You can tell a lot about a year by its celebrity feuds. Taylor Swift's 2014 spats, for instance, solidified her status as the biggest pop star of the moment while those who crossed her came off looking like also-ran's. With the exception of one major conflagration in an elevator, the majority of this year's biggest confrontations went down on Twitter, thereby challenging whether or not they actually even count as confrontations. Most importantly though, thanks to social media's full takeover of our waking lives, any small slight could explode into a full-blown throwdown in seconds.
In our September cover story, Taylor Swift explained the inspiration behind her then-unheard song "Bad Blood," telling Rolling Stone that an unnamed female artist had crossed her one too many times. "For years, I was never sure if we were friends or not," she said. "She would come up to me at awards shows and say something and walk away and I would think, 'Are we friends, or did she just give me the harshest insult of my life?'" Swift went on to hint at a business-related dust-up that led her to believe "we're just straight-up enemies." When the article hit stands, speculation swirled and eventually landed on one Miss Katy Perry, who wasted no time in tweeting, "Watch out for the Regina George in sheep's clothing." The Mean Girls-themed mixed metaphor seemed pretty blatantly about Swift, and gossip sites quickly pointed to an incident in which three of Perry's backup dancers for the California Dreams 2011 tour were given spots on Swift's Red tour after Perry's had ended. While out with Swift, Perry's people allegedly reached out to the dancers asking if they'd want to return for the star's upcoming Prism tour, which would require them to leave Swift's early. The dancers ended up defecting to Perry, Swift unfollowed them on Twitter (these are things that Taylor Swift fans notice) and a once-seemingly-cordial relationship between the two biggest pop stars in the world apparently turned ugly fast.
Iggy Azalea burst onto the scene this year and immediately the haterade was flying. The face that launched a thousand thinkpieces – many of them on the theme of racial appropriation – quickly drew the ire of Snoop Dogg, who began an anti-Iggy campaign on social media. He fired the first shot after posting a mean-spirited Instagram pic that mocked recent paparazzi photos of Azalea sans makeup. Azalea followed up by calling him out on Twitter, recounting how the rapper was always nice to her face so it "disappointed" her that he would be "an ass for no reason." She would later delete this and subsequent tweets on the subject, but the damage was done. The fired-up Snoop went on to post a series of Instagram posts that alluded to their "feud," calling her a "bitch" and worse, and posting a now-infamous Instagram picture that compared Azalea to Marlon Wayans' character in the movie White Chicks. Azalea called Snoop out on Twitter again, this time attaching a photo of the rapper with the caption, "When your drug addict aunt gets clean." She later deleted that tweet, too, explaining that he "got the memo" and she "didn't need it living on her page for all eternity." Snoop continued to lob bombs until Azalea mentor T.I. called him and apparently convinced him to apologize, which he did in a video on, naturally, Instagram. To her credit, Iggy took the whole thing in stride and later even took a selfie dressed as said White Chicks character for Halloween.
The beef between Azalea and Azealia has been going on so long it's hard to tell where it began, but their most heated flare-up occurred in early December, when Banks sent out a series of tweets ripping into Azalea for not commenting on the Ferguson protests: "its funny to see people Like Igloo Australia silent when these things happen… Black Culture is cool but black issues sure aren't, huh?" Iggy eventually responded, "Theres more to sparking a change than trolling on social media. World issues shouldn't be used as a poor excuse to promote fan battles." Nevertheless, a week later, Banks gave a tearful interview to New York radio station Hot 97's Ebro in the Morning, where she spoke on such topics as the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases before getting some serious Iggy Azalea digs in. "Don't put her in hip-hop. Just because she's not singing does not mean it's rap music," she said, adding, "At the very fucking least, y'all owe me the right to my identity. That's all we're holding on to in hip-hop and rap." Iggy followed up by slamming Banks on Twitter, writing, "You created your own unfortunate situation by being a bigot and don't have the mental capacity to realize yet," and, "Now! rant, Make it racial! Make it political! Make it whatever, but I guarantee it won't make you likable & thats why ur crying on the radio." Stars like Q-Tip, Solange and Will.i.am have weighed in and taken sides while both Banks and Azalea continue to comment on Twitter. This one may very well make it into our 2015 feuds list.
In a kerfuffle that took place in the actual physical, non-social media world, Diddy and Drake came to blows outside LIV nightclub in Miami Beach this December. According to TMZ, the dust-up was caused by Drake's track "0 to 100/The Catch Up," which earned the Canadian rapper two Grammy nods. Allegedly, the song's producer, Boi 1da, first offered the track to both Drake and Diddy, but the latter didn't record it immediately. The former got impatient and did the song on his own, turning it into a hit in the process and supposedly pissing off Diddy enough for him to fight Drake about it when both of them turned up at DJ Khaled's birthday party. According to a tweet by DJ Sam Sneak, the brawl was enough to send Drake to the hospital with a dislocated shoulder. Neither side commented further.
In a November interview with The Telegraph promoting her new covers album, It's the Girls!, Bette Midler made time to throw some shade. "It's always surprising to see someone like Ariana Grande with that silly high voice, a very wholesome voice, slithering around on a couch," Midler told the publication. "Trust your talent. You don't have to make a whore out of yourself to get ahead." Grande responded the same day, tweeting, "Bette was always a feminist who stood for women being able to do whatever the F they wanted without judgment! not sure where that Bette went but I want that sexy mermaid back!!! Always a fan no matter what my love." Bette quickly backtracked, tweeting less than a week later that her birthday wish was "that [Ariana Grande] forgives me soon and let's me direct her next video."
This May, security footage obtained by TMZ showed Beyoncé looking on as her sister Solange physically attacked Jay Z in the elevator of the Standard Hotel after the annual Met Gala. Since the clip had no audio, the sound everyone heard was the roar of wild speculation. Did Solange catch Jay trying to sneak off to Rihanna's afterparty? Were Solange's friends name-dropping Jay at the door despite not having tickets? Was Solange off her rumored medication? Why was Beyoncé just standing there?! These questions still plague us, since the trio released a statement three days later that said both Jay Z and Solange acknowledged their roles in the "private matter" and there would be no further comment. The in-laws were seen shortly after, shopping for jewelry and looking like nothing happened. Eventually the world moved on, though Beyoncé half-acknowledged the fight in her August remix of "Flawless" featuring Nicki Minaj, rapping, "We escalate up in this bitch like elevators/Of course sometimes shit goes down when there's a billion dollars on an elevator."
The plot of The Interview – which sees Seth Rogen and James Franco playing journalists enlisted by the CIA into an assassination plot against North Korea's supreme leader, Kim Jong-un – pissed off that country's officials from the get-go. But it all came to a head in November when Sony's computers were hacked – likely by North Korea, according to the FBI – and a deluge of embarrassing e-mails wreaked havoc on Hollywood. The studio, in turn, tried to pull The Interview, especially when the hackers threatened to attack any theater showing the movie. But after no less than President Obama called the decision "a mistake," Sony about-faced, giving the film a digital and limited theatrical release. Rogen and Franco both responded to the news with exuberant tweets, the latter posting, "VICTORY!!!!!!! The PEOPLE and THE PRESIDENT have spoken!!!"
The first half of the year seemed dominated by Justin Bieber's increasingly erratic antics, from spending thousands at strip clubs to racing expensive cars while under the influence to vandalizing his neighbor's house. While the law seemed incapable of catching up with Bieber's shit-stirring, other celebrities managed. Grainy footage that came out this July showed 37-year-old Orlando Bloom attempting to punch Justin Bieber in the face at Cipriani restaurant in Ibiza. It apparently started when Bieber made a joke that he had slept with Bloom's ex-wife, Victoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr, within earshot of the actor, then further provoked him by saying, "What's up, bitch?" as he walked by. A report even suggested that Leonardo DiCaprio was present and cheered Bloom on. Though the actor fails to actually land the hit, he still gets to check "swing at Justin Bieber" off his list of Things Every Guy Dreams About (presumably right behind "sleep with a Victoria's Secret model").
The beef began in 2013, after a series of leaked e-mails between Jack White and his ex-wife Karen Elson showed White calling Keys' frontman Dan Auerbach "an asshole" and accusing him of copying the White Stripes' sound. Keys' drummer Patrick Carney, in response, said that while he thought White "sounds like an asshole," he reasoned that "we've all said fucked-up shit in private, and divorce is hard."
A year later, in Rolling Stone's June cover story, White spoke at length about the e-mails and was given the opportunity to clear the air. Instead, in true White fashion, he ended up doubling down: "There are kids at school who dress like everybody else, because they don't know what to do. There are musicians like that, too. I'll hear TV commercials where the music's ripping off sounds of mine, to the point I think it's me. Half the time, it's the Black Keys." When his comments began to get picked up by news outlets, White issued a statement apologizing to the Black Keys and wishing them "all the success they can get."
Producer, DJ, globe-trotter (and Katy Perry's rumored boyfriend) Diplo has a consistently raunchy Twitter feed, but he took aim at the wrong target in November when he joked that someone "should start a Kickstarter to get taylor swift a booty." Because this is the Internet, someone created a Fundly account within the hour called "Get Taylor Swift a Booty," that, while it doesn't go into logistics of how said booty will be acquired, nevertheless snagged $95 from four, uh, charitable donors. But when Diplo tweeted the link, he brought forth the wrath of 17-year-old pop star and T. Swift bestie Lorde. "Should we do something about your tiny penis while we're at it hm," she tweeted to the DJ – inspiring 52,000 retweets (to Diplo's 5,000). But it was all in honest fun, according to an interview Lorde gave to Fader, because Diplo "is like a big brother" to her and she was just "not letting him say stupid shit."
Any member of the Kiss Army knows that the chances of a reunion between current members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley and their estranged bandmates Peter Criss and Ace Frehley are less than a snowball's chance in hell, but when the band got its long-awaited induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, many fans held out hope that the group's original members set aside their differences for one ceremony performance. That hope lasted just long enough for Simmons to open his mouth: "The makeup is earned," the guitarist told Brian Hiatt in our March cover story. "Just being there at the beginning is not enough. . .You can't blame your band members."
In the article, Simmons pointed to Criss' and Frehley's penchant for drugs and alcohol for the rift in the band that led to its eventual breakup, though Frehley had other thoughts: "The real reason they don't want to perform with me and Peter is because the last time they did, they had to do a reunion tour," he said of Simmons and Stanley. "We play three songs, the fans go crazy. They didn't want to open up a can of worms." After some back and forth about allowing the current lineup (with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer replacing Frehley and Criss, respectively) to play, the group posted a note on its site that Kiss would not play in any incarnation whatsoever at the induction ceremony, "to bring this to a quick end." As promised, the original band members failed to set aside their differences and didn't perform at the ceremony (though they all did attend and accept their awards). Their verbal sparring continues to today.
Lana Del Rey's flair for the dramatic ended up getting her in trouble earlier this year when, in an interview with Tim Jonze of The Guardian, Del Rey told the writer, "I wish I was dead already." The statement came in the context of Del Rey's unhappiness with pop stardom. "I don't want to have to keep doing this, but I am," she said. "I wouldn't be scared if I knew [death] was coming." Del Rey later tried to distance herself from the quotes, suggesting in a series of tweets that she didn't want to continue the interview but the "journalist was persistent." Jonze discredited this version of events, saying that the singer "was delightful company" for their full 70-minute interview time, even posting the audio in which Del Rey made the comments. One person who was less than delighted was Frances Bean Cobain, daughter of the late Kurt Cobain, who tweeted, "The death of young musicians is nothing to romanticize." (When admonished by a Del Rey fan, Cobain clarified that she had no animosity toward the singer.) Del Rey then tweeted at Cobain, "It's all good. [The interviewer] was asking me a lot about your dad. I said I liked him because he was talented, not because he died young. . .I don't find that part of music glam either."