Celebs who had an awful 2020

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Ellen DeGeneres at Golden Globes Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images

By Dani G/Oct. 28, 2020 7:06 am EDT

It's no secret that 2020 hasn't been easy for anyone. From a global pandemic to racial injustices, to record unemployment rates, to natural disasters, and honestly everything in between, it's actually been very challenging, to say the least. But it hasn't just been tough on us regular folks. Celebs have also been impacted by 2020, with some of them having a particularly awful year.

Whether they've gone through a messy breakup, dealt with backlash for breaking COVID-19 protocols, had their events canceled, or even had to face their resurfaced problematic social media posts, these stars might just be having a worse year than you are. While some of Hollywood's A-list should be able to fully bounce back from their temporary setbacks, others may face the wrath of their 2020 cancellations for years to come. So, without further ado, let's take a look back at which stars have had an awful 2020.

Demi Lovato's quick engagement led to a messy split

Max Ehrich kissing Demi Lovato Instagram

In 2020, Demi Lovato went from single to engaged to single again in a matter of six months, so it's safe to say that the year has been a bumpy road for the pop star. Lovato and her now ex-fiancé Max Ehrich started dating back in March, were engaged by July, and broke up in September. And while the two were very public about their love on social media while they were together, Ehrich also took that energy into their breakup. 

There were definitely some red flags during their relationship, like Ehrich's old tweets about Selena Gomez going viral, but things got super messy when Lovato and Ehrich split. He decided to air their dirty laundry on social media, going on multiple rants on his Instagram stories. Ehrich got into everything from saying he found out about their breakup from the tabloids to randomly sharing Lovato's old music and saying she deserves a Grammy (I mean, countless Instagram rants aside, he's not wrong about Lovato deserving a Grammy). 

Ultimately, Lovato wasn't thrilled by the way her ex handled their breakup. According to E!, Demi was "completely embarrassed at the way he's been acting and putting their relationship on blast via social media. She wants nothing to do with him." By October 2020, E! also reported that Lovato reportedly needed to get "in contact with lawyers" because Ehrich wouldn't leave her alone. 

Vanessa Hudgens sparked outrage over insensitive coronavirus comments

Vanessa Hudgens with smokey eye makeup at event Jamie Mccarthy/Getty Images

Vanessa Hudgens' 2020 started off rough when she and her longtime boyfriend, Austin Butler, broke up. The two were together for almost nine years before they split, but things only got worse for Hudgens when the pandemic hit.

Back in March, Hudgens went live on Instagram at the beginning of the lockdowns. During her livestream, she responded to the announcement that the pandemic could possibly stretch into the summer, which is ironic in hindsight given that the pandemic, at the time of this writing, still seems far from over. At the time, Hudgens said, "Even if everybody gets it, like yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible ... but like, inevitable?" The backlash was immediate, and she eventually issued multiple apologies.

Vanessa first went back on Instagram (via Twitter) and said, "I did an Instagram live, and I realized today that some of my comments are being taken out of context. It's a crazy time, and I am at home in lockdown." But the excuse that her comments were being taken out of context still didn't sit well with fans. Hudgens ultimately issued a formal apology on Twitter saying this situation was a huge wake-up call for her. "I'm so sorry for the way I have offended anyone and everyone who has seen the clip from my Instagram live. I realize my words were insensitive and not at all appropriate for the situation our country and world are in right now."

Doja Cat sparked racism allegations

Doja Cat at NBC event, posing Amy Sussman/bbma2020/Getty Images

While Doja Cat's rise to fame has reached new heights in 2020, she also has faced some serious setbacks. Fans accused Doja, who is biracial, of using racial slurs and creating racially insensitive music. In May 2020, her 2015 song "Dindu Nuffin" resurfaced and caused controversy because the title refers to a racial slur used to mock victims of police brutality.

Amid this scandal, fans also accused Doja of being involved in alt-right racist chat rooms. All of this led to #DojaCatIsOverParty trending on Twitter on multiple occasions. She ended up apologizing and clarifying both of these incidents. As for the chat rooms, while Doja has been open about using them to socialize in the past, she denied taking part in any racist conversations online.

And Doja also responded to the backlash to her song apologizing "to anyone that [she's] hurt using this term." And while she took responsibility for writing and recording the controversial track, Doja said, "It was in no way tied to anything outside of my own personal experience. It was written in response to people who often used that term to hurt me. I made an attempt to flip its meaning, but recognize that it was a bad decision to use the term in my music." The song has since been removed off of Doja's official YouTube page and streaming platforms.

2020 has been the year of criticizing Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres in denim button up Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Up until this year, for the most part, Ellen DeGeneres was known for being one of the funniest and most generous celebs. Her famous catchphrase is even "be kind to one another." But, in 2020, accusations by fans, employees, and former guests have led to months of bad press for DeGeneres. 2020 started to go downhill for her when a comedian tweeted asking for "insane stories you've heard about Ellen being mean," and he quickly received around three thousand responses. Fans wrote about everything from times DeGeneres was rude to wait staff to not being allowed to make eye contact with her on set.

Not long after this post went viral, BuzzFeed published a major exposé with stories from former and current employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The article claimed the show was a toxic work environment. The insiders detailed their alleged experiences with racial discrimination, punishment for taking medical leave, and not being allowed to speak to DeGeneres if they saw her around the office.

But it wasn't only fans and former co-workers that spoke out against DeGeneres. While some celebs had DeGeneres' back, others like YouTuber NikkieTutorials, shared their negative experiences with the talk show host. According to The Hollywood Reporter, DeGeneres has since let go of three of her top executive producers that were accused of cultivating the toxic work environment and she has issued multiple apologies, including one during the season premiere of her show.

Lea Michele's former co-star said Glee was a 'living hell'

Lea Michele at SiriusXM radio show Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Amid the 2020 demands for racial equality across the country, many celebs, like Lea Michele, were called out for past racial discrimination. Michele's former Glee co-star Samantha Marie Ware, who played Jane Hayward on the show, responded to Michele's tweet about George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement in June of 2020.

Ware wrote, "LMAO remember when you made my first television gig a living hell?!?! Cause I'll never forget. I believe you told everyone that if you had the opportunity you would 's**t in my wig!' amongst other traumatic microaggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood..." After Ware's post went viral, companies like Hello Fresh announced that they would end their partnerships with Michele and other former co-stars, such as Alex Newell, shared their negative experiences too.

Meanwhile, this was all unfolding as Michele had just announced that she was pregnant with her first child during the midst of a global pandemic. Michele ended up posting a lengthy apology on Instagram and deleted her Twitter page entirely. In her post, she explained, "I am a couple of months from becoming a mother and I know I need to keep working to better myself and take responsibility for my actions, so that I can be a real role model for my child ... I listened to these criticisms and I am learning and while I am very sorry, I will be better in the future from this experience."

J.K. Rowling came under fire for controversial tweets

J.K. Rowling at HBO event Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

In June 2020, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling retweeted an op-ed piece that discussed "people who menstruate," seemingly having an issue with the story not just using the word women instead. She wrote, "'People who menstruate.' I'm sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"

While this tweet received a lot of backlash, Rowling did not stop there. She doubled down on her views in a series of tweets about how she "[respects] every trans person's right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them." But, she added, "At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it's hateful to say so." Around the same time, Rowling also published a post on her website about "TERF" wars. (TERF stands for a trans-exclusionary radical feminist)

Since these anti-trans tweets went viral, many of Rowling's former fans and colleagues like Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Eddie Redmayne have spoken out against her remarks. In response to Rowling's tweets, Watson tweeted saying, "Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren't who they say they are. I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are."

The internet turned against Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star

Up until 2020, Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star were two of the most popular creators on YouTube. They each had tens of millions of followers and would regularly trend at #1 on the platform. They became even more powerful when they joined forces for multiple YouTube series and a record-breaking makeup line. But everything suddenly changed for them when they were forced to face all of their controversies from the past decade.

Longtime fans of the YouTubers might have seen Dawson and Star's cancellations coming, but for newer fans, it was a complete shock. Things really started to go downhill when fellow YouTuber Tati Westbrook posted a tell-all video about the drama that went down between herself, Dawson, Star, and beauty influencer James Charles over the past year. In her video titled "Breaking My Silence," Westbrook alleged that Dawson and Star had manipulated her into sharing false information about Charles that led to his massive 2019 cancellation. 

Once Westbrooks' video went viral, fans were quick to call out Dawson and Star, not only for the YouTube scandal but because their old racist, sexist, inappropriate posts started to circulate again on social media. One of Dawson's posts in particular where he sexualized then-11-year-old Willow Smith, caught the attention of Jaden Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, who both called Dawson out on Twitter. Major brands like Morphe, Target, and more pulled all collaborations with both Dawson and Star off their shelves and websites.

Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute were fired from Vanderpump Rules for racist actions

Stassi Schroeder Kristen Doute at book store event Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

Another duo who went down together in 2020 is Stassi Schroeder and Kristin Doute from Vanderpump Rules. In June 2020, former VPR cast member Faith Stowers revealed during an Instagram live that Schroeder and Doute wrongly reported her to the police for a crime she did not commit. According to Stowers, in 2018, Schroeder and Doute called the police to report her for crimes that were detailed in a Daily Mail article. The article was supposedly about a Black woman who was wanted for theft, but the woman pictured in the article was not Stowers. Of course, fans were quick to point out how problematic this was.

Schroeder had publicly spoken about the incident and confirmed calling the police during a 2018 appearance on the Bi**h Bible podcast (via Reality Tea). According to Variety, Doute also tweeted about the incident at the time, sharing a link to the Daily Mail article. Both the podcast episode and tweet have since been deleted, but after Stowers' Instagram Live circulated, Schroder and Doute paid the price for their past actions. Bravo quickly cut ties with both women, firing them from Vanderpump Rules.

Shortly after they were let go, Schroeder and Doute issued apologies on Instagram. Variety then reported that Schroeder's agency, UTA, and her PR firm, Metro Public Relations, dropped her. Fuse Literary, Doute's book agency, also cut ties with her.

Lana Del Rey faced criticism over comments she made about other female singers

Lana Del Rey with hair up and cat-eye makeup Amy Sussman/Getty Images

In May 2020, Lana Del Rey took to Instagram to air her musical grievances while comparing herself to other female artists. In her post, Del Rey wrote, "Now that Doja Cat, Ariana [Grande], Camila [Cabello], Cardi B, Kehlani and Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé have had number ones with songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes, f***ing, cheating etc – can I please go back to singing about being embodied, feeling beautiful by being in love even if the relationship is not perfect, or dancing for money – or whatever I want – without being crucified or saying that I'm glamorizing abuse??????"

While some fans agreed with her, many others criticized Del Rey's post, saying her remarks were "tone-deaf" and "disappointing." One person commented on the post, writing, "Come on, you should know better. You could've gotten your entire point across without dragging those other women by name. Be mad at the game, not the other players. Disappointing." And another person tweeted saying, "Lana blatantly ignoring the criticism Beyoncé, Nicki, and other black women have received (and continue to) for being confident in their sexuality doesn't sit right with me." 

Del Rey has since spoken out about her post, but did not directly apologize for her comments, which only made matters worse. In her follow up post, Del Rey declared, "making it about race says so much more about you than it does about me."

How Kelly Clarkson became 'horribly sad' in 2020

Brandon Blackstock and Kelly Clarkson at award show Taylor Hill/Getty Images

In June, E! reported that Kelly Clarkson filed for divorce from her husband of nearly seven years, Brandon Blackstock. Throughout their time together, Clarkson and Blackstock had two children, and Clarkson also became a stepmom to Blackstock's two children from his previous marriage. As if 2020 wasn't already awful enough, going through a divorce with children involved made it even more challenging for Clarkson. She explained to ET that she wanted to address her split for her worried fans, but she hasn't shared much to protect their children.

Clarkson did reveal, however, that these challenges have made her already heartbreaking divorce even more difficult. She told the outlet, "That's been the hard thing ... Yes, I'm willing to share my experience and yes, it is the worst. I mean, the past few months have been horribly sad. But at the same time, I have to think, 'Hmmm, like, what I say has a domino effect in other people's lives.'"

Clarkson also reiterated this same sentiment on her talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, saying, "As you probably know, 2020 has brought a lot of change also to my personal life. Definitely didn't see anything coming that came, but what I'm dealing with is hard." Clarkson did reveal how thankful she is though to be able to safely be back at work both for her talk show and on The Voice surrounded by her fellow judges and friends.

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