Stars who used to be bullied
In the book 'Kate: The Future Queen', biographer Katie Nicholl reveals that Kate Middleton had to change schools after she suffered much abuse in the Downe House School. "It's a very traditional school and there's a lot of pressure," Nicholl explains. "Kate, a head taller than her classmates, was considered ungainly and lanky by the bullies."
"My school years were a nightmare." One of today's Hollywood stars, Kristen Stewart, revealed how bad her experience in high school. Classmates used to make fun of her for looking boyish and having too much hair on her legs.
In a talk with children on We Day UK in London, Kate Winslet recalled how she used to be laughed at "for wanting to be an actress and for my weight. They said, 'What a pity, with your pretty face... That's when the actress replied: "Well, I can lose weight but you'll always be ugly."
Sandra Bullock's mother was a German opera singer, and she spent part of her childhood in Europe. When she returned to the United States, she "looked like a clown" compared to other students. "So they picked on me. Children are very cruel. The worst thing is that I remember the names of all the children who were cruel to me," she told Contactmusic.
Angelina Jolie's classmates laughed at her because of the size of her lips. Yes, it's hard to imagine, since they are now some of the most envied in the world. The revelation came from Andrew Morton's unauthorized biography of the actress. She even ended up leaving school at the age of 14 because of the harassment she suffered.
In a conference with school children, the former president of the United States confessed that he had been picked on at school because of his big ears and his strange name. That experience made the fight against bullying one of his prerogatives as president.
The same goes for his Vice President and current President-elect, Joe Biden. The politician famously overcame a stutter by reciting poems in front of the mirror for hours on end. But when he did stutter in class, his school mates would call him 'Bye-Bye-Biden.'
Christian Bale was 13 when he became a world star thanks to Steven Spielberg's 'Empire of the Sun.' His classmates didn't like this very much. "I was getting punched and kicked every day. It was a lesson I learned: if you don't want to suffer the consequences, don't make a movie." The actor now has an Oscar and a Golden Globe.
Even the Queen of Pop, Madonna, also suffered from bullying. She talked about it in 'Harper's Bazaar' US. "My classmates made fun of me," she said. "I always felt like I didn't fit in. I was very melancholy, a freak who didn't belong to any group." Madonna remembers that it was her ballet teacher who helped her understand that it's not bad to be different. Thanks to that teacher, the world now has Madonna.
Eva Mendes used to be afraid to go to school, either because of her classmates' jokes or because she was afraid her parents would intervene and spark only more harassment. The actress said in 'Showbiz Tonight' that she used to be small, ungainly, thin and had a very big mouth and teeth. "It was torture. I had to deal with everything on my own and it took me two years to learn how to do it."
The legendary Harry Potter was considered a nerd in school. There was one classmate in particular who used to tease him for being the opposite of cool. It didn't help that he rose to fame so quickly, because it only made his classmates jealous, as he told The Telegraph.
In an interview for Marie Claire, Winona Ryder recounted the ordeal she had to endure by appearing in 'Beetlejuice' as the character Lydia. She was 16 years old and "overwhelmed" with fame. On top of that came the jokes and envy of her peers.
Lady Gaga's mum, Cynthia Germanotta, told CBS' 'This Morning' about the abuse her daughter used to suffer in school. She recalled how her daughter was "humiliated, mocked and isolated. It was there that she went from being a happy child to questioning her self-esteem and having doubts about herself." In fact, there was a Facebook group from her student days called "Stefani Germanotta, you'll never be famous". Well, were they wrong....
Because of his father's job (electronic engineer), Tom Cruise attended ten different schools as a child. This made it hard for him to adapt to a place. And as if that wasn't enough, his classmates laughed at him for his dyslexia and short stature, he confessed to 'Parade.'
Winner of an Oscar and three Golden Globes before her 25th birthday, Jennifer Lawrence confessed to The Sun that her schoolmates "were very cruel to me". Even in high school, as things improved a little, "there was a girl who asked me to help hand out invitations to her birthday party and she hadn't even invited me."
Anyone who thinks bullying is only done by children can ask Eva Longoria. The actress confessed in a letter to the media that "a colleague was bullying me at work." The job in question was the set of the famous 'Desperate Housewives'. She was 29 years old when she started filming it. "I feared the days I would have to work with this person because it was pure torture." In the end, Felicity Huffman stepped in and helped her get through it, "even though I never complained or mentioned the abuse."
The wolf that caused a sensation thanks to 'Twilight' was also bullied at school. Not because of his looks, but because of the same problem as many early stars: his fame. "I couldn't let it get to me. Acting is what I like to do and I was going to keep doing it," he told Rolling Stone.
In her biography 'Miles to go' the singer revealed that she was a victim of aggressions and insults at school. "The Anti-Miley Club was a group of big, strong girls and I was small and weak. They made me ashamed of my body. And then, when I started my career, they said I would be just like my father and would only have one musical success."
One of the world's most applauded singers, Justin Timberlake was also a victim of bullying as a child. He told iHeart Radio that other children picked on him for being different. He didn't like football, he preferred art and music, and that's why he was called a freak. "Luckily, my mother taught me that being different is a good thing".
In 2010 Demi Lovato wrote a letter to Seventeen Magazine, recounting how she was bullied. "When will people understand that verbal abuse is as serious as physical abuse? Even those who write online have great power to harm people".
"There were very cruel girls at my school," Megan Fox told Fametastic. Her classmates couldn't stand her acting aspirations, so she had no female friends - only male friends. "One day on Halloween, a girl arrived in a black leather suit and said she wasn't Catwoman but Megan Fox," the actress added. She was only 15 at the time.
In an interview with Glamour, Rihanna said that she was discriminated in her school days because of her lighter skin colour and her green eyes. Rihanna's beauty must have made many classmates in her native Barbados jealous.
In an interview with 'Showbiz Tonight', the Canadian singer admitted that he was bullied as a child. "A lot of people have been bullied at some point in their lives," he added. To help against bullying, Justin Bieber contributed the song 'Born to be Somebody' to the soundtrack of the documentary 'Bully'.
In an interview with 'Parade', Robert Pattinson recalled how his classmates at The Harrodian School made fun of him for having the dream of being an actor. Almost daily, Robert Pattinson had to face beatings and insults from his classmates.
Taylor Swift suffered bullying as a teenager. "I was never invited to parties but now I'm glad I spent that time at home playing guitar," she told Elle magazine in 2016. In that same interview, she recalled a more recent episode of bullying. "Someone started an online campaign calling me a snake, and a lot of people jumped on that bandwagon. I was in the worse state than I've ever been in my life," she said. That someone, by the way, was Kim Kardashian.
The model Tyra Banks told Contactmusic.com that at the age of 11 she "grew 8 centimeters and lost 13 kilos. I went from being small and chubby to tall and thin. I looked sick and fragile." And that's when the bullying began. "I wasn't sick but people thought I was sick. I hated my reflection in the mirror".
"I've always been the youngest in class. Besides, I had a very funny face, with very big eyes, lips and ears, so my classmates laughed at me," Mila Kunis recalls in OK Magazine. "I used to go home and ask my parents why my eyes were so big." However, she learned over the years that "being a little different is not the end of the world."
Christina Aguilera is one of the most relevant artists of the 21st century. Her song 'Beautiful' is an anthem against harassment. Aguilera was inspired by the abuse she suffered as a child, NBC 'Dateline' reports. "I suffered bullying in many ways and that's why it's so important for me to write songs like 'Beautiful' or 'Fighter'," she said.
The most decorated athlete in the history of the Olympic Games, with 28 medals, was also bullied at school. In the documentary 'Angst', he spoke openheartedly about bullying, anxiety and depression. "My classmates made fun of my ears and my long limbs. One day a teacher told my mother that I was not able to concentrate."
In an interview with 'Glamour,' the former Spice Girl revealed that she was harassed both "physically and mentally" at the public school she attended. It lasted until she turned 20 and joined the Spice Girls. She thinks the reason was that "I was different from the other students. They threw things at me that they found in the puddles but I just stood there, doing nothing and no one helped me. I had no friends. I was alone," the singer recalls.
Golf legend Tiger Woods wrote a letter to a 12-year-old boy who was bullied at school and published it in 'Golf Digest.' "I know what it's like to be different and not fit in- When I was a kid I used to stutter," he confessed. His schoolmates bullied the golfer not only for his stuttering but also for his skin colour. "I'd talk to my dog until it fell asleep. I also went to a speech therapist for two years. It all inspired me to work harder and I know you can do it too."
Jessica Alba was bullied at school "to the point that my father had to come in with me so that I wouldn't get beaten up," she told Contactmusic. "I ate lunch in the infirmary so I wouldn't be with my classmates." Jessica was "the kind of girl everyone avoided: shy, with rabbit teeth and a thick Texas accent." Today, she is considered one of the most beautiful actresses in Hollywood history, as well as a multi-million dollar businesswoman.
Chad Michael Murray did not have an easy childhood in New York. The actor attended Clarence High School, where he preferred literature to football. His classmates didn't like that very much. "I was 18 when they put my nose on the other side of my face. It was three kids. What was I supposed to do?" he recalled in an interview for 'E! Online'.
In an interview for Marie Claire magazine, Zooey Deschanel recalled her difficult school years. "I remember when I was 11 years old I was chubby and a little girl spat in my face." That girl "was especially cruel to me."
Chris Rock revealed in 2007 that "a boy kicked me and spat in my face, pushing me down some stairs." It was an awful moment but it made him want to be a comedian. Or so he told in 'Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio'. He got over the bullying at school because "I had love at home."
Michelle Trachtenberg was already a TV star while in school, which cost her a lot of trouble. She told her Instagram followers: "Children are cruel. I still have scars from the day I was thrown down the stairs or had my head smashed against the lockers. I write this for anyone who has been harassed or abused. You are worth it. Don't let them win. It's your victory."
The protagonist of 'Glee' suffered harassment at school because of his sexual orientation. Therefore, he asked his parents to be home-schooled. "I was very thin," he says in Entertainment Weekly, "so I spent a lot of time locked up in lockers. Thank God for cell phones, otherwise I'd still be locked up in them." Today he is one of the great anti-bullying advocates in the United States.
Kristin Kreuk used social media to tell the world how she had been bullied as a child. "It's tragic to see how bullies think they are the victims and create circumstances that perpetuate that thinking, justifying the abuse," she tweeted in 2014.
The star of 'House' and 'Once upon a time' recalls being bullied in school for being studious. "I was labeled a nerd," she says on ChicagoSplash.com. "My parents raised us to turn the other cheek, but when you’re in junior high and high school, and you choose not to stand up for yourself, it can turn out disastrously."
"Messenger was a place where girls used to make fun of me." Brittany Snow told People Magazine how hard high school was for her. To prevent other girls from going through that, she founded 'Love is Louder' in 2010, to promote good practice in social networking and to support anyone who needs it.
Jason Segel is a huge actor, in every way. "I've been six feet tall since I was 12 years old." Segel says he looked like Jack Skellington. "Kids used to surround me and, one by one, climb on my back while yelling, 'Ride the jerk. Ride the lout. It's true." He told this to MTV News, where he laid out the two options he had: "Either you get funny, which is what I did, or you become a villain."
What do you know? Rosario Dawson was bullied at school for looking like a boy. "I had a flat chest and was very thin. Plus, I was always wearing T-shirts and leggings to look even smaller," she recalled in an interview for Esquire UK. The solution came from her mother, who threatened the bullies that she would tell their mothers. They didn't mess with her daughter again.
Mike Tyson, one of the greatest boxers of all time, was harassed as a kid. He told it in an interview on Sirius XM. "I wasn't going to class because I had huge glasses, I was overweight and I was being picked on. I preferred to isolate myself and feed the pigeons," he said. "That's why I decided to be a boxer. I knew that in the ring nobody would bother me."
Khloe Kardashian was harassed for years, she told in an interview about 'Keeping up with the Kardashians'. "Having someone in class calling you fat and ugly, you start thinking you're those things. And if you're like me, those words are repeated over and over in your head."
Lea Michele's real name is Lea Safarti, and it got her a lot of trouble in school. "I stopped using it because they made fun of me and called me 'Lea So-Fatty.'" Even years later, she says in Buzz TV Magazine, she still feels insecure and vulnerable.
The protagonist of 'Mad Men' told The Guardian that she was afraid at school. The reason, among others, was that "every time I went to my locker, my classmates would spit at me." Her parents were unhelpful, saying, in her own words, "You'll never make friends looking like that." And then she would reply that she "didn't want friends like that".
Mischa Barton moved from the UK to the US at the age of 5 and it was not easy for her. "I think it was because I grew up too fast and because I was an outsider. I was going to a public school in New York and all the kids were wearing jeans and Nikes, while I was wearing little socks and Mary-Janes, so I was always getting my bottle glasses broken."
A real James Bond with a license to kill, he too suffered from bullies at school. Pierce Brosnan was 11 when he moved back in with his mother in England after having been in Ireland for most of his life. He didn't expect his Irish background to get him into trouble. "I was trying to fit in to the England of 1964, but the education system didn't make it easy," he told the Stuff website.
Like some other stars, Lindsay Lohan chose Twitter as a place to talk about her complicated past. The harassment began when her father went to jail. "I was getting picked on for the situation at my house." It all became so complicated that she had to be home-schooled.
In his song 'Brain Damage', rapper Eminem speaks about his bullies at school. "I was the new kid, I was beaten up in the bathrooms, in the hallways and put in the lockers." One time the rapper was beaten until he suffered a concussion. He also had post-traumatic headaches, occasional loss of sight and hearing, and injuries to his head, face, back and neck. His mother sued the school for allowing such brutality on its premises.
Mirror reports that the former president of the United States used to be bullied at school for being overweight. "That hurts a lot," he recalled.