Will Smith
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Famous Public Meltdowns By Celebrities

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Will Smith
Karwai Tang / Getty Images

Famous Fiascos

Between the paparazzi ignoring all boundaries, drugs and alcohol, and rapidly growing egos, being a celebrity comes with all of the ingredients needed to make a big, juicy meltdown. Will Smith recently apologized for losing his cool at the 2022 Academy Awards and slapping Chris Rock over a joke — just minutes before he won the award for Best Actor. But Smith is hardly alone. While there are plenty of celebrities that have had outbursts, these ones take the cake as the craziest, most memorable meltdowns. 


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Will Smith
Will Smith by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA)

Will Smith

During the 2022 Oscars, comedian Chris Rock was presenting an award and made a “G.I. Jane” joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s new, buzzed haircut. While Rock thought the comment was light-hearted, the Smiths didn’t see the punchline since the actress has alopecia, a disease that causes hair loss. Will Smith walked right on stage and slapped Rock in the face, yelling at him to keep his wife’s name out of his (expletive) mouth as he returned to his seat. The Academy ultimately decided to ban Smith from the Oscars for the next 10 years as a result. Smith recently issued an apology video, where he said he was "deeply remorseful" over his actions. 


Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson by Constru-centro (CC BY-SA)

Michael Jackson

In 2002, Michael Jackson was blowing kisses to fans and cheerfully interacting with them from the balcony of his hotel room in Berlin. The “King of Pop” changed the mood suddenly when he dangled his nine-month-old son Prince Michael II over the edge of the balcony. Jackson later apologized for his strange behavior, explaining that he got caught up in the moment and would never intentionally harm or endanger any of his children.


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Christian Bale
Christian Bale by Martin Kraft (CC BY-SA)

Christian Bale

Never underestimate what might have the power to set off Christian Bale. During the production of the 2009 movie “Terminator Salvation,” the actor screamed at the film’s cinematographer, Shane Hurlburt, for walking onto the set to check a light during filming. Audio clips of Bale yelling obscenities at Hurlburt leaked, causing jaws to drop everywhere. Bale even threatened to quit the film if Hurlburt dared walk on set during filming again. 


Britney Spears
Britney Spears by Glenn Francis - (CC BY-SA)

Britney Spears

The picture of a bald Britney Spears angrily attacking a paparazzi’s car with an umbrella is one that is vivid in our minds no matter how much time has passed since her infamous meltdown in 2007. The pop star is no stranger to shocking the public, with other incidents including driving with her infant son on her lap to evade paparazzi and refusing to return her sons to their father, Kevin Federline until police intervened.


tom cruise
tom cruise by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA)

Tom Cruise

While Tom Cruise’s outburst was one of joy rather than the more common rage-induced meltdowns, it is definitely one of the more memorable crazed celebrity moments. During an interview with Oprah Winfrey for her talk show, the actor expressed himself as any fool in love would — he hopped on the couch a couple of times, kneeled on the floor and shook his fists victoriously, and proclaimed, “I’m in love!” Apparently Oprah’s couch was the next best thing to a rooftop.


Related: 20 Infamous Talk Show Moments


Vanilla Ice
Vanilla Ice by Dave Kleinschmidt (CC BY-SA)

Vanilla Ice

The 1999 MTV special “25 Lame” highlighted the 25 worst music videos in history and was hosted by Jon Stewart, Janeane Garofalo, Denis Leary, and Chris Kattan. Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby'' video landed in the top ten and the rapper was brought on stage to destroy the tape of his video. When offered a hammer, Ice deduced he’d need something more powerful and opted for a baseball bat. To everyone’s disbelief (and discomfort) he didn’t stop at smashing the tape — he wrecked the entire set.


Snooki
Snooki by (None)

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi

“Where’s the beach?!” Perhaps one of the most iconic moments in reality television was during an episode of MTV’s Jersey Shore when Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi drunkenly stumbled onto the closed beach, frantically trying to find it (perhaps the alcohol caused her to become numb to the feeling of sand on her feet). The guidette continued to yell and cause a scene and was escorted off the shore by police to sober up behind bars for the night.


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Amanda Bynes
Wikimedia Commons

Amanda Bynes

Formerly America’s Sweetheart and resident charming funny girl, Amanda Bynes might hold the record for the most off-the-wall meltdown. The actress was discovered laying pantsless in a stranger’s driveway as it was on fire. When a concerned Good Samaritan approached her, she grabbed her dog and ran to a nearby gas station where she attempted to give the dog a bath in the bathroom sink. The incident was so bizarre that Bynes was placed on a 72-hour psychiatric hold.


Dennis Rodman
Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images

Dennis Rodman

During a 1997 basketball game between the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves, Kevin Garnett and Dennis Rodman tussled for the ball after the Timberwolves missed a free throw. Rodman seemingly lost his balance and fell out of bounds into the media area. As the player was trying to regroup, a cameraman turned his camera toward him, inspiring Rodman to kick him in his groin area. 


Mel Gibson
Steve Granitz / FilmMagic / Getty Images

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson’s meltdowns started with a DUI and just kept on … melting? When the actor was pulled over in 2006 for allegedly driving while intoxicated, he went on an anti-Semitic rant. A couple of years later, tapes were leaked of a phone call between him and then-girlfriend and mother of one of his nine children, Oksana Grigorieva. During the call, Gibson screamed racist remarks at her and became completely unhinged. 


David Hasslehoff
David M. Benett / Getty Images Europe

David Hasslehoff

One moment he was the star of “Baywatch” and “Knight Rider,” and the next he was videotaped sloppily eating a burger on the bathroom floor in a drunken stupor. The video was taken by his 16-year-old daughter so she could show him the effects of his drinking — throughout the video, she can be heard begging her slobbery mess of a father to give up drinking.


Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon by Mingle MediaTV (CC BY-SA)

Reese Witherspoon

While Reese Witherspoon enjoys a predominantly squeaky clean image in the media, her 2013 arrest with husband Jim Toth was beyond messy. As Toth was being cited for a DUI, Witherspoon interjected, repeatedly mentioning her rights as an “American citizen” when the officer asked her to back off. At one point, the actress asked the officer if he knew her name and when he said no, she yelled, “You’re about to find out who I am.” Unfortunately for her, pulling the fame card didn’t keep her out of handcuffs for obstruction.

Justin Bieber
Rachpoot/Getty

Justin Bieber

The Biebs began spiraling out of control in 2014 in a series of alcohol-induced escapades. His meltdown came to a head as the pop star left a New York City nightclub with his friends, spotting a bucket used to clean the club’s floors. Bieber decided to pee in the bucket and sprayed a picture of Bill Clinton hanging in the club, cursing the former president. The tirade was caught on camera and Bieber ended up calling Bill Clinton to apologize for his antics.


Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA)

Alec Baldwin

You’ve heard of celebrities flipping out on the paparazzi, crew members, and even strangers, but Alec Baldwin’s meltdown was directed toward his own, then-11-year-old daughter, Ireland. The actor attempted to call Ireland and when she didn’t pick up her phone, he left her a pretty nasty voicemail, going so far as to call her a “rude, thoughtless pig.” Ouch.


Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen

When it comes to Charlie Sheen, there is definitely no shortage of meltdowns and outbursts. Sheen went on a number of profanity-laced livestream rants in which he would call out “Winning!” While his tirades resulted in his phrase trending on Twitter, they also cost him his role on “Two and a Half Men.” Safe to say he ended up losing, not winning, instead.


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