Despite having tons of media training (opens in new tab), celebrities are bound to slip up every now and then, engaging in activities that don't fit proper interview etiquette. Things like cursing on camera, yelling at an interviewer, or walking out of an interview before it's over are probably not recommended—yet many stars have done all three. Click to see how badly some of your favorite Hollywood A-listers have behaved during live interviews.
David Bowie, 1974
Bowie stopped by the popular late night TV show The Dick Cavett Show for a half-hour interview (opens in new tab) that's still remembered today. The signer's nervous laughing, lack of eye contact, and fidgeting throughout was said to be fueled by cocaine—a drug he reportedly (opens in new tab) did regularly in the 70s.
Mike Tyson and Robin Givens, 1988
In this interview with Barbara Walters (opens in new tab), the then-couple gets very intimate about their relationship. Givens describes Tyson as “manic depressive." She notes that their marriage is “torture, pure hell, worse than anything [she] could have imagined.” It's sad to listen to her describe how he treats her because no man should ever treat a woman that way, but it's also incredibly awkward that she calls him out while he sits right next to her.
When Madonna is first greeted by David Letterman during this appearance on his talk show (opens in new tab), she sneakily shakes his hand, passing off her underwear (or a pair of underwear) to him. Right from the start Madonna called the TV show host a “sick fuck”—but in a playful way, acknowledging the fact that he’s always asking about her sex life.
Princess Diana, 1995
Princess Diana gave a shocking interview with BBC journalist Martin Bashir, discussing her issues with bulimia and postpartum depression. The princess also revealed that she knew about Prince Charles and Camilla’s affair (opens in new tab), and even talked about her own love affair with her riding instructor, James Hewitt. She and Charles were divorced a year later.
Drew Barrymore, 1995
During her interview on The Late Show with David Letterman, Barrymore jumps up on Letterman's desk and begins dancing erotically. Then, out of nowhere, she quickly flashes him her breasts (opens in new tab). Apparently it was Letterman's birthday, and Barrymore said this was her present to him.
Courtney Love, 1995
Love decided to interrupt Madonna's MTV VMA's interview (opens in new tab) by throwing her makeup compact at her. Interviewer Kurt Loder invites Love on stage, even though Madonna says, “No, don’t.” It all goes downhill from there—like when Love says Madonna is mean to her or that she wants to quit music and be a candy striper.
Farrah Fawcett, 1997
On David Letterman's show, Fawcett discussed her prior college aspirations (opens in new tab), which included doing abstract art paintings using parts of her body. “I have to tell you, I did the most incredible gluteus maximus ever,” she said. Then she got a little more intimate with the details, saying, “It’s very expressive, it’s round and then it has movement.” It’s unclear whether she was talking about her own butt or not, but Letterman really enjoyed cracking (ha) jokes about it.
Monica Lewinsky, 1999
In 1999, Lewinsky gave a bombshell interview to Barbara Walters, describing the intimate relationship (opens in new tab) she had during her affair with President Bill Clinton. "I thought he was my sexual soulmate," she said. "I think when you allow yourself to open up that way, things happen." She goes on for two hours, discussing her flirtations with the president and how the two ended up in bed together.
David Blaine, 2001
The magician is well-known for his stunt performances—like the time he stood on a 22-foot tall pillar in New York City, surrounding by a system of coils that sent 100 million volts of electricity (opens in new tab) at him. But in a 2001 interview, he was far from exciting when he said that he's probably going to die from his next stunt.
"I'm left to do it on my own, and the problem with that is that I'll probably die," Blaine said in monotone. "I don't think people understand the danger with this next one." During the entire interview, Blaine's attitude is very off-putting.
Michael Jackson, 2003
A documentary about Jackson's life was made and released 10 years after charges of child sexual abuse were filed against him—and in it, the singer made quite a few inappropriate comments (opens in new tab). When talking about his own children, Jackson said he allows their friends to come over and sleep in his bed, and that he sees no problem with it because, "it's all very charming." The interviewer seems baffled that Jackson would say these things considering the allegations that were brought against him.
Ben Affleck, 2004
This interview between Affleck and Anne-Marie Loisque for the Canadian TV series Box-Office is confusing, frustrating, and inappropriate. To start, Losique is sitting on Affleck’s lap, and he's acting drunk (opens in new tab), problematically speaking to her in a French accent, similar to her own. The video recently resurfaced and people suggested Affleck was manhandling Losique, but she insisted everyone was taking their actions out of context (opens in new tab).
Tom Cruise, 2005
As Oprah describes how “intensely private” Cruise used to be before he was dating Katie Holmes, he dramatically jumps up on the couch (opens in new tab) to profess his love for her. This might have been a little over-the-top, especially since he put his shoes all over Oprah's couch. It was certainly a different side of Cruise.
Jerry Seinfeld, 2007
Here's a case of getting a little too cocky on live television (opens in new tab): In an interview with Larry King on CNN, the host questions whether Seinfeld canceled the show or whether the network canceled him, and Seinfeld is offended. He makes it very clear that he had 75 million viewers and that he decided to quit. Seinfeld can't seem to let it go, and continually interrupts King while he's trying to go to a commercial break.
Jason Segel and Paul Rudd, 2009
While talking about their newest movie, I Love You Man, Segel and Rudd very subtly (but not that subtly) hint that they are both stoned (opens in new tab). At the beginning of the interview they go back and forth naming other movies with "bromance" storylines, and everything they name happens to have the word "stone" in it. Then they start talking about Segel's imaginary friend and can't stop laughing.
Paula Abdul, 2009
During a morning interview with two Seattle news anchors, it becomes obvious that Abdul is drunk (opens in new tab). At first it seems like faulty audio, but when she finally does start responding to their questions, her words are slurred and her answers don't make sense. Though the anchors know something is up, they do their best to keep it professional.
Mel Gibson, 2010
In an interview four years after Gibson received a DUI, a reporter asked him if he thought the public would perceive him differently now. Gibson was outraged by the question and the reporter could tell. After wrapping up the interview, Gibson calls the interviewer an "asshole." Luckily for Gibson, this one was pre-recorded, so that part probably didn't air on TV but you can see it in this uncut clip (opens in new tab).
Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed, 2011
Interviewer Joy Behar shows a clip of her talking with Alice Cooper about the potential 5,000 women Simmons has been with. After the clip, Behar jokes, “How’s your back, Gene?” and he answers with a joke, “My back is very good, my ‘schmeckle,’ not so much.” Tweed got really pissed (opens in new tab) at his comment, hit Simmon's arm, and walked out of the interview.
Justin Bieber, 2012
So many things went wrong during Bieber's phone interview with Mojo in the Morning. First, the interviewer offends Bieber (opens in new tab) by saying he thought his new music sounded like Justin Timberlake. Strike one. Later on, the interviewer asks, "Do you worry about Harry Styles, of One Direction] around your mom, since he likes older women?" Very upset by the question, he responds, "I think you should worry about me around your mom, bro." Strike two. And that was all it took for Bieber to hang up the phone.
Sacha Baron Cohen, 2012
In an attempt to be funny, Cohen dressed like his character from the movie The Dictator at the 2012 Oscars. During his interview with Ryan Seacrest, he stays in character, talking in an accent—which is already close to crossing a line. Cohen makes it worse when he spills an urn he claims is filled with Kim Jong Un's ashes (opens in new tab) all over Seacrest. Whether it was on purpose or not, this was a red carpet they'll both remember.
Kanye West, 2013
During a radio talk show, West goes on a rant (opens in new tab) about the meaning behind his song, "I am a God." After talking about classism and racism, he says, "We've got this other thing that's also been working for a long time where you don't have to be racist anymore—it's called self-hate."
He continues, "It works on itself, it's like real-estate of racism. Where just like that when someone comes up and says, 'I am a God,' everybody says 'Who does he think he is?'" It seems like he's been asked one to many times about why he thinks he's a God.
Quentin Tarantino, 2013
In an interview about his movie Django Unchained, reporter Krishnan Guru-Murthy asks Tarantino about the real life implications of violence (opens in new tab) the movie portrays. Tarantino gets very defensive, repeatedly saying, "It's just a movie," and "It's just fantasy." When the reporter continues to press him on the issue, saying it's his job to ask him these hard questions, the film director refuses to answer and says, “I’m shutting your butt down.”
Mark Wahlberg, 2013
On The Graham Norton Show, Wahlberg confesses he's a little drunk. "Why would you allow people to drink alcohol and come on a show?" he asks the host. He keeps it together for a while, but eventually ends up sitting on Norton's lap (opens in new tab) and rubbing his chest seductively. Whether this was all for show or not, Wahlberg's behavior definitely wasn't appropriate interview etiquette.
Jesse Eisenberg, 2013
During his interview with Romina Puga about the movie Now You See Me, she asks Eisenberg debunk a few magic myths, starting with the infamous pulling you finger apart trick. Eisenberg notices things written on Puga's hand (opens in new tab) and calls her out for not having questions memorized. "Do you know the comedian Carrot Top?" he asks. She responds,"Yes, horrible."
Then Eisenberg compares her to the comedian, and she says she's going to go home and cry after the interview. Sure, she should have been more prepared, but Eisenberg's comments weren't necessary and looked bad on his part.
Mila Kunis, 2013
During her interview with Chris Stark from The Scott Mills Show, Stark asks if Kunis would be his plus-one for his cousin's wedding (opens in new tab). Kunis, annoyed by the inappropriate question, says, "Well I've gone to Marine Balls, so what's another....Apparently I just say yes to everything." He tells her the wedding is in June, and she turns him down by saying she's busy working then.
Joan Rivers, 2014
A CNN reporter interviewing Rivers about her new book, points out a number of criticisms the author has received. She says people think her fashion critiques are mean and they are shocked that she's wearing a fur coat in the cover image. After telling the reporter to “shut up,” Rivers starts to rant about how she was put on this earth to be funny, and ends up storming out of the interview (opens in new tab) before it's over.
Samuel L. Jackson, 2014
A reporter humiliated himself on live TV when he confused Jackson for actor Laurence Fishburne. “We don’t all look the same,” Jackson said in response to the mistake. After the interviewer repeatedly apologized, Jackson continued, “We may be all black and famous, but we all don’t look alike,” refusing to let the reporter live the mistake down (opens in new tab). Maybe this is a case of the interviewer acting inappropriately, not the star....
Cate Blanchett, 2015
During an interview with Andrew Freund about her role in the live-action remake of Cinderella, Blanchett talks about her least favorite chore to do around the house—which is picking up dog poop (opens in new tab). After complaining about picking up "tons of dog poop" for two minutes (and saying the word "poop" at least 10 times), she remembers they are talking about the movie.
"Cinderella, we're talking about Cinderella. There's no dog poop in that fucking story," she says through her teeth. Clearly, this is her least favorite chore.
Ariana Grande, 2015
During a live radio interview, Grande shuts down her interviewer (opens in new tab) after he makes an assumption that all women love their phones and makeup. "Is this men assuming this is what girls would have to choose between?" she says, adding that she can go many hours without touching her phone. The host continues with the sexist comments saying, "Ladies, learn!"
Again, Grande fires back and says, "Boys learn. Boys and girls, we can all learn." This is another instance when we're okay with the star pushing back at the interviewer—Grande stood up for herself and other women when the radio host acted inappropriately, and we applaud her.
Kourtney Kardashian, 2016
Kardashian had a very strange moment on live TV while she was being interviewed on the Australian talk show Today Extra. After being asked how Kim was doing, she starts to answer, but then is distracted by someone behind the camera (opens in new tab). She stops talking all together, and when the host asks if someone else is talking to her she says, "Yes, sorry." So he tries to ask the question again, but Kardashian continues to awkwardly stay silent.
I’m currently working at Dotdash Meredith as the Celeb & Entertainment E-Commerce Lead contributing affiliate content for People.com and InStyle.com. I’m basically like your personal shopper, from writing about that cozy loungewear set you didn’t know you needed to keeping tabs on the best sales and deals on the internet. I’m also a pro at finding affordable dupes for celebrity looks and I love to dig into the data to strategize content opportunities.
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