Warning: This article contains mentions of suicidal ideation, rape, and addiction, which may be difficult for some to read.
It seems like 2022 was the YEAR of the celebrity memoir, with tons of celebs releasing books full of new details and revelations about their careers and private lives. Here are 11 celebrities who got vulnerable in their celebrity memoirs this year, from Jennette McCurdy to Simu Liu:
1.In I'm Glad My Mom Died, Jennette McCurdy wrote about her career as a child actor, her complicated relationship with her mother, and her experiences with eating disorders and addiction. She wrote that her mother, Debra, had been diagnosed with cancer when McCurdy was just 2 years old. "Even though the facts of it are so sad, I can tell that the story itself gives Mom a deep sense of pride," she wrote, adding that she was often made to feel guilty about her mother's diagnosis. After McCurdy began acting, she wrote that her mother would encourage her to bring up her cancer to gain sympathy from casting agents.
McCurdy also wrote that her mother frequently made comments about her weight. After McCurdy reportedly expressed a desire to be a writer instead of an actor, Debra allegedly told her she would get a "big, giant writer’s watermelon butt" instead of a "little actress’s peach butt." McCurdy revealed that her mother put her on a restrictive diet, purportedly to halt puberty, and claimed that she had to sit in a booster seat in the car until she was 14 years old because she was underweight. McCurdy also wrote that Debra insisted that she shower her until she was 17 years old. After every shower, McCurdy claimed that Debra would give her a breast and “front butt” exam, which she claimed was to ensure her daughter didn't have cancer. McCurdy wrote that it felt like she left her body and went to "Fantasyland" during the examinations.
After being cast in iCarly, McCurdy noted several instances when she felt uncomfortable around show runner Dan Schneider, who she refers to as The Creator. She wrote that he had “two distinct sides” — one where he was generous and complimentary, and another where he was mean-spirited and controlling. She added that he pressured her to drink underage, massaged her shoulders at work, and micromanaged her first kiss, which happened onscreen. When McCurdy finally left Nickelodeon, she claims she was offered $300,000 to not speak about the way she was treated by Schneider. "This is a network with shows made for children," she wrote. "Shouldn’t they have some sort of moral compass? Shouldn’t they at least try to report to some sort of ethical standard?"
McCurdy wrote that she struggled with both substance abuse and eating disorders through her teenage years, which she alleges was a result of the way her mother treated her. After Debra died in 2013, McCurdy said she began the healing process. "I'm facing my issues for the first time instead of burying them with eating disorders and substances," she wrote. "I'm processing not only the grief of my mom's death, but the grief of a childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood that I feel I had never truly been able to live for myself. It's difficult, but it's the kind of difficult I have pride in."
2.Alan Rickman, whose diaries were posthumously published, expressed that he wanted to leave the Harry Potter franchise several times. In Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman, the actor wrote that before filming started for 2000's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, he was "feeling a bit nothing about HP which really disturbs me." He also wrote that he attempted to quit the franchise after filming the second installment. "Reiterating no more HP," he wrote. "They don’t want to hear it." After wrapping Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Rickman wrote that he felt "shafted" by the series.
Rickman, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005, decided to "see it through" when it came to playing Severus Snape. "Finally, yes to HP 5," he wrote. "The sensation is neither up nor down. The argument that wins is the one that says: 'See it through. It’s your story.'" In one entry, he said that learning bits and pieces about his character's backstory enticed him to stay. "One small piece of information from Jo Rowling seven years ago — Snape loved Lily — gave me a cliff edge to hang on to." According to Rickman, Snape's death was "all a bit epic and Japanese." When it came to the final film of the franchise, Rickman added that he "found it unsettling to watch," but reportedly was glad that audiences seemed to be enjoying it.
3.Matthew Perry detailed his journey to sobriety in Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. Perry wrote that he first started drinking in high school. "I had never been happier than in that moment," he wrote of the first time he drank alcohol. While filming the movie Fools Rush In, Perry was involved in a jet-ski accident, where he reportedly tweaked his neck. An on-set doctor allegedly gave him Vicodin for pain relief. "As the pill kicked in, something clicked in me," he wrote. "And it’s been that click that I’ve been chasing the rest of my life." In the book, Perry compared his addiction to a full-time job and wrote that he went to rehab several times to seek treatment.
Perry also wrote about attempting to hide his addiction while playing Chandler Bing on Friends. "I loved everything about the show, but I was also struggling with my addictions, which only added to my sense of shame," he wrote. "I had a secret, and no one could know." Perry said he almost never even auditioned for Friends, because he had already been cast in a different TV series called L.A.X. 2194. "When I read the script for Friends Like Us, it was as if someone had followed me around for a year, stealing my jokes, copying my mannerisms, photocopying my world-weary yet witty view of life. One character in particular stood out to me: It wasn’t that I thought I could play Chandler. I was Chandler."
After L.A.X. 2194 was scrapped, Perry was tapped to take on the role of Chandler. He wrote that the cast "knew from the very start that it was something very, very special," and quickly became close. While Perry claimed that he was never drunk or high while filming Friends, his cast mates were still aware of his addiction. Perry wrote that Jennifer Aniston came to his dressing room and told him that they could all smell alcohol on him. He eventually checked into rehab. "I was living in rehab when Monica and Chandler got married," he wrote.
In 2020, Perry said director Adam McKay approached him for a role in Don't Look Up, which he said would be the biggest movie role of his career. At the same time, Perry had been in a rehab facility in Switzerland, where he got a medical procedure to help with pain that was lingering from several previous surgeries. Perry wrote that during the procedure, he was given Propofol, which stopped his heart. "I was told that some beefy Swiss guy really didn’t want the guy from Friends dying on his table and did CPR on me for the full five minutes, beating and pounding my chest," he wrote. The CPR broke eight of Perry's ribs, which forced him to drop out of the movie.
4.Viola Davis shared details about being bullied for being Black in her memoir, Finding Me. “Eight or nine white boys in my class made it their daily, end-of-school ritual to chase me like dogs hunting prey," she wrote, adding that it felt like she was running for her life. Davis said she was reminded of the bullying while having a conversation with Will Smith on the set of Suicide Squad, during which he reportedly asked her who she felt like she was. "There I was, a working actress with steady gigs, Broadway credits, multiple industry awards, and a reputation of bringing professionalism and excellence to any project. Hell, Oprah knew who I was. Yet, sitting there conversing with Will Smith, I was still that little, terrified, third-grade Black girl."
Davis also said that her childhood home in Rhode Island didn't have hot water, gas, or electricity, and was infested with rats. "The rats were so bad, they ate the faces off my dolls," she wrote. She also detailed witnessing her father abuse her mother, and revealed that her brother sexually abused her. "Inappropriate behavior occurred that had a profound effect," she said. Despite her home life, Davis wrote that they "did the best they could with what they were given." She said that seeing Cicely Tyson on TV inspired her to become an actor. "It was like a hand reached for mine and I finally saw my way out," she wrote.
Davis earned a spot at Juilliard, where she was one of only 30 Black students, out of 856 students total. "It was arduous listening and watching white guest actors perform, white playwrights coming in to speak, white projects, white characters, a European approach to the work, speech, voice, movement," she said. "Everyone was geared toward molding and shaping you into a perfect white actor." Once Davis headed to Hollywood, she said she felt like she was only offered parts for "drug-addicted mothers" or what she called "'best friends to white women' roles." She added that being cast as the lead in Shonda Rhimes's series How to Get Away with Murder changed her career.
5.U2 frontman Bono got candid about his music career in his memoir Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, which he also illustrated. The singer revealed that at one point, the band nearly broke their record contract to join a Christian community called Shalom. He recalled their manager stepping in to say, "Well, maybe next time you might ask God if it’s okay for your representative on Earth to break a legal contract?" The band reportedly decided that God wouldn't want them to break the contract.
Bono also revealed that he was the target of several death threats. Authorities allegedly warned him that the IRA might attack his family due to the singer's "pro-peace" political stance. He also detailed learning that his family was the target of a Dublin gangster. "[The gangster’s] people had been casing our houses for several months and developed an elaborate plan," he claimed. After the band released the song "Pride," which is a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bono said that he was reportedly told to not sing the verse about King's assassination in concert because of threats from far-right groups. He decided to sing it, but said he was fearful he would be shot. "I then realized the gravity of the situation," he wrote. "It was a slim possibility but just in case."
One night, Bono and his wife Ali were invited to a dinner at Barack Obama's private quarters in the White House. The singer wrote that he is allergic to salicylic acid found in wine, but ended up drinking anyway, which he claimed made him drowsy. Obama reportedly found Bono passed out in the Lincoln Bedroom, and joked that the former president "doesn’t for a minute believe I have this allergy. He thinks Ali made this up to cover for me. He tells people he can drink me under the table. Rubbish. But he does make a strong martini."
6.In Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories,Kelly Ripa revealed that she learned that her longtime co-host Regis Philbin was leaving Live! when he made his public announcement on air in 2011. She added that she was hurt that she was "the only person kept out of the room, when that huge show-changing decision was being made." Ripa wrote that while she understood why Philbin wanted to leave the show, she wished she hadn't become a "target" after his departure, claiming she felt "suddenly responsible" for the success of the show.
Ripa also shared that in 1996, she and her now-husband Mark Consuelos broke up just five days before they eventually eloped. She said that she "had never really been dumped," and added that she felt "part rage, part indignation, part I'll show you what you lost." The couple, who were co-stars on All My Children at the time, were forced to see each other backstage before an appearance on Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee. Ripa shared that they decided to go back to Consuelos's apartment together, where he allegedly said, "We have tomorrow and Thursday off. Why don't we fly to Vegas and get married?" Just a few days later, the pair wed in Vegas.
7.In Miss Memory Lane, Colton Haynes wrote that he allegedly was forced to hide his sexuality in order to be cast in MTV's Teen Wolf. Haynes revealed that in 2006, he posed for a suggestive photo shoot for XY magazine with his then-boyfriend. Although Haynes reportedly believed the shoot would boost his burgeoning acting career, he claimed his agent felt differently. Haynes recalled a conversation with his team, where he was told, "'The head of MTV almost didn’t hire you because of that XY photo shoot we’ve been working our asses off to extinguish.'"
Haynes added that his team attempted to get the images scrubbed from the internet. "When I moved to LA, I was basically told that I needed to change everything about myself,” he said. "I had to learn how to be the way that I looked, which was a square-jawed douchebag, cocky athlete. But when I first started working, [the images] started popping up on blogs. My team acted almost like a firing squad." Haynes eventually came out in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in May 2016.
8.In Mean Baby, actor Selma Blair got personal, writing about her childhood, acting career, journey to sobriety, and her multiple sclerosis diagnosis. She wrote that she used to bite her friends as a greeting, and listed notable names like Sienna Miller, Seth MacFarlane, and Kate Moss as people she's bitten. Kate Moss had allegedly had enough of Blair's biting. One night after a Marc Jacobs fashion show, Blair bit the model. “Because she laughed, I did it again," Blair said. "The second time, she did not laugh and exclaimed, 'That really f**king hurt!'" Blair added Moss allegedly punched Blair in the back, then grabbed her thumb "and crunched right into it."
Blair wrote that she has struggled with alcohol addiction for years, revealing that the first time she got "very drunk" was at a Passover celebration when she was 7 years old. "When I drank, I didn’t know what drama I would find, but I knew it was drama that I would feel," she said. "I needed it. I looked forward to it. It was always my way out." She wrote that alcohol put her in a dark place, and revealed that she attempted suicide several times. After one attempt, she began attending Alcoholics Anonymous sessions. "With the introduction of AA, I felt hope for the first time in my life," she wrote. Blair has been sober since 2016.
Blair was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2018, after she said her symptoms were reportedly ignored by doctors for years, who allegedly chalked them up to "anxiety" and being "emotional." She wrote that being diagnosed was validating. "I was overwhelmed by a sense of relief, like the way you feel when an ocean wave breaks right at the shore before taking you under," she wrote. "Now, I had a map to follow. I had information. A label. This time, one that fit."
9.In Making a Scene, Constance Wu shared vulnerable details about her feelings about playing an Asian mother on Fresh Off the Boat, the repercussions a Twitter scandal had on her mental health, and being sexually assaulted. Wu wrote that although she was excited about getting a lead role in a TV series like Fresh Off the Boat, she had some reservations about portraying her character, Jessica. "When I got the part, I felt a mixture of happiness and uncertainty," she wrote, adding that the role "hit some soft spots." She recalled her worries about taking on a comedic role and added that playing a woman who was 10 years older than her "was a blow to my vanity." However, she wrote that "the softest spot of all was [Jessica's] Asian-ness — her demeanor, her values, her accent."
Wu also revealed that she was raped in her early 20s by a man she went on several dates with, adding that she "didn’t fight back because I didn’t want to make a scene." She said she spent several years denying to herself that it ever happened, and wrote that "hearing rape survivors’ stories didn’t seem to trigger me…it pissed me off in a way that I thought was activism." More than a decade later, Wu said she finally came to terms with what happened while on the plane coming back from filming Crazy Rich Asians in Singapore. "I was angry at myself for forgetting, angrier than I was at him for raping me," she wrote.
While filming Fresh Off the Boat, Wu said she was frequently harassed by a producer. She claimed that he told her, "Nobody wanted you. I had to fight for you," and wrote that he allegedly pressured her to fire her agent and encouraged her to audition for roles she didn't want. In addition to prying into her career, Wu wrote that the producer tried to control elements of her life that weren't related to the show, and alleged that he inappropriately touched her over her shorts at a Lakers game. After the first season of the show wrapped, Wu said she decided she wasn't going to put up with his behavior anymore, after which he allegedly told her that she was "insulting the entire AAPI community with her behavior." She added that she didn't want to publicly say anything because the show was seen as such a positive for the AAPI community. "Did I really want to stain that?"
After the show's fifth season, Wu said she was under the impression that the show would be canceled. She revealed that she asked for permission to audition for other roles from producers, and "was looking forward to a fresh start in a place that didn't hold so many memories of harassment and intimidation." When the show was renewed for a sixth and final season, Wu tweeted that she was unhappy about the decision. She faced immediate backlash. "I became a headline, a meme, a springboard for righteous opinion," she wrote. "An ungrateful girl making a scene." In the wake of the negative attention stemming from her tweet, Wu said she attempted suicide. "I realized I needed a wound to prove it, to prove that I hurt as bad as everyone said I deserved to hurt and it couldn’t be a little wound, it had to be the biggest wound in the world for it to be enough."
10.In We Were Dreamers, actor Simu Liu detailed his complicated relationship with his parents, who reportedly left him in China with his grandparents while they moved to Canada. Although he was reunited with his parents when he was 4, Liu said their choice led to them having a strained relationship, and shared details about physical and emotional abuse he reportedly faced from both his mother and father. “My parents have come a long way since the events of this chapter, and we all look back on this time with complicated feelings of guilt and remorse," he wrote. "Our hope is that families like ours will read our story and understand where we went wrong so that they can make a different choice, a choice to listen and to be kinder to one another."
Before becoming an actor, Liu said he worked as an accountant. After he was laid off from his job, he wrote that he decided to pursue acting, but found that many of the roles he was getting were full of Asian stereotypes. Following the success of Black Panther, he learned that Marvel would likely be developing a movie with an Asian lead. After being cast as the lead in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, he wrote, "On that day, I became more than just a comic book character — I became a part of an idea that everyone deserves to see themselves as superheroes, as the leads of their own stories, or simply, just as multifaceted beings with hopes and aspirations and flaws."
11.And finally, in Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard, Tom Felton wrote extensively about his time playing Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise, and even devoted an entire chapter to his close friendship with Emma Watson. Felton, who is four years older than Watson, wrote that he made fun of a dance performance Watson put on in her dressing room while filming Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, adding that she was "visibly upset by our thoughtless reaction."
In later years, the two became close friends. A makeup artist allegedly told Felton that Watson had a crush on him, which he dismissed. Soon, there were rumors that there was something more than friendship between the pair. "I don’t think I was ever in love with Emma, but I loved and admired her as a person in a way that I could never explain to anybody else," he said. Watson, who wrote the book's foreword, wrote that she believes she and Felton are soulmates. "We’ve always had each other’s backs," she said. "I know we always will."
If you've read any other memoirs this year where celebrities revealed personal details, come share them in the comments!