Part of being a rich and famous celebrity is constantly having to watch what you say and do, for fear of hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. This has never been more obvious than in today’s gossip-obsessed society, where mobile phones and social media combine to communicate a star’s slip up to millions of people around the world in a matter of seconds.
TV interviews are different in that they usually see celebs on their best behaviour, trained and prepared to answer questions with the minimum of fuss and with little room for controversy. Below, however, are eight classic examples of actors, musicians and directors who bucked that trend and completely lost the plot right in front of our eyes.
8. Tom Cruise
Surely the most famous example of a global superstar losing their mind on live TV occurred in 2005, when Top Gun and Mission: Impossible star Tom Cruise partook in a spot of couch jumping on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Oprah simply asked Cruise if his new relationship with Katie Holmes was “fun,” at which point the world’s most famous Scientologist proceeded to high five the legendary chat show host, punch the air multiple times, giggle like a schoolgirl and use his interviewee chair as an impromptu trampoline.
7. Drew Barrymore
Ten years before Tom Cruise took chat show shenanigans to a whole new level of craziness, a 20-year-old Drew Barrymore got tongues wagging when she flashed talk show host David Letterman in front of millions of viewers.
When asked about the incident in 2020 during a promotional tour for her very own chat show, the former child actor admitted that she may just have gone a little bit too far, saying “I think if there’s one thing I’ve learned in a very long life in front of people is there is a line…and [now] I kind of know what that line is.”
Never one to be outdone when it comes to causing controversy is Madonna, whose bizarre, expletive-filled, undergarment-removing appearance on David Letterman’s talk show in 1994 has become the stuff of legend.
Letting fly with the F-word 14 times would have been enough to give TV executives heart palpitations, but the best-selling artist also proceeded to ask Letterman to sniff her freshly removed underwear, before point blank refusing to leave the stage at the end of her allotted time.
5. Charlie Sheen
His comments about “winning,” “Adonis DNA” and “tiger blood” ensured that Charlie Sheen’s 2011 interview with ABC News has lived long in the memory.
A decade later, Sheen expressed his regrets about agreeing to the ABC interview in the first place, saying “people have said to me, ‘Hey, man, that was so cool, that was so fun to watch’…My thought behind that is, ‘Oh yeah, great. I’m so glad that I traded early retirement for a fu**ing hashtag.'”
4. Quentin Tarantino
An interview about his upcoming film Django Unchained quickly descended into an argument when director Quentin Tarantino took offence to interviewer Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s invasive line of questioning.
When asked by Guru-Murthy if he believed there was a link between enjoying movie violence and enjoying actual violence, Tarantino took great offence, even going so far as to tell his interviewer “I’m shutting your butt down.”
3. Cara Delevingne
One of the most awkward-to-watch examples on our list involves the English actress Cara Delevingne being interviewed by CBS News.
Delevingne’s nose is put out of joint right from the start when her interviewers insinuate that she’s not intelligent enough to read a book, and things go from bad to worse when they suggest she looks exhausted, question her as to why she seems to be upset and sign off by saying “we’ll let you go and get a nap, maybe get a Red Bull.”
2. Robert Downey Jr
Krishnan Guru-Murthy is upsetting celebrities once again in this interview with Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr, which occurred during promotion for the star’s 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Downey Jr was only too happy to answer questions about his upcoming superhero sequel, but when Guru-Murthy tried to steer him onto issues of his past, the star’s only response was to up and walk out of the interview.
1. Courtney Love
Perhaps taking inspiration from Drew Barrymore, in 2004 rocker Courtney Love decided to entertain her interviewer David Letterman by standing on his desk and giving the aging talk show host much more than he bargained for.
Love’s shirt-lifting antics were also accompanied by a drunk sounding rendition of Oh Danny Boy, and the controversial music star continued by rambling on about flirting, judges and drug use, causing Letterman to comment “I’m so glad I have a son.”