Celebrities With Bad Reputations That They Don't Really Deserve

One ill-judged decision can taint your entire reputation.
Harriet King April 20th 2019 Entertainment
Have you ever done something you weren't proud of, and been ashamed of it afterward? Of course you have. Everybody has! If you were lucky, you were able to apologize for it and make amends, and the problem went away. Celebrities often can't make things go away quite so easily.
When you're in the public eye, something you did years ago can be brought up repeatedly, no matter what you've done in the years since. One ill-judged decision can taint your entire reputation. It can happen even if you've led a largely blameless life both before and after the incident.
Every celebrity on this list has done something that's seen them fall out of favor with the public. Some of those things were illegal. Some of them were merely ill-advised. In other cases, all they've done is hang out with the wrong person, or made a movie that everybody hated!
Lil Pump
Rappers having a bad reputation is nothing new, but we're so used to rap stars behaving badly that we barely bat an eyelid when it happens these days. It takes someone going completely over the top to cause outrage. Lil Pump has demonstrated quite a talent for doing that. Pump has been arrested for weapons offenses, driving without a license, and disorderly conduct. He also once posted a video on social media which showed him urinating on $100K in banknotes.
It would appear that he's not completely without remorse or contrition, though. When he was accused of using racist language in his song 'Butterfly Doors', which offended the Asian community. Pump posted an apology video on Instagram in which he said he meant no offense, and from now on only wishes to spread love and positivity. If he sticks to that intention, his 2019 should be calmer than his 2018.
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Pitbull
Pitbull is another name from the music community who has a bad reputation with the public, but in his case, it's a little harder to pin down why he's so disliked. His main offense seems to be that he makes music that people just plain don't like. He's also been known to accept endorsement money from any brand which offers it, having promoted Kodak, Dr. Pepper, Bud Light, Walmart, and many more household brands. His willingness to lend his face and likeness to so many advertising campaigns has seen other rappers label him as a sellout.
Away from the stage, Pitbull comes across as a really nice guy. He used his own private plane to transport cancer patients to the US mainland from Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. He's also opened up the Sports Leadership and Management educational program (known as SLAM) in his native Little Havana district of Miami. The program aims to improve education and reduce the poverty gap in inner-city areas, and has since been rolled out to other American cities.
John Mayer
What could people possibly have against the seemingly harmless singer-songwriter John Mayer? Well, as it turns out, just about everything. Mayer rubbed people up the wrong way by claiming to be pure and innocent at the start of his career, stating that he'd never drink, take drugs, date celebrities or otherwise distract himself from his music. A few years later, after a relationship with Jessica Simpson and a couple of badly advised drunken interviews in which he used racist language, he looked both a fool and a hypocrite.
To be fair to Mayer, he recognized the error of his ways shortly afterward. He took two years out of the spotlight to refocus on his life, and later admitted in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres that he'd 'lost his way.' He's also happy to help out with charitable causes; he's set up the 'Back to You' foundation, which raises money for healthcare, education and the arts. Many times, he's donated his own equipment and memorabilia to charity auctions for the fund.
Khloe Kardashian
We could put any of the Kardashian family on this list (and who knows? We might include all of them!), and they'd all be here for the same reason. People don't like them because they're spoiled, rich, famous for nothing but reality television, and seemingly absorbed with their own looks. The public's general opinion of the Kardashians is that they're vacuous, and represent the world of the media's infatuation with celebrity culture. It's difficult to argue against that stance in the case of most of them.
Khloe Kardashian is a little different to her sisters, though. For a start, she's thought to be a little more modest because of her strong Christian convictions; she provides spiritual readings for her friends on a daily basis. She's also spent much of her time away from the cameras campaigning to raise awareness of the Armenian genocide; a massacre which took place in her ancestral homeland during the days of the Ottoman Empire.
Katherine Heigl
This will come as a surprise to many of her adoring fans, but there are a lot of people out there who don't particularly care for Katherine Heigl. The actress has never been in legal trouble throughout her life, and nor has she done anything in her personal life which has attracted negative tabloid attention. The dislike of her appears to stem from a reputation she has for being a 'diva' on set - she walked away from 'Grey's Anatomy' while under contract, forcing the show to be re-written. She also gave scathingly negative interviews about her movie 'Knocked Up,' after being paid handsomely for appearing in it.
Based on the above, it might be true that Heigl is hard to work with. She does make up for it in other areas of her life, though. She's attached to several charities; especially those who support animals, such as the Best Friends Animal Society. She's also been honored by the American Cancer Society for her publicity work on their behalf.
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Mariah Carey
Singer Mariah Carey is the diva for whom all divas are named. She's one of the most incredibly gifted singers the world has ever seen, but the stories about her backstage demands are legendary, and they've been around for years. On top of that, she also has an unfortunate habit of taking big money to perform in dictatorships and for dictators. She played in Libya for Colonel Gaddafi, did the same in Angola, and even in 2019 played in Saudi Arabia during the Khashoggi controversy.
It wouldn't be unfair to say that Carey loves money. If she didn't, she wouldn't keep accepting bookings that were bound to get her bad press. That doesn't make her a bad person though - far from it. Carey has worked with the Make A Wish foundation many times to support sick children, and helped to set up the 'Fresh Air Fund' to connect inner-city children to career opportunities and education. In fact, her involvement with the project was so extensive that it's been nicknamed 'Camp Maria.'
Kim Kardashian
We did say we were likely to be visiting the Kardashians again, so don't say we didn't warn you. Kim is the highest profile of the whole family; the first to make it into the media's glare, and seemingly the most adept at staying there. She's the poster-girl for reality television and product endorsement, with millions of followers on her social media accounts. Part of the reason that the public doesn't like her is because she's 'famous for being famous,' but her marriage to the equally-unpopular Kanye West hasn't helped with her image either.
Even taking all of the above into account, Kardashian doesn't appear to have done anything wrong. On top of that, she does a lot right. Like her sister Khloe, she's campaigned tirelessly for recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Her interest in the law and prison reform saw prisoner Alice Marie Johnson released in 2018, after serving 21 years for a first-time drugs offense. She's even studying to become a lawyer herself!
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Lil Wayne
Perhaps having 'Lil' in your name just isn't a good move for a rapper - it's a license to attract controversy and disapproval from the public! To be fair, nobody gets into rap to become a role model, but Lil Wayne is another member of the rap community who gets into more trouble than most. He's been repeatedly arrested for drugs and weapons offenses, which have seen him spend a year in prison. He's not popular with other musicians either - they've repeatedly used him for plagiarism, and for using samples without permission.
Throughout all his troubles, Lil Wayne has maintained that he's a good and faithful Christian. He runs the non-profit One Family Foundation to raise money for charitable causes, and has spoken out against violence within the 'Black Lives Matter' movement as being counterproductive. In late 2016 he retired from music completely, having become disillusioned with the industry.
Hayden Christensen
Most of the negativity that comes Hayden Christensen's way can be attributed to a decision he made in his career as an actor - he accepted the part of Anakin Skywalker in the 'Star Wars' prequels of the early 21st century. People hated those films, they hated the character, and they hated Christensen for his part in the whole sorry affair. That's not very fair to Christensen, who was simply a man doing his job. His greater crime might be that he wasn't all that good at acting - a pastime he's since mostly retired from.
Now he isn't acting so much, Christensen is able to devote more time to his environmental interests. He bought a farm in 2007 and learned how to run every aspect of it, from tending to the livestock to planting crops. As with many high-profile celebrities, he doesn't keep all of his time or his money for himself either. He's worked with the charity RED to promote awareness and fundraising efforts in an effort to combat the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
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Axl Rose
We've talked a lot already about rap stars behaving badly, but rock stars had them beaten to the punch on that front by many years. You don't expect rock stars to be model citizens, but legendary Guns n' Roses frontman Axl Rose has almost made upsetting people an art form. Even his stage name is an anagram of something rude, which we won't repeat here! Rose is notoriously difficult to work with, which has resulted in multiple line-up changes within his band, and also outraged black and gay communities with violently racist and homophobic lyrics in the song 'One in A Million.'
Although Rose never formally apologized for the lyrics, he did attempt to explain that they weren't intended to be taken literally. That may have been a weak excuse, but he's shown sympathy and support for humanitarian issues in more recent years. He even wrote to the President of Indonesia in 2015, asking for the death penalty not to be imposed in the case of nine Australian drug dealers who were facing trial.
Madonna
When you've been one of the most iconic figures in entertainment for more than thirty years, you're bound to come in for a little criticism. In her earlier years, Madonna seemed to positively welcome criticism. Her video for 'Like A Prayer' went down badly with religious leaders because of its imagery, and mocking the crucifixion during one of her stage shows didn't make things any better. Some also feel that her unusual habit of adopting African children amounts to stealing them away from their native countries, too.
What cannot be doubted, though, is Madonna's commitment to charity, and especially African charities. She personally funded the opening of a children's hospital in Malawi, in addition to ten schools in the same country. That isn't her only charitable interest either; she also opened the 'Ray of Light' Foundation in the late 1990s, with a focus on promoting equal rights and women's issues around the globe.
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Megan Fox
A few short years ago, everything was going well for Megan Fox. She was one of the most sought-after female leads in Hollywood, the star of the 'Transformers' franchise, and a regular winner of 'sexiest women in the world' polls. Then she decided to make negative comments about director Michael Bay, and compared him to Adolf Hitler. That didn't go down well with her co-stars, or the public. She's also been portrayed as a hypocrite; simultaneously complaining about being viewed as a sex symbol while at the same time accepting rolls and doing photo shoots which encourage the idea.
Fox's occasionally 'difficult' behavior is more easily-understood when you discover that she's been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and has cripplingly low self-esteem which has led to her self-harming in the past. She's private and shy when he's away from the camera, but she is known to pursue altruistic endeavors. That includes the funding of ten wells in African villages through her connection to the Generosity Water Charity.
Pauly Shore
Better known to his fans - or at least, those fans he still has - as 'The Weasel,' Pauly Shore was everywhere in the 1990s. He'd transcended stand-up comedy to reach movie-star levels of fame. After that, he seemed to vanish overnight. It was as if the world had woken up one morning and decided that his act was tired, his jokes were lazy and cliched, and on closer inspection, he just wasn't very funny after all. A damaging article in 'Vice' by one of his former interns, which painted him as a monster, sealed the deal in terms of him becoming disliked.
There are some signs that the intern may have been over-the-top with their criticism, though. Shore has done extensive charity work to support the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Beyond that, he remains committed to touring and performing for his fans, even though TV cameras aren't following his every move anymore. More than anything else, Shore just wants to make people laugh.
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Gwyneth Paltrow
These days, it seems like half of the people in Hollywood are super-ostentatious hipster vegan environmentalists. Gwyneth Paltrow was ahead of the curve in that respect, and she managed to get on everybody's last nerve by talking about it as often as possible. She's also into new-age holistic therapy practices like transcendental meditation and cupping, and even managed to be pretentious about announcing that she was filing for divorce from her first husband Chris Martin, describing the process as 'conscious uncoupling.'
It's the high degree of pretentiousness that puts people off Paltrow, but that's a little unkind. She's not actually doing anybody any harm (other than perhaps herself with the cupping!), and her seemingly unusual beliefs go hand in hand with plenty of charity work and philanthropy. Paltrow is an ambassador for the charity 'Save the Children', as well as sitting on the board of the 'Robin Hood Foundation,' which combats poverty in New York.
Chris Martin
Even in divorce, it would seem that Chris Martin can't escape from Gwyneth Paltrow; he's right next to her on this list! Martin is disliked for many of the same reasons as Paltrow - he's seen as pretentious and preachy. A notoriously awkward public persona has also made him seem aloof on occasion, when in reality he's just a little shy. Aside from his persona, there's also his music to take into account. 'Bland,' 'dull,' and 'soulless' are just three of the kinder words which have been used to describe Coldplay's albums.
If Martin is preachy, though, it's because he truly believes in the causes he supports, and he's prepared to put his money where his mouth is to prove it. Coldplay donates 10 percent of all the profits on their music to twenty-eight different charities. The idea of making trade fairer is also important to Martin - so much so that he often has 'Make Trade Fair' written on his hand during prominent performances. He's just trying to make the world a better place!
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Kanye West
Where do we even start with this one? From his arrogant descriptions of himself as 'the world's greatest rock star,' his apparent love of Donald Trump, his marriage to Kim Kardashian and his often-offensive comments on Twitter, there's seemingly nobody that Kanye West hasn't annoyed at least once. He reached peak-irritation at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, when he stormed on stage to interrupt Taylor Swift's acceptance speech for an award to grab the microphone from her and announce that Beyoncé should have won it instead, upsetting Swift and shocking viewers in the process.
It's possible that West is more misunderstood than malicious, though. Whenever he's criticized for something - perhaps most notably his comments about black people being conscious participants in slavery - he always argues that he's simply presenting alternative ideas and asking people to think. He's performed dozens of charity concerts, and personally worked to assist the community in Florida who were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. He's not all bad.
Nicolas Cage
Reasons that people don't like Nicolas Cage broadly fall into two categories; either his habit of not paying tax, or his habit of making terrible films. The two things are connected. According to Cage's former manager, the actor is a compulsive spender who frequently makes outlandish and extravagant purchases on the spur of the moment, which led to him owning 15 different private residences at one point. He didn't keep up with tax payments on any of them, which led to him owing the IRS millions of dollars. As a result, he has to take any paid acting work he's offered - even when the script is awful.
We shouldn't really blame Cage for working hard to pay off his debts; nobody forces us to watch them. He's also probably a nice guy - back when he had money, he was known as one of the most generous stars in Hollywood. In the past, he's donated $2m to Amnesty International, and $1m to support victims of Hurricane Katrina.
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Kirsten Dunst
Beautiful, talented, and successful, it appears that Kirsten Dunst has it all - or at least, she has it all other than universal acceptance from the public. Dunst isn't universally disliked, but there is a specific group of people who have an issue with her - hardcore comic book fans. Spend too much time on Reddit, or other websites where people into nerd culture gather, and you'll find people castigating her for her performance as MJ in the 'Spiderman' series of films. Hating an actress because of one of her parts sounds a little odd to us, but it happens!
Dunst is a socially conscious star, having spoken openly about her own experiences with depression, and the importance of speaking to people if you're having issues with it. She's also taken on more charity work than your average star; she's connected to both 'Stand Up to Cancer' and the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation, having performed telethons for both causes and even designed a necklace, which was then sold with all the proceeds going to the AIDS charity.
Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler is a highly polarizing comedian and actor. People hate him for the same reason his fans love him; his style of comedy. His admirers find him hilarious, but his detractors find him sophomoric and dated, with some even calling his humor sexist and racist in places. Sandler has also developed a reputation for releasing truly abysmal movies; 'Jack and Jill' was a particular lowlight among a career full of them. Only Sylvester Stallone has racked up more nominations and 'wins' at the Golden Raspberry Awards.
For all the abuse he's taken for his perceived shortcomings, Sandler has worn it with good grace, even appearing on Jimmy Kimmel's show to read out mean Tweets that people have sent about him. It's also difficult to dislike a guy who donated $1m of his own money to support the Boys & Girls Club of America. Plus, even if you hate the rest of his films, you have to admit that 'Happy Gilmore' was pretty good!
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Jennifer Lopez
Don't be fooled by the rocks that she's got, she's still (she's still) Jenny from the Block. That's the problem with Jennifer Lopez though; she isn't. Much as she makes frequent references in her music to being 'real' and still being the same person who grew up poor, it doesn't resonate well with the public when she's a millionaire living in a mansion. Her relationship with Ben Affleck (during which the couple was obnoxiously referred to as 'Bennifer') saw her become over-exposed in the tabloid press to the point where she felt omnipresent, and her rumored diva-esque behavior with her personal staff make her appear detached from reality.
The thing is, Lopez denies such behavior even happens. She forced the 'Daily Mail' newspaper to apologize for reporting that she insisted her staff don't talk to her or make eye contact with her, so that was a lie. She's also an icon among the LGBT community, having helped to raise millions of dollars for their causes across the world.
Nicki Minaj
We're back to rappers again, and rappers will always split public opinion! Nicki Minaj's combination of lewd lyrics, sexually provocative behavior and generally diva-ish reputation was never going to win her many fans in conservative quarters. What really rubbed people up the wrong way, though, was her decision to perform and tour with 6ix9ine, after the rapper was convicted of sexual acts with a child in 2013. She made a sexually-charged video with him for the single 'Fefe,' which only served to make matters worse. Proponents of the #MeToo movement accused her of undermining their cause.
Minaj has never apologized for her excesses, but her frequent work with charitable causes and community endeavors suggest that she does care about the welfare of others. She reserves special affection for her fans, taking to Twitter to offer to pay for many of them to go through college. She made good on the promise, funding student loans and tuition fees, some of which cost several thousand dollars.
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Sarah Jessica Parker
We're not sure whether people dislike Sarah Jessica Parker singularly, or they just really don't like 'Sex and the City,' and so she's damned for it via association. One person who has a particularly strong dislike of her is her former co-star on the show, Kim Cattrall. After Parker sent her a tweet wishing her well after the tragic death of her brother, Cattrall responded by calling her a 'hypocrite,' and saying that she had been 'cruel' to her during the filming of the hit television series.
It's worth noting that nobody else who has worked with Parker has negative things to say about her, so this might just be a case of two people not getting along, and nothing more. The fact that Parker's name is attached to no less than seventeen different charities suggests that calling her 'cruel' is wide of the mark, as is the fact that she spent years supporting actor Robert Downey Jr. as he struggled with substance abuse issues.
Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck's chief offense appears to be that he's perceived as the less-talented friend of Matt Damon. Affleck's acting talents have failed to convince many people, as the overwhelmingly negative reception to his casting as 'Batman' proved. In 2017 he confessed that he once inappropriately groped television host Hilarie Burton at an awards ceremony, which didn't do wonders for his reputation either, despite his belated apology for it. Those who vote Republican particularly dislike him for his strong and outspoken support for the Democrats, and for liberal causes in general.
Affleck's liberal views have inspired him to perform many charitable acts, though. His support for the gay and transgender communities has been strong and unwavering for years. Financially, he supports the East Congo Initiative, which attempts to secure better pay and conditions for farmers working within the country. He and Damon also include an 'inclusion rider' in any film they appear in, requiring both casts and crews to be ethnically diverse.
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Amanda Bynes
When people struggle with mental health or substance abuse issues, they're generally deserving of support and understanding. Regrettably, that isn't always the case, and it's harder to provide that support when someone is behaving badly because of their issues. In the sad case of Amanda Bynes, her problems brought her career to a crashing halt. She's been arrested for driving under the influence multiple times, and she was ultimately placed under a mental-health evaluation hold in 2013 after starting a fire in a stranger's driveway.
Bynes is doing a lot better these days. She's not yet returned to acting, but is believed to have been sober for four years, and has apologized profusely to all the people she hurt and upset when she was in the thick of her addiction. She's gone back to school, and is studying for a degree in product marketing with the intention of opening a fashion line.
Shia LeBeouf
"Just do it!" With those three words, Shia LeBeouf achieved two things. Firstly, he ensured that he'd live forever as an internet meme, and secondly, he ensured that his once-promising movie career was all-but over. The bizarre 'motivational' video that was posted on YouTube was just the first in a series of bizarre 'performance art' stunts that LaBeouf has undertaken in the past few years, which have seen him written off as a pretentious crank. His two arrests for drunk and disorderly behavior, during which he was abusive to police officers, are the cherry on the cake in terms of reasons to dislike him.
Is it wrong to dislike artists purely because of their art, though? During one of LeBeouf's performance artworks, he sat in a call center in Liverpool, England, during which callers were invited to tell him their deepest secrets. LeBeouf is understood to have helped dissuade people from suicide during that time, as well as listening to their problems and offering them perspective. He may take himself a little too seriously, but he isn't selfish.
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Tobey Maguire
We've already seen how toxic movie fans can sometimes be in this list - they dislike Kirsten Dunst for no good reason. They also dislike Tobey Maguire for his 'Spiderman' work too, but there may actually be better reasons to dislike Maguire. He was involved in an illegal poker ring at the notorious Viper Room nightclub for years, and once humiliated fellow player Molly Bloom by ordering her to 'bark like a seal' in return for a poker chip. He was also almost fired from his second 'Spiderman' film for refusing to show up for body scans to help the special effects department, and feigning a bad back when he didn't feel like working.
Maguire has at least apologized for his bad behavior, going on to tell 'Vanity Fair' that he felt 'lucky' to have been given the opportunity to the people he'd hurt and offended with his selfish actions. His work with 'Feeding America' and 'Stand Up to Cancer' also suggests that he's not beyond the point of redemption.
Sean Penn
Sean Penn is another actor who appears to be something of a contrary character. He's done plenty of good work - as we'll see in a moment - but he's no stranger to controversy. He won few friends in Great Britain in 2012, when he appeared to suggest that the United Kingdom should hand over the Falkland Islands to Argentina. He was also accused of being a wife-beater by producer Lee Daniels, although Daniels later withdrew the comment. His most infuriating move was to interview Mexican drug baron 'El Chapo' during a time when both Mexican and American police were attempting to arrest him, and failing to disclose the interview to the authorities.
Such behavior is totally at odds with other things Penn has done. He physically helped to rescue victims of Hurricane Katrina, and did the same after an earthquake struck Haiti in 2010. His performance as Harvey Milk and subsequent support of same-sex marriage has afforded him iconic status within the LGBT community, too.
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Zooey Deschanel
Once upon a time, Zooey Deschanel was the quirky girl that everybody seemed to love. Now, she's still a quirky girl, but everybody seems to hate her. Confusingly, nobody seems to be able to give a definitive reason as to why. It's been said that the 'New Girl' star plays effectively the same character in every show or movie she appears in - and that character is the unrealistic 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl' trope. Other people feel that her quirks seem forced, and she comes off as insincere.
Deschanel is definitely eccentric - and we can see how her perkiness could become annoying if someone was exposed to it long term - but she has been diagnosed with ADHD, so the quirks are probably real. We've looked everywhere, and we can't find solid evidence of anything that Deschanel has ever done wrong. She's never been arrested, never publicly been mean to anybody, and generally seems to be genuinely lovely. She also supports the Alzheimer's Association and 'Stand Up to Cancer.' Can we go back to loving her again, please?
Kesha
Kesha's song 'Tik Tok' is one of the catchiest pop hits of the past two decades. It's also very irritating, with juvenile lyrics and a repetitive chorus. We apologize if we've put it into your head by mentioning it! Many people just don't like Kesha's music, and therefore also dislike Kesha. Given the level of autotune in her songs, the accusation that she can't sing is also thrown at her regularly, with the general perception being that she lacks talent, and that her music is vacuous. Also, she spends thousands of dollars each month on glitter, which is just obnoxious.
Whether or not you like her music is a personal choice, but you can't fault her for her commitment to the causes she believes in. Kesha has spoken up in favor of animal rights and LGBT causes in the past, going so far as obtaining a license to perform commitment ceremonies for gay couples. She's also a prominent figure in the #MeToo movement, having called out several figures within the music industry.
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Kristen Stewart
We probably don't need to remind you what Kristen Stewart did to incur the general public's displeasure. She cheated on Robert Pattinson during the peak of the 'Twilight' pair's fame, thus breaking the hearts of thousands of fans who loved them together. Since then it's appeared that she can't do anything right, being criticized for frowning too much, taking herself too seriously and dating too many people. Her open dislike of the tabloid press results in negative articles being written about her, and so her public profile suffers.
Stewart doesn't really care about any of that though, and in reality, she seems level headed and likable. She owned up to the error of having an affair while she was with Pattinson, apologizing for it profusely and repeatedly. She works for Oxfam and the Red Cross whenever she can, and has also raised awareness of LGBT issues by coming out as bisexual.
Nickelback (All of them)
Nickelback is so hated as a band that they've almost become a standing joke. We could have included frontman Chad Kroeger on this list, but that would be doing him a disservice; the entire band is equally loathed. Their middle-of-the-road rock anthems with trivial lyrics are responsible for the hatred, with 'Rockstar' being the worst offender. Writing 'She Keeps Me Up' about cocaine and then confessing nobody in the band had ever taken cocaine might qualify as the least rock-and-roll thing in the history of the genre.
Nickelback wouldn't be in the position to be hated if there weren't people out there buying their music, though. Despite all the negativity directed at them, they keep making music, and people keep buying it. Also, if you try to tell us that you haven't occasionally listened to 'How You Remind Me' when you're sure that nobody's watching you, we're going to have to call you a liar.
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Bono
There are whole Facebook groups devoted to hating Bono, and those groups have thousands of members. The U2 singer is widely seen as a hypocrite, preaching about charitable causes and ending world hunger, but at the same time owning shares in Facebook and a luxury hotel chain. On top of that, despite being Irish, he goes to extreme lengths to ensure his tax affairs are dealt with offshore, so he pays as little as possible. The suspicion is that if Bono really cared about making poverty history, with his near-$1bn fortune he could just pay for it to happen.
Regardless of what you think of Bono's charity work, and whether or not he does it to elevate his own profile, what can't be denied is that he's been effective. The National Journal went as far as naming him the most politically effective celebrity of all time. Between charity singles and awareness campaigns, Bono has raised millions of dollars for many causes which support Africa's most vulnerable people. He was also knighted by the Queen of England for his humanitarian achievements.
Taylor Swift
To her fans, Taylor Swift is a relatable pop princess who sings songs that they can identify with, and goes out of her way to interact with them and make them feel valued. To those who dislike her, Swift writes infantile one-note pop songs which are invariably about her ex boyfriends, of which she has too many. She's also not popular with Kanye West fans, after she got caught out telling lies about West on Twitter. She's been spammed with snake emojis on her social media accounts ever since.
We all lie occasionally, and it ought to be remembered that West did provoke Swift. Also, we're talking about a singer so dedicated to her fans that she annually undertakes 'Swiftmas,' during which she personally delivers gifts to their homes during the holiday season. On top of that, she was one of the founding members of the 'Time's Up' initiative, which seeks to end harassment of women in the entertainment industry, giving away $100K of her own money to support it.
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Mel Gibson
If we were going to cover everything Mel Gibson has done wrong in his life and his career, we'd be here for a long time. The brief version of the veteran actor's rap sheet includes pleading no-contest to a charge of domestic battery; pleading no-contest to several drink-driving charges; being caught on tape making antisemitic remarks to a police officer; and also being caught on tape making racist, demeaning and misogynistic comments to an ex-partner during a drunken rant. Gibson's battle with alcoholism has been public, and it's often been ugly.
Since finally overcoming his alcohol addiction in 2007, Gibson has appeared to be a changed man. He's apologized for his previous conduct, meeting Jewish faith leaders to better inform himself about the religion. He now supports the charity 'Angels at Risk,' which combats drug and alcohol addiction in teenagers, and has managed to return to Hollywood against all the odds.
Robert Pattinson
Somehow, despite the fact that Robert Pattinson was cheated on by Kristen Stewart and should therefore be a sympathetic figure, he manages to be even more unpopular than she is. He's partially responsible for that - teenage fans once loved him for making the 'Twilight' movies, so deciding to give interviews in which he said he hated making them was a poor PR move. We also need to discuss his personal hygiene - rumors have persisted for years that Pattinson is a little smelly. He essentially confirmed this by saying he wears the same clothes for days and never brushes his hair. How charming.
If you don't have to smell Pattinson, he comes across as a nice person from a distance. He's multi-talented, being accomplished at both piano and guitar, and is increasingly viewed as a gifted actor. He's also heavily involved in a charity which works to prevent young people from being abducted into sex-trafficking. Not bad for a smelly vampire!
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Eminem
Eminem is one of the highest-profile rappers in music history, having sold millions of records and stayed at a consistently high level since the mid-1990s. He's also not afraid of upsetting people. His sexually explicit and often violent lyrics once saw him called a 'threat to the youth of America' in the press. A graphic description of how he'd like to murder his ex-wife in one track appalled women's groups, and he's frequently been accused of using homophobic language in his music as well. Add that to his drug use and multiple arrests for assault, and you have to concede that Marshall Mathers isn't a role model.
Much has changed for Eminem in the past decade, though. As he was getting clean from drug addiction, he cited Elton John as a mentor to him, with the British singing legend calling him every week to check on him. According to his mother, Eminem has been bi-polar for most of his life, which may explain some of his more extreme behavior. Through the Marshall Mathers Foundation, he provides financial and strategic aid to disadvantaged young people.
Jude Law
Jude Law often plays a good-looking, womanizing rogue in his movies. If the press is to be believed, the roles aren't really a stretch for Law, who's very much the same way in real life. Law has five children with three women, and his relationships often seem to overlap. He left actress Sadie Frost for Sienna Miller, and then cheated on Miller with another woman who was his children's nanny. The mothers of two of his children were with Law so briefly that the relationships had ended by the time they gave birth.
When he's not with multiple women, Law sometimes shows us that he's capable of good work. He flew to Belarus to take part in street protests in support of democracy there and has twice toured Afghanistan campaigning for peace in the war-ravaged country. In his home country of England, he's an ambassador for the 'Children and the Arts' foundation.
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Simon Cowell
It's hard to say what Simon Cowell's biggest crime against decency and taste is; his high-waisted trousers, or 'America's Got Talent.' As the owner of Syco Entertainment, Cowell is responsible for releasing some of the most bland, insipid and manufactured music of the past thirty years. He's also created and produced TV talent shows for much of that time, which have attracted criticism both for their cruelty to untalented performers and their negative effect on the music industry as a whole. Cowell himself is frequently rude to the people who appear on his shows, earning him the nickname 'Mr. Nasty.'
Even Mr. Nasty has a softer side, as his extensive philanthropic work demonstrates. He sometimes uses his musical power and connections for good, too. When London's Grenfell Tower was blighted by fire in 2017, Cowell quickly assembled an all-elite team of singers to record a charity single, raising money for affected families.
James Franco
James Franco has faced many damaging allegations about his conduct in his private life, all of which revolve around his conduct with women. He was caught out propositioning a 17-year-old girl in 2014. Franco was 35 at the time, and although his actions weren't illegal, they did come across as seedy and exploitative. He's also been accused of offering film roles to acting students in return for sexual favors, although he strenuously denies the allegations.
Franco's attitude to women seems to be in contrast to his charitable work and his steadfast support for pro-LGBT causes. He's apologized and shown great contrition for the incident with the 17-year-old, and has recently been seen wearing 'Time's Up' badges at red carpet events. He does volunteer work with the 'Art of Elysium' charity, which supports children with severe health problems.
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Rihanna
It's hard to think of a musician as prolific as Rihanna has been since the year 2000. She's had a string of hits, but many of them seem to be little more than attempts to remind everyone that she's very attractive, and sexually proficient. Music videos full of drug use, violent imagery and references to sadomasochism haven't always gone down well, either. Rihanna is a heavy marijuana user, making no apologies for her use of the drug, and sparking complaints from concerned parents as a consequence.
Rihanna is aware of her image, and has attempted to explain in interviews that her public persona is a character she plays, and she doesn't necessarily behave in the same way when the cameras aren't rolling. That would explain why despite her songs often being materialistic, she's opened the 'Believe' foundation to assist terminally ill children. She's seen as a hero in her home island of Barbados, where she's funded schools and hospitals, eventually being named as a Special Ambassador for the nation.
Johnny Depp
For over twenty years, Johnny Depp was a 'can't miss' movie star. Casting Depp in a movie was a guarantee of box office success, and audiences loved the charismatic and quirky actor - especially for his role as Jack in the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movies. All of that changed when he allegedly physically abused actress Amber heard during their marriage. Images of Heard's bruised face went viral when they were published in 2016.
If Heard is to be believed, Depp's long-standing alcohol and drugs problems have resurfaced, which is a terrible shame for a man who'd once completely overcome them. When sober, Depp's kindness and generosity are well known. He once visited a London hospital in his full costume from 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' and spent four hours reading to the children in there. He also donated $1.5m to the same hospital, which had saved the life of his daughter several years earlier.
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Jennifer Garner
It's hard to say why Jennifer Garner struggles to be accepted by the public. She's a fine performer who's received plenty of accolades within her profession, but something about her just seems to leave people cold. She's also been accused of borderline abusive behavior towards Ben Affleck during their marriage, which saw him isolated from many of his old friends, and then publicly outed by her as an alcoholic while he was trying to seek treatment for his affliction.
If she's mean to adults, she's a lot kinder to children. Garner cares so deeply about 'Save the Children' that she serves on its board, and has also campaigned for early childhood education. That spirit of protection extends to her own children most of all - she helped to get a bill passed in California in 2013 which made it illegal for paparazzi photographers to take pictures of celebrities' kids.
Selena Gomez
When Selena Gomez started dating Justin Bieber, she was living out the fantasy of millions of young girls all over the world. She also incurred their fury. You don't get to go out with someone that every young girl fantasizes about without them resenting you for doing so! Mocking him after they broke up, and saying that she made him cry, made her even less popular with 'Beliebers.' She was also accused of having a one-night stand with Orlando Bloom, during a time the actor was dating Katy Perry.
Relationships may not be her forte, but inspiring children is. As someone who found fame at a very early age, Gomez considers herself to be fortunate, and has tried to improve the fortunes of other young people. She's one of the youngest people ever to become an ambassador for UNICEF, and has repeatedly campaigned for youth education and health programs. Through her own experience with the health condition lupus, she's also been credited with raising awareness about the disease.
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Ashton Kutcher
When you spend most of your time playing pranks on people, you're going to annoy some of them, as Ashton Kutcher knows only too well. His escapades on 'Punk'd' haven't always been well received by his targets, and have left some viewers with the impression that he's little more than a juvenile prankster. His attitude to women has left a lot to be desired on occasion as well; he cheated on Demi Moore, and shouldered much of the blame for her subsequent relapse into substance and alcohol abuse.
While he and Moore were still together, Kutcher occasionally showed a more caring side. The two of them launched 'THORN: Digital Defenders of Children,' which is a human rights organization that fights against child trafficking. Not every woman he's interacted with hates him either; current wife Mila Kunis seems deeply in love with him, and Natalie Portman credits him for helping her to gain a better understanding of Judaism.
Miley Cyrus
She's come a very long way from the sweet and innocent Hannah Montana! Miley Cyrus took the opportunity to shake off her 'child star' reputation at the earliest opportunity. For much of the early part of the 2010s, she was rarely pictured with all of her clothes on. The self-confessed party girl was also very open about her love of drugs, especially MDMA and ecstasy, which didn't make her popular with parents or conservatives. Things reached fever-pitch for people disliking Miley when she rubbed herself provocatively against Robin Thicke at an awards ceremony, popularizing 'twerking' in the process.
Cyrus' unashamedly open sexuality has won her plenty of admirers in the LGBT scene, and in return, she promotes their causes wherever she goes. She even has an 'equals' sign tattooed on her finger to symbolize her support for equal marriage rights. Ike Taylor Swift, she has a special connection to her fans, and has been known to visit them when they're sick in hospital. Her 'Happy Hippie' foundation supports homeless people in Los Angeles.
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Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston may have made her name with the sitcom 'Friends,' but she doesn't appear to have too many friends in celebrity circles these days. Aniston was rumored to behave like a total diva on the set of 'Life of Crime,' refusing to eat or socialize with the rest of the crew and insisting that her trailer was located some distance from everybody else. She's also admitted that she's a 'control freak,' which has caused some directors to refuse to work with her after experiencing her behavior on set.
If Aniston is a little frosty and remote with other people in the industry, it would appear she's a little warmer with the world at large. Her support of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital has persisted throughout her career, with a portion of her earnings from every job she takes going to them. She's also donated half a million dollars to the Red Cross, and a further half a million to 'Doctors Without Borders.'
Lady Gaga
When it comes to performers being 'out there,' you'd have to go a long way to find someone more eccentric than Lady Gaga. The performer is part singer and part walking art exhibition, and not all of her 'art' has met with approval. To say that vegetarians were unhappy with her decision to wear a dress made of meat at the 2010 MTV Awards would be an understatement. Those who don't enjoy her music or her style see her as a Madonna impersonator, and there are even conspiracy theorists out there who think she's a member of the Illuminati, and had a rival musician murdered!
Lady Gaga has almost certainly never killed anybody. She's also done more for LGBT causes than arguably any other performer in history. As an open bisexual herself, Gaga has devoted time and money to gay causes, and released 'Born This Way' as a gay anthem. She backed the success of the song by launching the 'Born This Way Foundation,' which celebrates inclusivity and youth empowerment.
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Gordon Ramsay
You either love Gordon Ramsay, or you hate him. He's undoubtedly one of the most talented chefs in the world, but he also comes across as a bully. Half of his television shows mostly consist of him shouting in the faces of chefs who've made mistakes, or telling aspiring restaurateurs and hotel owners how useless they are. He's also confessed that he's tricked vegetarians into eating meat on more than one occasion, and thinks women don't make great chefs because 'they can only work three weeks out of the month.' In short, he's a caustic personality.
Before he became a chef, Ramsay was a promising footballer whose career was cut short by injury. He still plays the game occasionally, albeit for charity reasons, turning out for the 'Rest of the World' side for 'Soccer Aid' and raising money for UNICEF in the process. That's not his only charitable interest - he also ran ten marathons in ten years to raise money for a spina bifida charity.
Cristiano Ronaldo
We're not going to get into the debate about whether or not Cristiano Ronaldo is better than Lionel Messi - that's for someone else to decide - but we can say that he's probably one of the two very best footballers who ever played the game. He's also a narcissist, and a whiner. Ronaldo's play acting and diving has led to opposition players being sent off on multiple occasions; most notably his former team mate Wayne Rooney at the 2006 World Cup. When things don't go Ronaldo's way, he throws temper tantrums on the pitch, and has frequently threatened to leave clubs because he wasn't getting what he wanted. He's also been prosecuted for trying to avoid tax.
He is as generous as he is vain, though. When he was awarded $600,000 in bonuses after Real Madrid won the Champions' League in 2016, he gave the whole amount to charity. He also personally donated $5m to a disaster relief fund in Haiti, and has been repeatedly known to pay for medical treatment for sick children.
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Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway has the undesirable label of being 'the most hated person in Hollywood.' She hasn't even particularly done anything wrong, other than be successful and perhaps a little too well-trained. It feels like everything Hathaway says has been written down, learned and practiced a hundred times. Her interviews drip with insincerity, and her award-acceptance speeches gush with practiced emotion. Some people believe that there isn't a second of the day that Hathaway isn't acting.
Hathaway herself is aware that people don't like her, and has confessed that it upsets her. Given that she's never done anything particularly disagreeable, that's understandable. She's also donated plenty of her own time and money to supporting same sex marriage and LGBT issues, and has toured various African nations speaking out for women's rights. That's on top of campaigning for paid parental leave for both men and women. Perhaps it's time everybody gave her a break!

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