Does something about pop stardom cause folks to lose their minds? Most likely, yes — the pressures of continuing to produce hits, the recognition as an international sex symbol, the constant scrutiny. Is there something inherent in people who become pop stars that also causes them to fall apart? Probably also yes — creativity has long been linked to various levels of mental illness, and surely the narcissism involved in pop stardom plays a part.
Here, a few of the biggest train wrecks we couldn’t get enough of:
Justin Bieber‘s recent implosion is perhaps a testament to his massive, worldwide fame and fortune at such a young age. He’s now acting out every hyper-male douche move in the book, from starting fights to getting arrested for under-the-influence drag racing.
Whitney Houston‘s longtime battle with addiction ended with her death in 2012.
Michael Jackson may have had the ultimate long, slow pop star decline, eventually dying in 2009 of an OD on prescription painkillers — the end of a life plagued by public scandal and bizarre behavior amidst some of the greatest pop albums in history.
Britney Spears‘ fall-apart started with her marrying that guy from high school for like a day in Vegas, climaxed with her public head-shaving incident in 2007, and resulted in her father still having control over her affairs even now, when she’s a 32-year-old mother of two. Hers is arguably the ultimate pop-star downfall, at least among those who have successfully recovered and continued their careers. Alas, she’ll likely never return to that fierce performer she was in her early career.
Amy Winehouse died at just 27 after years of on-and-off addiction that resulted in the fantastic song “Rehab” as well as loads of strange public behavior.