Bruce Jenner’s Tell-All Interview: 6 Celebrity Interviews That Ignited A National Conversation
April 23, 2015 By Samantha Cowan
The hotly marketed mystery surrounding Bruce Jenner will finally be laid to rest with the airing of an exclusive 20/20 interview on Friday evening, and the cryptic promos have been alluding to a big reveal.
Speculation surrounding Jenner’s alleged gender transition has dominated tabloid covers, but the gold medal–winning Olympian and patriarch of Keeping Up With the Kardashians has not addressed the rumors directly.
That silence has an expiration date with the highly anticipated interview. Whether or not the TV special lives up to the hype, it’s not the first time a public figure has unwittingly become the spokesperson for an underrepresented minority or brought light to a misunderstood taboo topic—in both positive and negative ways.
Rihanna Expresses Sympathy for Her Abuser
Rihanna’s tearful account of her public domestic dispute with Chris Brown examined the intricacies of their famously abusive relationship. “I lost my best friend,” the singer told Oprah in 2012. She also explained why she felt protective of Brown and worried that the person she had loved would be villified and unable to get the help he needed to change his behavior.
Whitney Houston Says “Crack Is Whack”
The singer sat down with Diane Sawyer for a 2002 Primetime interview to squash rumors of her drug use and anorexia, but she did just the opposite. When asked about reports of using crack, Houston responded, “Let’s get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make way too much money to ever smoke crack.” The Grammy award–winning singer’s raspy voice, thin frame, and erratic responses put a face on the harrowing effects of drug addiction. Houston died 10 years later, and although the cause of death was officially accidental drowning, she was found with drugs and paraphernalia.
Tom Cruise Slams Entire Psychiatry Industry
It was clear that actor and scientologist Tom Cruise fancied himself an expert on the history of psychiatry, vis-à-vis the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, when he found himself at the center of heated discussion regarding the use of ADHD drugs and antidepressants in a 2005 interview with Matt Lauer on Today. Along with criticizing Brooke Shields for using antidepressants to overcome postpartum depression, Cruise went on to say that “there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance.” The interview is most remembered for Cruise calling Lauer’s line of questioning “glib,” but the actor’s dismissive response to mental illness revealed an ignorance and stigma that can too often prevent people from getting the help they need.
Lance Armstrong Comes Clean
After he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for alleged doping, the cyclist set the record straight in a “no-holds-barred” interview. Through a series of yes or no questions, Armstrong admitted to a myriad of doping methods after years of consistent denial. Although he refused to implicate other athletes, he did say that he did not believe winning the title was “humanly possible” without the use of steroids or other doping methods.
Robin Givens Admits to Abuse From Mike Tyson
In a 1988 interview with ABC News, actor Robin Givens sat beside her then-husband, boxer Mike Tyson, and told Barbara Walters of their tumultuous relationship, in which Tyson was volatile and violent. Tyson stayed quiet as Givens calmly stated, “He shakes. He pushes, he swings. Sometimes I think he’s trying to scare me,” before admitting, “I’ve recently become very afraid.” The couple filed for divorce a month after the interview aired.
Mackenzie Phillips’ Family Secret
The former child star sent shock waves through The Oprah Winfrey Show audience in 2010 when she read a passage from her autobiography admitting to a longtime heroin-fueled affair with her father, music legend John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas. Addressing the criticism that she’d likely face—Phillips was a teenager at the time and admittedly a willing participant in the relationship for more than a decade—she talked about the drug use that altered her thinking process and the desire to please her father at any cost.
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