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Is the Fame Worth It? Celebrity and Paparazzi Encounters

Updated on February 24, 2014

We often hear about the paparazzi and see photos they've taken of celebrities doing mundane things like buying coffee or pumping gas. You can only appreciate how annoying they are when you watch videos of encounters with celebrities. They're a huge downside of fame and make having a private life almost impossible.

The word paparazzi comes from the 1960 film La Dolce Vita. In the film, Paparazzo is the photographer friend of the main character Marcello. Director Federico Fellini said the name came from someone he met in Southern Italy. However, the word is similar to the Sicilian word papataceo, a type of mosquito. According to Fellini:

Paparazzo suggests to me a buzzing insect, hovering, darting, stinging.

The paparazzi are intrusive photographers who follow and often harass famous people in the hopes of selling the pictures. So, how much do these annoying photographers make? According to E Online:

Good photos can sell over and over again, from South America to Australia, earning a smart paparazzo up to $500,000 yearly...Mediocre paparazzi...scrape along on common, $250-a-pop photos of Britney or Lauren Conrad...On very rare occasions, there's a jackpot photo, a six-figure photo, one that every paparazzo wants.

They harass singers, actors, sports figures and politicians all in the hope of taking a shot that could be worth a fortune, but only a few will ever achieve that.

They'll sometimes taunt or berate their famous victims when they refuse to co-operate and sometimes encounters get violent. These are some encounters between paparazzi and some big names in pop music that range from uncomfortable to violent. It brings up the question of if having fame and fortune and living your dreams is worth it when you're constantly watched, followed and harassed by money-hungry photographers. Watch these videos and decide if it would be worth it to you.

An Uncomfortable Encounter

Bruno Mars (Peter Gene Hernandez) tries to be polite to the paparazzi. In this video, he's leaving the doctor's office showing that no area of private life is off limits. He's outside chatting with someone when he's approached. The paparazzi aren't trained journalists of course and it shows in their questions. He sometimes seems confused by the questions they're asking him but he tries his best to answer. While this encounter between Mars and the paparazzi is friendly, you can see in his demeanor that he is uncomfortable and wants the conversation to end.

Mild Nastiness

Ke$ha (Kesha Rose Sebert) is said to be very sweet and friendly and her niceness extends at times to even the dreaded paparazzi. Her interactions with them are often funny and lighthearted. In this video, Ke$ha is leaving the play Book of Mormom in LA. She's trying to determine who are actual fans (her fan base are called animals) and who are paid photographers. A paparazzo becomes irritated because she won't pose for pictures. Ke$ha has never had a Grammy nomination, so the angry photographer taunts her by shouting out "How many Grammies have you won, bitch?" She seems amused by the taunt though and another photographer is overheard telling him to chill. Ke$ha was wise enough to return to her hometown of Nashville after she became famous, where she can go about her day-to-day life largely unbothered by anyone.

Cold Shoulder Encounters

This video is very uncomfortable to watch. Taylor Swift and a friend are shown at the beginning waiting to cross the street. You can see in their faces that they're steeling themselves for what's coming. Swift seems tight-lipped as she prepares herself to walk toward the paparazzi. When she does encounter them, she completely ignores them and refuses to answer any questions. She is friendly when she encounters fans and stops to take pictures.

Tolerant Until the End

In this video, Britney Spears goes into Starbucks to buy coffee. She's surrounded by photographers. An employee is unsuccessful in his attempts to get them to leave. He keeps telling them he'll call the police but no one seems to care. Spears goes about her business trying to ignore them. This is an example of how annoying these people can get. They are bumping up against her, getting in her way, and making it difficult for her to leave the coffee shop. Britney handles it all very well right until the end of the video when a photographer touches her car. She shouts at the photographer before getting into her car.

Things Are Getting Nasty

Katy Perry (Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson) used to try to tolerate the paparazzi as well but her encounters with them seem to be getting more angry. In this particular video she loses her cool. She's leaving a club in West Hollywood when she walks into a group of photographers. At first they block her car, so she blows the horn at them. When a photographer continues to bother her, she screams at him telling him he's violating paparazzi laws.

Attempts at Violence

You may have seen this particular incident already since it got a lot of media attention at the time. In this video, Justin Bieber is leaving a hotel in London when he brushes against a photographer. Now, a paparazzo getting upset at a celebrity who accidentally runs into them is laughable when they spend their days making a nuisance of themselves. But he loses his temper. Bieber in turn loses his temper and looks like he's going to jump the photographer. His bodyguard pulls him back and that ends that. Fuse has a humorous take on the happenings.

Mild Violence

Miley Cyrus is someone who has little tolerance for the paparazzi. This video starts off with Miley being filmed while she's in the restaurant having a meal with her mom. We can assume the camera was on her the whole time. When a photographer bumps into her mother, Miley becomes aggressive. She never touches the photographer but she does push his camera away.

Violent Assault

Kanye West has had several aggressive encounters. In this video, he's leaving Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) when he loses his temper with a paparazzo. West attacks the photographer who then runs inside an airport terminal. Ironically, he has to cover his face to protect his own privacy when he's followed by another photographer who's filming the incident.

Two Way Violence

Apparently the story behind this video is that Gwyneth Paltrow was leaving Cedars Sinai hospital in New York City after having a miscarriage. Her husband Chris Martin of the band Coldplay was understandably upset when a photographer walks up close to him trying to get his picture. Martin first tries to shield his face. Then the photographer says "Congratulations Chris." Martin immediately attacks him and grabs the camera. The paparazzo jumps him in an attempt to get his camera back. Luckily Martin doesn't respond aggressively, so the fight doesn't escalate. The "outrage" expressed by the paparazzo at the end is so hypocritical and laughable.


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    • Learn Things Web profile image

      Learn Things Web 3 years ago from California


      Celebrities need the media to promote them and of course that benefits the media as well because it brings them readers and viewers. I suppose the problem is a celebrity is never able to say I'm off the clock now, which they should be able to do just like everyone else with a job.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 3 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Case in point the recent and embarrassing scuffle with the paparazzo and Avatar star Sam Worthington & Lara seems you can't have it both ways & embrace their attention when you want it and refuse it when you don't feel like is after all the life they sign up for I think..interesting hub..cheers