Have you ever wondered why every time you come across a photo of your favorite celeb, she or he looks beautiful and picture-perfect? Even if they are just shopping at Costco? (That’s you, Kardashians!) You see them in remote places where they are frolicking under the sun at a beach wearing nothing but a bikini (that’s you, Kim!). You see them in the park with their kids, playing with them as if this was a montage in a movie. (That’s you, Tori Spelling!) Magically and out of nowhere, the paparazzi suddenly appear to take candid photos of them. And you wonder how the paparazzi get the shots.
What many fans and readers don’t know is that the photographs are fake or staged, that they are calculated moves on the star’s part to drum up some publicity or to revive a fading career, among others. You wouldn’t know it because these photos resemble real paparazzi photos.
So the truth is many celebs team up with the paparazzi to take natural photos of themselves. The photographers get what they want—exclusive photos—and the celebs benefit in two ways, by receiving publicity and getting a cut of the profits after the photos are sold to magazines. Who does this? The desperate; the irrelevant. Most time it’s the B, C or D stars who tip the paps on their whereabouts, but A-listers also call on the photographers for specific reasons.
So here’s a look at 15 desperate celebrities who called the paparazzi on themselves.
15. Taylor Swift’s Entire Career
Taylor Swift treats the paparazzi as a business transaction. She has an unspoken deal with the paps that works both ways. She gets her picture taken and the paps get to photograph her and sell the photos as a means to get paid. Ever notice that Swift always looks perfect? That’s no coincidence. The paps can only take photos of her only if she’s dressed to the nines. That’s why there are photos of Swift leaving the gym looking perfect because she knew the paps would be waiting outside for her. The deal seems to have worked. If the paps act accordingly she will not resist being photographed. Fans of her only see great pics of Swift in magazines. Swift is smart. She knows that the paparazzi comes with being famous and that concocting a business transaction between her and the paparazzi is a tool, a way for her to control her public image
14. The Irrelevance Of Lindsay Lohan
Lohan once called the paps a “blessing.” We call her desperate. As it’s well-documented that Lohan would call the paps to let them know where she is for some publicity. Now, after her numerous car accidents and her DUIs, Lohan is no longer relevant, and so she has to continue to stage photos of herself. She’s doing this because she knows she’s no longer in the spotlight, and is trying desperately to turn attention away from her low moments and from critics who once called her talented and now call her a joke. For most of Lohan’s life, she has been in the public eye. So, she believes that if she doesn’t appear on the front page of US Weekly, then she is no longer relevant. According to a seminal Rolling Stone article, an authoritative account about paps, she has been reduced to alerting them to her whereabouts in return for a “gratuity.”
13. Ryan Reynolds Knows How To Use Product Placement
Nowadays, Ryan Reynolds is hot because Deadpool was a big hit. But there was a time not long ago when Reynolds was completely irrelevant after a string of duds. There was Burned, The Croods, The Voices, Mississippi Grind and Woman in Gold, all released nearly back to back. Do you remember them? We think not. Which is why Reynolds’ next move was to hire photographers to catch him in some staged shots. According to the Rolling Stone article, he was captured eating Chobani, carrying a Burger King bag, smiling at a Nespresso café and “caressing” a Can-Am motorcycle. Did you notice these “caught in the act” moments include brand-name products? That’s no coincidence—it’s a big payout that both publicist and paps had planned out in advance, the staging of photos of Reynolds “saying” to the world that he’s just like us while his career is sinking.
12. SEE ABOVE, AND ADD BLAKE LIVELY TO THE MIX
These days, Reynolds and wife Blake Lively hate the paparazzi. Funny how Reynolds only recently would do anything to get photographed. While promoting her film All I See is You, Lively appeared in press rounds in New York wearing seven different outfits in one day. Seven! She wore a vintage-inspired jumpsuit during her appearance on GMA and wore an Oscar de la Renta dress upon exiting the studio. The press praised her for her red-carpet looks. The paps got what they wanted because she posed in front of all the cameras. What happened to hating paparazzi? She must be very self-aware and in on the game when she took to Instagram to post each outfit and also to poke fun at herself for her excessive wardrobe changes. There was no backfire, but it’s obvious that her publicist hired the paps so that she could drum up publicity for her movie.
11. Britney Spears’ Meltdown
Remember when Britney Spears went bonkers and shaved her head? Of course, we do! The paparazzi were there at every moment to take pictures of Spear during her famous meltdown in 2008. It was she who tipped the paps of her whereabouts and she even drove slower than usual so that the paps wouldn’t lose her on the road. If that sounds crazy, then note that Spears actually loves the paps—she not only has their numbers on speed dial but also even dated a stalker, err, pap. It’s no coincidence, then, that there are photos of Spears during her meltdown at gas stations, fast food joints, and even at the salon where she famously shaved her head because the paps just happened to be around. We know, coincidence all the way!
10. Kim Kardashian & Kompany – Surprise!
Well, duh. Of course, the Kardashians are on our list, as they routinely call the paps to photograph them while they are galivanting around town. After North West was born in 2013, many fans hated the way Kim looked with her after-baby weight gain. So, when Kim lost weight after going to the gym, naturally she called her personal paparazzi on speed dial to take ”candid” staged photos of her while wearing only a bikini in a beach in Miami.
Kim Kardashian is the biggest example of a celebrity who routinely releases fake paparazzi photos. Surprised? Like you didn’t know that was coming. She texts her personal paparazzi on a regular basis. He goes where she goes and flies to far-flung cities and countries with her so they can both gather photos of her to sell to magazines.
9. Why Was Apple Worth A Million Dollars? (No, Not That Apple…)
Fans of celebs who have just given birth desperately want to see pictures of the baby. And the paparazzi want photos too, as actors who have babies sell well. But these sought-after pics are hard to get, as many stars protect their newborns from the media and want to be left alone. But then photos of them are suddenly released and appear on the cover of every gossip mag. What’s the deal? Take Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. There was high demand for photos of Orange, err, Apple, when she was first born. So what did Paltrow and Martin do? They hired an infamous paparazzi photographer and together they staged the first baby photos and made them look like candid pictures. Then the pap and the couple sold the shots to a major magazine, and both sides got a cut. The pictures were rumored to sell for upward of a million dollars.
8. The Hills Have Eyes, But Not For Pratt And Montag
At the height of The Hills, reality stars Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag were really hot and kept dodging the paparazzi because they didn’t want them to take photos of them. Fast forward after the show ended and suddenly Pratt and Montag are irrelevant. Desperate for their past fame, they call the paparazzi on themselves. In 2014, during their celebration of their seventh wedding anniversary, somehow paps just happened to be around the area to take “candid” shots of them. This was Big Sur, a sort-of remote place that you wouldn’t necessarily find paps hanging around. Montag took it further post-plastic surgery when she was “caught” cavorting on a beach with a drink, wearing just a teeny bikini. According to Pratt himself, the photos were all calculated and the two made $30K on just one photo. Not a bad way to try to stay relevant, right?
7. The One Who Threw Her “Tools” Out The Window
Amanda Bynes is an example of a celebrity who reached out to a photographer to take pictures of her looking beautiful but whose staged poses backfired. During her famous meltdown, all the pics of her in magazines showed her looking like a mess. After a slew of criminal activity and mentally unstable moments (i.e. lighting fire on a stranger’s driveway), Bynes, who once had her own TV show, single-handedly ruined her career after her mental meltdown. She took matters into her own hands by calling the famous paparazzo Justin Steffman, who took staged photos of her and then sent them to magazines, where they landed on all the covers. But according to Steffman, that photo shoot, as well as another at a party, backfired and did nothing to turn around her image because “they ran them alongside a very negative (although honest) story about her unhealthy lifestyle at the time.”
6. Brangelina: ’nuff Said
Jolie takes a page from Swift’s playbook. She works with paparazzi to take pics of her family and her now estranged husband Brad Pitt. Pitt and Jolie are famous for being reclusive, and also for being very private, especially when matters turn to their children. But every once and a while she negotiates with the paparazzi, calling them to take candid pictures of her entire family. In exchange, these same photographers will leave them alone. Remember when Brangelina rode a motorcycle in Ho Chi Minh City in 2006 and photos of them popped up in magazines? Well, they don’t look staged because they’re not looking at the camera! But every star knows that that’s the best way to look candid. If you look, you are posing. So how did Brad and Angelina get caught on camera in a remote place while riding on the streets? It’s an Act of God.
5. Orlando In Full Bloom
When the New York Daily News published pics of Orlando Bloom paddle boarding in the nude while vacationing in Italy with girlfriend Katy Perry, all hell broke loose and social media was on fire to get the pics. Penis, penis, penis, and boy Bloom does have a penis! So, picture the scenario. Bloom and Perry are alone on a beach in Italy and Bloom just happens to be cavorting about in his birthday suit. And then suddenly photographers are taking pics of him. Bloom said he would’ve worn board shorts if he knew he was being shot nude. Yeah, right. This is a pap call that successfully promoted both Bloom and Perry. Bloom needs the pics because he’s now irrelevant due to a lack of film roles after the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Perry’s photographs also served a purpose. She was promoting her single “Rise,” and so was Bloom.
4. Jolie Returns!
Jolie has always been in cahoots with the paparazzi. In her early days, she was portrayed as a bad girl, a mirror-image of her role in Girl in Translation. After adopting Maddox, she would call the paps to tell them about her location so that she and her son could be photographed. Then photos of her that she didn’t want to see were replaced with a plethora of new ones that she wanted the world to see, which was her as a doting mother. She also tipped the paps about her holiday with Pitt and Maddox. Pitt is portrayed as a “dad” to Maddox while he helped him build a sandcastle. The three of them looked like a family, and those photos served to tell their fans that she and Pitt were now a couple. Yes, Jolie is extremely calculated, but she also donates some of the proceeds from the pictures to charities.
3. Janet Jackson And Her Baby Bump
Jackson used to be a raunchy sex-symbol who wore skin tight clothes. She is also forever known for having a “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show. Since then, we’ve rarely seen Jackson. Her friends once confirmed that she keeps such an increasingly low profile after she married her husband, and became even more reclusive when the two split up three months after her baby was born. That’s why we think that the first shots of Jackson revealing her baby bump were staged and that she herself tipped off the paparazzi. We bet on it! She provided paps with her locale: a baby furniture store. Can she be more obvious? She’s not even shielding her face, as she tends to do when the paps follow her. This happens a lot. A celebrity who keeps a low profile and then suddenly is around for a photo shoot.
2. Storybook Perfect Tori Spelling
Spelling is known most not for her role on 90210 in the 90s, but also as the daughter of $500 million producer father who supposedly cheated her out of her inheritance, leaving her with only around $800,000. That’s why Spelling works with the paparazzi to take photos of her and her children so that she can get a cut of the profits. She does this to stay relevant but more so to earn additional income when she’s not working. And that period is now. Some of those candid shots can backfire. Way back in 2003, Spelling and her children were caught at a popular pumpkin patch while paparazzi took photos of them. What Spelling didn’t know was that the photographers whom Spelling didn’t call were taking photos of the photographers whom Spelling did call in order to leak behind-the-scenes images of them to the papers. How embarrassing!
1. The One Who Kissed Neve Campbell
Denise Richards is so irrelevant that she routinely calls the paparazzi. And when photos of her pop up, everyone in LA knows that the shots are staged. For many celebs, their kids are off-limits. From Jennifer Garner to Halle Berry, these female stars are at war with the paparazzi who try to take pics of their children. There’s an unspoken rule that the photographers have to stay away from the children of celebrities, but for people like Denise Richards and Tori Spelling, they are so desperate for attention and relevancy that they are not beneath dangling their children in front of the paps. Richards, as well as Spelling, former stars who are washed up, are both known to have opened their homes to the paps so that they can get candid photos of their kids and so that they can get a cut of the profit after the pics are sold.