor Christopher Walken on a boat off of Santa Catalina Island, but went missing and was presumed dead. The case was reopened in 2018 with Wagner being named a person of interest, but in 2022, he was absolved of any wrongdoing.
Michael Jackson Investigation
Michael Jackson is without a doubt the King of Pop. Jackson, who began his music career as a child with his brothers in the Jackson 5, became the second-best-selling solo artist in music history after Elvis Presley. Jackson, however, was not without his controversies. The biggest controversy of all came with the long list of molestation allegations. Many had been thrown toward Jackson, but most were settled before going to court.
There were people on both sides of the accusations, with some saying that Jackson simply had a childlike wonder while others called him a predator. In the court of law, Jackson was found not guilty in 2005 on all counts, which included four counts of attempting to commit a lewd act upon a minor. Jackson passed away at age 50 in 2009 with no official criminal charges on his record but a lot of remaining questions.
Marilyn Monroe-John F. Kennedy Affair
John F. Kennedy is the United States President who had the highest average approval rating in history, while Marilyn Monroe was the biggest actress in Hollywood. Both passed away far too soon, but during their lives, stirred up a lot of talk which included a potential affair. The talk started after Monroe sang happy birthday to the President at Madison Square Garden, and only ramped up.
In 1997, documents were revealed that showed a confirmed relationship between Monroe and Kennedy, but those turned out to be a hoax. Photos even surfaced of the two embracing, but those were ultimately doctored. However, it essentially became public knowledge that the two had an affair that simply wasn’t talked about publicly between the parties.
O.J. Simpson Trial
Of course, no other celebrity controversy received the same amount of coverage as the trial of O.J. Simpson. Simpson had been a star football player in both college and the National Football League, then became an actor after his playing days. Simpson was living large, but on June 12, 1994, both Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were found dead on his property, brutally murdered.
Simpson became a suspect, and five days later his police chase was covered so extensively that some networks cut into live sports coverage including the NBA Finals. The ensuing trial also received wall-to-wall coverage over the course of 11 months. On October 3, 1995, the verdict was handed down that Simpson would be acquitted of the charges with a verdict reading that had an audience of 150 million in the United States.