LeAnn Rimes was bullied as a child, as were many other celebrities now revered as “cool”—Victoria Beckham, Jessica Alba, Rihanna, Tyra Banks, Justin Timberlake, to name a few.
Rimes also says some treatment of celebrities—negative comments on social media, or in other media—is a form of bullying.
“I’ve been such a target I guess for misjudgment lately, and a lot of anger from some people, especially through social media,” Rimes told Entertainment Tonight (ET) in an interview last week after performing in the Anti-Bullying Benefit Concert in Los Angeles hosted by the Friend Movement. “Obviously, we’re [celebrities] underneath a microscope and in the spotlight all the time, but it’s no reason to be able to pick apart someone the way that a lot of people do. We’re human … this is my job, and then I have my life. But I’m a human being in both of them—and I think people forget that a lot of times.”
The ET reporter asked what Rimes thought of the attention given Kim Kardashian’s weight gain during pregnancy. Rimes said watching a pregnant woman’s weight and commenting on her eating an ice cream cone is “ridiculous.”
In the sixth grade, Rimes experienced a form of bullying more common across the nation and the world. She explained that she used to perform around Dallas, and her school’s principal would put news clippings up on the bulletin board, which some other girls at her school didn’t like.
“I had my locker egged,” Rimes told ET. “I had a girl bring a knife to school the last day of sixth grade and tried to kill me! … So, I’d say I was bullied a little.”
In June, the Huffington Post compiled the testimonies of celebrities in interviews with various media about their experiences with bullying.
Actress Jessica Alba told the Daily Mirror: “I was bullied so badly my dad used to have to walk me into school so I didn’t get attacked. I’d eat my lunch in the nurses’ office so I didn’t have to sit with the other girls. Apart from my being mixed race, my parents didn’t have money so I never had the cute clothes or the cool back pack.”
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, a retired swimmer, told Yahoo Sports he was bullied because of a lisp and big ears: “It’s kind of crazy. When I do go up around where I used to live [in Baltimore], you still see the same people who were picking on me. They’re still around, busing tables or whatever, probably still acting the same way. They’ll try to talk to me and I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, why are talking to me now? You were picking on me then.’”
Singer Victoria Beckham told Elle magazine: “They were literally picking things up out of the puddles and throwing them at me, and I just stood there, on my own. No one was with me. I didn’t have any friends. People would push me around, say they were going to beat me up after school, chase me. It was miserable, my whole schooling, miserable. I tried to be friends with people, but I didn’t fit in. So I kept myself to myself.”
Singer Justin Timberlake told Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show: “I grew up in Tennessee, and if you didn’t play football, you were a sissy. I got slurs all the time because I was in music and art . . . I was an outcast in a lot of ways . . . but everything that you get picked on for or you feel makes you weird is essentially what’s going to make you sexy as an adult.”
Supermodel Tyra Banks was teased for her big forehead, Singer Rihanna was teased for having lighter skin than many of her fellow African American classmates.
Actress Megan Fox, known for her role in the Transformers movies, gave some advice to young people experiencing bullying in her interview with E!News: “I was bullied and it’s hard, you feel like high school’s never going to be over. It’s four years of your life and you just have to remember the person picking on you has their own problems and their own issues.”