16 Controversial Celebrity Moments That Had You Saying “WTF?!”

Sometimes our faves just act out in ways that we don’t understand and never saw coming. Sometimes it’s America’s sweetheart doing something seriously out-of-character, or two low-key celebrities flat-out brawling on social media – time and time again, celebrities hit us with some serious “WTF” moments and shocking scandals that are completely unexpected.

So many crazy things happen every day in Hollywood that while we may remember Winona Ryder shoplifting 20 years down the line, other moments seem to fade from our memories almost immediately – no matter how shocking they were at the time. While some of these moments should definitely be better remembered by the masses, others we can dismiss as one-time bizarre behavior that doesn’t have to totally change the way we think about the star in question.

16. Reese Witherspoon asking a cop “do you know my name?”

In 2013, Reese Witherspoon’s husband was arrested for suspected drunk driving, and she tried to jump in to help the situation. Unfortunately, she didn’t go about it in the best way. Instead, she repeatedly disobeyed the police officer’s orders to step away from him, and he eventually put her in handcuffs for obstruction of justice. As she was being put in handcuffs, she *literally* asked, “do you know my name?” As if her fame could get her out of that one. To be fair, maybe another cop would’ve fallen for it. Of course, Reese wound up needing to publicly apologize once the audio was leaked – and she seemed super embarrassed. We still love you, girl!

15. Miley Cyrus twerking on Robin Thicke

During probably the most awkward MTV VMAs in history, Miley Cyrus caught everyone off-guard with her entire performance. This was essentially her coming out party, saying “I’m not a little kid anymore!” But it was still pretty shocking all the same. Her nude leather two-piece? Her outrageous dance moves? That foam finger? Then most awkward part came when she twerked on Robin Thicke while he sang “Blurred Lines,” a song almost synonymous with its perpetuation of rape culture. She went all out, and everyone watching couldn’t help but cringe. It’s safe to say most of us pretty much blocked it out from our memory.

14. Ariana Grande licking doughnuts

Ariana Grande isn’t usually a celebrity who is wrapped in controversy, but in 2015 she stirred up quite a bit of it when a surveillance video surfaced of her licking a tray of doughnuts in a shop outside LA. To make matters worse, she turned to a friend afterward and said, “I hate Americans. I hate America.” Of course, the internet went crazy for a while, but once she released an apology claiming she was talking about how much of an issue obesity is in our country (???!?!?), all was right again. She’s still one of the biggest pop stars of this decade and her 2016 album Dangerous Woman was a banger.

13. Justin Bieber forgetting the lyrics to “Despacito”

Justin Bieber’s remix of the song “Despacito” took the world by storm during the summer of 2017. He even sang it on a couple of his tour stops, when Luis Fonsi joined him. It seemed like Bieber had a decent handle on the Spanish lyrics from the original track, but he showed everyone he didn’t when he forgot the lyrics and started replacing them with words like “Dorito” and “burrito.” He offended his latinx fans and sparked a huge conversation surrounding his insensitive actions. Artists are still collaborating with him though, so it seems everyone has moved on.

12. Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift fighting on Twitter

Everyone remembers the Calvin Harris hit “This Is What You Came For” from 2016. Not many knew that Taylor Swift helped write the song when the two were dating (using a pseudonym), until her and her team decided to reveal the information after the song gained popularity. It’s unclear what her team’s motive was for sharing the news when they did, but Harris wasn’t happy. He took to Twitter to confirm that it was true, and said he appreciated her contributions to the song, but then ask her to focus on her new boyfriend and stop trying to tear him down “like Katy [Perry].” Yikes.

11. Lena Dunham saying she wishes she’d had an abortion

At the end of 2016, Lena Dunham discussed the importance of Planned Parenthood and stories of abortion on her podcast Women of the Hour. The podcast is focused on women’s rights, so it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary until she said she has never had an abortion, but that she wished she had… Yep. She clearly was trying to remove the stigma placed on having an abortion, but her statement seemed to dismiss the emotional trauma that some women who experience abortion go through. As with many of her quotes, her words were not well thought out and ended up offending a whole bunch of people.

10. Vanessa Hudgens carving her name into a rock at a national park

Vanessa Hudgens is known for being super into Mother Nature, so she turned heads when she posted a photo on Instagram of a rock in a national park that she’d carved her and her boyfriend’s names into. Not only is that illegal, but it’s not exactly the best way to respect the Earth’s natural wonders. She was ordered to pay $1,000 to repair the rock, but her fans remained disappointed in her actions. She later spoke out to say she hadn’t really carved the rock, only wrote on it with another rock. Sure, it’s less harmful but still not the best idea when you’re a celeb with millions of followers.

9. Katy Perry saying she wants to skin Japanese people

It’s no secret that Katy Perry loves costumes, and she loves incorporating fashion from other cultures into her wardrobe – something that has got her called out for cultural appropriation on countless occassions. In 2012, during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, she talked about her love for Japanese people and their culture. But it took a weird (and wrong) turn when she said that she wanted to skin them and wear them “like Versace.” … for real?! Like, who in the world would think saying something like that is okay?!

8. Zac Efron posting about his follower count on MLK Jr. Day

This is another one of those situations where the intentions were good but the execution was not. On MLK Jr. Day in 2016, Zac Efron tweeted “I’m grateful for a couple things today: Martin Luther King Jr. & 10 million followers on IG.” The actor was probably just trying to spread some love, but he looked like he was trying to equate his 10 million follower accomplishments to the accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr, which pretty obviously is not the same.

7. Joaquin Phoenix quitting acting and telling everyone he’s a rapper

Joaquin Phoenix broke into Hollywood as an actor, and it seemed like it was working out for him. From Walk The Line to The Village, he starred in some pretty high-profile movies and received some award nominations along the way. Then in 2010, he released a movie called I’m Still Here, where he announced he was quitting acting to become a rapper. He even got P. Diddy in on the film, and the entire world was super confused. Since then, he has obviously gone back to acting and said his bizarre antics were pieces of performance art for his new movie. We’re still confused, but whatevs.

6. Cara Delevingne being totally sassy in an interview

This is another moment that most of us might have blocked out due to just how cringe-worthy it was, but we’ll admit that this one wasn’t necessarily Cara’s fault. During an interview for her new film Paper Towns, Cara Delevingne seemed not at all interested in the questions being asked of her – but perhaps it was because the interviewers fumbled on her name, then asked if she’d even read the book prior to filming the movie – which is kind of an inappropriate question. So Cara basically said that she just winged the whole movie, in fact. Her attitude didn’t stop there, though. The reporter eventually points out her lack of enthusiasm about the interview and asks what’s wrong, and Delevingne’s response is, “I think it’s just you.” It was really bad to watch.

5. Shia Labeouf wearing a paper bag on his head on the red carpet

Shia Labeouf once announced that his entire life was an extended art project. He also told the world he was taking a retirement from public life shortly before that. Needless to say, he’s a pretty confusing person. He once filmed himself marathoning his own movies so that people could watch live. That still doesn’t help us explain why he wore a paper bag over his face with the words, “I’m Not Famous Anymore” written on it to the premiere of his film Nymphomaniac. Maybe it’s part of his “retirement,” but it’s still pretty weird.

4. Jaden Smith saying he wants to be the craziest person on the planet

In a 2014 interview with the New York Times, Jaden and Willow Smith seemed a little off in their own world. They discussed “prana energy” and how it relates to babies, but somehow it just kept getting weirder. They tried to finish each other’s sentences but wound up changing the course of the conversation completely in that effort. At the end of the interview, Jaden said, “I have a goal to be just the most craziest person of all time. And when I say craziest, I mean, like, I want to do like Olympic-level things. I want to be the most durable person on the planet.” We still don’t know what that means but we think about it way more than we should. Good luck to you, darling!

3. Sacha Baron Cohen pouring ashes on Ryan Seacrest

In 2012, Sacha Baron Cohen made quite the impression on Ryan Seacrest when he spilled ashes on his suit at the 2012 Oscars. Cohen was attending the awards as his character from the film The Dictator, and he was carrying around an urn full of the “ashes of Kim Jong-il.” In his interview with Seacrest, he spilled the ashes all down the front of his suit, which pretty much stunned everyone watching (especially Ryan Seacrest). It upset the TV personality so much that he apparently denied future interviews with Cohen because of it.

2. Jennifer Lawrence asking Josh Hutcherson about his rash in an interview

During a red carpet interview for The Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence breezed past co-star Josh Hutcherson and whispered “is the rash doing okay?” right in the middle of his interview. Clearly, she did it to embarrass him, and it worked. He blushed and stumbled over his words, leaving the interviewer at a loss for words as well. We all know Jennifer Lawrence is quite the prankster, but her stunt on the red carpet certainly left more than just Josh Hutcherson feeling uncomfortable.

1. Kanye West saying he’s going to run for president

Kanye West has a history of making waves at the VMAs. Remember his famous disruption of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech? Well in 2015, he stirred things up even more during his own acceptance speech. The whole speech doesn’t quite make sense and was wildly long, but somehow at the end, he makes sure to let everyone know what we “probably could have guessed by this moment,” which is that he is running for president in 2020. He later told Vanity Fair that his comment wasn’t a joke, and he really plans on running. Only time will tell if we have a President West in our future… but after his more recent tweets, we’re hoping not.

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