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Seven Things We Can Learn From Dysfunctional Celebrities

We hope you're not looking for actual serious life lessons here.

If there’s one thing we can learn from tabloid magazines (not to say that there aren’t many things we can learn from tabloid magazines), it’s that there’s something quite satisfying about pitying or laughing at or being grossed out by dysfunctional celebrities. Oh, and there are also a lot of things we can learn from the celebrities themselves, too. This might be a stretch, but aren’t the Linsday Lohans of the world kind of rebels, bucking the Hollywood business of making money out of nice PR spin-able people? Aren’t they?! Well, maybe not. Either way, they can teach us things.

1. Amanda Bynes

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“Whatever happened to Amanda Bynes?” was something no one said ever, before her lips pouted their way back into our lives. Of late, Bynes has had us contemplating life’s biggest mysteries, such as “What does ‘murdering a vagina’ even mean?”, and the plastic surgery thought experiment of our time: “Can you really be a hero for living with a non-existent cranio-facial deformation that no-one else can see?”

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She also may or may not have made some racist comments about Rihanna, may or may not have been sexually assaulted by a police officer, and was evicted from her home because she threw either a vase or a bong out of her window. In summary, the mind of Amanda Bynes is a rich tapestry. Unfortunately, Bynes is now in a mental health treatment facility because she accidentally set fire to her dog, so what started out as kind of funny and “Is this girl just trolling everyone?” has taken a pretty depressing turn.

Lesson learned: I say this first part without irony or sarcasm: naff cheap wigs are so great. Why aren’t they more fashionable? She also taught me that there is a surgery for everything, including becoming a hip-hop star, so that’s good news.

2. Chris Brown

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Along with Bynes, file under: people who have been mean to Rihanna. But way worse. This guy — still largely hated on the internet, but seemingly forgiven by the music industry — used to play a dorky cutie pie on teen drama, The O.C.

Brown’s mother, like Rihanna, suffered through an abusive relationship and he recently revealed that he “lost his virginity when he was eight years old”, so there is a sad cycle evident here. Nonetheless, Brown is clearly accountable for his actions and his continued efforts to justify himself by insisting that Rihanna is Over It makes it hard to pity him for long. Plus, he tried to beat up Frank Ocean. We are officially allowed to hate him forever.

Lesson learned: As long as you can sell records, you can get away with anything. Even, it would seem, graffiti-ing your girlfriend’s very expensive car without getting a ticket to dumpsville. But could you live with yourself? No. Don’t emulate Chris Brown, everyone.

3. Lindsay Lohan

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Recently, Lindsay tried to convince us that she only did cocaine this one time, and like, totally didn’t inhale or whatever. Bless. Unfortunately for Linds, everyone in the world wasn’t born yesterday (except babies), so she had to go to rehab again. Now she’s out and has given Oprah some of those standard non-committal responses to standard post-rehab questions, and hopefully that whole The Canyons mess wasn’t the coup de grâce for her floundering career, because it’s about time the Universe cut Linds a break.

Lesson learned: It is possible for a photographer to catch you mid-wink and still look fabulous. I mean, how adorable is this?!

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And while we’re talking fabulous, no one does trashbag glam as well as Lindsay.

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4. Gwyneth Paltrow

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Gwyneth may not initially stand out as a super dysfunctional celeb, but have you ever read GOOP? Remember how she said shampoo causes ADHD and childhood cancer? Remember how she wrote that cookbook and it turned out it’d cost $300 a day to feed a family with its recipes? Gwyneth’s dysfunctionality doesn’t come from being a trashy, vag-flashing, train-wreck; it’s that other kind of dysfunction that people who are too rich can suffer from: thinking they are one of us, talking to us like they are one of us, and being too removed from the reality of regular folk to understand why it’s just so infuriating.

Lesson learned: Knowing when to not tell people that they’re giving their kids cancer because they can’t afford fancy things is a very important life skill.

5. Kanye West

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I was tentative about putting Kanye on this list, since he seems less like a train-wreck, and more like a tortured soul. West regularly displays the classic mixture of egomania, low self-esteem, and reflective self-awareness that’s typical of really good artists. In that respect, it seems unfair to group him with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Amanda Bynes. That said, he is now married to Kim ‘I’m Less Talented Than a Juggling Bear’ Kardashian, so I guess he brought it on himself.

Lesson learned: I know you’re all thinking about The Swift Incident right now, and I’m a let you finish, but first let me point out that we’ve all done something stupid after drinking an entire bottle of Hennessy on our own, so judge not.

6. Justin Bieber

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According to reports, Bieber is a ‘green machine‘ (to which I scoff, ‘He’s 19, get a grip!’); he might have had intercourse with a married 22-year old woman (to which I scoff, ‘She’s married, not him!’); and he wrote something vaguely silly but well-meaning in the Anne Frank Museum guestbook (to which I scoff, ‘He’s 19, get a grip!’). You can probably guess I’m not totally convinced that this kid is off the rails in any really worrying way, but he’s worth a mention, especially considering most child stars end up with issues (plus, the monkey stuff is a bit weird).

Lesson learned: Apparently, you can get sent to rehab for anything these days, since the Biebs is allegedly being checked in for ‘diva behaviour’.

7. Miley Cyrus

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I see Miley as the Yin to Amanda Bynes’ Yang. Where Bynes ‘allegedly’ threw a bong out of her apartment window, Miley was caught smoking ‘salvia’ on video. Where Bynes told Rihanna she was “so ugly trying to look white”, Miley has been accused of using black women as props. Where Bynes rebelled from her child stardom by being weird on Twitter, Miley rebelled by giving away all her pants. Unfortunately, there’s no sexy PR spin for Bynes’ weird, racist and controversial behaviour, but as we and Sinead O’Connor know, people are still making a lot of money out of Miley.

Lesson learned: The ladies are allowed to be crazy. But keep it sexy.

Romi is a Sydney-based artist and the webmaster of romidotcom.com. She tweets as @RomiReal69