Naming ten Hollywood celebrity scandals is relatively easy. This town has had so much scandal that it threatens at times to be more entertaining than the entertainment it produces. Below is just a sampling of Hollywood celebrity scandals.
- Fatty Arbuckle. Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle isn’t a name that rings too many bells now, but he was one of the most talented comedians of Hollywood’s silent era. Charged with the murder of Virginia Rappe, Arbuckle faced three trials (the first two ending in hung juries). He was found innocent at the end of a third trial. However, the scandal ended his career and bankrupted him.
- O.J. Simpson. Sports celebrity O.J. Simpson became a major Hollywood scandal when he was charged with the murder of his ex-wife and her friend. The case riveted the nation for almost an entire year. In the end, Simpson was found not guilty, but the scandal and media frenzy destroyed his career. A civil trial in 1997 found that he played a material role in the deaths and awarded the victims families $38 million.
- Pam Anderson. Anderson is the queen of capitalizing on personal embarrassment. When her “stolen” sex tape with then-husband Tommy Lee surfaced just weeks after their honeymoon it became an epic Hollywood celebrity scandal. It increased when the tape got uploaded to the internet and downloaded millions of times. Needless to say, her reputation didn’t suffer in the least due to the publicity it caused.
- Hugh Grant. Although no one has argued he did it with the intent of being caught, his bust for soliciting a prostitute, public humiliation, and subsequent public apology did wonders for his career. No longer seen as by his fans as the lovable nice guy, he went on to successfully play the cad in numerous films.
- Anna Nicole Smith. Smith’s life story is more tragic than most. After a huge modeling career, her life spun straight into Hollywood celebrity scandal when she married an 89-year-old billionaire. His death and the long legal battle over his estate took their toll. In 2006, her son died of a drug overdose, sending her into a tailspin. She died four months later.
- Paris Hilton. Hilton is an heir to the Hilton family fortune, said to be in the billions. While it is not uncommon for the children of the uber-rich to have a wild lifestyle, it’s another thing to use an illicit encounter to gain even more fame. Paris Hilton's sex tape, and the subsequent fame it brought her, led to a sex tape trend among Hollywood’s elite.
- Roman Polanski. Polanski's arrest and guilty plea in 1977 to “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor," became so much of a major Hollywood celebrity scandal he fled the country before he could be sentenced. As of 2011 he has never set foot in the United States, despite an effort to extradite him in 2009.
- Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn. While dating Mia Farrow, Allen started an affair with one of Farrow’s adopted daughters. Once news of the affair became a Hollywood celebrity scandal, public opinion of Allen plummeted. He claimed that he never lived with Farrow and was not a father figure to Previn. As a result, he lost custody and most of the visitation rights he had with the other children.
- The Leno, Letterman War. Johnny Carson announced his retirement from "The Tonight Show" and sparked a bitter feud between the two late-night rivals. Carson assumed his hosting duties would go to Letterman, but Carson’s permanent guest-host, Jay Leno, had other ideas. The struggle for the "Tonight Show" chair became the only celebrity scandal Hollywood wanted to talk about.
- Rock Hudson. Hudson was an icon in Hollywood known for his rugged good looks and swagger. The revelation in 1985 that he had contracted AIDS stunned the nation. Hudson’s subsequent death just a few months later put a public face to the disease and changed people’s perceptions of those who still had it.
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