Britney Spears tried lipsyncing to the wrong track

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It’s no surprise that Britney lipsyncs or sings over a track from time to time. One particular incident however performing at her Las Vegas residency saw it taken to the next level. Performing her song Perfume, the crowd couldn’t hear Britney, but rather singer-songwriter Sia. Sia wrote Perfume and recorded a demo version of the song, and that’s what was playing to the crowd.

Beyoncé couldn’t sing the National Anthem live

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In 2013, Beyoncé was given the honor or performing at the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. TV viewers could clearly see she was lip-syncing the National Anthem. Beyoncé later admitted she was lip-syncing, something she has never done before. The singer claimed to be an extreme perfectionist and cited inadequate rehearsal time as the reason for choosing not to sing at all.

Milli Vanilli set the bar for lip-syncing

In 1989, a Milli Vanilli scandal erupted due to their lip-syncing, with the revelation that three uncredited musicians behind the voices of the R&B duo. The fallout came after the Grammys revoked their Best New Artist award. However, Milli Vanilli had already decided to return the Grammy on their own, suggesting the award be given to John Davis, Brad Howell and Charles Shaw – the album’s actual singers.

Red Hot Chili Peppers performed a half time show with fake guitars

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In the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show, keen observers among the vast home audience spotted an unusual aspect of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ performance. Flea’s bass and Josh Klinghoffer’s guitar appeared cordless, without any cables visibly plugged in. The Chili members blamed the NFL for the fake staging of their performance insisting they were given no option to perform live.

Instead of singing live, Ashlee Simpson ran off stage

Ashlee Simpson faced a career-damaging moment during a performance on Saturday Night Live in October 2004. Either she or her band missed the opening cue, but her pre-recorded vocal track began playing anyway. Realizing her deception was exposed, Ashlee awkwardly danced before hastily leaving the stage, leaving her band to perform an instrumental version of the song.

Mariah Carey’s live performance was so bad, she was dubbed over for the West Coast airing

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In May 2013, controversy erupted around Mariah Carey’s lip-synced Good Morning America performance. Luckily for her, it was only confined to the West Coast. Carey actually sang Beautiful with Miguel in Central Park for the live East Coast broadcast. However, due to pitch issues, GMA’s sound techs had to swap the audio track with the studio version for the West Coast feed.

The Monkees didn’t even play their own instruments

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Revealed in 1967, The Monkees reliance on studio musicians, particularly for their initial recordings, became apparent, as they didn’t consistently play their own instruments. Notably, the Wrecking Crew, a group of unknown Los Angeles studio musicians, was frequently tapped by The Monkees to fill this role.

Violinist Fritz Kreisler claimed to have undiscovered works by classical masters

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While touring Europe in the early 20th century, Austrian violin virtuoso Fritz Kreisler claimed he had uncovered works by past masters like Bach, Vivaldi, and Pugnani. In an attempt to outshine his rivals, Kreisler incorporated these pieces into his performances, ultimately creating a unique experience for audiences. In truth, Kreisler wrote these pieces himself, fabricating their discovery to garner an audience for his original compositions.

Ashley Tisdale gave a memorable Macy’s Day parade performance

Disney star and singer Ashley Tisdale notably struggled to synchronize with the backing track during her performance at the 2007 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It is worth mentioning that lip-syncing is a common practice for most artists at the parade, but Tisdale’s performance stands out as particularly memorable.

50 Cent walked amongst the fans while his track plays behind him

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During the 2007 BET Awards, rapper 50 Cent’s performance of Amusement Park encountered a glitch as he missed the first verse. The backing track continued to play his lyrics while he navigated the stage with an air of awkwardness. Realizing his mistake, Fiddy simply returned to the stage and performed the rest of track like nothing had happened.

The White Stripes lied about being siblings

After rising to prominence as The White Stripes in 2002, Meg and Jack White claimed to be siblings, believing it would make fans and critics take them more seriously. In 2005, it transpired that the Whites were actually a married couple, an awkward revelation that made most of their fans more than a little uncomfortable.

Lindsay Lohan was caught lip-syncing on Good Morning America

In 2004, Lindsay Lohan ended an appearance on Good Morning America with a rendition of her hit records Rumors and Over. When Lohan removed the mic from her mouth the singing suspiciously continued, leading to accusations of lip-syncing. In the aftermath, the singer insisted it was just a vocal backing track, but viewers remained far from convinced.

Akon exaggerated his prison sentence

Even though Akon isn’t exactly known for his tough-guy image, the rapper still felt the need to dramatically embellish the extent of his criminality. In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2007, Akon claimed that he was arrested after a high-speed pursuit for stealing a BMW, and that he spent four-and-a-half years in prison. In reality, the rapper only spent five months locked up for the theft.

Eminem lied to Howard Stern about his age

Celebrities lying about their age is a relatively common phenomenon (which probably speaks volumes about our youth-obsessed culture), but one musician you wouldn’t expect to lie out of vanity is Eminem. That, however, is exactly what the rapper did, when he claimed he was 24 during a 1999 interview with Howard Stern, despite actually being 27.

Ray Parker Jr stole the Ghostbusters theme

Soon after Ghostbusters was released in 1995, Huey Lewis launched a lawsuit claiming that its theme song – which was written and recorded by Ray Parker Jr – had plagiarized Huey Lewis and The News’ 1983 track I Want a New Drug. Although Lewis won the case, Parker Jr got his revenge in 2001, when he sued Lewis for breaking the confidentiality agreement surrounding the lawsuit.

Birdman lied about co-owning the Miami Dolphins

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In a 2010 interview with Angela Yee, Birdman claimed that he was in the process of becoming a co-owner of the Miami Dolphins, stating that he was waiting for the deal to clear. After the interview aired, Stephen Ross – the team’s actual majority owner – definitively stated neither he nor anyone else from the Dolphins had ever even spoken to Birdman.

Mamoru Samuragochi hired someone to make his music

Known as “Japan’s Beethoven,” Mamoru Samuragochi achieved widespread recognition due to his remarkable compositions – which included a symphony dedicated to Hiroshima and the Resident Evil soundtrack – despite the fact that he is deaf. In 2014, it transpired that Tokyo music professsor Takashi Niigaki had actually composed all the songs. The scam was revealed after Niigaki became overwhelmed with guilt and confessed.

Katy Perry had a lip-syncing nightmare at Cannes

Getting caught lip-syncing is bad enough, but lip-syncing to the wrong part of your track is almost unbearably awkward. That is exactly what happened to Katy Perry at the NRJ Music Award in Cannes in 2013, when her lip-sync track started on the wrong verse, leaving the singer mouthing along to completely the wrong words.

Bach stole one of Vivaldi’s concertos

When Igor Stravinsky proclaimed, “Good composers borrow, great composers steal,” he may well have been talking about Johann Sebastian Bach. While the German composer is known for having liberally borrowed from his contemporaries, his most egregious theft came in the form of Concerto for Four Pianos, which was actually just Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins.

Paloma Faith lied about her age to get a record deal

Shortly after gaining mainstream recognition, Paloma Faith stated in an interview that she was 23 years old. In reality, Faith was 27 at the time. In 2014, the Only Love Can Hurt Like This singer came clean and admitted that she’d been lying about her age, stating that she did so because she was worried she’d be seen as “too old” to land a record deal.

Soulja Boy lied about purchasing a jet

Shortly before turning 21, rapper and dance craze instigator Soulja Boy bragged to TMZ that he was treating himself to a private jet worth $55 million as a birthday present to himself. A few days later, Soulja Boy’s own agent walked back the outlandish claims, probably out of a desire to not irk the IRS, to whom the rapper owed $20,000.

Robin Thicke plagiarized Marvin Gaye

Although it was a huge commercial success, Blurred Lines – a collaboration between Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams – was soon mired in controversy for promoting rape culture. To make things worse, the estate of Marvin Gaye then launched a lawsuit claiming the song plagiarized Gaye’s track Got to Give It Up, with a judge ultimately ruling that it did.

Ed Sheeran lied about Princess Beatrice cutting his face with a sword

In 2017, Ed Sheeran found himself in the news after claiming that Princess Beatrice – the eldest daughter of Prince Andrew – had accidentally cut his face with a sword during a party. Sheeran was eventually outed in his lie by James Blunt, who revealed in an interview that the Shape of You singer had cut his own face in a drunken stupor, describing the entire situation as “very embarrassing.”

Tyga lied about being from Compton

Certain places are steeped in hip hop history; Brooklyn is one. Compton is another. After claiming for years that he was from the latter, Tyga was busted when TMZ unearthed old footage of the rapper on a game show, in which he admitted to growing up in a wealthy part of the Valley.

Geri Halliwell pretended she was the same age as the other Spice Girls

When the Spice Girls blew up, all of the band’s members were 21, except for Geri Halliwell, who was 24. Wanting to fit in, Halliwell shaved three years off her age, a lie she often repeated, including – somewhat bizarrely – in a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Eventually, however, the singer dropped the charade and admitted her true age.

Rick Ross lied about being a correctional officer

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In 2008, photos circulated online of a young Rick Ross wearing a correctional officer’s uniform. The rapper immediately claimed that the photo was nothing more than a photoshopped hoax, questioning “if this was real, don’t you think they’d have more?” As it turned out, they did, and after more incriminating documents surfaced, Ross finally admitted that he had worked as a prison guard in the 90s.

Cher and her mother lip-synced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

In 2013, Cher appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show alongside her mother, Georgia Holt, to promote the latter’s upcoming album. Fans quickly spotted that the duo were lip-syncing, but Cher had a better excuse than most; her mother – who at the time was 87 – was recovering from a recent bout of pneumonia, and didn’t want to risk overexerting himself.

Avril Lavigne got caught ripping off The Rubinoos

After Avril Lavigne released Girlfriend in 2007, many listeners were quick to comment on the similarities to The Rubinoos’ 1979 record I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend. Lavigne ended up getting taken to court, where a judge ruled against her, insisting that Girlfriend be re-credited to The Rubinoos.

Slim Jesus pretended to be a gangster

Slim Jesus rose to fame with his hit record Drill Time, which chronicled the rapper’s early life and experiences as a hardened gangster. The only problem was, it was all completely made up. When the rapper was called out on his lies, he immediately crumbled and confessed to his deception, earning him widespread scorn.

Nelly lied about his age to win an award

In 2003, Nelly – already a bona fide superstar – was nominated for Teen People’s Hottest Stars Under 25 award. The minor detail of Nelly actually being 28 years old clearly didn’t strike the rapper as important, because he remained tight-lipped. It later transpired that Nelly was actually born in 1974, not, as he’d always claimed, in 1980.

Plies invented his criminal past

While rappers exaggerating their criminal exploits is nothing new, Plies’ lyrics are so full of explicit claims of lawbreaking that there was widespread shock when, in 2008, HipHopDX revealed that the rapper was first arrested at the age of 29, for peacefully resisting arrest. This was a problem, since Plies has been dropping bars like “sitting in a cold hard cell” since his early 20s.

Brandy lied about marrying Robert Smith

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In 2002, Brandy announced that she had secretly gotten married to music producer Robert Smith. The media buzz this generated eventually led to the creation of Diary Presents Brandy: Special Delivery, which followed the birth of the couple’s daughter. Two years later, when Brandy and Smith split, it turned out that the wedding had never happened, and the story had been concocted as a publicity stunt.

Vanilla Ice pretended he was from the hood

While Vanilla Ice certainly never lacked when it came to commercial success, the same cannot be said for his street cred. In an attempt to boost his image as a tough guy hustler, Ice – with the help of his record label – published a fake biography that claimed he had grown up in the hood. In the face of widespread ridicule, the rapper eventually owned up to his lies.

Miley Cyrus made up her wedding

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In another case of a celeb using a fake marriage for an easy publicity boost, in 2013 Miley Cyrus announced that she and Liam Hemsworth had gotten hitched in secret. The couple were forced to awkwardly admit they’d been lying when they got married for real in 2018, and the saga got its final twist the following year when Cyrus and Hemsworth filed for divorce.

Jennifer Lopez got caught lying about her age

In 1999, Jennifer Lopez was questioned by authorities after a shooting involving Diddy, her boyfriend at the time. The subsequently released documents revealed that J-Lo’s birth year was 1969, not – as she’d previously claimed – 1970. Exactly why the singer felt the need to shave a single year off her age is something we’ll likely never know.

Mister Cee got caught in a compromising position

In 2011, rumors began circulating that veteran DJ Mister Cee – real name Calvin LeBrun – had been caught receiving oral sex in a car. While LeBrun strenuously denied the accusations, it didn’t take long for police records detailing the salacious circumstances of the DJ’s arrest to leak on the internet.

Roxanne Shante boasted of a PhD that didn’t exist

In 2009, acclaimed rapper Roxanne Shante claimed that she had taken advantage of a clause in her 30-year-old contract with Warner Bros to make the studio pay for her to get a doctorate from Cornell University. While Shante intended for the story to serve as an inspiration, it completely backfired when both Cornell and Warner Bros immediately clarified that the claim was completely false.

Lil Wayne inflated his net worth

Lil Wayne is one of the most respected artists in hip hop, largely thanks to his raw, unflinchingly honest lyrics. So it’s a bit surprising that the rapper was busted majorly exaggerating his net worth in his verse on Young Jeezy’s record Ballin’. Wayne claimed to be worth $100 million, which some internet sleuths soon discovered to be an inflation to the tune of $80 million.

Desiigner didn’t have broads in Atlanta

Desiigner rocketed to stardom with his record Panda, which memorably opens with the line: “I got broads in Atlanta.” In an interview with Billboard, however, the rapper confessed that he’s never actually been to the state capital of Georgia, and that the inspiration for the line came after a female fan from the city sent him a Facebook message.

Rascal Flatts used a prerecorded track after their singer lost his voice

During a performance at the 2014 AMC Awards, fans noticed that Rascal Flatts performance of their track Rewind sounded exactly like the album version. In the ensuing furore, the band admitted that they had in fact used a prerecorded vocal track, claiming they had no choice after lead singer Gary LeVox lost his voice.

Bow Wow pretended he was flying on a private jet

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In 2017, Bow Wow posted a snap to Instagram that made it look like he was about to board a luxurious private jet. Unfortunately for Bow Wow, another passenger on the flight furtively snapped a picture which revealed that not only was the rapper travelling on a normal passenger jet, he was also flying economy.

Justin Bieber pretended he owned a private jet

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Owning a private jet seems to be the most prestigious of flexes for celebs, based on the number of them that have been caught out lying about it. In 2014, Justin Bieber bragged on Instagram about treating himself to a private jet for Christmas, only for it to subsequently – and embarrassingly – turn out that he had only chartered one.

Diddy stole a photographer’s work

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In 2014, Diddy posted a photo to his Instagram of the view over Los Angeles during an eclipse. The rapper captioned the photo #diddyview, but it quickly transpired this was a blatant lie when the photographer who had actually taken the snap called Diddy out.

Soulja Boy pretended he had more money than he really did

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Soulja Boy seems to have a genuine talent for getting embarrassingly caught out telling bald-faced lies. In 2014, the rapper posted a photograph to his Instagram of himself surrounded by stacks of money. Eagle-eyed social media users were quick to spot that the ‘stacks’ were actually just piles of plain paper with a $100 bill on top.

Paris Hilton claimed to have invented the selfie

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In 2017, Paris Hilton took to Twitter to claim that she and Britney Spears had invented selfies in 2006, posting a number of throwback photos to prove the point. In reality, the first selfie was taken in 1839, while the term itself appears to originate from a 2002 post on an Australian internet forum.

Lindsay Lohan lied about handling Whitney Houston’s body bag

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In 2014, Lindsay Lohan got caught in one of the strangest lies in celeb history. The singer and actress claimed that, as part of her community service, she’d been tasked with handling Whitney Houston’s bodybag, as it wouldn’t have been appropriate for anyone else to do so. The coroner’s office swiftly refuted Lohan’s outlandish claim.

Taylor Swift claimed she had no idea what Kanye was going to say in Famous

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After Kanye West dropped his 2016 record Famous, Taylor Swift – who is mentioned directly in the track – claimed she knew the track would be dropping, but wasn’t aware of its misogynistic content. Kim Kardashian then released a number of videos of West and Swift on the phone prior to the record’s release, suggesting that Swift wasn’t quite as innocent as she’d made out.

Future rocked a fake watch

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FakeWatchBusta – an Instagram page devoted to calling out celebs who wear knockoff timepieces – has been the source of many a rappers’ embarrassment. In 2020, the page slammed Future for wearing a fake Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, a luxury watch that sells for around $45,000, after the rapper’s girlfriend uploaded a photo of him wearing it.

JoJo passed an uncle’s house off as her own in her episode of Cribs

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After becoming a superstar at the tender age of nine, it wasn’t long before JoJo made an appearance on MTV Cribs, showing off her flashy Cape Cod residence. As JoJo would reveal 12 years later, however, the house wasn’t her own, belonging instead to her uncle, and the singer and her mother were living in hotels at the time.

Sean Kingston lied about Justin Bieber gifting him a car

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After he was spotted driving Justin Bieber’s chrome-plated Fisker in 2012, Sean Kingston claimed that the singer had gifted him the vehicle, stating: “When you’re best friends with one of the biggest artists in the world, you get all different types of gifts.” It quickly transpired, however, that Kingston had merely been tasked with “babysitting” the car while Bieber was touring.

Oprah Winfrey lied about her love for Microsoft products

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In 2012, singer and television personality Oprah Winfrey tweeted about how much she loved the then-new Microsoft Surface tablet. Unfortunately, the tweet – which almost certainly was the result of Microsoft handing Winfrey a tidy payout – clearly stated that it had been issued from an iPad.

Justin Bieber got caught wearing fake Louis Vuitton

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In 2012, Justin Bieber got embarrassingly called out by Louis Vuitton after photos circulated online of the singer wearing a knockoff custom LV jacket. In a stinging statement, the fashion house definitively branded Bieber’s jacket a “cheap knockoff of the Louis Vuitton brand,” adding “Anything unauthentic, worn by a famous individual… is seriously frowned upon.”

Ice Cube was never a gangster

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When NWA rose to prominence in the late 80s, many of their lyrics dealt with the gritty realities of gang life, and Ice Cube’s verses were no exception. However, many people who grew up around the rapper have claimed that he was never actually involved in criminality, and was always an academically talented student.

Bo$$ made her upbringing sound tougher than it was

Bo$$’s debut album Born Gangstaz is replete with tales of dope slinging and gang violence. And so many were taken aback when a reporter discovered that the rapper had actually grown up in an affluent neighborhood, studying ballet and piano. The controversy eventually died down, but Bo$$ never released another official album.

The Game lied about meeting Tupac

In November 2013, The Game posted what appeared to be a photo of the rapper with a young Tupac. It didn’t take long for someone to realize that The Game had actually taken an old photo of someone else with Tupac and had his own face photoshopped into the image, leading to a significant backlash from the hip hop community.

Rita Ora (probably) lied about her Twitter getting hacked

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Back in 2014, Rita Ora took to Twitter to state that if she got over 100,000 retweets she would release a brand new song. After Ora’s tweet failed to get anywhere near this number of retweets, the singer then insisted her Twitter had been hacked, a claim which was roundly mocked as a desperate attempt to save face.

Kid Rock grew up rich

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Kid Rock has built his career by positioning himself as a representative of poor, working-class Americans, releasing records with titles such as White Trash and Redneck Paradise. In reality, Rock’s parents were the owners of a successful chain of car dealerships, and the musician grew up spending his childhood picking apples on his family’s sprawling estate and riding horses.

Robbie Williams pretended on Cribs that Jane Seymour’s house was his

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Early on his career, a 23-year-old Robbie Williams proudly showed off his home – a literal castle in the English countryside – on an episode of MTV Cribs. However, Williams forgot to omit one minor detail: it was actually Jane Seymour’s house, and he was just crashing there. The singer finally came clean about his deception over 20 years later, chalking it up to youthful misjudgment.

Tekashi 6ix9ine lied about his gang affiliations

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Tekashi 6ix9ine made a name for himself with his tough-guy image and lyrics that frequently referenced his gang affiliations, so the hip hop community was shocked when it turned out that not only was the rapper not a Blood, he was actually being extorted by the gang. Tekashi eventually testified against the people he’d once claimed were his fellow gang members, after they kidnapped him at gunpoint.

Beyoncé lied about writing Listen

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Beyoncé has been caught lying so many times that her nickname should probably be changed to Queen BS. The singer’s worst offense came in 2006, when Listen – a track from the movie Dreamgirls that Beyoncé claimed to have written – was disqualified from the Academy Awards after it was discovered that Beyoncé had barely contributed any lyrics at all.

Ja Rule claimed he owned a mansion

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In a 2004 episode of MTV Cribs, Ja Rule showed off a sprawling Miami mansion he claimed was his. The rapper’s lies came back to bite him later that same year, however, when the mansion’s real owner took Ja Rule to court for trashing the place while he was renting it.

Shania Twain alluded to having Native American ancestry

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After claiming for years that Jerry Twain – a member of the Native American Ojibwe tribe – was her biological father, Shania Twain was caught out when a journalist discovered that her real father was in fact Clarence Edwards, a Canadian engineer. Twain backtracked on her previous claims of being part Native American, and admitted that Jerry was actually her stepfather.

Flo Rida lied about paying his employees properly

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In 2012, Flo Rida was taken to court by his former assistant, who accused the rapper of only paying her $3.08 an hour and firing her when she requested a proper wage. After getting fined for lying to the court, the rapper eventually settled directly with his former employee for an undisclosed amount.

Britney Spears stole a photo from a recipe website

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In 2016, Britney Spears – possibly trying to distance herself from the party-girl image she had established – uploaded a photo of some grilled corn to Instagram with the caption ‘it’s honestly too good to be true.’ The caption turned out to be ironically fitting, as it soon transpired that Spears had stolen the photo from

Wiz Khalifa exaggerated his earnings

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After Jay-Z called out rappers for lying about their net worth, internet sleuths devoted themselves to uncovering MCs who had embellished their earnings. One victim was Wiz Khalifa, who, in his 2012 record Rowland, claimed to have made $12 million that year, an exaggeration of around $3 million.

CJ pretended he was a Bloods member

In 2021, New York rapper CJ blew up in fame when his record Whoopty went stratospheric. “Whoopty” is a greeting used by members of the Bloods, and CJ makes multiple references in the track to being in the gang. However, real Bloods quickly called out the rapper as a fraud, and CJ was reportedly even beaten up as retribution for his lies.

Pitbull lied about being a billionaire

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It’s not exactly a secret that rappers frequently exaggerate their fortunes, but Pitbull got caught embellishing his net worth by a ridiculous amount. After Pitbull claimed to be a literal billionaire in his 2013 record Feel This Moment, someone did a bit of digging and found the rapper was actually worth $9 million. Still respectable, but not even close to getting Pitbull into the billionaire club.

Bella Thorne got caught lying about a fur coat

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In 2016, Bella Thorne uploaded a photo of herself to Instagram, wearing a fur coat which the singer clarified was made with faux fur. Social media users quickly found the same coat on the Harrods website, where – of course – it was clearly listed as real fur. Thorne apologized and claimed she didn’t realize, although many remained unconvinced.

Nas claimed to be rich while deep in debt

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In his 2012 record No Introduction, legendary New York rapper Nas claimed to be worth over $200 million. This claim was swiftly shredded when it emerged that Nas was actually deep in the red, owing the IRS over $6 million in unpaid taxes, with Nas reportedly also owing millions to other creditors.

Chris Brown lied about his violent nature

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After Chris Brown was arrested for assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, the singer issued a public apology and claimed it was an isolated incident. However, it didn’t take long for other women to recount their own harrowing experiences with Brown, with a number of police reports and lawsuits seeming to corroborate an extensive pattern of violence.