Celebrities Who Make Their Workplaces Difficult

By Jake SchroederLast Updated Apr 18, 2020 9:41:33 PM ET
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Getting up and going to work is hard enough without adding a bunch of extra stress and drama to the mix. It doesn't help one bit when you have a difficult co-worker to deal with on top of everything else. Surprisingly, this isn't a problem that's exclusive to average jobs in average places.

This issue goes beyond the boundaries of the blue collar workforce all the way up to the lavish sets of Hollywood's most illustrious productions. That’s right — even celebrities with everything they need at their fingertips can make the workplace a miserable place to be. Let’s take a look at some of the worst offenders.

Shia LaBeouf

Despite shooting into the celebrity stratosphere after the success of Michael Bay's Transformers trilogy in the late 2000s and early 2010s, Shia LaBeouf wasn’t quite satisfied — with anything, apparently. He developed a reputation for being quite difficult to be around on set.

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It seems there's a good reason the actor has been out of the public eye until recently appearing in a couple of movies in 2019. From his attitude toward art to his very public trouble with the law, LaBeouf needed to take a few years off to prove he's trying to change.

Teri Hatcher

ABC has had its fair share of hit primetime dramas, which means they've also had plenty of leading actors to keep their eye on (both on and off the set). One of the most troublesome instances of this related to Desperate Housewives lead actress Teri Hatcher.

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According to reports that came out at the time, Hatcher harbored a lot of animosity toward the cast and crew. She allegedly put herself far above everyone else to the point of being called a narcissist.

Val Kilmer

There's no denying that Val Kilmer is one of the very best talents of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. From Top Gun to Heat to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Kilmer is certainly a talent to revere. Still, that's no excuse for making trouble.

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Notorious for starting fights with both writers and directors, Kilmer most famously got into it with Batman Forever director Joel Schumacher. Faced with an illness that has forced him to mostly withdraw from acting, he may want to take this time to reflect on his past behavior and consider ways to improve.

Mike Myers

It's always surprising to learn that a comedian is actually a very serious troublemaker for the men and women they work with on set — so disappointing! Mike Myers might be praised as one of the greatest contemporary parodists, but those who have spent time with him on set would mostly prefer to work with someone else.

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Across the Austin Powers and Wayne's World movies, Myers reportedly terrorized the cast and crew with his very serious demands and incredibly specific requests. For someone who makes a living on laughs, that doesn’t sound funny at all. Myers should definitely lighten up.


For certain performers, high demands result in high praise. At the end of the day, however, you have to consider how many celebrities get great results without being mean to their closest collaborators. Beyoncé — one of the most beloved singers from a fan perspective — is guilty of acting closer to the former than the latter.

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Throughout her career, she has allegedly created a high-stress working environment due to her pursuit of perfection. Her work is always amazing — but at what cost? Many who have worked with her wouldn't choose to do it again.

Jennifer Lopez

Some people may dream of being the assistant of an A-list celebrity, but one look at the job description for people like Jennifer Lopez might make them think twice before applying. As it turns out, assisting stars is incredibly difficult work.

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From changing diapers to cooking meals to learning other languages, the amount of work required to be Jennifer Lopez's assistant might be more than the job is actually worth. Who knows? For some, being close to a celebrity might outweigh all the negatives that come with the job.

Katherine Heigl

Skyrocketing to stardom in the wake of her leading roles in ABC's Grey's Anatomy and Judd Apatow's Knocked Up, Katherine Heigl seemed unstoppable toward the back half of the 2000s. Unfortunately for her, her behavior kept her momentum from continuing to grow.

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After publicly dissing both her former primetime drama and her performance in the now-famous cult stoner comedy, Heigl managed to alienate all kinds of big-wig Hollywood types. Her immaturity on set and the lack of professionalism she demonstrated for her work instantly labeled her as too difficult to be worth it.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Judging by the public attitude toward her unique health and wellness brand, Goop, it might not be very shocking to hear that people who have worked with Gwyneth Paltrow in the past would prefer not to do so again. While she might argue that her behavior is more quirky than quarrelsome, she is reportedly a trash-talker on set and a burden in her time off. Ouch.

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For instance, as part of her "wellness plan," she refuses to enter a shower if someone else just used it. Flexibility is probably critical when filming on various sets and in different locations, and it can be a problem when actors refuse to "make do" with temporary solutions.

Jennifer Aniston

In the years after her highly successful run on NBC's Friends, Jennifer Aniston found herself enjoying more fame and fortune than ever before. Choosing to be incredibly picky with her roles going forward, she ultimately ended up being labeled a diva for her behavior.

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Known for being demanding of the crew and refusing to associate with the majority of the cast when the cameras stopped rolling, Aniston seems to take herself quite seriously. Granted, she's got quite a lot of money and a reputation to consider, but it's still not a great attitude.

Christian Bale

Considered one of the greatest talents working today by fans and critics alike, Christian Bale has every right to take his work more seriously than other actors. With this in mind, it's worth noting that there's a big difference between taking your work seriously and giving people a hard time.

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Caught on camera berating film crews, Bale isn't afraid to create a hostile working environment if it gets the right results. No one likes getting yelled at, though, and there are plenty of great actors who never yell at the crew. Pay attention, Bale.

Mariah Carey

As most fans of hers know, Mariah Carey is not afraid to tell it like it is or ask for what she wants — even if it’s rude and what she wants is absurd. From pretending she doesn't know people that she obviously knows to criticizing those who have irritated her, Carey is about as difficult as they come in the entertainment world.

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No stranger to feuds, she seems to take pride in her cutthroat approach to stardom. She's not even afraid to publicly insult the likes of Nicki Minaj and Jennifer Lopez. That’s pretty brave, considering she seems a little too girly to take them down in a brawl.

Lindsay Lohan

She might seem sweet and innocent in films like The Parent Trap, but it turns out that Lindsay Lohan's true self lies somewhere closer to the film Mean Girls. Growing increasingly troublesome as her career progressed, it's not shocking to learn that Lohan lost it all in the aftermath of her very public problems.

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From showing up late to sets to storming off during filming and disappearing for hours or even days, Lohan never failed to create an incredibly bothersome work environment for all involved. Here's to hoping she has changed since her comeback.

Russell Crowe

It should be said that Russell Crowe completely denies each claim made against him, but the sheer volume of the reports compiled against him totally overshadow his word. Regardless of the film, the most consistent thing said about Crowe is that he was just plain rude.

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It could be his personality or simply his way of working, but he has been called everything from angry to confrontational to flat-out violent. He even had an infamous feud with George Clooney at one point, with the two hurling insults at one another endlessly.

Edward Norton

There's nothing inherently wrong with being a perfectionist who demands excellence when it comes to art. However, there's definitely an issue when that perfection and excellence comes at the cost of the respect of your co-workers. Edward Norton is one such artist who is willing to be impossibly difficult to get the desired result.

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You might recall that Norton played the Hulk before Mark Ruffalo's debut in The Avengers. Norton had a different vision in mind for the character, and the Marvel suits simply wouldn't allow the actor to take precedence over their executive decisions. (And the Hulk in Avengers movies is awesome, by the way.)

Steven Seagal

Practically exiled to Russia at this point, Steven Seagal continues to be one of the strangest celebrities currently in the game. A huge action star in the U.S. at one point, Seagal's notorious behavior saw him leaving the country and moving to a completely different continent entirely.

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Guilty of alienating his fan base by lying and being rude, Seagal took it to the next level when he was accused of revealing far too many government secrets from his time spent with special CIA operatives. He is known for displaying an all-around toxic attitude.

James Cameron

Before the time of Avengers: Endgame, James Cameron had the honor of directing the two highest-grossing contemporary films in the medium's history. He accomplished it by burning bridges, severing ties and being an unabashed perfectionist across each and every one of his productions.

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No longer focusing on anything outside of his Avatar universe, Cameron probably owes more than a few cast and crew members apologies for his behavior on other films, including Titanic and his two Terminator films. He is undoubtedly a success, though, and he probably thinks that justifies his behavior.

Kanye West

Part producer, part musician, part actor, part aspiring politician, Kanye West is a man of many different hats. From his humble beginnings in Southside Chicago to his current position as a censored gospel singer, the man has no issue ditching a past public persona for a new one.

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As it turns out, he also has no problem being an incredibly difficult person to deal with in the workplace. Claims about him range from refusing to leave sets to blasting music way too loudly to potentially being bipolar. No matter what the reason, it's not acceptable to be rude.

Charlie Sheen

Judging by the actor's universal shunning from the public eye, Charlie Sheen is unsurprisingly bothersome if provoked. While the most notable instance has to be his unceremonious firing from the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Sheen has not confined his rants and rages to just showrunner Chuck Lorre.

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Accused of being unhinged or at least unstable, Sheen was willing to verbally berate just about anyone or anything that stood in his way while on set. It's a terrible attitude to harbor when working with others, but it seems that Sheen has made a serious attempt to change more recently.


Part singer, part actress, all diva, Madonna doesn't seem to feel any sort of shame for behaving the way she does — and that’s been true for decades now. An immaculate icon of the ‘80s who continues to perform to this day, Madonna almost wears her contrariness as a badge of honor.

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From publicly feuding with other celebrities to making ridiculous demands of her personal assistants and crew members, she is synonymous with "highly demanding" and "difficult to be around." Like certain other artists, Madonna will get what Madonna wants — always.

Sharon Stone

Known mostly for her trio of excellent performances in the 1990s — Total Recall, Basic Instinct, and Casino — Sharon Stone is another actor who isn't afraid to be incredibly demanding of everyone around her, even if it costs her roles.

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Famously, Stone wasn’t happy with director Paul Verhoeven in the wake of Basic Instinct. The two fought back and forth about the film's sequel, with Stone (temporarily) losing the opportunity to return. This represents the level of difficulty that Stone wasn't ashamed to bring to most sets.

Sean Young

Probably known best for her leading role in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner — but worth mentioning for her performance in David Lynch's Dune as well — Sean Young was clearly no stranger to tough shoots for science fiction epics. Maybe it was retaliation for the large workloads Scott and Lynch placed on her, but Young tried her best to be just as difficult.

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In the years since her string of performances in the back end of the 20th century, no one seems willing to work with Young again. It's a shame — she was really quite talented.

Faye Dunaway

Although she might be praised today as one of the very best talents of the Golden Age of Hollywood, Faye Dunaway wasn’t respected as such when she was first starting out. Unlike many other actors, Dunaway was difficult to work with because of her lack of experience, not because of her lack of professionalism.

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That's right — instead of causing trouble for others, others caused trouble for her. Certain directors actually said they would never, ever want to work with her again. She went on to prove them wrong, of course.


Ellen DeGeneres

Everyone knows how generous Ellen DeGeneres is. She's always giving away huge prizes and massive sums of money to worthy causes on her daytime talk show. Because of how outwardly kind she seems, it's so surprising to learn that Ellen is quite a pain behind the scenes.

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From being called rude to being accused of full-on aggression off-camera, Ellen DeGeneres might be the most intelligent of the bunch, simply for being one way when the camera is not rolling and the polar opposite when shooting. It's a genius way to push aside negativity.


Lea Michele

Remember Glee, Ryan Murphy's hit high school musical comedy on FOX? Well, Lea Michele, the show's former lead, never failed to be a problem for Murphy and the rest of the cast. One actor — Dianna Agron — even left the show because of it.

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A Broadway singer first and foremost, it's possible that Lea Michele's bad behavior simply came down to the fact that she was out of her element being on camera as opposed to being on stage. It's actually a logical conclusion — she continues to prioritize theater over film to this day.


Bruce Willis

Apparently, playing a tough guy in the movies for so many years has the potential to go to an actor’s head — just look at Bruce Willis. No matter if it's a big action blockbuster or a simple little comedy, Willis embodies a seriousness that doesn’t mesh well with other personalities.

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It's admirable to take pride in doing your best work, but as an actor, it's not really acceptable to be a jerk to the director. They are in charge, after all. Willis famously took Kevin Smith to task on the set of Cop Out.


Chevy Chase

One of the most notable Saturday Night Live alums in the show's history, Chevy Chase was lucky enough to have his comedic genius translate well from the small screen to the big screen. Landing leading role after leading role, the comedian cemented his status as a comedy icon with numerous hilarious films.

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For whatever reason, however, this monumental success turned Chase into someone who is virtually impossible to work with on set. Frequently fighting with showrunners and directors alike, he is definitely a purveyor of the phrase "my way or the highway."


Julia Roberts

From the very start of her career as an actor, Julia Roberts has been a true titan. While it wasn't her first film, Mystic Pizza was the movie that started it all for her. She came across as sweet. Lovable. A total sweetheart. Some even called her America's Sweetheart.

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According to some former cast and crew members, however, Roberts was anything but sweet during shooting. You could chalk it all up to dedication to the craft, or she might just really be a mean person whenever the cameras go off.


January Jones

Some people just don't come across as very nice. They could be the warmest person in the world once you get to know them, but their outward appearance is that of someone with an ice-cold personality. This is what many people say about Mad Men alum January Jones.

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From cast members to former crew to the journalists who spent time interviewing her during the show's press tours, many commented that Jones is not a nice person in all areas of her professional life. It seems art — in the form of her Mad Men character — imitates life in this case.


Alec Baldwin

Here's an actor who takes the hostility found in his personal life and carries it with him to the set. Mention Alec Baldwin, and many people immediately remember the infamous phone call that was leaked to the press many years ago — you know, the one of him insulting his young daughter and calling her all kinds of horrible names.

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It seems that Baldwin is quite similar in his professional life as well. According to former co-stars, he doesn't like the idea of being pushed out of the limelight. Just let him do his thing.


Marlon Brando

When it comes to Marlon Brando's on-set attitudes later in his career, it seems like his hostility boils down to one simple thing: his ego. After being told he was one of the very best talents during the ‘50s and ‘60s, it makes sense why Brando turned into a complete menace on set throughout the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.

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From iconic films like Apocalypse Now to Superman to later films like The Score, Brando gave up on civility and respectability by the time he was in the autumn of his life. Unfortunately, he set a poor example for all the young actors who undoubtedly viewed him as a role model.