“Narcissism is part of my personality.” -Ben Affleck
Awareness among narcissistic celebrities is at an all time high. The proof is in moments like the one above, when an A-lister like Affleck can openly talk about his own narcissistic behavior. But, in Hollywood, could it possibly make more sense that narcissism runs rampant? How are narcissistic celebrities different from the rest of the population? Let’s talk about it.
Narcissism and Hollywood
The link between narcissism and Hollywood is a timeless one. From the beginning of it all, there have been narcissistic celebrities. Some of them were always narcissists, while others fell victim to the attention and vanity that comes from show business.
From Marlon Brando and Ike Turner to Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, narcissism has survived many generations, and continues to flourish in Hollywood.
The Psychology of Fame
Let’s rewind, and remember where the disorder (NPD) and the term “narcissism” came from.
The myth from which the idea and theory of narcissism was born, comes via Greek Mythology. The story is as follows: Narcissus, a notably good-looking hunter, saw his reflection in a pool of water. Drawn to his own beauty, and unable to look away, he died beside the pool, admiring his own reflection.
Although the origin of the word dates back to c. 900-800 BC, the story is a pretty spot-on analysis of how fame can either highlight one’s narcissism, or eventually birth narcissistic celebrities.
The link? Similar to the myth of Narcissus, Hollywood offers a platform for vanity and self-awareness like no other. Metaphorically speaking, Hollywood is the pool of water, and all celebrities are potentially Narcissus.
For narcissistic celebrities who were narcissists before they became famous, Hollywood only amplifies their ego, and their need to be admired. For celebrities who might have kept narcissism at bay, had they not become famous, the rise to narcissism is inevitable.
Notable Narcissistic Celebrities
The list of outwardly and/or openly narcissistic celebrities is one that grows every year. One could assume that with the topic of mental illness becoming more of a common conversation, a spike in openly narcissistic celebrities might emerge.
NPD is more common in men than women, but both famous men and women are affected by the disorder.
Notable narcissistic celebrities include:
- Kanye West
- Kim Kardashian
- Rick Ross
- Matthew McConaughey
- Donald Trump
- Mariah Carey
- Draya Michelle
- James Dean
- Marlon Brando
- Ike Turner
Narcissistic Celebrities and the Law
Although many Hollywood stars live a fairly normal life with NPD, there have been times when the illness evolved, and even turned criminal, or violent.
Some instances of narcissistic celebrities turning to crime, include:
- Chris Brown
In 2009, singer and performer, Chris Brown was arrested over allegations of beating up his then girlfriend, Rihanna. He ended up pleading guilty to the charges, but the story doesn’t end there. Since 2009, Brown has gone on media rampages, narcissistic rants, and was recently involved with yet another case of domestic abuse.
- Charlie Sheen
Controversial actor, Charlie Sheen has a long history of allegedly abusive relationships. In 1995 he was sued for “hitting a woman.” Sheen’s drug abuse spans his career, and is still under the microscope today. In 1996 he was arrested for assaulting his then girlfriend.
- OJ Simpson
During their seven-year marriage, OJ Simpson and the late Nicole Brown had a tumultuous time, to say the least. It is recorded that law enforcement responded to many calls about domestic abuse throughout their years together, with Brown filing for divorce in 1992. Two years later, Brown was brutally murdered and police had one, prime suspect: OJ Simpson.
Narcissists don’t always turn criminal or violent, but it is believed by some that the egotism from the combination of Hollywood and fame play a crucial role when it does happen.
Hollywood has been known to create a somewhat “invincible” mindset for narcissistic celebrities. They lose touch with reality and truly believe that they are entitled to do whatever they want, whenever they want.
In those situations, affected celebrities end up believing that the law somehow no longer applies to them, because of their level of ego and narcissism.
Narcissistic Celebrities and Relationships
From family to romantic relationships, everyone personally connected to narcissistic celebrities can be affected by NPD.
- Romantic relationships
Romantic relationships with narcissistic celebrities typically start in a healthy, normal way. But, over time, the true nature of NPD shows face and can lead to infidelity, jealousy, dishonesty, and in extreme cases, verbal or physical abuse.
For instance, openly narcissistic actor, Ben Affleck has a rocky relationship background. He has had several public break-ups, multiple accusations of infidelity, and a divorce from the mother of his children.
Subconsciously, and in some celebrities, they may experience feelings of superiority, which can lead to infidelity.
In other cases, narcissism takes control of a celebrity’s life, and leads to a total lack of romantic relationships altogether. When that happens, the stereotypical playboy persona emerges. That is when celebrities like Charlie Sheen become known as serial daters, with no real ties to any one individual.
We’ve already touched on how the partners of narcissistic celebrities can suffer.
But, what about their children? There are a number of ways that children can end up being negatively affected by a narcissistic parent.
For the offspring of narcissistic celebrities, life can be tough from the get-go. Patterns of behavior that could greatly affect the children of celebrities with NPD include scapegoating, bullying, and overcontrolling.
Will Things Ever Change?
Considering the loads of information we have to help us study narcissistic behavior in everyday people, and in celebrities, one might wonder: will narcissism in celebrities ever go away?
The answer is: probably not.
Psychology and human behavior point to the fact that we are all creatures of habit. With that in mind, the cycle of creating and nurturing a narcissist with NPD is something that is unlikely to ever go away completely.
The good news is that we have made strides towards better treatment for those suffering from NPD. In addition, there are a lot of options available for people loved ones who are caring for, or living with, someone who suffers from NPD.
Have questions or thoughts about this article? I love talking with new people, so let’s connect. Feel free to contact me.