Celebrities often make headlines, whether they’re performing on the stage or speaking out on a controversial issue. However, sometimes those headlines are sparked by an uncomfortable moment or an unforgettable celebrity interview. While talking to the news media, some stars have caused controversy, creating some of the biggest media moments and leaving a lasting impression on the public. Here are some of the most controversial celebrity interviews of all time.
- Mel Gibson and Diane Sawyer
Mel Gibson was in the headlines back in 2006 after being arrested for driving under the influence in Malibu, California. While talking to Diane Sawyer on ABC News, Gibson stirred further controversy when he blamed Jews for “all wars in the world.” This interview ultimately led to Gibson being shunned for years in Hollywood, with some studios and networks refusing to hire him for their projects.
- Jennifer Lopez and Barbara Walters
When Barbara Walters interviewed Jennifer Lopez for “The View” back in 2001, things didn’t quite go as planned. Adding to all the chatter about her personal life, Lopez walked out when Walters asked an obviously uncomfortable question about speculation surrounding her marriage to dancer Cris Judd. It wasn’t until five years later that Lopez and Walters made amends, with Lopez making a guest appearance on “The View” to sing and spread her story of resilience across Hollywood.
- Kanye West and Matt Lauer
Kanye West refused to hold back in what has become arguably the most famous interview he’s ever done. In 2005, West appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” to talk about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. West shocked viewers when he called out the Bush administration for not doing enough to help African Americans who were disproportionately affected. His passionate speech to host Matt Lauer also included some graphic language.
- Shia LaBeouf and Alec Baldwin
Shia LaBeouf had an awkward on-air exchange with “30 Rock” star Alec Baldwin in 2013. After LaBeouf praised Baldwin’s work, Baldwin quickly recoiled, asking the young actor to stop thanking him. LaBeouf proceeded to criticize Baldwin’s work, eliciting a visceral and uncomfortable reaction that caused the audience to gasp.
- Britney Spears and Diane Sawyer
Britney Spears and Diane Sawyer have interviewed one another multiple times, including one very memorable exchange in 2003. This interview ultimately went viral online, with followers quick to spot how Sawyer urged Spears to mellow out, rather than using the public platform provided to ask thought-provoking questions.
- Lena Dunham and Howard Stern
When Lena Dunham was a guest on Howard Stern’s show in 2013, the conversation took an unexpected and uncomfortable turn when Stern tried to fixate on Dunham’s body image. The whole uncomfortable exchange didn’t last long, with Dunham quickly becoming irate and the show bringing a close to the line of questioning.
- Kanye West and Sway
Kanye West was once again in the center of media scrutiny when he appeared on “Sway in the Morning” in 2013. West went on a tirade, ranting against Nike and its CEO Mark Parker, who West believed hadn’t been fair with him in terms of their product collaboration. Eventually, Kanye walked away from the microphone, ranting and storming off in a truly uncomfortable moment that was broadcasted live.
- Charlie Sheen and ABC News
Freddie Prinze Jr. wasn’t the most controversial interview of 2011, but nobody can forget Charlie Sheen’s explosive interview with ABC News. The “Two and a Half Men” star talked about his drug use and threatened to sue CBS and Warner Bros. for stopping production on the show. This interview was so explosive that ABC News had to issue a statement after, asking viewers to take what Sheen said with a grain of salt.
- Robert Downey Jr. and David Letterman
When Robert Downey Jr. visited “The Late Show” back in 1996, nobody knew what was coming. Downey, who had been struggling with addiction, slurs his speech and is barely able to stand or keep his eyes open, causing great concern from host David Letterman. It was truly an uncomfortable moment to watch, which will forever be cemented in the memory of viewers.
Celebrities usually interview with the media to promote their latest projects or to create a buzz about their careers. Along the way, some celebrities manage to spark controversy, creating unforgettable media moments that leave us with lasting impressions. These nine interviews were some of the most controversial celebrity interviews of all time, sparking much debate and stirring up an array of different reactions from viewers. Many of these stars have since gone on to make amends, with some even making a comeback and appearing in blockbuster films, while others remain at the forefront of popular culture, continuously taking center stage with their words and actions.