Hollywood sign on the hill surrounded by trees and greenery
Pexels | Pexels

Fans Share Their Sad And Disappointing Celebrity Encounters

I don't know if I told you that I had my share of celebrity encounters. From volunteering to working at the Toronto International Film Festival, I have seen a thing or two there, oh yeah!

So I can definitely understand how somebody can build a famous person in their mind only to be disappointed once they meet them in person. A recent Reddit thread asked people, "Who was your saddest celebrity encounter?" and these are the most interesting answers. Check it out.

Muhammad Ali

"Been waiting for a moment to tell this one. When I worked at a restaurant in Florida a few years ago Muhammad Ali and his family came in to eat. Me being a fanboy and knowing who Ali was kept staring from a distance, and eventually ran next door to Books A Million to buy his biography 'King of the World' and have him sign it. As he was leaving I stood and held the door open for them. His wife was helping him out of the door. He was looking at the ground. No speaking. Slow walking. Shaking from the Parkinson's. He got to the car and his wife was helping him in. I asked her if I could meet him and have him take a photo and an autograph. She was delighted and said sure! 'Cassius, this young man would like to meet you' she said. I held out my hand and shook the hand of the greatest boxer to ever live. The hand that knocked out Fraiser. That mighty right hook.

"I immediately started crying. (And tearing up right now). She said 'don't cry, it's okay!' I had to explain that it's surreal to meet the famous 'Ali.' She handed him the book and the sharpie and said "Cassius he wants your autograph" and she opened the book for him and put the pen in his hand. He took at least (no joke) two full minutes to sign his name. And it was at that point that it killed me. This was Cassius Clay. Muhammad Ali. The most charismatic, float like a butterfly sting like a bee, man in boxing history. And he was such a shell of his former self because of Parkinson's. It was so heartbreaking. It really was. She then took a photo of us together and I thanked him, and her and went on my way. But god damn that will be the saddest moment meeting a celebrity I think I'll have face."

Wow! That's quite a story, huh?

This Scary Encounter

Hulk Hogan wearing yellow and red outfit with a red boa

"I met Hulk Hogan when I was four (late-ish '80s) at some wrestling thing in Dallas. All I remember is that my dad got his attention as he was walking toward the ring, and when he came around he stuck out this GIANT hand and said "Put it there, darlin'!" I recognized him but he was scary, so I peed my pants and cried. I guess it's obvious now that he wanted a handshake or a high five or.... something? No idea. Anyway, scared the piss out of me. Dude is huge."

Oh my goodness, ha, ha.

Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons looking at camera and saying "Me."
Giphy | TrueReal

"My brother met Gene Simmons backstage at a show he was playing in. Gene complimented my brother highly on his guitar playing but then said 'too bad you'll never make it' and just walked away."

Ah, that's not cool, Gene. Don't kill the kid's dream. Well, what do you expect? The man is kind of in love with himself, hee-hee.

This Life Lesson

A black motorcycle in front of a building.
Unsplash | Rory McKeever

"I was a little kid in the '70s. Like pretty much every little boy, I thought Evel Knievel was a serious badass. When I was about 7, I was in the airport with my mom and her boyfriend and a friend of mine. My mother's boyfriend told us that Evel was in one of the lounges. He was sitting in a back corner, drinking a glass of some kind of booze and engulfed in a cloud of cigarette smoke."

"We both approached him excitedly and asked for his autograph. He was obviously drunk, but he picked up a couple of cocktail napkins and scratched out his signature on both of them. Then he looked at us and said, 'before I give you these, I'm going to teach you something.' My friend at I looked at each other, totally starstruck and grinning like idiots."

"Evel proceeded to tap both of us on the arm. 'Does that hurt?' he asked. We both shook our heads and said no. Then he poked us lightly in the chest, 'does that hurt?' Again we both said no in unison. Then he made fists out of both hands with the middle knuckle sticking out and brought them down sharply and simultaneously, protruding knuckle first, onto both of our heads. 'Does that hurt?' he asked. Neither of us could really answer, I was holding back tears from the pain. He waited a few seconds and said: 'that's why you wear a safety helmet,' and handed us the napkins."

That's quite the life lesson from the great Evel Knievel, huh?

This Ominous Encounter

River Phoenix looking up.
Giphy | Filmin

"1993, the Wetlands bar (hippie central) in NYC. River Phoenix's band was playing, and he was clearly tripping balls. Sample between-song banter: [smooshes crappy woolen hat around on his head silently for 30 seconds] then, 'This is called a Lou hat...it's called that...because Lou makes them...ok?' Show thankfully ends, he wanders offstage and is standing by me, vaguely looking off into the distance.

Me: 'Jesus, man, how many hits are you on?'

Him: 'Hits? What's that?'

Me: 'Acid, dude. I'm impressed you were able to play at all.'

Him: 'Aw, no, man, I don't do drugs.'"

"Few months later, he's dead on an LA sidewalk from a speedball overdose."

Oh, man, that's just tragic. Am I right? Rest in peace, River Phoenix!

Peter Mayhew

Peter Mayhew and Ming Chen in Comic Book Men (2012

"Organized a good-sized comic con, so I've worked with quite a few. But the saddest was really subtle: Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), was in the green room for lunch on the second day. He looks very tired and is almost totally wheelchair-bound because of his terrible joint problems. I'm sitting across from him while we eat and his assistant asks if his hand is feeling alright to sign more autographs (terrible arthritis)."

"He closes his eyes and nods his head and whispers out 'how much longer will this go today?' To which his assistant delicately replies 'just 5 more hours.' And he whimpers a little and sheds a few tears as they wheel him away from the table and back out to the fans. The saddest part is that he's the nicest guy and never denies a fan while he's at the con and always smiles even though he's in loads of physical pain."

Wow, I had no idea he had so much pain to deal with.

Chris Rock

"I had waited an hour and a half in line for a ride at Great Adventure. Was in the front seat line so the wait was even longer. Finally, I was next in line--watched gleefully as my train pulled in. And Chris Rock and his family come walking up from the exit and are given my spot, without waiting at all. I was both sad and mad and have held a grudge against him ever since."

He could at least say something like, "Sorry to be taking your spot, man."

Adam Savage

"This is more embarrassing for me. At 4 a.m. in an airport I ran into Adam Savage.

Strike 1: Don't talk to anyone in an airport at 4 a.m. They're just as delirious and tired as you are.

Strike 2: Don't [expletive] up and say his co-host's name when you try to say hi.

Bonus. He tweeted about five minutes later complaining about idiots in airports trying to say hi by calling him, Jamie. Learn from my mistake."

Ha, ha, at least he made it to Twitter, no?

Demi Lovato

"Just thinking of this story makes my blood boil. I was at a restaurant downtown Toronto with my little sister who at the time was 9 and a huge Demi fan. We saw [them] walk in with a couple of people and one of them (not Demi) began chatting with the seating hostess over what looked like the menu. Demi wasn't a part of the conversation and was just kind of standing there with [their] eyes glued to her phone. My sister was flipping out at this point and I gave her my cell phone and told her to go ask for a picture. Mind you, I would not have encouraged her to go over there if Demi was eating or having an important conversation or whatever, I know some celebrities don't appreciate being interrupted while they're eating and I completely understand that, but [they were] literally just standing there doing nothing so I didn't think it would be a big deal."

"My sister walked over on her own and I sat and watched Demi tell her something along the lines of 'No, can't you see I'm [expletive] busy?!' My sister came back to me in tears and we immediately paid for our unfinished food and left, because she was so upset. [Demi] saying no is not what I had the problem with, it's the tone of voice [they] used and the fact that [they] cursed at a 9-year-old child that got to me. My sister was a very shy and timid kid so her going over there on her own was a huge deal and showed me how much that stupid picture meant to her."

Okay, that was a super mean move, especially to a 9-year-old.

Gregory Hines

Gregory Hines at a red carpet event
Giphy | The Academy Awards

"I was drunk at a friend's bachelor party in Vegas in '95. We are walking through the casino, and I see this glorious man with what can only be described as the aura of a movie star around him. I immediately recognize him as Sammy Davis Jr. I run up and say 'Sammy can I get an autograph?!' and he just turns around like he didn't hear me and starts walking. Thinking he couldn't hear me I kind of yell 'Sammy Davis Jr!' He turns around, looks right at me, and says 'You're a real asshole.'"

"I was pretty oblivious and had no idea why Sammy Davis Jr. was treating me like I had slapped his little sister's ass. For a few years after that every time his name came up I told people how big of a jerk Sammy David Jr. was. Fast-forward to a few years later and I'm watching the movie Renaissance Man with Danny Devito and I'm like, 'Wait I didn't know Sammy Davis Jr. was in this movie' ....which caused me to IMDb it ...and it all finally clicked. I had called Gregory Hines Sammy Davis Jr. to his face five years after Sammy died. It was probably the most delayed embarrassment I've ever felt in my life. TLDR: I have no idea what Sammy Davis Jr. looks like."

Oh, that explains it, huh?

Vince Vaughn

woman talking to a man saying "I don't care."
Giphy | ABC Network

"Met Vince Vaughn in a bar in Hollywood. He was with his entourage or whatever and had quite a few drinks. He hit on a (girl) friend of mine, and I was amazed to see her totally blow him off. Not that she should have gone for it, but it was pretty incredible to see a multi-millionaire movie star get rejected by an accountant."

Well, that happens to the best of us.

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake, Matt Bomer, and Laura Ashley Samuels in In Time (2011)

"I was working as a concierge at a high-end resort in Park City, Utah. Justin Timberlake was staying with us for Sundance, and one of his entourage called the front desk and let us know their internet was being flaky. I was the go-to tech guy, so I ran up to his room and restarted the router for them, and I was the hero of the night to everyone in the room. Literally, high fives and chest bumps."

"As I was riding the elevator down, I heard Timberlake in the garage (great acoustics) BELTING out one of his songs as he was waiting on the lift. The door opened, and we were standing face to face, and I said 'I dig your sound, man.' He looked at me dismissively and said 'You should. I get paid for it.' and walked past me like a schoolyard bully, complete with a shoulder bump."

Whoa, there — conceited much?


JFK Jr. and Darryl Hannah walking on a beach in their swim suits

"Well, I once wanted to get Daryl Hannah's autograph for my friend who had been crushing on her since FOREVER. I couldn't summon up my courage to approach her directly, so I just asked the dude sitting next to her. He put me off very politely."

"I went back to my friends empty-handed and was complimentary of Mr. Nobody's manners. They told me I'd just asked JFK Jr. for Daryl's autograph."

Oh my, JFK Jr. must've been quite annoyed, ha, ha.

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood saying "Do You Feel lucky punk?"
Giphy |

"My dad once accidentally told Clint Eastwood to please kindly leave Canada. Back in the early '90s, Clint was in southern Alberta doing some shooting for Unforgiven (I think, probably). It just so happens that so were we, but not because of a movie; we were doing some camping and had been camping for like a good solid week before deciding, one day, to check out the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology because that's the best thing ever..."

"So there we were, this extremely stinky, camping family, the very embodiment of the lower class, hanging out in a museum looking at dinosaur bones because awesome. It just so happens that Clint and crew had the day off and decided to check out dinosaur bones too because [they are] awesome and I respect a movie guy who likes massive bones."

"Well, Dad overhears one of the crew guys griping about how lame Canada apparently is compared to America, and how he couldn't wait to go back home, etc, and the crew guys were chuckling about it. So, stinky dad waltzes over -- a true, red-blooded Canadian, proud of his country, a real patriot -- and tells them that if they don't like it, why don't they all [expletive] off and go back to America? Dad doesn't realize that Clint Eastwood is among the people he's swearing at, because Dad invented the Dumb Dad trope. After they wander off, grumbling about rude stinky Canadians or something, Dad comes back to us, and Mom essentially asks him, happily, 'Oh what were you talking to Clint about?' all bubbly and excited. 'Clint who?'"


Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise saying, "what?"
Giphy |

"I work for an airline, so I see some celebs from time to time. One time Tom Cruise cussed me out because I wouldn't violate federal law and bring his checked bags to him planeside. Made him go to baggage claim like everyone else."

Did he say, "Do you know who I am?" LOL!

This 'Crazy Cat Lady'

Hilary Duff as Kelsey on Younger laughing hysterically
Giphy | YoungerTV

"I used to go to a small gym. The owners were laid back and had their cats roam around all the time. It was never an issue and people who went regularly would pet them in between sets. My husband and I go to the gym one day. We're the only ones there aside from a trainer in the corner with someone. My husband (a very observant man) tells me to go do some kettlebell swings. I thought it was weird but headed over to the kettlebell section. There is the trainer with Ben Affleck (training for Batman). I didn't want to disturb him, so I completely ignored him. Except it's a small gym. So I'm working out on the bench next to nice guy Ben, and I can feel him trying to acknowledge me."

"Suddenly I notice one of the cats starting to pee in the corner next to Ben. I shout 'NO!' to stop the cat, and scoop him up. Ben turns to me and says 'Hey, is that your cat?' Clearly trying to start a conversation. I look at him and awkwardly say 'It's not my cat' and walk away. I had an opportunity to talk to Batman and instead became the crazy cat lady. My husband was watching from afar, dying laughing. Now, whenever I do something awkward my husband will scream 'It's not my cat!!'"

OMG, I'm just dying here, ha, ha.

This Movie Extra Encounter

Sam Elliott in a tux at the academy awards.
Giphy | The Academy Awards

"My saddest celebrity encounter was also my greatest. When I was in college I was an extra in a few scenes of "We Were Soldiers", a Vietnam movie with Mel Gibson and Sam Elliott. While I was waiting for a bus to take me back to the wardrobe one of the casting guys came up and picked me out of the crowd and asked me if I wanted to be in another scene with Sam Elliott. Of course, I was ecstatic. I sat in this van waiting for Sam to come out and it was going to drive us to the scene."

"Finally he comes out looking all pissed off and sits in the front seat. Against my better judgment, I said something to the effect of, "Mr. Elliott I'm a huge fan of yours and it's an honor to be in a scene with you." He snaps back: "Shut the [expletive] up kid." Needless to say, when Sam Elliott tells you to STFU, you do it. So that's the sad part, though getting cussed out by a guy who typically plays the badass in movies was cool in some way."

"We film the scene which is a short scene where he walks by Chris Klein and cusses at him about something. We film it over and over and I'm just some soldier walking by in the background. Occasionally between takes Sam would look over at me and scowl. After it's done we get back in the van to head back and Sam is again in the van. He turns around and says, "Sorry about earlier kid, I just didn't want to [expletive] up my mood for the scene. I appreciate the compliment." Suddenly it dawned on me that when he cussed at me he was trying to stay in character for the upcoming scene. Pretty cool experience."

As a former extra, I love this story.

Betty White

"It was right after the Golden Girls (and Golden Palace) had ended. Her career was not in the best place at the time. I was at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles and saw a poster promoting Betty White signing her latest book about how much she loves animals. I liked the Golden Girls so I thought I would swing by the bookstore to take a gander at Betty White. It was so sad. I'll always remember she was sitting alone at a big table with a stack of books in front of her."

"People were in the bookstore shopping but no one was buying her book or really acknowledging her. She just sat there, pen in hand, waiting. She would occasionally wipe off some imaginary dust to look busy. I'm getting the chills just remembering it. Of course, I was such a self-involved college kid that I just stared at her from far away. I should have just gone up and talked to her."

Oh no, that's so sad!

Well, don't say I didn't warn you.

Ron Pearlman saying "fuhgeddaboudit!"
Giphy | Talk Stoop

Sometimes that celebrity encounter doesn't turn out as you have hoped. I remember that one time when Robert Downey Jr. kind of dissed my mom and walked away from signing an autograph for no reason at all. My mom was annoyed with him for a few years until she got over it. I hope one day I'll get a chance to ask him what that was all about, ha, ha. Have you ever had an odd celebrity sighting before?