32 of the Most Legendary Hollywood Rivalries


biggest hollywood rivalries Bette Davis and Joan Crawford
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Hollywood is, by all accounts, a stressful place—even if you find success. Fights between actors, directors, singers, and other professionals aren't uncommon, especially considering the amount of money on the line (and the egos to go with it). Sometimes it's a rivalry between contemporaries over who gets the top billing as actor or singer. Sometimes it's a conflict over which story gets told, whether it be in a romantic relationship or professional interaction, and who emerges the "victor." Sometimes it's all-out war based on longstanding resentments (some of these rivalries turned into outright feuds by the end).

Either way, when a private fight turns public, and a lasting competitive relationship develops, people are fascinated to watch it unfolds. Below, 32 of the biggest Hollywood rivalries ever.

Sean Young and James Woods

biggest hollywood rivalries Sean young and James woods

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Playing a troubled married couple on The Boost, the two actors got into it—legally, as it would turn out, with Woods suing Young for stalking and the lawsuit being settled out of court (Young received $227,000 in legal fees). The two dispute how it all started; Young maintained it resulted from his having a crush on her and her turning him down. Accusations and rumors would circle for years.

Liam and Noel Gallagher

biggest hollywood rivalries Liam Gallagher Noel Gallagher

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The band Oasis officially broke up in 2009, but Liam and Noel Gallagher had had a contentious rivalry long before (with disputes about the direction of the band, allegations of drug and alcohol use, physical fights, and no-shows on important performances). Following the breakup, the two continued to trash each other.

Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag

biggest hollywood rivalries Lauren Conrad Heidi montag

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For the good girl and the villain of The Hills (and there's debate over which one is which), the journey from BFFs to rivals was well-publicized. In season 3, Conrad ended her friendship with Montag over the latter (allegedly!) starting a rumor about a sex tape between Conrad and Jason Wahler.

Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde

biggest hollywood rivalries Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde

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The production of Don't Worry Darling was...troubled, let's say (and includes more than just this feud), but one of the most intriguing aspects was Olivia Wilde's effusive praise for Florence Pugh, which Pugh mostly did not return—all of which was muddied by leaked tapes in which Wilde appears to be dismissive of her lead actor. The two were chilly towards each other at the premiere.

Raquel Welch and MGM

biggest hollywood rivalries Raquel Welch and mgm

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When Raquel Welch was suddenly fired and replaced in the film Cannery Row, she sued media company MGM—and won. (Technically, you could say the rivalry was between Welch and the much-younger actor who replaced her, Debra Winger, but the battle over supremacy centered around MGM's claim that Welch was temperamental, and Welch's claim that they only used her to get funding for the movie.)

Faye Dunaway and Roman Polanski

biggest hollywood rivalries Faye dunaway and Roman Polanski

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Faye Dunaway objected to Roman Polanski's treatment of her on the movie Chinatown, with accusations ranging from allegedly not letting her take bathroom breaks to plucking out her hair because it was ruining a shot. (This was one of the last films Polanski made before fleeing the country after being convicted of sexual abuse.)

David Letterman and Jay Leno

biggest hollywood rivalries David letterman jay leno

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Once Jay Leno became host of The Tonight Show and his contemporary David Letterman was snubbed (Johnny Carson had hoped Letterman would be his successor), the media assumed the two were bitter rivals. Jay Leno would later say, "It was a friendly rivalry, everyone else made it much worse than it really was."

Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell

biggest hollywood rivalries Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell

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The real problem here was the '90s modeling industry, which was struggling with inclusion and diversity. Banks, who was younger than Campbell, said she looked up to her but that Campbell made life tougher for her, even saying (allegedly), "You’ll never be me. Don’t think you can be me." 

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis

biggest hollywood rivalries Dean Martin Jerry Lewis

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While they were under contract to work together, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis made 16 feature films—and Martin eventually became irritated that his "straight man" role was increasingly sidelined in favor of Lewis' comedic persona. The two broke up publicly and didn't speak for 20 years before reconciling.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Martha Stewart

biggest hollywood rivalries Gwyneth Paltrow and Martha Stewart

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When Gwyneth Paltrow was launching lifestyle brand Goop, Martha Stewart was asked about it and (in so many words) insinuated Paltrow was copying her success. Several jabs followed, including Stewart titling an article "Conscious Coupling" and Paltrow making a "Jailbird Cake."

Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine

biggest hollywood rivalries Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine

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It's a little unusual for two big Hollywood rivals to be sisters...and yet here we are! Apparently they were even rivals when they shared a room as kids, but it culminated in the two being nominated for Oscars in the same year and having to share a very awkward table at the ceremony. Oh, and Fontaine claimed to have to been excluded from her mother's memorial service.

Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan

biggest hollywood rivalries Paris hilton Lindsay Lohan

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The battle of the '00s it girls was legendary in the press (which reaaaally glorified their struggles and objectified both of them). The two were spotted fighting in a nightclub in 2006 (with Lohan reportedly dating Hilton's ex Stavros Niarchos), and the rest was history. Recently Hilton said the two had put the feud to bed, adding, "We’re not in high school. I think it was just very immature and now everything is all good."

Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie

biggest hollywood rivalries Paris Hilton Nicole Richie

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It's not totally clear how these friends became frenemies, but when Hilton hosted SNL (not inviting Richie) and Richie (very allegedly) hosted a watch party of Hilton's sex tape, it caused a massive rift. Never fear, though, because the two were spotted laughing at Paris' wedding in 2022.

Lady Gaga and Madonna

biggest hollywood rivalries lady gaga madonna

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Lady Gaga has, naturally, said that she considers Madonna a source of inspiration. But Madonna called one of Gaga's songs “reductive” (fans cited that “Born This Way” resembled Madonna's earlier "Express Yourself"). The two appeared to reconcile; Madonna referenced the singer in a performance in 2024 but swore there's "nothing against Lady Gaga. Love her.”

Elton John and Madonna

biggest hollywood rivalries Elton John and Madonna

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The longstanding friends turned enemies when Elton John called "Die Another Day" the worst Bond song ever in 2002. Public jabs resulted; In an off the cuff segment between interviews in 2012, John called her a “nightmare” and a “fairground stripper." John even weighed in on the Madonna-Gaga feud, calling Madonna “nasty and ungracious." But he's also praised her 2023 concert tribute to victims of AIDS, so...who knows.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall

biggest hollywood rivalries sarah jessica parker and Kim Cattrell

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Reportedly (and not verified), the tension between the Sex and the City costars centered around salary and roles on the show. Rumors abounded in the late 2000s that the actors weren't speaking, and in 2017 Cattrall admitted she and her costars had "never been friends" and that she turned down a third movie. When Parker expressed condolences for Cattrall's brother's death, Cattrall wrote, on Instagram, "You are not my family. You are not my friend. So I’m writing to tell you one last time to stop exploiting our tragedy in order to restore your ‘nice girl’ persona."

Taylor Swift and Katy Perry

biggest hollywood rivalries Taylor Swift and Katy Perry

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After Taylor Swift started working with some dancers that had toured with Katy Perry, then Perry rehired them for another tour, Swift said the song "Bad Blood" was based on this interaction: "She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me...So now I have to avoid her. It's awkward, and I don't like it." After some back and forth, the two appeared together and hugged each other in Swift's music video for "You Need to Calm Down."

Taylor Swift and Kanye West

biggest hollywood rivalries Taylor swift and Kanye west

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The relationship between Swift and the rapper is volatile (and too long to cover here), but when West interrupted Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Music Awards to proclaim that Beyoncé should have won Best Female Video instead, it kicked off a long and public animosity.

Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield

biggest hollywood rivalries Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield

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Reportedly, Jayne Mansfield was seen as a younger, blonde replacement for Marilyn Monroe (Mansfield was game to accept comparison; in this photo, she's putting her hands on Monroe's handprints on the Walk of Fame as a part of a publicity stunt). Monroe was not a fan, to put it mildly.

Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe

biggest hollywood rivalries Laurence Olivier Marilyn Monroe

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During filming for The Prince and the Showgirl, Laurence Olivier reportedly said to Monroe, All you have to do is be sexy, dear Marilyn.” In response, she apparently became uncooperative on set. Monroe's then-husband Arthur Miller later noted, "As she had done with so many people, she had idealised Olivier, who, as the great and serious artist, must be above mortal considerations of the kind so common among the Hollywood flesh-mongers she thought she had escaped.”

Elton John and Rod Stewart

biggest hollywood rivalries Elton john and rod stewart

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The two singers have long had a contentious relationship. It started when Stewart changed the words to a cover of John's "Country Comfort," and resulted in a number of public jabs back and forth. Case in point: Stewart said that John's 2018 tour “stinks of grabbing money” and John wrote in his memoir that Stewart was the "feral spirit of rock and roll." Lol.

Cardi B and Nicki Minaj

biggest hollywood rivalries Cardi b Nicki Minaj

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Minaj has been involved in a number of public feuds/rivalries over her career; there's rumored beef with Cardi B, including fan theories on lyrics dissing each other, Cardi B (allegedly!) trying to fight Minaj, and social media rants. Also! Minaj's husband filmed a video seemingly looking to fight Cardi B's then-partner Offset; A judge sentenced him to house arrest for probation violation.

Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus

biggest hollywood rivalries Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus

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When Miley Cyrus mentioned Nicki Minaj in a New York Times interview in 2015, Minaj responded in her acceptance speech at the MTV VMAs, saying, "Back to this b***h who had a lot to say about me the other day in the press. Miley, what's good?" (The two apparently reconciled on social media in 2018.)

Johnny Carson and Joan Rivers

biggest hollywood rivalries Johnny Carson and Joan rivers

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Rivers credits her first appearance on The Tonight Show as helping to jumpstart her career, and the two comedians had great chemistry (Rivers also acted as substitute host when Carson was on vacation.) But when Rivers was approached to do her own show, Carson was so infuriated he hung up on her over the phone and never spoke to her again.

Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly

biggest hollywood rivalries Debbie Reynolds and gene kelly

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Reynolds was young and inexperienced when she was cast in Singing in the Rain, which apparently infuriated her costar Gene Kelly. Reynolds later explained that he “criticized everything I did and never gave me a word of encouragement. He was a severe taskmaster.” (The two later reconciled.)

Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor

biggest hollywood rivalries Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor

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In what could only be described as a tabloid dream, Debbie Reynolds' husband Eddie Fisher left her for...her good friend Elizabeth Taylor. The two friends would later reconcile and become closer than ever, with Reynolds later noting, "You have to look at what life is all about, and is it worth it? And, is he worth it? The friendship was perhaps worth more."

Orson Welles and William Randolph Hearst

biggest hollywood rivalries Orson Welles William Randolph Hearst

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When Orson Welles made a (critical) portrait of magnate William Randolph Hearst via the film Citizen Kane, Hearst was so incensed that he did everything in his power to squash the film—including, apparently, blackmail, negative newspaper coverage, support from famous friends, and FBI involvement.

The Rock and Vin Diesel

biggest hollywood rivalries Rock and vin diesel

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Since 2016, there have been reports of animosity between the two Fast and the Furious actors, starting with The Rock's claim that some of his fellow actors were “candy asses"; costars later confirmed there was tension on set. After much back and forth, though, The Rock said he was returning to the franchise in 2023.

Katherine Heigl and Shonda Rhimes

biggest hollywood rivalries Katherine Heigl Shonda rhimes

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In 2008, Katherine Heigl withdrew from the Emmys for a Grey's Anatomy nomination, saying she didn't feel "I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination." Heigl was pretty quickly written off the show, with Rhimes later saying in 2014 regarding her show Scandal, "There are no Heigls in this situation…I don't put up with [expletive] or nasty people. I don't have time for it." 

Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera

biggest hollywood rivalries Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera

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While much of this rivalry was driven by the media—the good girl (Spears)/bad girl (Aguilera) narrative in particular—there was some IRL animosity. Spears said in 2004, "When someone has been rude to you so many times, it’s like, ‘You know what, Christina, I’m really not about the fake anymore.'" Aguilera retorted by calling her a "lost little girl." But the two apparently have no beef anymore.

Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando

biggest hollywood rivalries Frank Sinatra Marlon Brando

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Apparently there was some intense behind the scenes drama on the set of Guys and Dolls, with Sinatra referring to the non-musically inclined Brando as "Mumbles," and Brando deliberately ruining takes of a scene in which Sinatra was eating cheesecake so that the singer was forced to continue eating all day. By the end of the film, they weren't speaking to each other.

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford

biggest hollywood rivalries Bette Davis and Joan Crawford

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A rivalry so legendary that it inspired a TV anthology series? That's Bette Davis and Joan Crawford! It apparently began when Crawford's divorce news overshadowed Davis' movie, and continued for decades—including Crawford "stealing" a romantic interest, film roles taken from one another, rumors that Crawford was interested in Davis, Davis playing a "washed-up actress" based on Crawford, and the two angrily starring in the same movie: What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? Davis once snarked, "[Crawford] slept with every male star at MGM—except Lassie."

Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.