5 Celebrity Feuds That Lasted Entire Careers
Who doesn't love a good fight? A lot of people, actually, especially if they're somehow involved in the chaos. Watching other people fight, though, is almost always fun times. That's especially true when it comes to celebrities. They want us to think they're just like us, but we know they aren't and that makes our desire to watch them tear each other to smithereens nearly insatiable. We talk about a few famous disagreements on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...
... where I'm joined by comic Mo Mandel and Cracked editor Soren Bowie. In particular, we discuss some feuds that managed to span entire careers. Surprisingly enough, that's exactly what I'm talking about in my column here today as well. Who knew?
Eric Roberts vs. Julia Roberts
Although she's developed somewhat of a reputation over the years for maybe not being the friendliest actress in Hollywood, I have a hard time believing that Julia Roberts is the aggressor in her long-standing feud with her never-not-creepy brother, actor Eric Roberts.
How in the fuck did Breyers arrive at this decision?
Sources disagree as to how the conflict started. By most accounts, the problems stemmed from Julia taking the side of Eric's ex-girlfriend in a custody dispute over his daughter, the also-more-famous-than-him Emma Roberts.
And moderately less creepy.
It's easy to see why that might ruffle a sibling's drug-addled feathers. See, that's the thing: For the longest time, Eric Roberts was the kind of addict who violently assaults police and, even worse, his own wife. Blood relation or not, you don't take the side of the walking mess in a dispute over who gets to care for a child. If you fault Julia Roberts for that, you're the asshole, not her.
To hear Eric tell it, though, there was never a feud at all. Instead, it was just a rumor that started because his sister asked reporters to quit mentioning his name around her. Oh! Well, when you put it that way, it still sounds very feud-like to me. It's feud-esque, if nothing else. Essence of feud. I don't know, but it doesn't seem friendly. Maybe it will sound more convincing if we hear it from him in person.
Holy shit. He sounds like an obviously guilty husband trying to convince the police he had nothing to do with the disappearance of his wife. He's also gone on record with this quote:
He sounds so proud!
So at least he's not bitter. No matter how many jittery denials he made throughout the years, there was a very clear divide between him and his sister. If that wasn't the case, there wouldn't be so many stories about their various reunions. The first was apparently in 2004, when Julia gave birth to twins. He probably wanted to pawn one.
Whatever the reason for the reunion, it obviously didn't hold, because when the siblings' mother died earlier this year, stories about the pair finally patching up their relationship made the rounds once again. There's no way of knowing if it'll keep this time, but history certainly isn't on their side.
Elton John vs. Madonna
Technically speaking, it's not really possible for the long-running feud between Elton John and Madonna to have spanned his entire career. His first album came out in 1969, when Madonna was all of 11 years old. That said, judging from the vitriol he's been slinging in her direction for the last decade or so, Elton John would've hated the shit out of that Michigan tween had they ever met. The problems seemed to start around 2002, when he referred to her single "Die Another Day" ...
... as "the worst Bond tune ever." Honestly, it's really hard to argue with him on this one. That's a terrible goddamn song. There is no other way to put it.
He fired his next shot in 2004, live on-stage at some British shit called the Q Awards. While accepting an award, he blurted out, "Madonna best fucking live act? Fuck off!" That's pretty harsh, but it got way harsher when he added, "Sorry, I just think that everyone who lip syncs in public on-stage when you paid like 75 quid to see them should be shot."
Shot! He wants Madonna executed in public, you guys! For lip syncing, no less. The streets would run red with the blood of pop starlets and Auto-Tune rappers for eternity if we executed people for that crime. A little over the top, is it not? Sure, that's why he quickly apologized for his comments and sent an olive branch Madge's way in the form of a request to perform at his bachelor party. He then called her a "miserable cow" when she refused.
Resume feud! In a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone, John doubled down on his assertion that people who lip sync should be dealt with by way of good ol' fashioned American gun violence.
In 2012, he piled on even more during an interview on Australian TV where he said her "career is over" and that she looked like a "fairground stripper." When he suggested that the tour she was on at the time was a disaster, he added, "It couldn't happen to a bigger [expletive]."
Ooh, I wonder what the expletive was?
Given the BTK killer-esque six-year break in action, it makes one wonder what exactly made Elton John reignite his war with Madonna. The answer, interestingly enough, might be Lady Gaga. She's godmother to one of Elton John's kids, and Madonna has been legendarily shitty to her through the years, mostly because she straight-up stole a Madonna song ...
... and released it as her own.
That's not cool, but in Gaga's defense, Madonna has been sued like 15 times for plagiarism, so glass houses, you know? It's no matter though; as of now, all involved parties seem to have agreed to a truce and ceasefire. Expect it to hold for exactly as long as it takes Madonna to win another Golden Globe. Which, realistically, should pretty much mean forever.
James "The Amazing" Randi vs. Uri Geller
Uri Geller is an Israeli-born psychic who performs seemingly impossible feats of magic using skills passed down to him by extraterrestrials. What's so hard to believe about that claim? Everything, of course, and the fact that Geller consistently made it with a straight face did not sit well with famed skeptic James "The Amazing" Randi. In fact, it bothers him so much that, since the early '80s, he's dedicated a huge part of his career to showing ordinary citizens how to re-create Geller's tricks, without so much as a single visit from a space alien.
"We've come to teach you bullshit magic tricks."
His first blow to the Geller empire came when Randi was tapped to be the creative consultant for an experiment on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. At the time, Gellar had been dazzling spectators with a trick that involved him correctly choosing which steel canister contained a small steel ball inside it, all without ever touching the canisters themselves. Sounds impressive, but what Randi quickly figured out was that, while Geller wasn't touching the canisters themselves, they were arranged on a tray that he'd sometimes move. This would cause the canister with the ball in it to slide slightly. So, when Geller tried that shit on Carson, James Randi suggested one simple tweak -- just put the canisters on the table without a tray and don't let Geller or his people touch them beforehand.
Sure enough, Geller gave up halfway through the demonstration, saying he didn't feel "strong" that night.
Awkward! And with that, Uri Geller's career was effectively ended.
Just joking! People are stupid! He's carried on making wild claims about his abilities, not to mention millions of dollars each year, to this very day. Hot on his heels almost the entire time, of course, has been James "The Amazing" Randi. When Geller started dazzling fans with a new spoon-bending trick, his nemesis showed average men and women exactly how to do it themselves. Not content to just talk about it, Randi also wrote a book, at one point awesomely titled The Magic Of Uri Geller, that exposed even more of the renowned "psychic's" tricks.
It probably doesn't look like this anymore.
On his side of things, Uri Geller has consistently tried to clear his good name of Randi's claims by way of the legal system. He's taken the thorn-in-his-side skeptic to court three times over the years, and his cases have been dismissed or otherwise lost every time. If anything, he usually just ends up having to cover everyone's legal fees. Nevertheless, Uri Geller remains one of the foremost "psychic" authorities in the world. Like I said, people are stupid. For way more info on this feud, check out the fantastic documentary An Honest Liar, available on Netflix right now!
Liam Gallagher vs. Noel Gallagher
If they weren't clearly linked by way of two of the most intimidating unibrows in rock history, you'd be hard-pressed to convince anyone that Liam and Noel Gallagher are actually brothers. At no point during their time together in the band Oasis did these two ever seem like they even sort of got along. Their arguments are so legendary that one of them was given a title ("Wibbling Rivalry") and circulated as a bootleg CD in the pre-file-sharing days.
Good luck deciphering exactly what it is that they're mad about without subtitles, but for almost 15 minutes, it's clear these two would rather be anywhere than in the same room with each other. Don't let the running time scare you, it takes less than 90 seconds for things to devolve into chaos. At somewhere around the six-minute mark, the interviewer tries to reign things in by asking another question and the brothers seem to briefly team up to tell him to fuck off before getting right back to arguing.
There was nowhere they wouldn't fight, including live on-stage in front of thousands of adoring fans while an orchestra they undoubtedly paid an unspeakable amount of quid to hire wails uselessly in the background.
Don't worry, you don't have to watch long for the fun to begin. Inside of 50 seconds, Liam stops singing and starts yelling at Noel.
Less than a minute and a half in, he's just sitting on the stage doing nothing.
I wonder what the punishment is for this in Elton John's kingdom?
The account of the fight that eventually broke the brothers up for good is so long and detailed that relaying it all here would require another 500 words or so, but the highlights include Liam swinging a guitar around like an ax, throwing fruit, and threatening to beat up Elvis Costello. Since then, the two have retreated to their respective solo careers. Whether they'll ever reform Oasis again is unclear, but it's a safe bet that they'll fucking hate themselves (and each other) for it if they ever do.
Bette Davis vs. Joan Crawford
There's really no other way to put this: Bette Davis just clean fucking hated Joan Crawford. The latter was already a huge star when Bette Davis first appeared on the scene, and the upstart young actress for some reason vehemently resented the degree to which the media fawned over Crawford's personal life. But things apparently turned permanently for the worse when Davis worked on a film called Dangerous. Her co-star was an actor named Franchot Tone, who just so happened to be dating Joan Crawford at the time. Despite (or more likely because of) this, Davis decided she was in love with him as well. He eventually married Crawford anyway. From there, things were just tense forever.
At one point, Crawford tried to smooth things over by sending a few gifts and trinkets to Davis. They were quickly returned with a note requesting that Joan stop with the "lesbian overtures."
I'm assuming she scrawled it on the back of this picture of her holding a shotgun.
Amazingly, despite their seething hatred for each other, Joan Crawford approached Bette Davis about the possibility of teaming on a film. That movie turned out to be Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? and, as you'd expect, the set was complete and total chaos. The two actresses were at each other's throats constantly, with Davis routinely referring to her co-star as "that phony cunt" whenever she was within earshot. Crawford worried aloud that Davis might actually hit her during a beating scene, and her worries were confirmed when Davis did just that.
To return the favor, Crawford intentionally made herself as heavy as possible during a scene that required Davis to drag her body. Apparently, there are tricks an actor can employ in that situation to make things easier on the other. Crawford used none of those tricks.
Falling limp is the best revenge.
Somehow, all of this chaos resulted in not only a classic film but also an Oscar nomination for ... Bette Davis. In fact, the press had all but handed her the award in advance of the ceremony, so she was a little shocked when she didn't win. Even more shocking was the fact that the actress who did win was so sure she wouldn't, she didn't even bother attending the show. Any guesses as to who accepted the award in her absence?
Of course it was Joan Crawford. This feud, literally, lasted until death. When Joan Crawford died of a heart attack in 1977, Bette Davis had only the following to say, it's rumored: "You should never say bad things about the dead; you should only say good ... Joan Crawford is dead. Good."
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Not all the stars fight. Find out some unexpected friends in 8 Weird Ways Celebrities Were Friends Before Fame, and read more from Adam Tod Brown's love of celebrity in 5 Famous People We Didn't Hate Enough in 2014.
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