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10 Shocking Dark Sides To Beloved Famous People

by Gregory Myers
fact checked by Jamie Frater

We like to put celebrities of any sort up on a pedestal, even if they don’t really deserve it. Perhaps it harkens back to the days of monarchies and shows some void that we wish to fill now that we no longer have kings, or maybe we are just bored. Either way, we take normal people who’ve become famous for whatever reason and make them larger than life. We build them up into titanic figures beyond the concerns of mortal men and turn them into role models.

Unfortunately, famous people are frequently bad choices for role models. No matter what their public persona shows, they have their own faults like anyone else and would oftentimes prefer if you didn’t remember many of the things that they have actually done or look too closely at their leisure activities. While any person should be allowed to believe what they want, as long as it is not hurting anyone, below are several good reasons why you should think twice before choosing to model yourself after a celebrity.

10 Jimmy Page And His 14-Year-Old Girlfriend


Led Zeppelin is a band that hardly needs an introduction. Nearly everyone has heard of them, and most people are at least familiar with “Stairway to Heaven,” if nothing else. They were highly influential in the rock and roll scene in their day, and many of them are considered cultural icons to this day. The guitarist Jimmy Page is still believed to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and his legacy as a musician has never been in question. However, when Led Zeppelin was full of fresh-faced young men touring the US and the UK, some of the band members, especially Jimmy Page, used their newfound celebrity status to get away with all sorts of things.

Nowhere was this more apparent than with Jimmy Page’s relationship with a 14-year-old girl named Lori Maddox (alternatively spelled Mattix). According to the stories, he asked his own manager to kidnap the girl and bring her to him, as she was already known for being beautiful among groupies in the Los Angeles area. She states that she thought Page was a beautiful man and fell in love with him almost immediately. Not long after, they began dating. Even back in the 1970s, statutory rape was still incredibly illegal, so he had to keep the whole thing on the down-low. He showered Lori’s mother with gifts, perhaps as a means to placate her for what he was doing with her daughter, and often kept Lori locked up so the secret wouldn’t get out.

Eventually, Page got bored with his underage girlfriend, and when Maddox was 16 years old, she caught him having sex with an 18-year-old model. She was forbidden to see him after that, and he got off scot-free for the entire debacle. While some may think of this as the indiscretion of youth, Jimmy Page has hardly changed. At the ripe old age of 71, Page is now dating a 25-year-old woman. While this is not illegal, it shows that some people, and their habits, never change.

9 Cee Lo Green Doesn’t Understand What Consent Means

CeeLo Green Said WHAT About Rape!?

For a time, Ce Lo Green was seen as a really cool dude. Even though he wrote a song that told people off very rudely, it was still a runaway hit, and before long, Green was immensely popular. People loved his persona and style, so much so that he even worked on a special episode of the TV show American Dad, where he wrote songs, sang, and contributed his voice to narration. For a time, he was on top of the world, and then a strange court case occurred. Green was out on a date with a woman, and she claims that she later woke up in his bed naked, not remembering how she got there.

Eventually, he pleaded no contest to a charge of supplying her with ecstasy pills and then posted bizarre statements about consent and rape on Twitter. He wrote that: “If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously! so WITH Implies consent.” He posted more statements, most of them trying to assure people that he did not commit rape but struggling to articulate his thoughts. Later on, he said that his comments were taken out of context, apologized, and deleted his Twitter account.

Green has always maintained that the sex was consensual, and while some may say that the taken-out-of-context excuse doesn’t work, it’s also unclear what exactly his defense is. It seems he’s suggesting that a woman has to be conscious to give consent, but he also seems to be stating that a woman can’t give consent while she is unconscious, and therefore it is okay because she is not with you, apparently meaning that consent is implied. None of the tortured logic in the Twitter post makes much sense, and most people still remain baffled as to what he was trying to say.

8 Sean Penn Beats Madonna

Sean Penn

Photo credit: Sachyn Mital

Sean Penn is well-known for popular movies like Mystic River and Milk, but he has also had a rather unfortunate past. The fact of the matter is that Sean Penn is known for being moody, drinking a lot of alcohol, and doing violent and unpredictable things. He has had multiple temper tantrums that almost landed him in very serious hot water.

While no one really cares for the way the paparazzi stalk and photograph celebrities, Penn has a penchant for overreacting when it comes to their annoying presence in his life. Once, he was charged with attempted murder after hanging an annoying paparazzi from his balcony window—nine stories up. He also once physically attacked a paparazzi, hitting the man and damaging his camera in the process.

By far, Penn’s worst known violence was against his then-wife Madonna. Once, he hit her in the head with a baseball bat, and she had to go to the hospital for the injury. In spite of this abuse, she remained with him and did not press charges. Only two years later, he came home drunk one day, telling her that he owned her, which caused Madonna great fright. She tried to leave the house, but he stopped her from running, tied her to a chair, threatened to cut her hair, and then beat her for several hours, stopping partway through to go buy more alcohol and then returning to beat his wife more. Eventually, after Madonna agreed to perform a sexual act on him, Penn released her from the bonds, and she immediately ran to the police.

They divorced not long after, but Madonna once again declined to press charges, and Sean Penn was never punished for beating his wife bloody and torturing her for hours while under the influence of booze.

7 Joe Biden Loves To Skinny-Dip

Vice President Joe Biden loves to skinny dip, new tell-all book reveals

Joe Biden is known for being America’s dirty uncle. In many pictures with women, he appears to be behaving in a way that is only barely within the bounds of polite public behavior, and some people think women look uncomfortable around him. When the Affordable Care Act was passed, he whispered to President Obama that it was a very big deal, using words that were considered rather impolitic for a man of his position. Throughout his entire career, he has built up an image of himself as the everyman who is not only the type you would go have a beer with, but someone who is as normal as anyone else and doesn’t accept many of the ostentatious luxuries of his position. However, while his heart may be in the right place, that doesn’t necessarily make him an easy man to get along with.

The author of a book called The First Family Detail claims that from talking to other Secret Service agents, he knows all about Biden’s habits, and they’re rather strange. Specifically, Biden is known for loving a chance to skinny-dip in any pool he has around him. This has allegedly caused some female Secret Service agents to be uncomfortable around him because they feel that his skinny-dipping in front of them is inappropriate.

He is also known for not wishing to cause trouble for his neighbors in Delaware, so he makes the Secret Service break up the motorcade. Some agents find this very frustrating because they fear it will make it hard for them to effectively protect him as they are assigned to do. These unconfirmed allegations also claim that Biden is considered to be the second worst assignment by Secret Service agents—the worst being Hillary Clinton.

6 Sean Connery Believes In Beating Women

sean connery on slapping women

Sean Connery is a beloved celebrity famous mostly for his role as the most well-known and well-liked version of James Bond. The Scottish celebrity was once considered for the role of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and is seen by many as a pop culture icon. However, Sean Connery has a past that some people wouldn’t be too proud of but he seems to solidly believe in.

Like the character James Bond, Connery is something of a womanizer. Before he was an actor, he started out as a male model and once did an interview for Playboy where he stated that he thought hitting women was okay in some situations besides self defense—such as if the woman was being really hysterical or bloody-minded. He stated that you shouldn’t hit the woman the same that you would hit a man, and that an open-palm slap is usually the best way to go. He later claimed that his words were taken out of context.

In the late 1980s, Connery was interviewed by Barbara Walters, who asked him about his previous statements. She gave him a chance by pointing out it had been a long time ago and that he probably regretted the statement now. Instead, he told her that his opinion had not changed at all. After being pressed for what provocation would cause a woman to deserve a slap in his opinion, he explained that for example, if he were arguing with a woman and he let her have the last word, but she just wanted to keep going on with the argument, that it would be good to give her a slap.

While some may think these are just the words of a somewhat misogynistic person, Connery’s ex-wife Diane Cilento claims that he physically and verbally abused her. In her story, he not only slapped her, but actually punched her in the head. While it is hard to say for sure what happened between them, it is clear that Connery has some trouble getting along with women at times and does not have the most enlightened attitude when it comes to dealing with difficult people. A slap is not a good way to get along better with anyone.

5 Charles Dickens Treated His Wife Like Garbage

Charles Dickens

Photo via Wikimedia

Charles Dickens is beloved and famous for being one of the best and most influential writers in history and for good reason. His tales painted incredibly vivid pictures, and his characterizations of people were considered so in-depth and accurate that when an author does a good job of making characters seem three-dimensional today, they are called “Dickensian.”

Dickens, as most people are aware, started off with a very difficult life. Back in the day, if you had debts that you couldn’t pay, you would end up in debtor’s prison. This happened to Dickens’s father. As a young boy, Dickens had to work in a factory in order to help pay back the money that his father owed. He saw many bleak hardships as a child, and it greatly influenced his writing. It also hardened him as a person, and many people don’t realize just how much his early trauma affected him.

To most of the world he was a beloved author, but to his wife, Charles was quite different. After 18 years of marriage, he decided to start seeing a pretty, young actress, because after bearing many children, his wife Catherine no longer had the looks and vitality that she had once possessed. However, while some people would simply get a divorce, Dickens did far worse. He let the kids visit her, but he did not really approve of it, and he took them all away. He maligned her in the press, saying she was impossible, useless, fat, and lazy. He insulted her terribly and said that she was a poor mother and that her children did not even love her. In spite of this horrible abuse, she continued to care about him until the day she died, even though Dickens never once apologized for his awful actions and hardly spoke to her for the rest of his life.

4 Ted Nugent’s Draft Dodging And Pedophilia

Ted Nugent

Photo credit: Larry Philpot

Ted Nugent is now an aging rocker known for saying extreme things on the right wing of the political spectrum and then enjoying the attention that he gets from doing so. Recently, he’s been in the news for making incendiary remarks, mainly about gun control, President Obama, President Obama’s plans for gun control, and the things that he would like to do to President Obama for suggesting that we pass stronger gun control laws. He also sports a rigidly pro-war stance and loves to bluster around about how we need to be tougher on our enemies. He relies on his status as a former rock icon to get him instantly in the news and to guarantee that a certain number of people—however small—will consider what he has to say to be legitimate. However, some of the people who still back him might not if they knew some of the stories of his past.

Though he now claims a very pro-war stance, Ted Nugent managed to avoid the draft and not go to Vietnam like many young men of his time. In an interview with the magazine High Times, he claimed to have defecated himself while wearing dirty clothes for several days, done meth, and acted like a total lunatic in order to get a special 4F (unfit for service) classification from the military so he wouldn’t have to serve. In the interview, he tells High Times he did it because he was making too much money and didn’t want to fight in a war. Later on, he claimed that he made the entire story up for High Times and got a deferment, but either way, he certainly made a conscious decision to dodge the draft.

Some people may find this to be forgivable, as many people did not agree with the Vietnam War, but he also doesn’t want people to look too hard into his past with girls. (And we do mean “girls” as in “minors.”) Nugent wrote a song called “Jailbait” about a 13-year-old girl with whom he was having sex. In the lyrics, he suggests that the arresting officer take the cuffs off him and join in to make it a three-way. Another track on the same album is entitled “I’m A Predator.”

Additionally, Nugent was once accused, although never convicted, of having sex with a 12-year-old girl while he was an adult. When he was in his thirties, he had a relationship with a 17-year-old girl and had the brilliant idea to become her legal guardian to get out of trouble for what he was doing, and he somehow got approval from her parents. To make matters worse, he has bragged about being in other similar relationships beside that one.

3 Will Smith Contributes Heavily To Scientology Schools

Will Smith defends Tom Cruise and his Scientology beliefs

For the longest time, Will Smith was the lovable star of The Fresh Prince and iconic movies like Independence Day, but then, things started to change. Smith became slightly more serious about the type of acting roles that he would take and started accepting fewer roles in general. He later had kids, and one of them showed up in one of his movies as his actual son. At first people thought it was cute, but before long, the typical shouts of nepotism were tossed all over the Internet.

Movies aside, things they started saying off-screen began to get attention. People quickly noticed that Jaden Smith had a penchant for saying very strange philosophical things, and in father-son interviews, it seems that Will Smith enjoyed sharing some similar ideas. This would normally not be something to give many people pause, except for the fact that Smith is known for being good friends with Tom Cruise and has been rumored to be a secret supporter of Scientology for quite some time.

As far as anyone knows, Will Smith is not officially a Scientologist, but he has taken some strange actions to support it while seemingly trying hard to ensure that people don’t notice what he is doing. His most recent foray into moviemaking with his son, After Earth, was widely criticized for being a thinly veiled attempt at teaching people the philosophy and ideas of Scientology, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

A few years back, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith funded the opening of a new school that was designed to provide organic foods, laptops for the students, and a great environment in which to learn. Everything about the school sounded great, until you realize that it’s a school designed to stealthily teach kids about Scientology. The school says nothing about the religion anywhere on its website, but several of the programs are Scientology ideas, and actual Scientologist instructors are being paid to put together the curriculum for these lessons. There is also evidence from their tax return that they have donated well over $100,000 in a short amount of time to various Scientology causes. Will Smith may not be a Scientologist, but he is clearly sympathetic to some of their ideas, and he does not want you to know that.

2 Jim Carrey Goes On An Anti-Vaccine Rant

Jim Carrey Rails Against California’s Strict Vaccination Law

Jim Carrey is well-known for his hilarious roles in movies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, The Grinch, and many other beloved comedies. While Carrey has not been working as much over the past few years, he has left a legacy of wacky entertainment that will last through the ages. However, while his entertainment may be timeless, his reputation may not be. Many people don’t realize that Jim Carrey was once married to Jenny McCarthy, a woman who has spoken out against all sorts of vaccines.

For a while, many people didn’t think that Carrey’s time with McCarthy had changed him all that much, but more recently, it’s become clear that he has caught the anti-vaccine bug and caught it hard. A law was passed recently in California mandating that to be allowed to go to a public school, children need to have their vaccinations, even if their parents oppose vaccination for religious reasons. Jim Carrey went on a crazy rant on Twitter, clearly showing how he feels about vaccines and making it clear he is misguided. He called Governor Jerry Brown, who signed the bill, a fascist who must be stopped and suggested that vaccines have dangerous neurotoxins.

The “toxin” that he claims is making vaccines dangerous is called thimerosal, and it has incredibly trace amounts of mercury. However, the ingredient isn’t even found in most vaccines anymore, even though health experts find no risk from it whatsoever, because people are so concerned. Unfortunately, it seems that Carrey has not done his research and may be misguiding people who think he knows what he is talking about. Ironically, he claims that he is still in favor of vaccines, just not the neurotoxins in them.

1 Tom Selleck And The Water Heist

Actor Tom Selleck Accused of Stealing Water Amid Historic Drought | NBC Nightly News

Recent stories have breathlessly claimed that Tom Selleck stole water from a fire hydrant outside the district in which he lives. He did this by driving up to an old construction site, filling a tanker truck with water, and heading back to his ranch. After a while, the city hired a private investigator to find out what was going on, and he confirmed that a truck was indeed regularly filling up with water and heading back to Selleck’s ranch. The city sent cease-and-desist letters, the activity stopped, and Selleck was hit with a civil suit by the city, which wants to earn back the money they spent on the private investigator and end the illegal water runs.

However, like many stories on the Internet, there is a lot buried in the lede. The headlines make it sound like Selleck himself committed the act, but the truck was run by a private company and not an individual. As far as the private eye can tell, it was likely someone who was hired by Selleck doing the deed and not the man himself. This means that we can’t be sure if Selleck even knew the water was being obtained in a less than proper manner, and he has refused to comment as of this writing. While some people may suggest this means guilt, that may not be the case. Selleck has not been a particularly high-profile star for a while and may wish to keep it that way. What is known is that he agreed through a spokesman to pay the city everything they want without any fuss and wishes to comply with all of their requests.

It should also be noted that the city acknowledges that the water itself was paid for somehow. The issue was that it was improperly obtained, due to it being taken from a public fire hydrant and Selleck not living in (or paying taxes for) the district from which it was taken. This may seem like splitting hairs, but it is the difference between the case being a civil or criminal matter. The police found no criminal wrongdoing, and the city agreed; they sought only compensation for the private investigator fees.

fact checked by Jamie Frater