For almost every celebrity with a skeleton in his or her closet, this was a year of reckoning. These stars all had their filthy (and sometimes criminal) secrets exposed in 2017.
Though much of Johnny Depp’s dirty laundry was aired during his bitter and brutal divorce proceedings from Amber Heard in 2016, more messy matters came to light in 2017: His finances. In January 2017, Depp sued The Management Group (TMG) for $25 million for allegedly mismanaging his money for nearly two decades, Deadline reported. Documents obtained by Deadline in June 2017 revealed that Depp overdrew nearly $4 million from his bank accounts in 2009, and in November 2017, his former managers made moves to attempt to foreclose on Depp’s properties over an allegedly unpaid $5 million loan.
“As a result of years of gross mismanagement and sometimes outright fraud, Mr. Depp lost tens of millions of dollars and has been forced to dispose of significant assets to pay for TMG’s self-dealing and gross misconduct,” Depp’s January complaint read in part.
TMG disputed his accusations, arguing in one filing, “As a result of Depp’s uncontrollable spending, which exceeded the net income he received from his films, Depp was forced to borrow large sums of money to fund a lifestyle that continued to become more and more extravagant over the years.”
The world knew that Chris Brown’s relationship with ex Karrueche Tran was a volatile one, but most didn’t realize it was also allegedly rife with domestic abuse.
In February 2017, E! News reported that Tran obtained a temporary restraining order against Brown, which became permanent that June. Tran accused Brown of harassing her and her family and friends constantly, as well as of beating her numerous times, including two incidents in which she alleged that he punched her in the stomach and kicked her down a flight of stairs. Brown called the allegations “bulls**t.”
Casey Affleck’s past came back to haunt him in 2017.
In 2010, two women who worked on Affleck’s film I’m Still Here: The Lost Year Of Joaquin Phoenix (2010) sued him for sexual harassment, The Daily Mail reported, with allegations ranging from touching one of the women inappropriately while she slept to ordering crew members to show their genitalia. The women reached settlements with Affleck for undisclosed sums and are prohibited from speaking about the allegations due to non-disclosure agreements.
After taking home his Best Actor Oscar in March 2017, Affleck told The Boston Globe of the allegations, “I believe that any kind of mistreatment of anyone for any reason is unacceptable and abhorrent, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else.”
The sexual harassment allegations resurfaced in November 2017 when Armie Hammer hinted to The Hollywood Reporter that Affleck won an Oscar while Birth Of A Nation (2016) star and writer Nate Parker — who was accused and acquitted of sexual assault — was ostracized due to racism. Hammer later apologized.
Mel B filed for divorce from Stephen Belafonte, her husband of nearly a decade, in March 2017, and the split was very ugly. Revelations from the case, which People reported was finalized in December 2017, included that the former Spice Girl and Belafonte engaged in threesomes with other women (including their nanny), that Belafonte allegedly got their nanny pregnant, that Mel was accused of abusing drugs and alcohol during the marriage, and allegations that Belafonte physically and emotionally abused her throughout their relationship. Belafonte denied all of the allegations.
Kathy Griffin posed for a now-infamous photoshoot with a simulated severed Donald Trump head in May 2017, leading to a slew of backlash ranging from a cancelled tour, the loss of an endorsement deal, and getting fired from CNN’s New Year’s Eve special with pal Anderson Cooper.
Griffin initially apologized in a now-deleted Twitter video and claimed in an ill-conceived press conference that Trump was ruining her life, but later slammed everyone from Cooper to Bravo’s Andy Cohen to TMZ founder Harvey Levin to her own attorney, Lisa Bloom, in an interview with The Daily Beast and a series of videos and missiveson social media. However, she also exposed her own failures and insisted she was being blacklisted following the Trump-themed shoot.
In May 2017, a memo that comedian Steve Harvey wrote to his daytime talk show’s staff went viral.
“Do not come to my dressing room unless invited . Do not approach me while I’m in the makeup chair unless I ask to speak with you directly … Do not wait in any hallway to speak to me,” he wrote (via Variety). “Do not take offense to the new way of doing business. It is for the good of my personal life and enjoyment.”
He later explained to Entertainment Tonight, “I could not find a way to walk from the stage to my dressing room, to sit in my makeup chair, to walk from my dressing room to the stage or to just sit and have lunch without somebody just walking in. I’ve always had a policy where, you know, you can come and talk to me — so many people are great around here, but some of them just started taking advantage of it … I don’t apologize about the letter, but it’s kind of crazy what people who took this thing and ran, man.”
Katy Perry aired most of her own dirty laundry herself in 2017 when promoting her album, Witness. In a tearful segment on Viceland’s The Therapist in June 2017, Perry revealed that she’d previously struggled with suicidal thoughts, identity issues, and substance abuse, and admitted that she basically changed her entire persona for fame.
“I’m human, and I’m living under this crazy microscope, and I made this choice,” she wept. “‘Look at Katy Perry, she’s so glamorous, she’s rich, she’s luxurious, she’s successful.’ Katheryn Hudson — I didn’t have any money, I didn’t have any influence, I had nothing, so it’s a bit hard to go back there … I create this character, but it makes it so much harder to be real and intimate with people,” she said.
In a separate interview with James Corden, Perry ranked her past three boyfriends’ bedroom skills, with John Mayer taking the top spot, followed by Orlando Bloom, then Diplo.
Rob Kardashian exposed ex Blac Chyna’s dirty laundry in the form of dirty pictures. The troubled reality star posted revenge porn of the former stripper in July 2017 in the form of nude photos, resulting in temporary Instagram and Twitter bans for Kardashian. Kardashian accused Chyna of cheating on him with three different men, an allegation she denied, claiming they weren’t even together for months. Chyna eventually obtained a restraining order against Kardashian, then sued his entire famous family for slut-shaming her.
In October 2017, a New York Times exposé accused Harvey Weinstein of decades of sexual harassment in the movie business, with alleged victims including Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan. When confronted with the allegations, Weinstein said in a statement, “I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then. I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office — or out of it. To anyone … I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.”
Just days later, Ronan Farrow penned a piece in The New Yorker accusing Weinstein of sexually assaulting at least three women, including xXx (2002) actress Asia Argento. Weinstein denied all accusations of non-consensual sexual activity. Allegations kept coming, however, with stars including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, Renee Zellweger, Heather Graham, Cara Delevingne, Kate Beckinsale, Léa Seydoux, and more accusing him of various forms of sexual misconduct through the years.
Ben Affleck had a tough 2017. He went public with his first post-Jennifer Garner girlfriend, Lindsay Shookus, in the summer — and numerous sources claimed the romance first began when both Affleck and Shookus were married to Garner and Kevin Miller, respectively.
In October 2017, Affleck apologized to One Tree Hill actress Hilarie Burton after she called him out for groping her without her consent in 2003. Days later, more women came forward accusing Affleck of touching them inappropriately. Comedian and actor John Mulaney’s wife, Annamarie Tendler, tweeted, “I would also love to get an apology from Ben Affleck who grabbed my a** at a Golden Globes party in 2014 … Like most women in these situations I didn’t say anything but I have thought a lot about what I’d say if I ever saw him again.” Writer Jen Statsky replied to Tendler, “I was also at this party and *multiple* friends had this same exact experience.” Affleck didn’t comment on the Golden Globe party accusations.
Professionally, Affleck’s own brother may have thrown him under the bus as well: Casey said in an August 2017 radio interview that Ben wasn’t reprising his role as Batman after Justice League (2017), which Ben denied at the time … but later on hinted may actually be true.
Stranger Things star Charlie Heaton got busted and detained at LAX for allegedly having trace amounts of cocaine in his possession on a flight in October 2017, Entertainment Tonight reported. He apologized for missing the premiere of the Netflix smash, telling press in a statement, “My planned travel to the US last week was affected by an issue at US immigration, and I am working to rectify it as soon as possible. I do want to clarify that I was not arrested or charged with a crime, and cooperated fully with the US officials at LAX. I’m sorry to all the fans and my Stranger Things family for missing the premiere. We are all so proud of this season and I would never want this story to negatively impact the show.”
The same month he was detained, it was revealed that Heaton shares a secret love child with ex-girlfriend Akiko Matsuura.
In late October 2017, Star Trek: Discovery star Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of sexually harassing him when Rapp was just 14 years old to Spacey’s then-26. Spacey, who’d never previously addressed or defined his own sexuality, then came out as gay in a statement on Twitter, writing, “I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor. I’m beyond horrified to hear his story. I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”
Spacey came under fire for seemingly trying to divert attention away from his alleged misconduct to his homosexuality. He checked into rehab, but the damage to his career and reputation were done: He was fired from House Of Cards, removed from All The Money In The World (2017), and subjected to a slew more accusations of misconduct spanning decades.
Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor was accused of sexual harassment by two transgender colleagues from the Amazon series: His former assistant, and his co-star Trace Lysette. Tambor called his assistant’s claims “baseless,” adding of Lysette’s accusation that he touched her inappropriately and threatened to “attack [her] sexually,” “I know I haven’t always been the easiest person to work with. I can be volatile and ill-tempered, and too often I express my opinions harshly and without tact. But I have never been a predator — ever.”
Tambor took leave from Transparent; it’s unclear whether he will return.
In November 2017, five women accused comedian Louis C.K. of sexual harassment in The New York Times, alleging that he asked them to watch him pleasure himself (and that in some cases, he just did it without consent at all). Most of the women were comedians or otherwise under C.K.’s employ.
Though he’d dismissed rumors of misconduct for years, this time he copped to the tales.
“These stories are true,” he said in a statement (via Deadline). “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my d**k without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your d**k isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”
In November 2017, a former production intern on the 1985 TV movie adaptation of Death Of A Salesmanaccused Dustin Hoffman of sexually harassing her throughout the shooting of the film, with offenses allegedly ranging from inappropriate comments to unwanted touching. Hoffman didn’t deny the claims, telling The Hollywood Reporter in a statement, “I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation. I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.”
More accusations of various forms of Hoffman’s alleged sexual misconduct have surfaced since the initial report.
In November 2017, Mean Girls (2004) star Daniel Franzese accused actress Bijou Phillips of harassing, assaulting, and bullying him on the set of Bully (2001). Among other alleged misdeeds, Franzese claimed that Phillips mocked his sexuality and kicked him so hard that he got dizzy.
Phillips later told TMZ, “I want to write to address what Daniel has said. I don’t remember that time well, those years are a blur. I was a teenager and reckless in my behavior. I know Daniel to be a trustworthy and honest person, and to find out through social media that I was not the friend I thought I was to him made me so sad.”
She continued, “I am so mortified by this behavior and have contacted Daniel and apologized to him privately. I am not and never have been homophobic. I have nothing but love for the LGBTQ community and Daniel.”
In late November 2017, Matt Lauer was abruptly fired from Today amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct spanning almost two decades. Variety reported that Lauer would invite young female staffers to his hotel rooms late at night during Olympics coverage through the years, as well as carrying on affairs in his office at NBC’s Rockefeller Center offices and elsewhere.
A former Today producer explained to Variety of Lauer’s conduct, “There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held. He couldn’t sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people, because he’s Matt Lauer and he’s married. So he’d have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn’t ever complain.”
Lauer didn’t deny the accusations, saying in a statement, “Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”
In September 2017, Kevin Hart was subjected to an extortion attempt that revealed he’d been cheating on his then-pregnant wife, Eniko Parrish, with stripper Montia Sabbag.
“I’m not perfect … I made a bad error in judgment. I put myself in an environment where only bad things can happen, and they did. In doing that, I know that I’m going to hurt people closest to me, who I’ve talked to and apologized to — my wife and my kids … But I’m also not gonna allow a person to have financial gain over my mistakes, and in this particular situation, that’s what’s attempted,” he said in a video at the time (via TMZ). “I said, ‘I’d rather fess up to my mistakes.'”
An investigation into the extortion attempt is ongoing, but Hart has been candid about his role in the scandal. In December 2017, he told The Breakfast Club of his “massive f**king mistake,” “That’s Kevin Hart in his dumbest moment. That’s not the finest hour of my life. With that being said, you make your bed you lay in it. You can’t even say, ‘What were you thinking?’ Because you weren’t thinking … Me being wrong, I’m going to face the music,” he continued. “I’m gonna go home, I’m gonna address it, I’m gonna make my wife fully aware of what’s going on in the situation.”
In December 2017, an Eater New York report revealed that celebrity chef Mario Batali was accused of sexual misconduct for years, with accusations ranging from making inappropriate comments to restaurant workers to groping and touching women — over a span of almost 20 years. Batali didn’t deny the allegations and was candid and apologetic, saying in a statement, “I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted,” he said. “That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.”
Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock admitted to various instances of past sexual misconduct in a TwitLonger blog post in December 2017, even claiming that a woman accused him of rape. Following his confession, Spurlock stepped down from Warrior Poets Productions, and his upcoming release, Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken (2018) was pulled from the Sundance Film Festival.