The Emotional Difficulties of Being Famous
Updated: Jun 6
It can be hard to look at these garish displays of emotional shallowness or instability, but even harder to look away. After all, famous people have garnered more than a fair share of attention already. Indeed, it is their unusual charisma and extraordinary attractiveness that draws us to them in the first place. It is also what keeps us fascinated with them when they reveal their very ordinary weaknesses and their everyday fragility. With talent, beauty, fame, wealth, and access to all the goodies these gifts-of-the-gods provide, why, we wonder, do they sometimes seem intent on throwing it away with both hands? Why, in the world do they act the way they do?
Would becoming famous make you happier?
In fact, it is often the misalignment of expectation and reality at the root of the emotional difficulties that go along with fame. With the many ways in which we celebrate fame and success in this society, who then would blame celebrities – and their fans – for assuming that constant adoration, almost limitless funds, and the freedom to pursue creative and romantic impulses, would make life “perfect”.
What are the difficulties?
The challenges, however, brought on by the intense and constant scrutiny of the public, and the complete lack of privacy that accompanies being forever in the spotlight, are more difficult than most people would hope to face, or imagine.
On the other hand, it is the fading stars who are often the most poignant. The loss of attention, fame, and wealth can be devastating to one’s emotional balance. The sense of unwelcome anonymity after so much attention – which, to be honest, they did initially seek in the first place – presents a new set of difficulties as life takes a different turn. After all, just as no one really can realistically prepare themselves for fame – short of practicing their award acceptance speech or signing their autograph – no one can really be ready when it comes to an end. Friendships may wither and relationships crumble when the trappings of fame are removed. The loss of identity and purpose in one’s life is another emotional hazard of being famous.
For celebrities who have mental health issues, the unrelenting pressure of fame and the ceaseless attention they receive can contribute to a sense of paranoia. As a result of the need or desire to limit one’s exposure, incredible isolation only makes daily life feel more threatening.
Why should we be concerned?
As a society, we invest billions of dollars and countless hours in our worship of the famous. We love those who are famous when they are pleasing us, but we are very quick to pull them down when they do not, or when we have grown bored. It may say something very unpleasant about us when we fail to recognize that what we have given so abundantly we can take away so carelessly. Celebrities themselves can be all too aware of that. Though they may seem to be outside of life’s everyday problems and struggles, it is their humanity that attracted us in the first place and it is a troubling sign when we forget that even the most golden among us cannot escape the emotional difficulties of life.