Is Katy Perry actually child murder victim JonBenét Ramsey? Was Britney Spears' 2007 breakdown just a construct of President George W. Bush's administration?
Being a celebrity may have its perks, but one downside is the rumor mill (aka, the Internet) churning out conspiracy theories about a star's life -- or death.
Here are some of the wildest celebrity conspiracy theories that fans and trolls alike have kept alive for years.
Because of the Kardashian family's connection to O.J. Simpson -- the late Robert Kardashian, an attorney, was a friend of Simpson's and served on his defense team during the 1994 murder trial, and Kris Jenner was good friends with Simpson's murdered wife, Nicole -- fans and critics have speculated that Khloe Kardashian is really Simpson's daughter, not Robert Kardashian's. During season 7 of their "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" reality show, Khloe even addressed the rumors, almost taking a paternity test but ultimately deciding against it saying, "I don't need someone to tell me who my family is. I have had the blessing of having two phenomenal fathers [Robert Kardashian and stepfather Caitlyn Jenner]. I don't need a DNA test to prove who my father is."
Tom Cruise is one of the most active members of the Church of Scientology, however, the inner workings of the church are kept under lock and key. Because of this, one of the most popular conspiracy theories about the church is that it hand-selects women for Cruise to date and has them under contract to keep the secret. After his divorce from Katie Holmes, rumors circulated that the church was looking to contract another woman to be his third wife. Some names floated included Sofia Vergara and Scarlett Johansson.
JonBenét Ramsey was a six-year-old girl from Boulder, Colorado, who was found murdered in the basement of her family home in 1996. The case remains unsolved, and many conspiracy theories surround her death, one of the most bizarre being that her death was faked and Ramsey actually grew up to be pop star Katy Perry. The rumor began in 2014 with a YouTube video detailing the similarities between Ramsey and Perry but was discredited because Perry would be too old since Ramsey was born in 1990 and she was born in 1984.
Many people believe that Elvis Presley is actually still alive -- and still working in entertainment. In 1990, after a lookalike was spotted as an extra in the background of "Home Alone," a rumor started that it was actually "The King of Rock and Roll." Although Elvis died on August 16, 1977, there have been multiple instances of supposed sightings since, and many believe he faked his own death.
It's no secret that Britney Spears suffered a breakdown in 2007, but many people believe there is a secret behind the cause -- that it was orchestrated to distract from political scandals that rocked President George W. Bush's administration. The theory arose on a music blog called Idolator in 2007 and details how events in Spears' meltdown happened the same day as major scandals. It doesn't help that Spears also fiercely defended Bush in Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11" and that she briefly dated Bush White House adviser Karl Rove in 2002.
The clues pointing to the notorious conspiracy theory involving the death of Beatles icon Paul McCartney began in the late '60s. The most common theory is that The Beatles were in a car accident and Paul McCartney was replaced with a look-alike. Fans dug deeper into this theory and began playing Beatles songs backwards. There is one section in the song "Revolution #9" where a voice can be heard saying "Number nine, number nine..." Fans have found that when played backwards, the words sound like, "Turn me on, dead man." In addition, the gibberish heard at the end of "I'm So Tired" has often been interpreted as "Paul is a dead man, miss him, miss him." In the song "All Together Now," the titular phrase can be played in reverse and heard as "I buried Paul."
A fan theory about Avril Lavigne is that she died in 2003 and was replaced with a lookalike. A Twitter thread posted by user @givenchyass detailed the conspiracy theory that highlighted the change in Lavigne's music and fashion styles, photos comparing the shape of her face, the location of her birthmarks and shifts in her handwriting.
In 2014, fitness guru Richard Simmons suddenly retired from public life, choosing to live in seclusion at his California home with little contact with the outside world. Due to the dramatic change, people assumed he had either died or gone missing, and eventually rumors began that his housekeeper was a witch holding him hostage. However, Simmons re-entered the limelight in 2016 to quash the rumors on NBC's "Today." He called the entire situation "very silly" and insisted that the choice to live privately was his own.
A popular conspiracy theory surrounding actor Nicolas Cage is that he is an immortal vampire. After a photo taken in 1870 of a man resembling the actor was posted on eBay under the headline "Nicolas Cage is a Vampire, " rumors began circulating. However, he denied the accusation and said the man in the photo was "a slowed-down version" of himself, implying that the man was unattractive on an episode of "The Late Show with David Letterman."
The Beyhive may not be too happy about the many conspiracy theories surrounding their Queen Bey. Some doubters believe Beyoncé was never pregnant with daughter Blue Ivy but instead used a surrogate. Skeptics have cited her on-again-off again baby bump in photographs, not remembering her own due date, and the most speculated-on event was while appearing on Australian TV her stomach appears to fold down during an interview.
Josh Saviano, who played Paul Pfeiffer on "The Wonder Years," quit acting after the show ended but rumors say he didn't leave the limelight and just came back as Marilyn Manson. In reality, the former actor went on to study political science at Yale University, eventually becoming a lawyer. Marilyn Manson, on the other hand, was born Brian Hugh Warner and spent his childhood in Ohio, beginning his music career in 1989, while "The Wonder Years" was still running on TV.
Prior to his death, rumors as to how Michael Jackson kept his famous falsetto circulated for years, but perhaps the wildest one originated from French vascular surgeon Alain Branchereau, who wrote the book "Michael Jackson: The Secret of a Voice" and claimed that the singer was chemically castrated by women's acne medication. Branchereau suggests that as a teen, Jackson took cyproterone acetate, which is not available in the United States, stunting the development of his larynx in order to retain his famous vocals.
Bob Marley, who was famous for his messages of peace and love, became the target of the CIA in order to dismantle Jamaica's left-wing government in the 1970s, according to conspiracists. Rumors say that Marley's cancer diagnosis was the result of the CIA gifting him with shoes that were rigged with poison-coated copper wire, which pricked a toe and infected his body.
Keanu Reeves either has great genes or has sipped from the Fountain of Youth because conspiracists believe the actor is immortal and hasn't aged since his 20s. Similarities between the actor and historical figures like Charlemagne and Paul Mounet have helped fuel the rumor and a site has even been dedicated to uncovering the truth.
On March 22, 1994, the day after that year's Academy Awards ceremony, The Hollywood Reporter printed an item detailing a conspiracy theory that actress Marisa Tomei won her Oscar for "My Cousin Vinny" by mistake. The report states that "Oscar presenter Jack Palance hadn't been able to read the name written in the secret envelope when he was on stage" and "arbitrarily called out Tomei's name instead of the actual winner." The rumor has since been recycled through various publications and even became a joke in Tomei's 1994 "Saturday Night Live" opening monologue.
After Lorde told Rookie's Tavi Gevinson that "The Virgin Suicides" "really resonated with me as a teenager. I mean, I am still a teenager" rumors sparked that the singer, born Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor, was lying about her age. Twitter users were convinced Lorde was lying about being a teen and several blogs, including Gawker's Defamer and Deadspin's The Concourse, investigated the matter, trying to obtain her New Zealand birth certificate. There has been no solid evidence to suggest that Lorde was not born in 1996.
In the early 1990s, it was revealed that Princess Diana had been having an affair with a former army officer, James Hewitt. They had supposedly met around the time Prince Charles was rumored to be having an affair with his now-wife, Camilla, and around the time that Diana's second son, Prince Harry, was born. Harry also shared similar looks to James and because of this, many believed he was not Charles' son but instead, the result of Hewitt's and Diana's affair. Rumors circulated for years, but Hewitt put the rumors to rest when he appeared on Australia's "Sunday Night" in August 2017 and candidly told the show's host that he was not Harry's father.
To avoid paparazzi during her divorce from Tom Cruise, actress Katie Holmes moved to Manhattan in an apartment above a Chelsea Whole Foods. It was speculated that due to the building's design the actress had her own secret entrance to the grocery store from her apartment. Holmes was able to access the store through an undistinguished set of stairs into the employee area without being seen by the public, the rumor said.
Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears
During an interview with Anna Kendrick to promote their animated film, "Trolls," Justin Timberlake appears happy until the reporter says the word "pinky," which was Timberlake's nickname for Britney Spears while they were dating. After the mention of the nickname, (around the two-minute mark) Timberlake looks off camera, appearing heartbroken for almost a minute afterwards. Because of this, fans believe Timberlake, who is married to actress Jessica Biel, is still in love with Spears.
Kylie Jenner's cosmetics line put out a video to promote her new lip kit in March 2016. The video featured a song called "3 Strikes" by an unknown band, Terror Jr. The female lead singer goes by the alias Lisa Terror, and sported a pink wig in a photo of the band without showing her face, leading fans to believe that Jenner is providing the vocals for the group. The band did not have an active social media presence until the video debuted. But just as fans thought they had it all figured out, Jenner took to Snapchat to dispel the rumors in November.
On Sept. 7, 1996 rapper Tupac Shakur was shot and later died due to injuries sustained in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas following a Mike Tyson boxing match. The mystery behind who actually shot the rapper remains unsolved. It has been speculated that Shakur is still alive, living in Cuba where his step-aunt, Assata Shakur, received political asylum after escaping a U.S. prison years earlier.
Singer Justin Bieber is apparently half man, half reptile according to some conspiracy theorists who believe the pop star transformed into a lizard during a court appearance following his arrest for street racing in Miami while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Jennifer Lawerence received the best actress Academy Award for her role in "Silver Linings Playbook" in 2013 and took quite the tumble when going up to make her acceptance speech. Conspiracy theorists believe she tripped purposely to get more attention and publicity for her dress designer, Dior.
Music legend Stevie Wonder is no stranger to the conspiracy theory game, with critics questioning whether he is actually blind. The reasons behind this claim range from his ability to catch a falling microphone stand in mid-air, and a photo of the singer taking a picture. To further fuel possible rumors, while speaking to TMZ paparazzi outside Los Angeles Airport, Wonder said "I flew a plane once...well actually twice."
Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston
Taylor Swift began dating Tom Hiddleston only two weeks after breaking up with long-time boyfriend Calvin Harris, prompting some to question the authenticity of their relationship. Rumors quickly circulated, including that they were dating to promote an upcoming music video, their relationship was a piece of performance art, and they were using each other for publicity.