We’re Debunking 10 of the Most Absurd Celebrity Myths
Because even fame and fortune have their downsides.
In a lot of ways, celebrities are just like us…except everything’s kicked up a notch. Sure, stars whip up a casserole now and then — but instead of receiving a few compliments at the potluck, their dishes get thousands upon thousands of Instagram likes. They have beloved, go-to skincare and makeup products — except they also have makeup artists and aestheticians on call to help finetune a nighttime routine or perfect a smokey eye.
Likewise, when a rumor spreads about a celebrity, it’s often not the typical “he said, she said” nonsense that most of us have to tolerate when we’re the subject of gossip. Instead, the rumors are frequently based on outlandish conceits that sound like they should belong in sci-fi or even horror. Seriously, according to the internet every household name has been cloned or is a CIA operative.
This kind of over-the-top celebrity gossip is fairly funny until it becomes a full-blown myth. We’ve discussed some of these myths before — it’s pretty wild that people really believe that Dolly Parton’s husband is fake or that dozens of celebs have managed to successfully fake their own deaths. To continue quashing these incredibly weird (and occasionally harmful) lies, we decided to explore some of the wildest celebrity myths ever. The following are strange, curious rumors that are all false — except the one or two that may be true.
Wildest Celebrity Rumors
Walt Disney was a creative guy, but he probably didn’t imagine his death would spawn a wacky science rumor with a shelf life longer than the Cold War. No one knows where this myth started, but Biography says the first documentation of the rumor happened in a French magazine in 1969. In the issue, a Disney executive blames the gossip on some irreverent animators. But regardless of the origin, this myth spread like wildfire — even though Walt Disney’s death certificate indicates that he was cremated in Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Despite the documentation, however, the former president of the Cryonics Society of California still insists Disney expressed interest in cryogenics before his death.
This myth started simply because Beyoncé sat down. While pregnant with her first child in 2011, Beyoncé appeared on an Australian television show called “Sunday Night” and probably still regrets doing so. When she sat down to be interviewed, her baby bump folded inwards in a way that looked unnatural, spawning a rumor that Bey had secretly hired a surrogate. And while Beyoncé refuted the rumor and later showed pictures taken during her pregnancy, many argue that the photos are grainy or don’t show her whole body. Honestly, there’s a chance this rumor could be right, but once again it would be pretty harmless if true. Plus, Beyoncé has arguably more troubling rumors to worry about, considering that some people think she’s a clone.
JLo is a bonafide superstar known for singing catchy pop songs and warming our hearts through rom-coms. But you may remember that when she first became famous, a lot of attention was paid to her curves. Since people were obsessed with her body, a rumor began to spread that she’d insured parts of it — namely her butt. A few years ago, Lopez finally set the record straight on Carpool Karaoke with James Corden. She firmly denies insuring her body and is understandably confused about what she would even be protecting her butt from: “Something happens to it? It disappears? Somebody steals it?”
Joseph Merrick was a man who became unfortunately famous for having a skeletal and soft tissue deformity that no one could ignore. After his death in 1890, the BBC reports that he was preserved at the Royal London Hospital, where his bones still reside. In the late ’80s, however, Michael Jackson did indeed offer a million dollars for the remains. Luckily, the London Hospital Medical College refused to sell the remains because that decision would be so obviously unethical.
This one came out of nowhere. For some reason, many people have spent years believing that Halle Berry has 12 toes (six on each foot). Why is this something we have to consider? Who knows. Who went out of their way to start this insane rumor? That is also very unclear, but there’s a vague origin story about some pictures that reportedly showed the extra toes. It seems like those photos were just taken at wonky angles because Berry flashed her feet on Ellen and everything looks standard. Though even if this rumor were true, we’re not sure why that would matter.
Actress Cameron Diaz has been on the scene for a while, so it makes sense that a weirdly specific myth would pop up. Word on the street is that Diaz will only wash her face with high-quality bottled water. While Diaz has gone on record saying she doesn’t go that far, there is some truth to this rumor. She claims this myth is probably a warped version of a pretty standard routine on set: “The water [in the trailers] comes from tanks they put chemicals in so that it doesn’t freeze. It’s like an antifreeze. You would never wash your face with it. So anyone who washes their face at work would have to use bottled water to wash their face.” That sounds pretty reasonable and is a nice reminder that actors have to occasionally improvise.
Mr. Rogers is such a beloved, wholesome icon that it seems like people almost want him to have a hidden past. For many years, rumors have flown that Mr. Rogers was secretly a tenacious Navy SEAL or Marine sniper — even though there’s documentation to prove that he was declared unfit for service in 1950. The rumor is still so pervasive that the Navy SEALS website has a page debunking the myth: The site points out that he was too old to have enlisted in the Navy when the Vietnam War broke out and that there’s plenty of evidence that Mr. Rogers went straight to college and immediately entered the workforce. Rogers still received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, though, despite his lack of a military career.
We all know and love Stevie Wonder for his many hit songs, but some people among us apparently still speculate about his eyesight. There are frequent rumors that he’s faking blindness because he doesn’t always behave the way we expect blind people to behave. A key example is the one time he caught a falling mic during a live performance (you can see the absolutely cheesy Youtube breakdown below).
In reality, Wonder has been blind since infancy and has advocated for people with disabilities — and it might be time to accept that blind people can catch.
It wouldn’t be a celebrity myth list without accusing a huge star of being secretly deceased. In 1967, a rumor circulated that McCartney had died in a car accident. According to Rolling Stone, a radio DJ in 1969 added major fuel to the fire when he spoke to a caller on air. The caller pointed out that — among other clues — a song played backward implies that someone is dead. Fans continued gathering clues and connecting dots until everyone reached a consensus that McCartney was indeed dead and the band had secretly replaced him with an orphan. Of course, aside from a public DNA test, there’s no way to disprove this rumor…especially since there’s a substitute orphan in the mix. Still, it seems incredibly unlikely that a replacement Paul wouldn’t have broken character since the 1960s.
Like the ever-present myths that living celebrities have secretly passed away, it’s also common to see myths that deceased celebs are alive and in hiding. Elvis Presley is a prime example: Since his death, some fans have sworn that Presley was an FBI agent who went into witness protection because he had ties to the mafia. Which is a very wild claim that the FBI obviously refutes. While Presley’s death was untimely and tragic, there’s no tangible proof that anything unusual happened, aside from a sealed second autopsy that his family arranged because his cause of death was understandably confusing. If you’ve still got a suspicious mind (sorry), remember that the second autopsy will be made public in 2027. In the meantime, you can entertain yourself with notable Elvis Presley sightings.
Want more great content?
Sign up here to jumpstart your mornings with Katie’s dynamic daily newsletter, Wake-Up Call.