When you're a pop star, the rumors circulating about you are ever-present; it is, in a very real way, simply another aspect of the job. But, at the same time, there are also some crazy pop star rumors that are true. These stories illustrate that, while they may be an unusual breed, pop superstars are as prone as anyone else to engaging in petty rivalries, making strange life choices, and harboring painful personal histories. And they may have tried to distance themselves from the gossip, but the truth often has a way of finding its way to the light.
Ever since popular music took root in the 1950s, fans have had a fascination with the voices behind the songs. The gradual evolution of celebrity culture made it easier than ever for pop fans to keep up with their favorite performers. Unfortunately, not all of the supposedly true stories about pop stars were totally true, fueling the tabloid media and creating a constant buzz of speculation and aura of mystery around the icons of pop.
Yet some reports were definitely true. Below, read a sampling of some of these confirmed rumors about pop stars and vote up the ones that are still kind of unbelievable.
The never-ending dispute between Katy Perry and Taylor Swift has long been a fertile source for the gossip mill. In one of the stranger rumors, it was said that Perry carried locks of hair in her purse — hair belonging to Swift and Miley Cyrus. In 2013, Perry made an unusual confession and confirmed the backstory of the locks. "One of the first times I went to the Grammys, I got to share a dressing room with Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift," she said, continuing:
"And I asked for a lock of their hair from each one of them, which is totally creepy, but awesome…I put little bows on them individually and put them in my purse. And that was my little secret and I'm a freak!"
The fact that Prince was a practicing Jehovah's Witness was public knowledge when the pop star was alive. He talked about his faith in interviews, and he was active in his local congregation. But it wasn't until after he died that we learned Prince regularly practiced the trademark door-to-door evangelism for which Jehovah's Witnesses are known. But there were no doors slammed in Prince's face. People "never called him out on it. They listened to his message and respected his opinion," a source said.
#23 on The Best Rock Vocalists
#20 on The Best Singers of All Time
#35 on The Best Frontmen in Rock
Ryan Gosling and AJ McLean were living next door to one another in the 1990s when McLean asked Gosling to be in his new band, the Backstreet Boys. Gosling, however, declined. Then, months later, Gosling had a change of heart and called McLean, but McLean never returned the call, a story he confirmed decades after the fact. "Ryan, I am so sorry that I didn’t call you back. If we ever want a sixth Backstreet Boy member I’m gonna call you," McLean said in 2013. Sorry, AJ; he belongs to us now.
#33 on The Greatest Dancing Singers
For the first few years of her career, Nicki Minaj's background was shrouded in mystery. But in an interview with Details magazine, she confirmed that some of the crazy rumors going around about her childhood were indeed true. Namely, the story that her father once tried to kill her mother.
"He drank a lot and did drugs, and he would get violent when he did. When he set fire to the house, he was attempting to kill my mother. She got out before it burned all the way down. I’ve always had this female-empowerment thing in the back of my mind — because I wanted my mother to be stronger, and she couldn’t be. I thought, 'If I'm successful, I can change her life.'"