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The idiom "cleanliness is next to godliness" has origins at least as far back as 17th-century Europe, according to Word Histories. Although the standards of good hygiene at that time were a far cry from what they are today (via JRank Science), one might be tempted to assume that the people who lived back then were all doing the best that they could with what they had. The thing is, however, that may not be how it was at all. Here’s our thinking:
Now, as compared with those days of yore, people have at their disposal myriad ways of maintaining all aspects of their personal hygiene. Yet we know that there are plenty of people who choose not to attend to theirs. In fact, a number of celebrities have been accused of some pretty rancid personal hygiene habits. Not all of those accusations are true, of course. But some are, and you know how we know? We know it because they’ve actually — voluntarily — come forward and admitted the same. So, which celebrities have at some point copped to some pretty questionable personal hygiene habits? Read on at your sensory peril.
Matthew McConaughey says he doesn’t wear deodorant
As much as humankind has evolved, one trait we’ve not yet lost is our body odor. Not all of these scents are bad, but some might be better than others, and many in our culture would probably agree that the body odor that emanates from the armpit is one of the least likely to be pleasing. After all, the market for products that mask underarm odor — which, generally speaking, is the result of scentless apocrine sweat mixing with normal bacteria that live on the skin’s surface (via Harvard Health) — is enormous and predicted to only get bigger in the next four or so years (via Fortune Business Insights). But not everyone is buying into the marketing hype that cleanliness requires sweat-free and odor-free armpits, by which we mean that not everyone elects to wear antiperspirant or deodorant. One notable person is the actor, producer, author, and possible Texas gubernatorial candidate (via Bloomberg), Matthew McConaughey.
In a November 2020 podcast interview, McConaughey re-confirmed that rumor that he has already confirmed multiple times in the past, which is that he eschews deodorant (via Today). "As we’ve come to know, most deodorant’s not good for you," McConaughey explained. Other celebrities who choose not to smell "like somebody else," as McConaughey puts it, include Cameron Diaz (via ScreenRant) and Bradley Cooper (via Esquire). On the other side of the spectrum, we have Camila Mendes, who told InStyle that she likes to wear deodorant to bed!
Jessica Simpson has openly expressed her dislike of brushing her teeth
On a March 2010 I Heart Radio broadcast, singer, actress, and television personality Jessica Simpson confessed that she was not in the habit of brushing her teeth twice a day, as is the recommendation of the American Dental Association. Actually, Simpson confessed she didn’t even brush her teeth once a day. Rather, as Simpson said, "I don’t brush my teeth." Period. "No, really!," Simpson added, clarifying, "I just use Listerine — and sometimes I’ll use my sweater" (via New York Magazine).
That same year, presumably just in case anyone hadn’t been paying attention to her the first time, Simpson reiterated that she is not exactly a major dental health buff. This time it was on an episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and Simpson appeared to be walking back — ever so slightly — the notion that she "never" brushed her teeth. Rather, as Simpson told DeGeneres, she brushes "maybe three times a week" (via YouTube and US Magazine). Apparently, however, this had not had any effect on the whiteness of Simpson’s teeth or the freshness of her breath. At least that is the opinion about her teeth and breath that Simpson, herself, expressed at the time. The last we heard, which was in a 2016 update to a 2010 story from Fox News, Simpson still had not changed her story.
Jennifer Lawrence may actually cultivate bad breath before kissing scenes
According to actor Liam Hemsworth, it would appear that actress Jennifer Lawrence likes to play fast and loose with her oral hygiene — even if only to playfully mess with Hemsworth when the two found themselves about to share a kissing scene on set. Or at least that’s how Hemsworth presented it during a 2014 appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon" in connection with the release of the third film in "The Hunger Games" franchise (via YouTube). Hemsworth was entertaining questions that had been pre-asked by fans on Twitter. One such question was which scene in the franchise Hemsworth considered the most "awkward" to shoot. Without hesitation, Hemsworth replied, "Anytime I had to kiss Jennifer was pretty uncomfortable."
"When you look at it on the outside, it looks like a great picture," as Hemsworth explained. "She’s one of my best friends, I love her, but if we had a kissing scene, she would make a point of eating garlic or tuna fish or something that was disgusting." Just as they were about to start shooting the scene, Lawrence would inform Hemsworth of whichever smelly food she had eaten, and of the fact that she hadn’t bothered to brush her teeth. "Fantastic," Hemsworth quipped, "I can’t wait to get in there and taste it!’" No word on whether Lawrence corroborates Hemsworth’s story, but there is also no word of her denying it.
Maria Bakalova turned smelling bad into a science
Not everyone can be as clean as Howie Mandel. Mandel has been quite open about sharing some of what his obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) has led him to do, including taking "shower after shower" in an attempt to avoid any sort of "contamination" (via Everyday Health). Nor would most of us want to be. But we’re thinking there has to be some happy medium, somewhere between Howie Mandel on the one hand, and, say, actress Maria Bakalova, who, in order to get into character for her role in "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm," in which she played Borat’s daughter, Tutar, who deliberately cultivated some rather strong B.O. in the name of her art, as she told Collider.
When Bakalova did her screen tests for the role, including two with Borat, er, Sascha Baron Cohen, himself, she was told, unequivocally by the production team: "Don’t be clean, don’t prepare yourself to look pretty or to be glam … Try to not take [a] shower." At the time, Bakalova was involved in shooting another film, so she couldn’t exactly take that advice at first — and not until that shooting wrapped. Until then, Bakalova says she manufactured B.O. using a super-gross mix of banana peels, old eggs, vinegar, old olive oil, and onions.
Another actor who may have put his hygiene aside in the interest of getting into character is Shia LaBeouf. According to America Magazine, LaBeouf "reportedly refused to shower for weeks to imitate the deprivations of war" for his role in the 2014 film "Fury." LaBeouf has not denied such reports, and some of his colleagues on that film actually complained so loudly about LaBeouf’s personal hygiene that LaBeouf ended up being asked to move to other lodging, away from the rest of the cast, Perez Hilton reported at the time.
Snooki uses what’s usually a cat’s toilet as part of her skincare routine
DIY types probably won’t be surprised to learn that there are scads of uses for cat litter that do not involve lining the bottom of a cat’s personal "relief area." What might be a bit more surprising is that one of those uses, at least according to the reality television star Nicole "Snooki" LaValle (née Polizzi), is as a face mask — not the kind you might wear to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but rather, the kind that is applied to skin in an attempt to cultivate a clean, smooth glow.
As Snooki told Conan O’Brien on November 16, 2011, she likes using Google, and in the course of her search-engine-fueled wanderings, she read that cat litter makes an economical alternative to the more expensive exfoliating skin masks you can purchase at department stores or drugstores (via Team Coco). According to Litter-Boxes, which for all we know might be where Snooki got this idea, "bentonite clay is a natural antibiotic" and "exfoliant." The thing about this is that bentonite clay probably is the principal ingredient in only SOME brands of kitty litter. And that brings up the question, which kitty litter does Snooki use? And what exactly is in it? No word on that. But Snooki did assure O’Brien, "I haven’t broke out at all yet, so …"
Shailene Woodley consumes clay to clean herself from the inside out
In an essay for "Into The Gloss," actress Shailene Woodley described some of her personal hygiene habits, including "oil-pulling" and consuming clay. Oil-pulling, which is aimed specifically at supporting dental hygiene, refers to "swishing" either coconut oil or sesame oil around in the mouth and then spitting it out. According to Woodley, "it really makes your teeth whiter, because the plaque on your teeth is not water soluble, it’s fat-soluble. So the lipids have to dissolve in fats, which is why oil works in your mouth. I prefer sesame oil, but they’re both good."
Clay-eating, which Woodley maintains is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body, involves eating clay for the purpose of cleansing one’s teeth and innards. "I first heard about the benefits of eating clay from a taxi driver," Woodley clarified, in case anyone reading her essay was curious about Woodley’s sources. In fact, Woodley recommended opening up to the possibility of receiving valuable health and hygiene advice from taxi drivers in general.
The one potential drawback Woodley mentioned with regard to clay-eating is that your excrement and urine may take on a metallic odor. "You should obviously be careful about your source," Woodley adds, referring to where you get your clay (as opposed to where you get your information). From our sources, including WebMD, it would appear that the eating of clay for personal hygiene isn’t worth the health risks.
What Kelly Clarkson doesn’t have going on down there
Back in 2008, singer and talk show host Kelly Clarkson told reporters that she doesn’t always wear underwear (via Page Six). "Why’d anyone want a little thing up their butt when they can go free?" she was quoted as asking rhetorically. Apparently, she went so far as to say that if you were to go back and re-watch the first season of "American Idol," you’d be seeing Clarkson sans skivvies in every single episode. For fellow fans of going commando, this may not seem anything but par for the course. In fact, according to Healthline, going underwear-free could help prevent yeast infections and certain allergic reactions, among other things.
That being said, Healthline does not advocate skipping underwear as a good personal hygiene habit, at least not without a few ground rules. One is "don’t wear tight clothes when you go commando," because it could irritate your private parts. Another is not to even think about going commando if you don’t plan on tossing whatever comes into contact with your crotch into the laundry immediately after. Needless to say, trying on new clothes — or costumes, one might presume in Clarkson’s case — is not hygienic without undergarments.
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend: sex in strange places
Is the idea of hooking up in a public place titillating? Sure, it can be. According to Health, "hooking up in public may not have society’s stamp of approval," but that doesn’t mean that it can’t help in seriously "spicing up your sex life." And while that may have a strong theoretical core of truth, the fact remains that sexing it up in public could get you arrested (via Criminal Defense Lawyer). Assuming you don’t get caught, though, it can make for an encounter that’s memorable at the very least. For instance, married celebrities Chrissy Teigen and John Legend admit to having snuck off together for a sexual liaison in a dressing room during a very public party for Barack Obama (via YouTube), according to Life & Style. Teigen has also said that she and Legend had sex on a commercial jet. The fact that they were flying first class does not make this any less of an example of questionable hygiene, however.
Emily Ratajkowski spent eight years driving what she describes as a moving "garbage dump"
In 2020, the New York Post reported that at least half of 2,000 American drivers polled would end a date if the other person turned up in a dirty car. Nearly a quarter (23%) admitted to having ended a relationship for precisely this reason. As to what’s so gross about driving around in a gross car, Way.com suggests it may speak volumes about one’s character, from betraying one’s irresponsibility to revealing a lack of respect for oneself. Perhaps you’ll be surprised to learn, then, that one of the dirtiest cars in Hollywood may have belonged to Emily Ratajkowski, the model, actress, and author of a newly published book of essays addressing life as the object of sexual desire (via W Magazine).
As Ratajkowksi herself told Jimmy Kimmel in 2017, there was an eight-year period during which she drove around in a car that could only be described as a "garbage dump." We’re talking "towering heaps of trash." And what was in that trash? According to Ratajkowski, what wasn’t in that trash? We’re talking everything from marionettes to record albums to tampons. That’s right, tampons. No word on whether Ratajkowski was referring to "boxes of" versus "individually-wrapped" tampons. Nor did she specify whether or not the tampons had been used. In any event, Ratajkowski eventually got rid of the car and suggested that she’s taking her car hygiene a bit more seriously nowadays.
Paget Brewster can’t keep her fingers out of her mouth
If a sporting event is a "nail biter," that means it leaves sports fans on the edge of their seats. But as legit as that may sound, and as much as we may speak of "nail biting" as a common response to "nerves," the fact is that chronic nail biting — also known by its clinical name, onychophagia – can damage the fingers, the teeth, and the psyche, and can introduce bacterial infections and other disease vectors into one’s body (via Cleveland Clinic). Moreover, a 2020 research paper published in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology suggests that chronic nail biting is associated, possibly as a causal matter, with subpar dental hygiene (because "teeth may become chipped or notched, and gums may become inflamed").
It can be difficult to know who out there is a chronic nail biter, but one celebrity who has admitted to it — on repeat — is actress Paget Brewster. "I’m trying so hard to grow my nails but that third finger is a damn disaster," Brewster tweeted in 2015, along with a photo of her hand, which showed every nail bitten to the quick. So admirable is Brewster’s attempt to nip the biting habit in the bud that we can’t help but root for her with our custom hashtag: #NailItPaget
Kesha’s seriously questionable hygiene habits
Eccentric pop star Kesha has some seriously questionable hygiene habits, and she’s not afraid to talk about them publicly. In fact, based on what has come out of the biographical/ autobiographical MTV documentary series about her life, the aptly titled "My Crazy Beautiful Life," it would seem appropriate to say that Kesha is nothing if not proud of the fact that she moves through this world rather seamlessly while stinking like "shrimp on a diaper" and drinking her own urine (via US Magazine).
Kesha is actually notorious for having a "funky odor," as she told BBC Radio (via US Magazine). "Usually the people around me say, ‘You’re disgusting!’ or, ‘Put your pants on!’ or … ‘You smell weird, what’s that smell?’" And what smell was Kesha referring to there? "I smell like a hobo," she clarified. As for her pee-drinking, Kesha claimed to have been told that drinking pee is a healthy practice. "I was trying to be healthy," she explained. But since then, she has apparently abandoned the practice. What she does not appear to be abandoning any time soon is cultivating a foul body odor. In fact, she has considered (jokingly or not, it’s impossible to say) creating her own signature "shrimp on a Faberge diaper" fragrance.
Celebrities who eat in bed
In his 2007 biographical book about Clark Gable ("Clark Gable: Tormented Star"), author David Bret ended up spending some time discussing the questionable hygiene of the late bombshell who was Gable’s final costar: Marilyn Monroe. In Bret’s words, Monroe was "flatulent, dirty, and ate in bed." Like Kelly Clarkson, she tended to eschew underpants. In addition, according to Bret "she rarely bathed, slept in the nude, and ate a lot in bed — shoving what was left on her plate under the sheets before going to sleep" (via Thought Catalog). Although everyone can be flatulent at times, and sleeping in the nude can be a wonderful luxury and an act of self-care. But eating in bed is just not advisable, according to Mattress Firm.
Other celebrities who have been known to eat in bed include Taraji P. Henson, who just last month confessed to Women’s Health that not that long ago she "woke up with a Cheeto plastered to her face" — a consequence of falling asleep in bed while eating a bag. It was "her low point," and the moment she realized she was going to have to take better care of her health and hygiene.