A swing and a miss! Every year, a crop of celebrities make some boneheaded decisions, and 2021 was no different. Wonderwall.com is following a time-honored tradition and looking back at the stars who gave us the most cringe-worthy moments of the year, starting with this A-lister… Ben Affleck linked his long-chronicled struggle with alcohol to the demise of his relationship with ex-wife Jennifer Garner. Nothing like playing the blame game, eh Benny?! During a Dec. 14 interview for "The Howard Stern Show," the actor said he felt "trapped" in his marriage so he turned to booze. Ben, who's been sober for several years now, said he'd still be drinking if he were married to Jen. "Part of why I started drinking was because I was trapped," he said. "I was like, 'I can't leave because of my kids, but I'm not happy, what do I do?' And what I did was [I] drank a bottle of scotch and fell asleep on the couch, which turned out not to be the solution." Fans tore into Ben for his comments, pointing to the fact that Jen was a rock for him during his struggles nd multiple relapses and even drove him to rehab in 2018 after they'd split up. Ben also said he has love and respect for his ex. "We did our best. I knew she was a good mom, and I hoped she knew I was a good dad," he said. "I had to get sober, and I acknowledge that." But some fans were still very unhappy with Ben. The next day on Dec. 15, the actor-director responded to the backlash during an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," saying it "hurts my feelings" that what he felt was an amazing two-hour interview was being used and twisted to make him "out to be the worst, most insensitive, stupid, awful guy." According to Ben, "it's the exact opposite of who I am, what I believe, and I would never want my kids to think I would ever say a bad word about their mom."
Keep reading to see who else made boneheaded moves this year…
Jim Bob Duggar suffered from a case of, shall we call it, "selective amnesia" during a late November pre-trial hearing for his son, Josh Duggar, who was facing multiple charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. Prosecutors wanted to show that Josh's previous molestation admissions should be allowed in the new trial. But when asked to look back at the 2006 incidents, Jim Bob seemed to remember some things quite vividly while remaining hazy on other key details. When asked about a police report involving his son, Jim Bob said, "I can't remember" and called the police report "tabloid information." The judge in the case clearly didn't believe the Duggar family patriarch, writing in his decision, "The Court found Mr. Duggar's selective lapse in memory to be not credible; he was obviously reluctant to testify against his son." Jim Bob even tried to play judge at one point. "I'm not going to allow it. Are you going to allow for that?" he reportedly asked the judge during one phase of questioning. The judge reportedly fired back, "If there is [an] objection to be made, someone will make it but it won't be you." A few weeks later — while Jim Bob was running for a seat in the Arkansas state senate — Josh was convicted on two felony counts of child pornography possession. On Dec. 14, Jim Bob lost the primary in a landslide.
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Three things you can count on: death, taxes and Kelly Dodd saying/doing/tweeting something dumb and controversial. First, in January, the former "The Real Housewives of Orange County" star celebrated the return of outdoor dining in California by happily mocking COVID-19 and cheering along after somebody said they were "super spreaders." (Remember, she once said COVID was "God's way of thinning the herd.") Positive Beverage, which she'd been associated with for two years, cut ties with her. Also, over the summer, after she was let go from "RHOC," she did a Cameo video in which she made transphobic comments, for which she later apologized. In that video, she also called her teenage daughter, Jolie, "lazy." Somewhere in 2021, she also apologized after accusing her "RHOC" nemesis Heather Dubrow's son, Nicky, of giving her COVID-19 at a holiday party. By the way, Kelly blamed Braunwyn Windham-Burke and "woke" culture, not herself, for being fired from "Housewives."
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Scott Disick chose the wrong person to confide in. In early September, the reality TV star sent a shady private message about ex Kourtney Kardashian to Younes Bendjima, who dated the mom of three after Scott, from 2016 to 2018. In the Instagram DM, Scott included an image of their mutual ex straddling new beau Travis Barker on a boat. "Yo is this chick ok!??? Broo like what is this. In the middle of Italy," he wrote to Younes. Interestingly, Scott must have felt he had a brother in arms in Younes, despite the two never getting along (mainly because Scott was bitter). Rather than ignoring the DM, Younes replied, "Doesn't matter to me as long as she's happy." He then added the coup de grace: "PS: i aint your bro." To makes matter worse for Scott, the male model then took a screenshot of the exchange and posted it to social media. "Keep the same energy you had about me publicly, privately," he said. The ex-exchange went viral, and Scott came off as hugely jealous of Kourtney. Here's the thing: while Scott was pining for Kourtney, he was dating Amelia Gray Hamlin. They split shortly after and the DM was reportedly part of it. Meanwhile, Travis and Kourtney soon got engaged.
Nicki Minaj caused quite the stir over her position on the COVID-19 vaccine, and it had to do with, among other things, her cousin's friend's testicles and a canceled wedding. Is this real life?! Nicki first trended after saying she would not be attending the Met Gala on Sept. 13 because it required vaccination. While discussing her aversion to the vaccine, she added a tweet that soon become the subject of memes. "My cousin in Trinidad won't get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent," she wrote, adding, "His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you're comfortable with ur decision, not bullied." The wild claims got so much attention that health officials in the United States and Trinidad had to publicly debunk them. As if this wasn't confusing enough, Nicki later encouraged people to get the vaccine if their job required it and said she'd likely get the shot before her next tour. She then said she was invited to the White House to discuss the vaccine, but the White House denied this, saying it offered her a phone call with a doctor.
Maybe Demi Lovato needs to chill. In April, the singer took umbrage with The Bigg Chill, a small frozen yogurt shop in Los Angeles, for giving sugar-free varieties of yogurt prime placement in its stores. Demi then publicly shamed the small business on Instagram. As someone recovering from an eating disorder, they said it was "triggering" and called the shop "diet culture vultures." The Bigg Chill responded to the pop star and said it had indulgent varieties but also carried items for vegans, diabetics and people with Celiac disease. Still, the Disney alum continued the barrage of criticism, spurring the shop to simply begin ignoring them. As the dust was settling, Demi recorded a video and somewhat apologized for the flap but was dragged online throughout much of this, and plenty of people accused them of actively trying to put The Big Chill, a female-owned shop, out of business. However, the opposite is actually happening — the viral dustup resulted in "an avalanche" of sales with people intentionally going to spite Demi. Sorry, not sorry.
…Annndddd here's Part II. Demi Lovato wants to retire the term "alien" because it's insulting to, wait for it… aliens. Demi said extraterrestrials mean no harm. "I really think that if there was anything out there that would want to do that to us, it would have happened by now," they told Pedestrian. "But I think that we have to stop calling them aliens because aliens is a derogatory term for anything. That's why I like to call them E.T.s!" Alien, by definition, is someone coming from a foreign land. Call us crazy, but anything that's not Earth sounds pretty foreign.
"Classless," "pathetic" and "embarrassing." Those were word lobbed in the direction of Kelly Dodd's husband, former Fox News correspondent Rick Leventhal, after he showed off his Halloween outfit… and those words were actually from his supporters! On Oct. 31, Rick thought he was really being funny when he dressed up as Alec Baldwin's character from "Rust." Fans, many of whom have defended the Kelly and Rick in the past, shredded the ex newsman for seemingly making light of the grave incident that took place on the set of the indie Western in which Alec accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, a mother of one, while rehearsing a scene. Rick initially scoffed at the backlash, saying he had no regrets. "In no way was I trying to offend anyone, except Alec Baldwin," he said. "He's a jerk and deserves all the heat he's getting." Kelly backed her man, naturally, saying people loved the idea. The following day, though, Rick deleted the picture, claiming he did so "out of respect" for Halyna's family. He also blamed everyone else for his costume. "People twisted our outfits and intent in ways neither of us could've imagined and filled our page with hate," Rick told Page Six on Nov. 2. "We took the post down out of respect for the victims' families and only hope the cancel culture won't cancel Halloween next."
Back in March, Chrissy Teigen announced that she was leaving Twitter, saying she was "deeply bruised" by the platform and that it "served [her] negatively." Her decision garnered quite a bit of press, as she'd long been fiercely active on social media. Well, 22 days later, she was back, tweeting, "Turns out it feels TERRIBLE to silence yourself and also no longer enjoy belly chuckles randomly throughout the day and also lose like 2000 friends at once lol." The following month, Chrissy wasn't laughing as her past came back to bite her. In May, there were endless calls for Chrissy to be "canceled" after disturbing 10-year-old tweets resurfaced in which she cyberbullied reality TV star Courtney Stodden. Chrissy apologized, but her words mainly fell on deaf ears and some brands ended sponsorships with her.
The New Year didn't start off well for Alec Baldwin's wife, Hilaria Baldwin. In the waning days of 2020, reports alleged that the yoga teacher had been misrepresenting her Spanish heritage and even her name. For years, she's gone by "Hilaria," and reports claimed she was from Spain. Turns out, her name is Hilary and she was born in Boston — she tried valiantly to clear up the confusion, but it didn't work. The mom of six was mercilessly mocked, particularly by the relentless New York media, which upset her and Alec. Due to the name scandal, Page Six announced on Jan. 7 that Hilaria had lost a brand sponsorship, indicating that Cuties Baby Care would no longer be working with her. Sorry, Hilary from Boston.
Morgan Wallen, oh boy. On Feb. 2, after a drunken night out, the country music singer was caught on camera using the N-word in a leaked video. The fallout from the scandal was swift: Big Loud Records suspended him "indefinitely"; his agency dropped him; the Academy of Country Music said he wasn't eligible for awards this year, as did the Billboard Awards; and perhaps worst of all, nearly every radio station in the country took him out of its rotation. Morgan later apologized. Shockingly, the scandal didn't seem to matter, as his "Dangerous: The Double Album" set records for consecutive weeks spent at the top of the Billboard charts. He's also selling out arenas again.
Bruce Willis was kicked out of a Los Angeles pharmacy in January after refusing to wear a face covering, despite having one on him! A paparazzi agency said an employee at Rite Aid asked Bruce to cover his nose and mouth with a bandana hanging around his neck but he "refused." Other customers at the store on Jan. 10 were also supposedly unhappy that Bruce didn't cover up. The New York Post reported that the "Die Hard" actor walked out of the store without making a purchase and without ever pulling up his face covering. Previous to this, the actor had been photographed multiple times wearing a mask, so his refusal didn't appear to be political. He later apologized and encouraged mask wearing. "It was an error in judgment," he told People magazine. "Be safe out there everyone and let's continue to mask up."
What's that smell? A slew of Hollywood celebrities were showered with ridicule after they said they didn't exactly bathe much. The great bathing debate of 2021 started after Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis told Dax Shepard that they don't exactly wash up every day. "I don't wash my body with soap every day," Mila said. Ashton added, "I wash my armpits and my crotch daily, and nothing else ever. I got a bar of Lever 2000 that just delivers every time. Nothing else." Dax and wife Kristen Bell said they had a casual approach to showering, and Jake Gyllenhaal noted that showering isn't always in the cards for him either. Mila later called the debate "dumb" and Jake said his comment was "sarcastic."
Jason Aldean's wife, Brittany Aldean, was met with sharp criticism in late September when she posted pictures with the couple's two very young children in shirts opposing President Joe Biden. No one had an issue with Brittany or the viewpoint, but fans (even from the right) cringed that she dressed her 3-year-old and 2-year-old children in shirts that said "Hidin' from Biden"… as if the kids know what that even means. "I hate Biden," one commenter wrote. "But does a little kid need to know anything about politics like this?" Many others had similar responses and accused her of using the tots as political pawns.
Shailene Woodley decided to stick up for her man, Aaron Rodgers by mocking a completely innocent man. On Nov. 9, the "Divergent" star posted screenshots from a tabloid news story claiming to show the Green Bay Packers quarterback getting coffee. The actress insisted that the man in the published images isn't her fiancé, claiming she could tell by the man's hands, feet and car — all of which she shamed. In the midst of her posts, the "Big Little Lies" alum drew circles around faux-Aaron's feet. "i know aaron's body. VERY well. first off, his feet, ahem and no offense to this rando dude, are a LOT bigger. ;)," she wrote, implying that the innocent man wasn't as well-endowed as Aaron. She said the man's hands were different too. Then she made fun of the innocent man's car. "also, cute car dude, but aaron would never drive this," she wrote. So, Aaron's apparently too good for that car?
Getting nominated for a Grammy is a crowning achievement. Justin Bieber didn't see it that way. The singer was nominated in the pop category for his album "Changes" ahead of the 2021 ceremony. That set Justin off, as he believed the album was an R&B album. "Changes was and is an R&B album. It is not being acknowledged as an R&B album, which is very strange to me," he wrote on Instagram, adding that he didn't want to come off as "ungrateful," which he obviously did. To protest his pop category inclusion and perceived snub, Justin didn't attend the Grammys in March. His absence wasn't sorely missed.
Sour grapes much? In September, Debra Messing ripped "Saturday Night Live" execs' decision to have Kim Kardashian West on as a host, but it was pretty clear that Debra's issues came from a place of jealousy. "Why Kim Kardashian? I mean, I know she is a cultural icon, but SNL has hosts, generally, who are performers who are there to promote a film, TV show, or album launch," she tweeted after the announcement, adding, "Am I missing something?" Fans told her she was, indeed, missing something. Debra later added, "It's always been a dream of mine to host @nbcsnl. Ain't gonna lie — seeing Elon Musk given that privilege — not the funniest of people — really hurts my heart." Kim, by the way, was incredible as a host. She was so good, in fact, that Debra (sort of) apologized, telling talk show host Tamron Hall on Oct. 19, "I was not intending to troll her," adding, "and you know if anybody took it that way, I apologize, that was never my intention." Debra said she's "been so focused on activism" that she's out of the loop on pop culture… even though Kim is hardly a flash in the pan in regard to pop culture. "I watched her and I thought she was amazing, and I was rooting for her," Debra concluded. "If you know me, and you follow me, then you know that I consistently lift up women. I support women. So you know, I hope that people understand that was never my intention."
One of the most bizarre stories of the year emerged on Jan. 3 when it was reported that former Bond girl Tanya Roberts had died. That news came via her publicist, who claimed that he got the information directly from Tanya's partner, Lance O'Brien. However, later that day, it was reported that the "That '70s Show" actress actually hadn't died and was still in the hospital. In truth, she ended up passing away on Jan. 4. So how did the confusion happen? According to Tanya's domestic partner, Lance, he was with the actress when her eyes rolled into the back of her head and she passed out. He believed she'd died. He then called the "Charlie's Angels" star's publicist, telling him, "I said goodbye." According to the rep, Lance also said, "She died in my arms." But she didn't. Somewhere in there Lance never thought to ask a doctor if Tanya was still breathing?
With Texas facing extreme freezing conditions, unsafe drinking water and mass power outages in February, Senator Ted Cruz decided to skip town and head south of the border to Cancun. On Feb. 18, the Texas politician confirmed the vacation but tried to shift blame… to his daughters. His daughters! "Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon," he said. However, many of his constituents pointed to the fact that Ted's wife was there and could have easily chaperoned the girls. Also, Ted was seen with luggage, a sure sign he wasn't planning a short stint under the sun. (Also a United Airlines source told the travel intel website Skift that Ted's initial flight back was scheduled for Feb. 20.) Leaked text messages from his wife also later confirmed they left because their house was "freezing," as she tried to recruit neighbors to go to Mexico and beat the cold. On Twitter, many dubbed him "Cancun Cruz" or "Flyin' Ted," a nod to the 2016 campaign when then-fellow-presidential candidate Donald Trump often referred to him as "Lyin' Ted." To much ridicule, Ted returned to Texas as his family stayed in Mexico.
A little-known actor affected a big moment for Elton John. In May, Elton received a lifetime achievement award on the "AIDS Walk: Live at Home" virtual telecast, but you didn't hear from Elton. According to a bizarre lawsuit and insider comments, the singer and his husband, David Furnish, recorded an acceptance speech for the show several weeks in advance, but the footage was held "hostage" by the man who filmed it: "Jersey Boys" actor Erich Bergen. The actor, who also starred on "Madam Secretary," reportedly only sent in a version with a watermark on it. MZA Events claimed in a lawsuit that it hired Erich and paid him $38,000 to produce a video of Elton and David for the telecast. In legal documents obtained by Page Six, MZA claimed Erich "provided the video in an unusable [watermarked] format out of spite and for the purpose of antagonizing MZA Events because MZA Events was unwilling to accommodate Mr. Bergen's 'my way or the highway' approach to producing the video." The court records went on to allege, "Mr. Bergen has acted in bad faith. He has not taken these issues seriously, for example, responding by writing 'LOL!' when MZA Events raised its concerns about the harm that he is causing to its charitable partners." Eric's rep, by the way, told Page Six that the actor had no contract with MZA and "any suggestion of this is simply a lie."
DaBaby faced the consequences of his words in August. While on stage at Rolling Loud Miami, the rapper made some unsettling (and uninformed) homophobic remarks. He then doubled down on his comments on social media. The result? Less work. The rapper was quickly dropped from multiple music festival lineups including Lollapalooza, Governors Ball, Day N Vegas, Austin City Limits and more. On Aug. 2, as he was getting dropped from the shows, DaBaby said he was sorry. "I want to apologize to the LGBTQ+ community for the hurtful and triggering comments I made," the 29-year-old rapper wrote on Instagram. "Again, I apologize for my misinformed comments about HIV/AIDS and I know education on this is important. Love to all. God bless."
Armie Hammer allegedly checked into rehab in June for "drug, alcohol and sex issues," and it sounds like that was a good thing. In January, Armie's name was trending on social media after he allegedly described himself as a "cannibal" in a leaked private message to a woman. As the week went on, more women came forward with bizarre and disturbing accusations against him. He also made headlines when he was accused of having a secret Instagram and after he implied that he was having a relationship with "Ms. Cayman" as a racy video of a woman appeared in the feed. The Miss Cayman Islands pageant went so far as to issues a public denial that it had any links to Armie. Amid the fallout, Armie exited multiple projects but called the allegation "bulls***." Afterward, he admitted the racy video was authentic.
"The Mandalorian" season 1 star Gina Carano got in trouble with her social media posts. In February, the actress compared being a conservative Republican in the current political climate to being Jewish in Nazi Germany during WWII. Disney and Lucasfilm fired her, with the bosses calling her social media post "abhorrent." After her firing, some conservatives were outraged and urged people to cancel their Disney+ accounts in protest. #CancelDisneyPlus even trended. In the wake of the drama, she signed a deal to star in and produce a movie for The Daily Wire.