Celebrity memoir fans received an enormous bounty in 2023, with stars including Britney Spears, Prince Harry and Barbra Streisand dropping books packed with juicy recollections.
Harry kicked off the year with his much-discussed memoir, Spare, which included plenty of tea on his royal family members. In one chapter, Harry claimed that he and his brother, Prince William, got into a physical fight after William allegedly called Meghan Markle “difficult.” According to Harry, William “grabbed” him by the collar and broke his necklace before knocking him to the floor.
Nine months later, Streisand shared her own royal anecdote in her hefty tome, My Name Is Barbra. The Funny Girl star claimed that Harry’s dad, King Charles III, once said he had a crush on her, in part because of her “great sex appeal.”
The duo met in 1974, at which point Charles was still single, but alas, sparks didn’t fly, and Streisand never got the chance to become the queen of England. “The fact is, both Prince Charles and I are shy, but somehow we still managed to connect … because that proved to be the beginning of an unexpected friendship,” Streisand wrote.
Keep scrolling for the biggest bombshells celebrities dropped in the memoirs this year:
Prince Harry’s Todger Froze Right Before His Brother’s Wedding
Released in January, Harry’s memoir, Spare, was full of shocking revelations about the British royal family, but nothing caused as many double takes as the news that he got frostbite on his penis during a 2011 trip to the North Pole — weeks before William’s wedding to Princess Kate Middleton.
“Pa was very interested, and sympathetic about the discomfort of my frostnipped ears and cheeks, and it was an effort not to overshare and tell him also about my equally tender penis,” Harry wrote, recalling how he told his family about the situation the night before the ceremony. “Upon arriving home I’d been horrified to discover that my nether regions were frostnipped as well, and while the ears and cheeks were already healing, the todger wasn’t. It was becoming more of an issue by the day.”
Pamela Anderson Found a Crack Pipe in the Christmas Tree
Anderson claimed in her January memoir, Love, Pamela, that her ex-husband Rick Salomon once left a crack pipe in her Christmas tree. “People had warned me that Rick was a serious addict, but I’d never seen that side of him,” she wrote. “It seemed like an exaggeration. Rick insists to this day that my assistant planted the pipe in the tree to break us up.”
Salomon, who was married to Anderson in 2007 and from 2014 to 2015, admitted to using crack but claimed the pipe wasn’t his doing. “I smoked crack for 25 f–king years, but the crack pipe in the Christmas tree was 1,000 percent not mine,” he told the New York Post in January, noting that he has been sober for 15 years. “[That] crack pipe has nothing to do with me, but I am a crackhead.”
Paris Hilton’s Teenage Assault
Hilton detailed her horrifying first sexual encounter in her March book, Paris: The Memoir, telling readers that she was raped at age 15 by an older guy who allegedly drugged her with a wine cooler. “After that, I don’t remember much. Broken pieces,” she wrote. “I became aware of a crushing weight on me. Suffocating me. Cracking my ribs. … He clamped down on my face and whispered: ‘It’s a dream. It’s a dream. You’re dreaming.’”
Before the incident, Hilton planned to abstain from sex until marriage, but she decided to have sex with her high school boyfriend so she could reclaim her narrative. “Going forward, it made a much better ‘How I Lost My Virginity’ story,” she said. “Once upon a time. With a cute boy who loved me.”
Minka Kelly’s Heartbreaking Childhood
In May, Kelly detailed her difficult upbringing in Tell Me Everything, which recounted the time she spent living in the storage room of an apartment building after her mother could no longer afford the rent. Kelly also said her mom — who died in 2008 after battling cancer — took her to work with her at a strip club when she was 7, did drugs in front of her and left her with friends for lengthy periods of time.
Additionally, Kelly revealed that she briefly dated Friday Night Lights costar Taylor Kitsch. “We fell in lust fast and hard. I would have told you back then that we were madly in love. Mad, yes. But love it was not. We were infatuated with each other. I had no idea how to give or receive love back then,” she wrote. “I loved being with him. It’s just that the good only lasted so long before our incompatibility reared its ugly head. We ended up getting back together and breaking up more times than I can count.”
Elliot Page’s Secret Romance With Kate Mara
Page revealed in his June memoir, Pageboy, that he had a secret romance with Mara while Page was filming 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. “The first person I fell for after my heart was broken was Kate Mara,” Page wrote. “She had a boyfriend at the time, the lovely and talented Max Minghella. … This was right after I’d come out as gay and it was a time of exploration and also heartbreak. I think my relationship, or whatever you want to call it with Kate, very much encapsulates a certain dynamic that I consistently found myself in, which was falling for people that — I think a lot of us do this — who aren’t fully available.”
Page noted in an interview with People that Mara had “read the book” before its publication. Mara also appeared with Page at a Los Angeles event celebrating the memoir’s release.
Jim Bob Duggar Tried to Withhold Thousands of Dollars From Jill Duggar and Derrick Dillard
In their September book, Counting the Cost, Jill and husband Dillard claimed that Jill’s dad, Jim Bob, refused to share profits from the family’s TLC show with them. Jill later described a family meeting during which Jim Bob announced he planned to give the boys in the family $80,000 — and credited Dillard for the idea. The Dillards were suspicious about the offer and thought “there was some angle” Jim Bob wasn’t being fully honest about. In order to get the money, Dillard and the other guys would have to sign an NDA and a contract with Mad Family Inc. for an additional seven years — “plus an unlimited number of years beyond that if the company chose.”
Jill further claimed that an IRS notice informed her and Dillard that they made $130,000 more than they were ever paid. Jim Bob initially offered to give them $2,000 before relenting and paying them $175,000. “I never knew that victory could feel so hollow or so overwhelmingly sad,” Jill wrote.
Kerry Washington Learned Her True Parentage in Her 40s
The famously private Washington opened up about her parents in her September memoir, Thicker Than Water, and said she didn’t learn until her 40s that she was conceived via a sperm donor. Her mother and father finally told her the truth in 2018 when she was going to participate in the PBS series Finding Your Roots and had to collect DNA samples from them. She noted that the revelation hasn’t affected her relationship with the man who raised her but said she hasn’t been able to locate her biological father.
Reba McEntire Wore a Wig for 5 Months to Hide a Haircut
In her October book, Not That Fancy, McEntire revealed that she’d wanted to chop off her long red hair “for a long time,” but the idea made her team “nervous.” They eventually came to a compromise wherein the haircut would become part of the rollout for her 1996 album, What If It’s You. The problem was that the chop happened five months before the album dropped. The solution? A wig.
“I finally debuted my short hair at the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards show, and it felt so good!” McEntire recalled, noting that What If It’s You ultimately went double platinum. “So I guess you could say it worked. A new style may seem like a small thing, but it helped me feel more like myself, and I think my fans liked that. It just goes to show — trust your gut and do what’s right for you. Everyone else will catch up.”
Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith Have Been Separated for 7 Years
Readers expected Pinkett Smith’s October memoir, Worthy, to touch on her husband’s infamous Oscars slapping incident — and it did — but there was a bigger revelation to come: Smith and his wife had already been separated for six years when The Slap went down. Pinkett Smith revealed that she and Smith separated in 2016 after coming to “the proverbial stage of irreconcilable differences.”
The duo decided not to divorce, however, because of a promise they made to one another early in their relationship. “So, at the end of 2016, Will and I looked each other in the eyes and decided to separate in every way except legally,” Pinkett Smith wrote. “We would remain family-strong, not lose our friendship and maintain our policy of complete transparency — i.e., no secrets about what we were doing and whom we were doing it with.”
Kanye West Offered to Get Julia Fox a Boob Job
Fox’s October memoir, Down the Drain, didn’t mention West by name, but it was clear who she meant when she referred to “the artist” she previously dated. According to Fox, West offered to get her a boob job, but she refused. She also claimed that the rapper was the person behind the January 2022 Interview magazine article about their date night, which was purportedly written by her. Fox alleged that West didn’t like her original draft and so submitted a “completely fabricated” version written by his “annoying friend.”
Britney Spears Had an Abortion
In October, Spears revealed in her book, The Woman in Me, that she had an abortion after she became pregnant with Justin Timberlake’s baby during their relationship. (The former couple dated from 1999 to 2002.)
“It was a surprise, but for me, it wasn’t a tragedy. I loved Justin so much. I always expected us to have a family together one day. This would just be much earlier than I’d anticipated,” she wrote. “But Justin definitely wasn’t happy about the pregnancy. He said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young.”
Spears went on to say that Timberlake tried to comfort her after her at-home medication abortion by playing guitar. “At some point he thought maybe music would help, so he got his guitar and he lay there with me strumming it,” she wrote. Timberlake never reacted to the tell-all.
John Stamos Was the Person Who Told Lori Loughlin She Got Caught for College Cheating Scandal
Stamos’ October book, If You Would Have Told Me, was full of juicy revelations, but the most interesting tidbits concerned his Full House costar Loughlin. According to Stamos, he was the person who informed Loughlin in 2019 that she was on the hook for the college admissions scandal. “In March 2019, I get a strange text around 5:30 a.m. from my good friend Roger Lodge. He asks if Lori is OK. I hit him back, ‘Why, what’s up?’ Something about a college scandal,” Stamos wrote. “I started googling, but there was very little I could find. I knew she was working in Canada, so I called to check on her.”
Loughlin told Stamos she was “not sure” what was happening, but by then the story had gone wide. “Then, switching on the news, the story breaks big time. I immediately text Lori, ‘Are you watching the news?’” Stamos recalled. “An FBI agent is announcing the largest college admissions scandal ever handled by the Department of Justice, involving bribes to prestigious colleges for falsified student acceptances.”
Loughlin ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and served two months in prison.
Stamos went on to reveal that he nearly dated Loughlin before meeting ex-wife Rebecca Romijn. “She’s my Sandra Dee from Grease, the good girl with a kind heart who always makes me feel upbeat when I’m around her,” he wrote of Loughlin before comparing Romijn to Sandy as well. “[She’s] the Sandy-in-Black-Leather at the end of Grease. … Am I going to sit in a swing forlorn at the drive-in wearing a motorcycle jacket warbling like John Travolta for Sandra Dee or am I putting on the letterman’s sweater to enter the carnival in search of black patent leather stilettos with chills multiplying? Let’s just say Rebecca’s first call sounds a lot like, ‘Tell me about it, Stud,’ and it’s electrifying.”
Barbra Streisand Passed on a Lot of Famous Men
In her 992-page memoir, My Name Is Barbra (released in November), Streisand didn’t hesitate to list the celebrity men who expressed romantic interest in her over the years. According to the Oscar winner, she turned down a proposition from Marlon Brando, who later became her friend, and refused advances from Mandy Patinkin, with whom she starred in Yentl.
Streisand also claimed that King Charles III told her she was the “only pinup” on his wall when he attended Cambridge University. “Who knew?” she wrote, adding that the then-prince allegedly described her as “devastatingly attractive” at one point. “Certainly not me, and it’s probably better that I didn’t when we met, because it would have made me self-conscious.”
Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino Had Smuggled Pills Shipped to ‘DWTS’
The Jersey Shore: Family Vacation star revealed in his December memoir, Reality Check, that a New Jersey drug dealer shipped him packages of painkillers hidden in pens while he was competing on season 11 of Dancing With the Stars in 2011.
“I needed those pills for DWTS,” he wrote. “That was one of the hardest shows I’ve ever done. I practiced eight hours a day, popping six [30-milligram pills] every few hours.”