Hilton vs. Richie: When Celebs Duke It Out

ByABC News
May 2, 2005, 9:09 AM

April 26, 2005 — -- Now that "The Simple Life" girls have been down on the farm, can we stop them from fighting like the Hatfields and McCoys? And is it any surprise that the public loves a glitterati catfight?

We now know that Paris is burning. "It's no big secret that Nicole and I are no longer friends," Hilton, 24, said in a statement issued last week. "I will not go into the details of what happened. All I will say is that Nicole knows what she did and that's all I am ever going to say about it."

The 23-year-old Richie isn't talking about what drove them apart, but this has got to hurt. She and Paris go back to the first grade, when they were classmates at the ultra-exclusive Buckley School, no doubt practicing their red carpet moves on the cafeteria lunch line.

Didn't anyone warn them that Hollywood has ruined many friendships, and that comedy is especially brutal?

Costello hated Abbott. When Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis broke up in 1956, they wouldn't even stand on a stage together for another 20 years, and that only came after Frank Sinatra interceded.

The real dope on Cheech & Chong is that they haven't been in a film for 20 years. Now, after several false starts, they say they're finally ready to team up on a new project, which bears the working title "Grumpy Old Stoners." But will it ever happen?

Fox TV isn't saying yet who will be Hilton's sidekick next season, when "The Simple Life" goes to Hawaii. Richie is still under contract, but America's most famous hotel heiress is already pushing to replace her with Kimberly Stewart, Rod's 25-year-old daughter, who's already a regular with Hilton at all the right clubs.

Maybe Richie will miss out on the hula dancing, but will anyone really be surprised when it's time to squeeze the inevitable Paris and Nicole reunion for every bit of attention it can glean? There's certainly a long tradition of stars ending their little spats when it's time for a big payday.

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, perhaps the two most famous battling divas, put aside decades of bitterness long enough to cash in on their rivalry by playing warring sisters in 1961's "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"

The peace treaty didn't work perfectly. While filming a fight scene, Davis kicked Crawford just a little too hard and the resulting wound required stitches.

"They were like two Sherman tanks, openly despising one another," director Robert Aldrich later recalled. But pairing the real-life rivals guaranteed box-office gold.

Indeed, peace, love and understanding are always nice, but celebrity feuding still generates a lot more news. Rumors of off-screen dissension among the ladies of "Desperate Housewives" have only coincided with the show reaching even higher ratings and generating even more media attention.

Likewise, the reported rift between Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker of "Sex and the City" never hurt the show's success. And if their rancor has put off the possibility for a movie, just remember, things change.

In the end, celebrities fight over the same things as everybody else. It could be about politics (The Dixie Chicks vs. Toby Keith) or money (Dave Grohl vs. Courtney Love) or ego (Kobe vs. Shaq). Other times, it's just a date gone bad (Britney Spears vs. Fred Durst).

The only major difference: When it comes to celebrities, it just brings them more attention, and often that's a very good thing.

Here's a look at some of the recent celebrity feuds, and how they played out in the media.

1. Elton John vs. Madonna

When Madonna was nominated for the best live act award at Britain's Q Awards last October, John lashed out at the Material Girl.

"Madonna? Since when has lip-syncing been live? Anyone who lip-syncs in public on stage, when you pay 75 pounds to see them, should be shot. But do I give a toss? No," he said.

The Rocket Man has gone ballistic on many stars in recent years, calling Keith Richards "a monkey with arthritis" and describing George Michael as being in a "strange place" in his life.

Madonna's publicist shot back that the star sang every note on her recent tour. John finally promised to apologize to Madonna, who didn't win the award for best live act. But at least she didn't lose out to Ashlee Simpson.

2. Hilary Duff vs. Lindsay Lohan

What a nasty love triangle. Lindsay Lohan had been dating Aaron Carter, and then, in 2003, he moved on to Hilary Duff. When Lohan showed for the "Cheaper by the Dozen" premiere, Duff and her mom were outraged and reportedly asked security guards to make Lohan leave, sparking a little confrontation.

Duff later accused Lohan of bad-mouthing her to Chad Michael Murray, her "Cinderella Story" co-star, in a yearlong media battle.

The song "Haters" on Duff's CD last year is said to be directed at her rival. The lyrics include: "You look so clean but you spread your dirt/As if you think that words don't hurt/You're the queen of superficiality/Keep your lies out of my reality."

3. Hilary Duff vs. Avril Lavigne

Duff's other recent row came after she criticized Avril Lavigne. Lavigne had been angry with fans for copying her style, according to one news report, and the former "Lizzie McGuire" star thought that was poor form.

Lavigne denied that the article was true and called Duff a "goody-goody" and "mommy's girl" in a Newsweek interview. The Canadian pop rebel then sent this message to Duff via a Boston radio station: "Don't talk trash with me."

Duff eventually backed down and apologized while promoting "A Cinderella Story."

"I'm genuinely sorry that I upset her because I totally respect her and totally love her music," Duff said.

4. Jay-Z vs. R. Kelly

The rapper and the R&B legend billed their tour last year as "The Best of Both Worlds," but a month after they hit the road, it ended at New York's Madison Square Garden in disaster.

Kelly had been complaining that Jay-Z's entourage had been working with lighting technicians to undermine his part of the show. Then, in the middle of his act, Kelly walked off stage, saying someone was waving a gun at him.

After the show, Kelly said he was jumped and doused with pepper spray before he could get back on stage, blaming Jay-Z for the incident.

Kelly was booted from the tour, and subsequently sued for $75 million. Jay-Z replaced him with other acts, but many dates were canceled before the whole thing was called off.

Ironically, the two musicians had recorded an album for the tour, titled "Unfinished Business."

5. Jon Stewart vs. Tucker Carlson

When Jon Stewart came on CNN's "Crossfire" last summer to promote his book "America," he took some swipes at cable talk shows. "Come on, be funny," said host Tucker Carlson. Stewart shot back, "I'm not going to be your monkey."

"They said I wasn't being funny," Stewart later said. "And I said to them, 'I know that, but tomorrow I will go back to being funny, and your show will still blow.' "

6. Kate Moss vs. Jade Jagger

The great fashionista fallout of 2000 began when Kate Moss started dating Jade Jagger's former boyfriend Dan Macmillan. Jagger, a jewelry designer and daughter of Mick, sent her former friend a diamond-encrusted necklace that spelled out "Slag," and the two didn't speak for four years.

Macmillan has since moved on. Moss and Jagger finally mended fences this summer, throwing a party together last summer on an island off Spain. No word yet on what became of the necklace.

7. Dixie Chicks vs. Toby Keith

Toby Keith started trading barbs with the Dixie Chicks after the Chicks came out against President Bush's policies in Iraq. In March 2003, lead singer Natalie Maines told a London audience the band was "ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."

Maines wore a T-shirt that read, "F.U.T.K." at Country Music's ACM Awards and Keith took it as a personal message to him. The group's Web site said "F.U.T.K." actually stands for "Freedom, Understanding, Truth & Knowledge."

Nevertheless, Keith's fans responded with shirts that read "F.U.N.M.," which might as well stand for "Freedom and Understanding in New Mexico."

8. Corey Feldman vs. Michael Jackson

Corey Feldman was the 13-year-old star of "The Goonies" when he met Michael Jackson in 1985. His new superstar friend visited the child actor on movie sets, taught him his signature dance moves and bought him matching clothing.

The Jackson-Feldman fallout came the week of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Jackson had invited Feldman to New York City for the taping of the much-ballyhooed show celebrating his 30 years as a solo artist.

But with the World Trade Center collapsed and smoke engulfing the city, Jackson wanted to make sure Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor and other guests got home safely. He loaded up his tour bus, but had no room for Feldman, who was left to fend for himself.

Feldman never forgave his old friend, and shot back at him with a song called "Megalo-Man," with lyrics like, ""I believed in your words/ I believed in your lies/ But in September in New York/ You left me to die."

Over the years, Feldman repeatedly said Jackson never touched him inappropriately. But in an interview in February with "20/20's" Martin Bashir, Feldman said he now questions some of Jackson's conduct.

Jackson is now on trial on charges he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor and plied the boy with alcohol. He has pleaded not guilty.

ABC News reported in February that Feldman was subpoenaed by prosecutors and is now under a gag order as a potential witness.

9. Michael Jackson vs. Eminem

Jackson has engaged in many celebrity feuds over the years. His friendship with Paul McCartney, who wrote a song for his landmark album "Thriller," ended after Jackson outbid him for ownership of the Beatles' song catalog.

McCartney says he had advised his former friend to invest in music publishing, and called him "dodgy." They never again worked together.

In 2002, Jackson took on Sony Music Chairman Tommy Mottola, declaring that he's ""mean," "a racist" and "very, very, very devilish." The singer accused Mottola of deliberately undermining his 2002 album, "Invincible."

The protest Jackson led on Sony headquarters in New York did very little to spark album sales.

Last year, Jackson took on Eminem after the rap star did an unflattering impersonation of him. In his hit video "Just Lose It," Eminem depicted the King of Pop sitting on a bed as little boys danced around him.

Jackson called the video "offensive and demeaning" and asked music networks not to play the video. Stevie Wonder joined the fracas. "Kicking someone when he's down is not a good thing," he said.

BET pulled the clip, but MTV did not.

At a New York City show, Eminem commented on the beef. "My whole career has been based on controversy," he said. "My motto in 2004 is if you can't take a mother-[expletive deleted] joke, then 'beat it!' "

All in all, it was a less-entertaining squabble than Eminem's 2002 tirade at the MTV Video Music Awards, when he threatened to punch Moby and seemed ready to perform a free neutering of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

Now that's an event that has "pay-per-view" written all over it.

Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at ABCNEWS.com. "The Wolf Files" ispublished Tuesdays.