In the golden age before the internet took over our lives, when social media was but a distant dream, celebrities were masters of drama and intrigue. They skillfully engaged in backstabbing and trash-talking, creating a whirlwind of excitement. The 1990s were a battleground for Hollywood’s leading ladies, who clashed and sparred in epic fashion. Musicians fought fierce battles against record labels, while actors engaged in cutthroat competition for coveted roles. The tabloids overflowed with scandalous tales of celebrity betrayals, keeping us on the edge of our seats. Some feuds were predictable, while others caught us completely off guard. So, let’s journey back to the captivating era before the new millennium and explore the juiciest instances of betrayal between the stars.
1. Alyssa Milano Allegedly Made The ‘Charmed’ Set ‘Toxic’
Over the years, there have been discussions about the challenging dynamics between Charmed co-stars Shannen Doherty and her eventual replacement, Rose McGowan, and Alyssa Milano. McGowan even referred to Milano as “toxic” at one point. Milano, however, acknowledged her own contribution to the uncomfortable work environment:
“I would say we are cordial… I can take responsibility for a lot of the tension we experienced. I think our struggles stemmed from a sense of competition rather than the sisterhood the show was known for. I feel guilty about my part in that.”
When Milano learned about Doherty’s breast cancer diagnosis, she reached out to her. She continues to send direct messages every couple of months just to check in. Milano holds respect for Doherty, recognizing her as a talented actress who deeply loves her family. Looking back, Milano wishes she had been strong enough to see and appreciate this during their time on set.
2. Jamie Foxx Punched LL Cool J In The Face
Jamie Foxx made his silver-screen debut in 1999’s Any Given Sunday after gaining recognition from TV shows and music videos. However, the tension between characters in the sports drama spilled over into real life on set.
Co-star LL Cool J and Foxx had a series of confrontational conversations, which eventually turned physical. Bill Bellamy, their colleague, revealed that the clash of egos between the actors caused the hostility:
“Everybody was gassed up, but the reality of the movie was the context – its conflict of egos with these players… You can’t be a rapper hanging around comedians tryna snap.”
Bellamy noticed LL Cool J getting increasingly aggravated and asked Foxx to tone down his teasing. Unfortunately, things escalated during an emotional scene:
“The third time we go to do the take, Jamie just turns around… punches [LL Cool J’s] face, busts his lip. He was so mad and it just seemed like he was growing… His voice changed and everything. He said, ‘On everything I love, ain’t nothin’ you gon’ do to get me to stop what’s gonna happen to you.'”
In retaliation, LL Cool J punched Foxx so hard that he passed out. The incident resulted in Foxx cutting his tongue and needing 16 stitches, forcing a halt in filming:
“Jamie cuts his tongue, has to go to the hospital, he’s got to get 16 stitches… we can’t film right now because we don’t know what’s going on with Jamie when he comes back from the hospital, and the tension is crazy!”
To resolve the tension and resume filming, former football player Jim Brown, who also starred in Any Given Sunday, had to intervene and separate Foxx and LL Cool J.
3. Russell Crowe Labeled George Clooney A ‘Sellout’
Both Russell Crowe and George Clooney rose to fame in the early 1990s, transitioning from TV shows to the big screen. Crowe’s Academy Award win in 2000 for his role in Gladiator sparked rumors that Clooney was envious of him not getting the part.
However, Clooney clarified in an interview that his ill feelings towards the New Zealand-born actor were not rooted in jealousy. He explained that it was actually comments made by Crowe years ago that had caused his aggravation.
Crowe had publicly stated, “George Clooney, Harrison Ford, and Robert De Niro are sellouts,” which initiated the conflict. Clooney responded by saying, “He’s probably right. And I’m glad he told us because Bob and Harrison and I were also thinking about starting a band, which would also fall under the heading of bad use of celebrity.” This only fueled Crowe’s anger, leading him to insult Clooney further by calling him a “Frank Sinatra wannabe.”
Clooney, frustrated with the situation, sent Crowe a note questioning his behavior, stating, “Dude, the only people who succeed when two famous people are fighting is People magazine… What the f**k is wrong with you?”
Rather than offering a direct apology to Clooney, Crowe decided to express his remorse by sending him a book of poems. Clooney acknowledged this gesture, saying, “The truth is that [Crowe] did send me a book of poems to apologize for insulting the sh*t out of me, which he did.”
4. After Tupac Shakur Was Shot In The Studio Where The Notorious B.I.G. Recorded, The Latter Seemingly Mocked Him With A Diss Track
In the early stages of their careers, Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. were actually friends. Tupac achieved success in the early 1990s and often let Biggie, who hailed from the East Coast, crash at his place when he visited the West Coast. Tupac even extended an invitation to Biggie to join Thug Life Records, but unfortunately, Biggie had already committed to Sean “Diddy” Combs’s Bad Boy Records label and had to decline.
However, their friendship took a sharp turn when Tupac paid a visit to Quad Recording Studios on November 30, 1994, where Biggie and the Junior M.A.F.I.A were also recording. Tragically, Tupac was shot five times in what seemed to be an attempted robbery. There were rumors circulating that Tupac intended to meet up with Biggie, Diddy, and another artist named Little Shawn, but Lil Cease of the Junior M.A.F.I.A. denied these claims, stating that Tupac was there to record with someone else and they were unaware of his plans.
Tupac was left physically and emotionally wounded by the incident. He felt betrayed by his fellow East Coast rappers, as he believed they knew more than they let on. In his words, “Half the rappers in the East Coast was there when I got shot and nobody knew a thing. That’s just like you coming to the hood and the police ask you ‘what happened’ and everybody acting ‘I don’t know.'”
Biggie, on the other hand, denied any involvement in the altercation. However, in his 1995 album, he included a song titled “Who Shot Ya?” which had suggestive lyrics that seemed to mock his former friend. The lyrics went something like, “Who shot ya? Separate the weak from the obsolete. Hard to creep them Brooklyn streets. It’s on, n*gga, f*ck all that bickering beef.”
5. Denise Richards Encouraged Heather Locklear To File For Divorce, Then Dated Her Ex
In 2006, Denise Richards was accused by a mutual friend of encouraging Heather Locklear to file for divorce. Richards denied intentionally breaking up Locklear’s marriage to Richie Sambora, but admitted to dating him before the divorce papers were signed.
In an interview with TMZ, Richards revealed that she felt she had been deceived by Locklear and David Spade, who called her out. She stated, “Heather knows why and when her marriage ended with Richie and she knows why my marriage ended with Charlie [Sheen]… It is a betrayal because a lot of it isn’t true and they know that and that’s what’s hard.”
However, in 2020, Richards became more open about her relationship with Locklear and her ex. She clarified, “I was no longer friends with Heather months before Richie and I got together. I don’t want to say what caused the split, but she and I weren’t even speaking then. It wasn’t ever like we’d be shopping and go back to her house and I’d flirt with her husband. Yes, I got together with Heather’s soon-to-be ex-husband, but no, I didn’t have an affair with him.”
Richards emphasized that if she and Locklear had still been friends at the time, she would never have crossed that line. She explained, “The friendship was not salvageable, and in the beginning, Richie and I just talked as friends because we were dealing with similar situations.”
While Richards understands why the public might perceive her as someone who stole another person’s husband, she firmly believes she did not break up Locklear’s marriage. She stated, “If either Richie or I had felt our marriages were fixable, we wouldn’t have crossed that line.”
6. Despite Recognizing Her Ex-Husband Tommy Mottola Was Sabotoging Her Career, Mariah Carey Had Ongoing Beef With Jennifer Lopez
After a tumultuous marriage lasting less than five years, Mariah Carey and Sony CEO Tommy Mottola decided to part ways in 1998. Carey acknowledges that her ex-husband is likely responsible for the subsequent musical sabotage she faced. However, she holds such disdain for Jennifer Lopez that she refuses to even acknowledge her existence. In her memoir, Carey explains that many of the issues surrounding her unsuccessful movie project, Glitter, can be traced back to Tommy. He was furious when she severed the strings he used to manipulate her. He was determined to prevent her from achieving great success after leaving him and Sony. He would not allow her or Glitter to shine.
When Carey’s new song for the film, which used the same sample she had used, was heard by Sony, they hurriedly released a single for another female artist on their label. Carey was referring to Lopez’s song “I’m Real,” which sampled “Firecracker” – a track Carey had planned to use for her song “Loverboy.” To make matters worse, after Carey chose Ja Rule as the rapper to remix the track, Sony announced that Lopez would collaborate with Ja Rule on “I’m Real.” As a result, Carey had to change the sample she wanted to use in the film’s featured song and the rapper she worked with.
Despite Sony’s and the other female artist’s attempts to ruin her song, Carey takes solace in the fact that “Loverboy” ended up being the best-selling single of 2001 in the United States. She had the last laugh. “I’m real.”
7. Will Smith Labeled Co-Star Janet Hubert As ‘Difficult’
Fans of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air were left shocked when Janet Hubert, who portrayed Aunt Viv on the popular 90s sitcom, was abruptly replaced by another actress. Apparently, this decision stemmed from a feud between Hubert and Will Smith, who referred to his TV aunt as “difficult.”
Hubert seemed to desire the show to be solely focused on her, as she once expressed, “I can say straight up that Janet Hubert wanted the show to be The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air Show because I know she is going to dog me in the press.” It’s unfortunate to see her go from earning a substantial salary to receiving nothing. It appears she has held resentment for quite some time.
In the past, she made her dissatisfaction known, stating, “I’ve been in the business for 10 years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.” It seems that, in her eyes, I am nothing more than the Antichrist.
Years later, as talks about a Fresh Prince reunion circulated, Hubert firmly declared that such an event would never happen due to her disdain for Will Smith. She referred to him as an egomaniac who has yet to mature. She emphasized that unless he learns the word “apology,” a reunion would remain out of the question during her lifetime.
However, to the surprise of many, a reunion special did air in November 2020. During the special, the two celebrities managed to reconcile on air. Hubert shared with People magazine, “If there are tree roots in the drain, the water doesn’t flow. The drain has been snaked.”
8. Julia Roberts Called Nick Nolte ‘Completely Disgusting’
During the filming of “I Love Trouble” in 1993, Julia Roberts expressed her lack of enthusiasm about working with Nick Nolte as her co-star. In a recent interview in 2022, she stated, “From the moment I met him, we sort of gave each other a hard time, and naturally, we get on each other’s nerves. [While he can be] completely charming and very nice, he’s also completely disgusting. He’s going to hate me for saying this, but he seems to go out of his way to repel people. He’s a kick.”
After completing the film, Nolte never reached out to Roberts, but he accepts some responsibility for the tension between them on set. When asked if they resolved their issues, he responded affirmatively, saying, “It was absurd what we went through. It was partly my fault and a little bit of hers. Julia got married at the beginning of that film, and it was one of those things where I just approached it all wrong.”
9. Naomi Campbell Told Tyra Banks ‘You’ll Never Be Me’
Naomi Campbell, a trailblazing Black supermodel, shattered racial barriers in the early 1990s. However, when Tyra Banks, who greatly admired Campbell, entered the fashion industry, she felt that the veteran model treated her with hostility. Banks recalls Campbell’s warning: “You’ll never be me, don’t ever think that you’ll be me.”
Campbell denies ever treating anyone in such a manner, but Banks considers this encounter as one of the most challenging experiences in her career. Banks shares her frustration, stating, “I arrived in Paris, and it was extremely difficult. I achieved rapid success, but the industry was saying, ‘Watch out Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks is here to take your place.’ It was unfair because when other non-Black models like Kate Moss emerged, we were from the same generation, but they weren’t targeted in the same way. They weren’t saying, ‘Watch out Christy Turlington!'”
Banks acknowledges that although Campbell’s response was unwarranted, she understands the underlying factors that contributed to it. Banks explains, “I don’t support her actions and response, but I can empathize with where it stemmed from. She reacted strongly, but I can somewhat comprehend the source of her emotions.”
Initially, Campbell denied the incident ever occurred, but during a commercial break while filming a show, she returned and apologized.
10. Martha Stewart Told Gwyneth Paltrow To Stick To Acting
Gwyneth Paltrow, known for her successful film career in the 1990s and her Oscar-winning performance in Shakespeare in Love, decided to venture into the world of entrepreneurship by creating her own clean lifestyle company called Goop. This move apparently didn’t sit well with Martha Stewart, who has long dominated the same niche. Stewart has expressed her disapproval of Paltrow in passive-aggressive interviews, saying that she hopes Paltrow is authentic and acknowledging her success as a lifestyle arbiter.
Over time, Stewart’s hostility towards Paltrow only grew, as she suggested that Paltrow should focus on her acting instead of trying to be like Martha Stewart. However, Paltrow didn’t take these comments to heart and instead found amusement in being seen as competition by Stewart.
Stewart continued to throw shade at Paltrow through various interviews, even pretending to be unaware of Paltrow’s endeavors when asked about Goop. In response, Stewart expressed her support for all entrepreneurs, including Paltrow, whether they are movie stars or hardworking women like herself.
In the ongoing rivalry between these two lifestyle moguls, Paltrow remains unfazed by Stewart’s criticisms, while Stewart maintains a somewhat dismissive attitude towards Paltrow’s ventures.