12 Cringeworthy Times Celebrities Didn't Recognize Other Celebrities

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Vote up the most embarrassing encounters.

Not all celebrities are created equally recognizable. Some actors are so closely associated to a role they played that they're essentially invisible out of costume. Or maybe they're pop stars who love over-the-top outfits and makeup, and jeans and a T-shirt make them into someone else. They could even be mistaken for another celebrity entirely. Or maybe they're just not as famous as they thought they were, especially to their fellow clueless famous people.

There are tons of stories about stars unrecognized by fellow stars, and each encounter is incredibly awkward. True obliviousness can lead to cold or rude encounters; pretending not to recognize another famous person is also an epic way of throwing shade. All the times celebrities didn't recognize other celebrities prove that fame is always fickle, sometimes cringeworthy, and often really funny.

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    1,391 VOTES

    Meryl Streep Thought Abigail Breslin Was Crashing A Photo Shoot

    Abigail Breslin got her big break when she starred in Little Miss Sunshine, which came out when she was only 9 years old. She became the fifth-youngest actress to be nominated for an Academy Award. Following her work in the indie hit, she continued to add to her acting resume.  

    Despite her massive success, she baffled her August: Osage County co-stars - including Meryl Streep - when she showed up for official pictures sporting her new hairdo. Apparently they thought she was just a random person crashing a major motion picture photo shoot. 

    1,391 votes
  • Jerry Seinfeld Didn't Want To Hug Kesha
    Video: YouTube

    Jerry Seinfeld had an awkward encounter with pop star Kesha in June 2017. Seinfeld was in the middle of a red-carpet interview when Kesha stopped by, exclaiming, "I love you so much!" She then asked for a hug, but the comedian shut her down - repeatedly. Kesha walked away, but Seinfeld made the encounter even more awkward by telling the interviewer, "I don't know who that was."

    He spoke about the weirdness later that summer: 

    I was right in the middle of an interview, it was a little off. When you get to be my age and you’ve done a couple things, you have your own reality. In my reality... I don’t hug a total stranger. I have to meet someone, say hello. I gotta start somewhere... hug isn’t first moment of a human, two humans. I never did that.

    Kesha provided her own view of the situation on a podcast in June 2023. After explaining what a fan she was of the series Seinfeld, she described how she felt during their interaction:

    I get to the f*cking charity event and I got really excited because [Seinfeld] brings me peace and love and all things good in the universe. And then he didn’t hug me in front of cameras. It was hilarious, but also so sad. It was the saddest moment of my life.

    8,768 votes
  • Mariah Carey Doesn't Know Jennifer Lopez
    Video: YouTube

    The jury's still out on whether this is a genuine moment of celebrity forgetfulness or a master class in shade. Perhaps it’s a combination of the two. Nevertheless, Mariah Carey gave an interview to a German television channel in the early 2000s. When she was asked about fellow songstress Jennifer Lopez, she simply shook her head, smiled, and said, "I don't know her." Thus, a meme was born.

    To be fair, Carey maintained in 2016 that she still didn't know Lopez.

    5,079 votes
  • Ed O'Neill Thought Britney Spears Was A Random Fan
    Photo: Disney | ABC Television Group Follow / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

    Britney Spears is, arguably, one of the most recognizable celebrities on the planet, but it turns out even she gets a little starstruck in the presence of her heroes. And who's the lucky recipient of Spears's adoration? None other than Modern Family's Ed O'Neill.  

    Spears approached O'Neill in an airport in June 2016, and told him, "Oh, Mr. O’Neill, I love Modern Family, and you’re my favorite on the show." O'Neill was probably very flattered, but here's the kicker - he had no idea who this fangirl was. But he took a photo with her, which she tweeted. O'Neill was later told by his manager that he had been hanging with Britney, b*tch.

    6,457 votes
  • Britney Spears Forgot She Met Taylor Swift
    Photo: Jennifer / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    In 2016, Britney Spears was interviewed on The Kyle and Jackie O Show, where she was asked if she would rather hang out with Katy Perry or Taylor Swift. Spears opted to hang with Swift, because she'd "never met her." 

    Oops. The two actually met at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, and even took a picture together.

    4,888 votes
  • Phil Collins Missed Out On The Adele Hype
    Photo: SongLyrics / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    It's hard to imagine anyone is unaware of Adele's impact; she's the award-winning songstress behind record-breaking albums. But Genesis drummer Phil Collins admitted to not knowing who she was.  

    In 2016, Collins told People, "We met in London maybe three or four years ago, maybe longer, because she wanted to write with me and I was very flattered, but I didn’t know who she was, because I had been living under a rock."

    3,932 votes