For many celebrities, interviews are simply a required promotional vehicle for TV shows, movies, and albums. But sometimes interviews can go off the rails, either because the entertainer is not in the mood to be on camera or the interviewer oversteps into uncharted personal territory. Then there’s just those days when things get plain weird.
From discussions about gun control to not quite understanding how numbers work, here are some of the most cringe-inducing celebrity interviews. If you can watch all of these clips in a row without taking a break, you’re made of stronger stuff than we are; trust us, things are about to get uncomfortable.
JIM CARREY, 2017
Promoting: New York Fashion Week
Interviewer: E!‘s Catt Sadler
What happened: Jim Carrey was in attendance at an event honouring icons at this year’s New York Fashion Week when he gave a rather odd interview with E!’s Catt Sadler. Carrey started the interview by literally walking circles around Sadler before explaining that ‘none of this is real’ and that ‘we’re not real.’
Most cringe-worthy moment: Calling an abrupt end to the interview, Carrey walks away from Sadler, likely on to yet another unsuspecting interviewer.
Well, you definitely can’t say that Jim Carrey gives a boring interview: “There is no me. There’s just things happening.” pic.twitter.com/HatQ6mHsKp
— E! News (@enews) September 10, 2017
TOM CRUISE, 2005
Promoting: War of the Worlds
Interviewer: Today Show‘s Matt Lauer
What happened: Matt Lauer’s interview with Hollywood legend Tom Cruise started off innocently enough. The pair talked about the intense interest in Cruise’s recent engagement to Katie Holmes, and his upcoming blockbuster film War of the Worlds. But when Lauer began pressing Cruise about his relationship to the Church of Scientology, the actor fought back. For most viewers, Cruise’s reaction seemed intense at the time. But since then, many high-profile and damning documentaries about Scientology have been released, making the interview even more strained in retrospect.
Most cringe-worthy moment: Things go from bad to worse when Cruise launches into his, “You don’t know the history of psychology. I do.” Suddenly, couch jumping doesn’t seem so bad.
QUENTIN TARANTINO, 2013
Promoting: Django Unchained
Interviewer: Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy
What happened: While promoting his critically and commercially successful film Django Unchained, writer and director Quentin Tarantino became upset while being asked about the themes of slavery and violence in his film. Eventually, Tarantino refused to answer Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy, and spent most of the interview explaining why he didn’t want to answer any questions.
Most cringe-worthy moment: After being asked why he prefers to focus on violence in his movies, Tarantino told Guru-Murthy, “I’m not biting. I refuse your question. I’m not a slave and you’re not my master. I’m not a monkey.” It’s all downhill from there.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR., 2015
Promoting: The Avengers
Interviewer: Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy
What happened: You can’t say that Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy is scared of making things uncomfortable. While promoting The Avengers, Robert Downey Jr. became agitated when Guru-Murthy began discussing the actor’s past with drugs.
Most cringe-worthy moment: After bringing up RDJ’s past run-ins with the law, Guru-Murthy nervously asks whether they can discuss more of the actor’s history. “Your foot is starting to jump a little bit, you better get to your next question,” Downey Jr. deadpans before leaving the interview and calling Guru-Murthy a schmuck.
BILLY BOB THORNTON, 2009
Promoting: The Boxmasters
Interviewer: Former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi
What happened: Actor, sorry, musician Billy Bob Thornton appeared on Q to discuss his band The Boxmasters, which you’ve likely never heard of. What you have heard of is Billy Bob Thornton, the actor. But when former host Jian Ghomeshi brought up Thornton’s main gig as an actor, the part-time musician became infuriated, saying he only wanted to talk about his music.
Most cringe-worthy moment: Thornton’s approach to distancing himself from his acting career was to pretend he didn’t understand Ghomeshi’s most basic questions, leaving his band scrambling to uncomfortably answer queries directed at Thornton.
TOM SELLECK, 1999
Promoting: The Love Letter
Interviewer: Rosie O’Donnell
What happened: Shortly after the horrific 1999 shooting at the Columbine high school in the US, actor and NRA member Tom Selleck appeared on Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show. O’Donnell’s show was known for the host’s high energy and playful celebrity interviews, but the tone took a surprisingly serious turn when O’Donnell changed the topic from Selleck’s film to gun violence.
Most cringe-worthy moment: Seriously, pretty much the whole darn thing.
JESSICA SIMPSON, 2017
Promoting: Jessica Simpson Clothing
Interviewer: Ellen DeGeneres
What happened: Jessica Simpson gave an odd interview while appearing on The Ellen Show earlier this year. The singer-turned-fashion designer appeared to have trouble answering even the most basic questions, including how long she had been married. DeGeneres did her best to reel in Simpson, finally quipping “It’s amazing you have a billion-dollar business.”
Most cringe-worthy moment: DeGeneres asked Simpson how long she had been married, with the singer replying “Seven years. It’s a long time. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a seven-year relationship other than with a woman.” Simpson was referring to female friendships, but that’s not how to answer a seemingly easy romantic relationship question. The moment was followed by DeGeneres side-eyeing the camera, an act that was continued throughout the odd interview.
BONUS: JENNIFER ANISTON, 2014
Promoting: Horrible Bosses 2
Interviewer: BBC Radio 1’s Chris Stark
What happened: In a reverse-awkward interview situation, producers at the BBC asked Aniston to prank interviewer Chris Stark by shutting down all his questions. The result was Stark’s near-heart attack on camera.
Most cringe-worthy moment: When asked how she would approach someone she was romantically interested in, Aniston went into full-prank mode and told Stark that his question was inappropriate. Stark does his best to back pedal and calls his question silly, quickly apologizing and stumbling through the remainder of the interview.