8 Sad, Bitter, and Mysterious Fallings-Out Between Once Famous Partnerships
1. Molly Ringwald and John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles)
Though Molly Ringwald was vocal about her love of John Hughes after his passing, writing an op-ed in the NYTimes and appearing in an Oscar tribute to Hughes, the truth is, they hadn’t spoken in 20 years. The two had a falling out when Ringwald declined to take the lead in Some Kind of Wonderful because she didn’t think the script was as high caliber as Hughes’ other scripts, and because it was too derivative of other roles she had already done. She also very much wanted to grow up as an actress, and apparently, that created a rift between the two. Hughes took it hard. However, a few years before Hughes died, Ringwald did send him a letter, thanking him and noting how much he had meant to her life. Though they didn’t speak before he died, he did send her a very large bouquet of flowers, suggesting that he had forgiven her.
2. Paul Reubens and Phil Hartman (Pee Wee’s Playhouse)
Phil Hartman, as many of you know, helped Paul Reubens to create the character of Pee Wee Herman, played Captain Carl on The Pee Wee Herman Show and co-wrote Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. However, the two had a falling out soon after Big Adventure and had been estranged from around the time Phil Hartman started on SNL until Paul Reuben’s arrest for public masturbation. The falling out was over the fact that Hartman felt that he should’ve received more credit (and more money) for helping to create the Pee Wee Herman character. Hartman was pushed out when Reubens began his CBS TV show instead of honoring the contract the two had. Hartman, however, remained an admirer of Reubens work, and while the two were communicative in the 90s, they didn’t work together again prior to Hartman’s death.
3. Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael (WHAM!)
Unfortunately for the purposes of this piece (though, more fortunate in the wider world of the Universe), Andrew Ridgeley has never made much of a fuss over his former WHAM! bandmate, George Michael, save for comments he made right after finding out that Michael had split up the band (Ridgely was not given advanced notice, nor had any say in the matter): “Nobody told me anything. The whole business makes me fucking sick,” he said. Ridgeley — who was racing cars when he found out that Michael had broke up the duo, said that he’d “stick to motor racing for a while. As far as I’m concerned George can do as he likes from now on.” (Ridgeley had no success as a race car driver, and even less success as a solo musician, although he made a fortune writing songs under pseudonyms for others. In fact, Hugh Grant’s character in Music and Lyrics is based on Ridgeley).
4. Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon (Simon and Garfunkel)
Art Garfunkel recently opened up about his relationship with Paul Simon (which was the seed idea for this list), saying of their break up back in 1971: “How can you walk away from this lucky place on top of the world, Paul? What’s going on with you, you idiot? How could you let that go, jerk?”
He also added: “It was very strange. Nothing I would have done. I want to open up about this. I don’t want to say any anti Paul Simon things, but it seems very perverse to not enjoy the glory and walk away from it instead. Crazy. What I would have done is take a rest from Paul, because he was getting on my nerves. The jokes had run dry.”
Garfunkel also suggested that Simon had a Napoleon complex.
5. Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson (Keenan and Kel)
In 2012, Kel said a few things about Keenan Thompson that were blown out of proportion, but there’s no real bad blood between the two.
“The truth is Kenan does not want to be seen with me in any form of media, or even have my name mentioned around him. I have not been upset about this. I respect his choice of wanting to make a name for himself solo.”
“There is no bad blood on my side, I’m not declining a reunion, I know the fans love the show and would love to see some type of appearance with us … I just don’t see that ever happening because of how he really feels.”
I will note that, in a recent interview with Marc Maron, Kenan Thompson barely mentioned Kel at all (despite talking at length about his early career), except to say that Kel also auditioned for SNL at the same time as he did (he did, however, say that DeRay Davis — another guy who auditioned with him — is a total “dick.”)
6. Billy Crystal and Bruno Kirby (City Slickers, When Harry Met Sally)
There was a falling out between Crystal and the late Bruno Kirby in between City Slickers and its sequel (where Jon Lovitz replaced Kirby), but no one really knows the details. Kirby’s career faded after the falling out, and word is, Crystal wouldn’t even let any of his people talk to Kirby (in effect, blackballing Kirby in a minor sense). Crystal never confirmed the falling out, but didn’t deny it, either, in this conversation with USA Today during the America’s Sweethearts press tour. When asked what his worst junket ever was, and he turned prickly:
Wloszczyna: The press has been maybe a little too invasive, I would say, with some of you. But I never really read that much dirt about you, Billy.
Crystal: That’s good.
Wloszczyna: The only thing I could come up with is that when you were making City Slickers II, you and Bruno Kirby had a falling out.
Crystal: He wasn’t in City Slickers II.
Wloszczyna: Yeah, I know, but there was some reason that he didn’t do it. Are you guys still friends?
Crystal: I haven’t spoken to him — I think we are. I haven’t seen him or spoken to him in a long time.
Wloszczyna: That’s the best I could come up with.
Roberts: I’ve talked to Bruno.
Cusack: I talked to him this morning.
Crystal: This is a perfect situation. We’re here to talk about the movie, and you’re talking about something personal or whatever it is that happened, I don’t know, eight, nine years ago.
Wloszczyna: But it’s about the movie, because the subject of the movie is the press and famous people.
Crystal: So now you’re my worst junket story.
7. Jeremy Piven and John Cusack (Serendipity, Grosse Pointe Blanke, Grifters, Say Anything)
John Cusack has repeatedly proven himself to be kind of a dick in real life, and Piven is clearly a humorless douche, so you might expect that the two childhood friends would eventually have a falling out. What was it about? Who knows, but Piven did offer this in 2007 when asked if he and Cusack had split:
“No comment. I mean, you could fill in the blank, I bet.”
it seems the strain in the relationship may have been provoked by professional jealousy, as he implies here:
“… I was always proud of him, and I was always in his corner,” Piven says of the 40-year-old Cusack. “Always.”
“It just says so much about a person if he has space for other people’s success,” he says.
“I have always been so proud of my friends’ success. I own that proudly because I come by it naturally. I was raised on that spirit of collaboration. … You start getting into trouble in life when you start comparing and contrasting your life to anyone else’s. You don’t win when you do that.”
Asked more recently about their friendship, Piven dodged:
“You know, it’s interesting, because we met when we were kids at my parents’ theatre and my parents were doing The Seagull. We took turns playing the child and we were friends ever since. And Joan is such an angel. I have a lot of history with the Cusacks.”
8. Mark Wahlberg and David O. Russell (I Heart Huckabees, The Fighter and Three Kings)
David O. Russell has a long history of being difficult to work with. George Clooney once punched him on the set of Three Kings; he went on a curse-filled tirade against Lily Tomlin on the set of I Heart Huckabees, and reportedly abused Amy Adams on the set of American Hustle so badly that legendary hot-head Christian Bale had to step in. He also reportedly got into a shouting match with Jennifer Lawrence on the set of their next movie, Joy. You’d think that when someone actually shows some loyalty to him, he’d repay them, but according to rumors, he and Wahlberg had a falling out when David O. Russell opted to replace Wahlberg with the cheaper Bradley Cooper on Silver Linings Playbook. Apparently, they no longer speak, and when Wahlberg was attempting to put together a sequel for The Fighter, it was going to be without David O. Russell.
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