The Downsides to Life in the Spotlight as a Movie Star

Posted by on December 4, 2020 in Entertainment, Films & TV with 0 Comments

Big screen fame is a lifelong dream for many people. Film stars and celebrities seem to have it all: fame, money, cars, and the glamorous lives many of us can only imagine. Aside from fame, the film industry's profitability is a significant reason people want to become screen players. According to Statista data, worldwide box office revenue reached over $42 billion in 2019. So while you’re watching your favourite stars on TV or in the movie theatre, take a minute to consider that whilst their lives look highly desirable on the surface, the reality is not always the same. And here’s why.

1. They can't enjoy simple pleasures

Speaking to Esquire, George Clooney revealed that his celebrity status prevents him from enjoying some of life's simple pleasures like taking a walk in the park. According to him, he hasn't walked in Central Park for over 15 years! Johnny Depp, speaking to Today, also likens his routine to that of a fugitive, as he needs a strategy for mundane activities like checking in and out of hotels to avoid the paparazzi and fans. Indeed, it is common knowledge that famous people struggle to live everyday lives like the rest of us do. The round-the-clock scrutiny you will likely be under may affect your ability to enjoy the things that many people take for granted.

Engaging in routine activities like bringing your kids to school, reading on a park bench, enjoying a nice cup of coffee, or going shopping could quickly become front-page news. You can expect constant paparazzi attention wherever you go, seeking to capture all your private moments to share with the rest of the world. You may likely also have to forget about being called by your real name. Vic Reeves, a famous comedian and actor, shared in a Guardian article about how often people presume Vic Reeves is his real name, despite only developing the character for a stage project at some point in his career.

2. There’s a lot of pressure

Being in the film industry brings a lot of pressure to be “perfect” both on the big screen and in your private life. Scarlet Johannson, speaking to Candis Magazine, spoke about the pressures of maintaining a required fitness level to continue playing her role as “Black Widow” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) franchise. Many other actors like Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, and possibly all other film stars who play superheroes or villains often have to shed or gain some bulk to qualify for the roles. Aside from the on-screen pressure to have perfect bodies, the off-screen pressure to be thin and fit is also a disturbing reality for film stars and other celebrities. Social media's influence often leaves celebrities at the mercy of fans and other users regarding body shaming and other undesirable pressures.

3. Fame can make you paranoid

Several film stars confess to developing paranoia after becoming a big-screen hit. In an interview with Loaded in 2014, Idris Elba, known for notable roles in movies like ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ and ‘Thor,’ laments how difficult it is to trust people, especially potential love interests. Elba says he commonly feels unsure about whether relationships he has developed with people after becoming famous are real or not. Indeed, this is a significant concern and a source of anxiety for notable people that transcends theatre into other areas like music and business. Many end up having to hire celebrity security guards in order to feel safe.

4. Substance abuse is always a threat

 The tabloid press, television, and other media platforms are continually reporting stories about celebrities battling an addiction to drugs, alcohol, and other substances that are detrimental to their health. Some experts theorize that stars continuously face the threat of substance abuse due to inherent personality threats. Studies have found traits of obsession, risk-taking, strong drives, etc., (common celebrity traits) in individuals with substance abuse disorders. According to these studies, these celebrity traits use the same brain pathways that affect the brain's reward center in addicts and successful people alike, putting them at risk of substance abuse.

Some other experts think the likelihood of substance abuse is high among celebrities because they have easy access to them. Hollywood's elite have plenty of social influence and cash to spare, making it easier and cheaper to acquire substances than non-celebrities. Also, public scrutiny can be a factor that drives celebrities to indulge in substance abuse. Stars are under constant observation by fans, the media, and colleagues. People react to situations differently, and as such public opinion and bad press may affect one person more personally than others. Drugs and alcohol, therefore, become easy coping mechanisms that many celebrities resort to.

Peer influence is another driving factor behind stars always facing the threat of substance abuse, as is the case of actors like Macaulay Culkin and Selena Gomez. While it isn’t a guarantee that you will also abuse substances, it is undoubtedly a threat you are very likely to face as a film star.

5. Dating is almost impossible

 With a rigorous work schedule leaving little room for romantic entanglements, you can expect a life where dating is difficult. Whether you are dating a fellow film star or an “ordinary” person, the demands of show business will likely leave you little time to prioritize personal relationships. This reality is even evident among celebrity relationships and marriages, whose high failure rates are often a topic of concern and gossip for many interested in show business.

Why is this so? Psychologist and fame expert Donna Rockwell spoke to Cosmopolitan about the world of fame and relationships. She cited fame as the primary reason why many celebrity relationships fail. According to her, the ego tends to get in the way of focusing on your partner due to your familiarity with always being on the receiving end of attention.

Media attention coupled with thousands of fans doting on you when you walk on the streets, on social media, and at shows, makes it harder to maintain romantic relationships that need compromise to flourish. Also, before her engagement to Cooke Maroney, Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence spoke to Vogue concerning her struggles with finding and connecting with eligible bachelors because few people asked her out. As such, you can also expect your celebrity status to intimidate a few potential partners.

6. You may have to overcome a lot of bad press

As a film star and a celebrity in general, it is common to wake up to many unflattering things concerning your life popping up in the media. It is no secret that the media loves to cover the good, bad, and ugly of celebrity lives at length. Mel Gibson, a renowned actor and movie director, was all over the news in 2006 when he was caught on camera using anti-Semitic slurs against a Jewish police officer who had pulled him over for drunk driving. However, he made a surprising comeback with Hacksaw Ridge, an Oscar-nominated war film classic.

Christian Bale received a lot of bad press for his profanity-laden outburst on “Terminator Salvation” back in 2008. Despite going viral online, he apologized and went on to reprise his role as Batman in ‘The Dark Knight in 2010″, even winning an Oscar for best supporting actor in his 2010 film “The Fighter.” You may remember Arnold Schwarzenegger being in the news in 2011 for admitting to fathering a child with one of his household staffers despite being married, but he has since starred in hits like “Escape Plan” and “Terminator Genisys.” Bad press is simply a showbiz reality, so be prepared to face it and most importantly, overcome it.

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