30. Keanu Reeves married David Geffen

Where to begin? In the mid-'90s, a French tabloid reported that Keanu Reeves, the actor of ambiguous sexuality, had married David Geffen, the gay mogul and philanthropist, in a secret ceremony. This turned out to be a blatant fabrication. Quipped syndicated gossip columnist Billy Masters, "Sources tell me that David is holding out for someone who can actually act." The simple fact is, this rumor couldn't possibly be true, because it would make Keanu Reeves ever-so-slightly interesting, if only by association. — PS

29. Angelina Jolie and her brother had an incestuous relationship

At the 2000 Oscars, Angelina Jolie raved, "I'm so in love with my brother right now," and the siblings shared a long kiss on the lips. Many viewers claimed to have seen tongue, igniting the rumor that the actress and her brother, James Haven, were sleeping with each other. Jolie quickly tossed cold water on the rumors, saying, "I don't know if it's divorced families, but he and I were each other's everything. We've always been best friends. He's the funniest, sweetest person I know. He just gives me so much love, it's great." Haven also responded: "It's a very weird thing when a brother and sister can't show love for each other in public without people gossiping about them." — Jennifer Waller

28. Jim Morrison is alive

No one really knows how Jim Morrison died. His death certificate, signed by a doctor whom no one has ever been able to identify, lists the cause of twenty-seven-year-old Morrison's death as "heart attack." There was no autopsy, and only two people ever saw the body: the mystery doctor and Morrison's long-time girlfriend, Pamela Courson. The most plausible explanation is some sort of overdose, but a better one is that Morrison didn't actually die. In his bestselling bio The Lizard King, Jerry Hopkins says that pre-fame Morrison often joked about faking his own death to get publicity and post-fame Morrison often joked about faking his own death to escape publicity. It may not have been a joke; it was, in fact, a pretty well-established plan, which involved Morrison moving to rural Africa and communicating with his friends via telegram, under the alias "Mr. Mojo Rising." His bandmates, sad to say, have yet to receive any telegrams, as Morrison is probably just too busy partying with Elvis and Andy Kaufman. — GW

27. Led Zeppelin violated a groupie with a fish

This tale from the briny depths of the '70s was first reported in Hammer of the Gods, the notoriously sordid 1985 Led Zeppelin bio based on the booze-soaked recollections of road manager Richard Cole. As any Zeppelin fan knows, Cole is a shameless self-promoter and general prick, so his account needs to be taken with a grain of salt (or maybe an entire shaker). In fact, even Cole seems a bit shaky on the details: Hammer of the Gods featured drummer John Bonham stuffing pieces of shark into a groupie's vagina, but a more recent account from Cole tones things down (a little). Snopes.com helpfully provides Cole's correction to the legend:

It wasn't Bonzo, it was me. . . it was a red snapper and the chick happened to be a fucking redheaded broad with a ginger pussy. And that is the truth. Bonzo was in the room, but I did it. Mark Stein [of Vanilla Fudge] filmed the whole thing. And she loved it. . . It was the nose of the fish, and that girl must have come twenty times. 

So, can we conclude that a ocean-dwelling creature of some kind was introduced to the vagina of a human female, by persons affiliated with Led Zeppelin? Perhaps. Using the widely accepted Richard Cole Plausibility Scale, we can even add that the woman may not have found the experience entirely degrading or repulsive. Maybe. — PS

26. Courteney Cox bleaches her . . .

In these heady times, bleaching your anus for aesthetic reasons is totally normal. But way back in the mists of the early 2000s, anus-bleaching was still ever so slightly unusual. (Your parents probably hadn't gotten into it yet.) The late Talk magazine delivered an early report on the supposed celebrity craze in their October 2001 issue. E! Online columnist Ted Casablanca took up the cause earlier still, reporting in April 2000 that Lara Flynn Boyle was a bleacher. Jill Soloway, a playwright and producer of Six Feet Under, continued the trend with her short story, "Courteney Cox's Asshole." Soloway narrates from the POV of Cox's imaginary personal assistant, who fields endless calls from tabloids about whether her boss bleaches her asshole. The story is fiction (and Soloway consistently misspells Cox's name, though maybe it's for effect), but feel free to take it as fact. — PS

25. Danny Thomas, No. 2 fan

There's no delicate way to describe this one (other than to call it by its street name, "getting a Hot Karl". . . but somehow that's even worse). Thomas, famous for his role as the "Daddy" of the '50s sitcom Make Room for Daddy, is also infamous for his alleged fetish: lying under glass coffee tables while women defecated on them. The rumor has been perpetuated by radio shock jocks and standup comedians, including Sarah Silverman, who notes that "at Canter's Deli in L.A., the Danny Thomas sandwich is number two on the menu." — Will Doig

24. Mick, Marianne and the Mars Bar

In 1967, police raided a party at Keith Richards' estate and supposedly found Mick Jagger chowing a Mars Bar out of Marianne Faithfull's nay-nay. A delicious, nougaty rumor, for sure, but according to Faithfull's autobiography, the story is nothing but "a cop's idea of what people do on acid." Chris Gibbs, one of Richards' guests, said that the cops never kicked down the door, but knocked and were admitted into "a scene of pure domesticity," in which Faithfull was wearing a towel. Faithfull's long, high-profile relationship with Jagger in the '60s no doubt only added grist to the mill. In fairness to the cops, Faithfull admitted to giving them "a quick flash." — JC

23. Oprah is gay

Until 2000, Oprah and her longtime beau, Stedman Graham, were frequently photographed together. After that point, however, Oprah's best gal-pal Gayle King became her most-photographed companion. . . and tongues started wagging. In the August 2006 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, Oprah says, "I understand why people think we're gay. There isn't a definition in our culture for this kind of bond between women. So I get why people have to label it — how can you be this close without it being sexual?" Gayle adds, "If we were gay, we would so tell you." Probably true. — KG

22. Michael Jackson slept in a hyberbaric chamber

In September 1986, the National Enquirer ran a page-one photo of the King of Pop sleeping in a large glass tube over the headline, "Michael Jackson's Bizarre Plan to Live to 150." The story reported that Jacko had been reposing in a compartment of pure oxygen used by doctors to heal severe wound victims, because he believed it would increase his lifespan (this is not, by all accounts, medically possible). The truth, according to Iain Calder, the Enquirer's senior editorial director at the time, is that Jackson's PR machine and the Enquirer had worked in concert to create the story, which made a great exclusive for the magazine and bought Jackson a ton of free publicity. According to Calder, Jackson's only stipulation was that the word "bizarre" had to appear in the headline. As if any other description could have worked. — WD

21. Mama Cass and the fatal ham sandwich

Most rumors start with a grain of truth. The story that infamously obese singer Mama Cass asphyxiated on pig's meat can be traced to her doctor, who told a reporter that Cass "probably choked to death on a sandwich." Smart-ass comment or ironic demise? Either way, the story soon spread around the world via papers and television news. Years later, even Austin Powers would have his say on the matter: "I could never be in a hurry at the dinner table without my mother reminding me of the sad fate of Mama Cass." In truth, her autopsy report showed that she died of a heart attack. — Cord Jefferson

Commentarium (52 Comments)

Dec 14 06 - 12:49pm

In the 70s, when Alice Cooper was the big thing, many people thought that he was Jerry Mathers, or as most knew him, The Beaver from the TV show "Leave It To Beaver." Also his song "DEAD BABIES" from his KILLER album started riots in many cities and the song, about child abuse, was actually about how his baby sister died. And one more: If you listen to the song "Blue Turk" on the SCHOOL'S OUT album, you can hear a groupie give Alice a BJ. It was accidentally recorded but Alice said it fit the song and left it in.

Dec 14 06 - 12:53pm

Actually, Richard Gere did address this rumor directly, IIRC. I recall it was a Baba Wawa interview, and she basically asked him if there was any truth to a specific rumor floating around about him, and he said no. Baba then asks something along the lines of "Just to be clear, we're talking about something involving a gerbil." I have a very distinct memory of this interview question; I mean, how could you not.

Dec 14 06 - 12:53pm

Fun article, nice job. re: Richard Gere Sly Stallone has made statements (even MSNBC has the articles) about that rumour and how Gere supposedly blames him for it. Googling "Sly Stallone Gerbil" brings up enough information. Thought it'd be interesting to you. Best, Matthew

Dec 14 06 - 12:53pm

2Pac is still alive?

Dec 14 06 - 12:54pm

Great list but how could you not include Paul McCartney's "death"?

Dec 14 06 - 12:54pm

Do your homework. Andy Kaufman author of "If I Faked It"

Dec 14 06 - 12:54pm

Not sure how the death of paul mcartney isnt up there somewhere. all the clues from sgt peppers ,mmt , abbey road album covers . nener mind the lyrics of burying paul in strawberry fields.

Dec 14 06 - 12:54pm

It kept me reading. Good piece.

Dec 14 06 - 12:54pm

Barbara Walters referred to "salacious rumors" in a 1991 interview with Gere, who responded that he didn't care what people thought of him, saying "if I am a cow and someone says I'm a zebra, it doesn't make me a zebra." It's as close as anyone ever got to asking point blank, and of course started the subsequent rumor about him putting a cow and zebra up his ass.

Dec 15 06 - 1:08am
MK

On number 27 of "The 40 Best Celebrity Rumors Ever" it states: "...account needs to be taken with a grain of salt (or maybe an entire shaker)."
This was said that his credibility should not be taken seriously. I got what you were trying to say. However, The saying "take it with a grain of salt" is used because one grain of salt is worth nothing. If you add to it (an entire shaker) you are actually adding value to it. In keeping with the saying you are then giving the guy some credibility. Therefore, this is an incorrect use of the saying.

Apr 21 11 - 5:46pm
noraz1234

never knew that. thanks for info.

Apr 25 11 - 5:43am
BigBambu

You have no idea what you're talking about. The grain of salt refers to the minute amount of salt that is (supposedly) helpful in swallowing food. Thus, the harder a story is to swallow (food being the metaphor), the more salt would be required.

Aug 17 11 - 11:27pm
RazorKitten

Exactly. I was going to say the same thing.

Dec 14 06 - 7:09pm
kp

what happened tp Paul is dead?

Dec 18 06 - 3:10pm
KD

Richard Gere did address that rumor in an interview I think with barbara walters. He denied it and said that it was vicious and mean (the rumor, not the gerbil)

Dec 18 06 - 5:19pm
SDA

Where's the "Paul Is Dead" craze? Has to be top 10 at least, if not top 3!

Dec 18 06 - 6:36pm
MR

How can your list of Celebrity Rumors not have the Paul McCartney is Dead rumor of 1969?

Dec 18 06 - 10:28pm
RM

How on earth did the "Paul is dead" rumour not make the list?!

Jan 01 07 - 9:35pm
ab

I believe Keanu had an affair with David. There are many reasons to believe that he has known David for years. Keanu's stepfather produced an award winnning TV film with Geffen's best friend(Sandy Gallin). Keanu's mother designed clothes for Dolly Parton who was managed by and business partners with this same best friend. Bill and Ted was produced by another friend of Geffens. Do you really believe a man who loves good looking young men would have ignored Keanu?

Do you think someone who followed the LA music scene the way Keanu did would never have been invited to a Geffen party? Geffen managed Nirvana and I know Keanu had met Kurt and Courtney and supposedly tried to befriend Kurt. Keanu's friend Josh worked for Gun's and Roses...they were ownned by Geffen. There are many connections...to believe David and Keanu had never met seems absurd.

Van Sant and River had attended charity and political affairs with David Geffen but you don't think Keanu would have? Two well known and well respected gossips had reported the Geffen and Keanu rumor...they certainly meant no harm. I'm sure they just thought Keanu was out. George Christy ended up apologizing and saying it was the worse day of his life...why would you suppose he said that? Geffen is a very powerful man. Both of those gossips retired about a year after their reporting.

Mar 11 11 - 11:28am
AJ

This is dumb. "Do you really believe a man who loves good looking young men would have ignored Keanu"...so every good looking young man is sure to sleep with a man? You are ignorant, dumb and need a life.

Jan 05 07 - 5:10pm
RK

What about the rumor that "Paul is dead!" Just before the release of the Beatles' White Album (or was it Abbey Road?) there was a whole deal on whether or not Paul McCartney had been killed in a car accident. They even did TV specials about it.

Jan 05 07 - 8:37pm
ard

what about how Mr. Rogers was supposedly an ex navy seal.
And that he wore the sweaters to hide his tatoos on his arms

Jan 06 07 - 9:50am
emj

Rumor 37 is great. But the Web site you link to has been suspended.

Jan 07 07 - 1:56pm
DWG

Celebrity rumors about many small and large penises? While Nerve stirs the punchbowl with a larger one on loan from an undertaker, why not discuss the complementary vessels ascribed to some female notables such as Catherine the Great who advertised widely for the largest penis in Russia?

Jan 15 07 - 4:31pm
sjk

You missed two:

1. The baby Aretha Franklin had when she was 17 was supposedly the result of sex with her father, a minister, after her mother died.
2. Tammy Tyrrell was killed by Berry Gordy's people or by the man's wife when she wouldn't leave a certain married singer alone.

Jan 21 07 - 3:05am
AH

I was directed to your website via a friend and was browsing around casually when I came across your article regarding Tom, Katie and Suri Cruise. I find it very interesting that you list the following just below your comment box:

We are ardently committed to free expression, but we do expect Nerve visitors and contributors to interact respectfully and responsibly. Blatant expressions of bigotry, sexism or hatred may be constitutionally protected on the street corner, but they're not cool here.

And yet take barbed jabs at the subject of Scientology in your article. I find it amusing that whilst it is not politically correct to slam Catholicism or be a religiuos bigot you find it to be acceptible to another's religion. One of which you obviously know nothing about.

Thank you for my first and last visit to your ignorant website.

May 05 11 - 8:55pm
Faithful of Xenu!

It's crazy that there's scientologists roaming the web looking for any trace of info that they can drum up lawsuits for. You people are messed up.

Aug 17 11 - 11:30pm
RazorKitten

I know right? They don't give a good goddamn who gets picked on till it's them. Isaac Hayes was on South Park for years, sat cheerfully through every parody of everything. Then they jabbed at Scientology, fair and equally like everyone else, and he quit. >_>

Aug 15 07 - 12:43am
AEM

I guess it's a long shot, but I would really love to see that image of Jagger and Bowie together in a bigger size! It's beautiful!

DeliriumTrigger@elp.rr.com

<3

Aug 21 07 - 2:17am
AD

don't compare Catholicism to Scientology...one was created and promoted by a drug addicted pederast..and the other...well. good read though.

Jan 08 08 - 3:18pm
CD

What about David Soul the necrophiliac? Hutch sang "Don't give up on us Baby." Maybe she had already given up.......

Mar 30 08 - 4:27am
qq

Marilyn Monroe never had an affair with JFK, it was his brother that she had an affair with. She was murdered because Bobby divulged privileged information to her and she scheduled an interview to expose everything. A few days before the interview, she was silenced with the help of her psychiatrist and housekeeper.

Sep 27 08 - 8:14am
gvd

"Paul is dead?"

Oct 12 08 - 3:10am
BY

The Mick Jagger/David Bowie thing was first mentioned on Howard Stern, not Joan Rivers. Stern comments on his 1990 Channel 9 series how, after getting the info out of Angie, the story is picked up by the media, gets huge, and gradually it changes so that it was a Joan Rivers interview instead. The kind of thing that this article's all about, essentially.

Feb 23 11 - 10:15am
CLF

I heard the Jagger/Bowie rumor YEARS before Howard Stern came along. I believe it was in the late 70s, but may have been early 80s, when this one started floating around. I have no idea where it originated, though.

Apr 25 11 - 5:35am
BigBambu

It happened on the Joan Rivers show when Howard was on there. He had finished his segment but came out again when Angie was on and goaded her into revealing some juicy gossip about Bowie, and that was the item she revealed.

Sep 15 12 - 12:05pm
J-Ho

Absolutely on the Rivers' show. I saw that episode first run. Stern took over the interview.

Nov 13 08 - 6:18am
rev

How can you possibly have a ?Best Celebrity Rumours Ever" and not have the Rock Hudson-Jim Nabors "marriage" on the list, let alone in the top 3? This was THE Urban Rmour in the early 70's at playgrounds and at parties..

Feb 18 09 - 6:08pm
WD

You missed the rumor that Jim Nabors was secretly married to Rock Hudson!

Jul 11 09 - 2:38am

I worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1992 and actually was in charge of the balloting process and was like the rest of the team - locked away in a room doing the ballots for several weeks.
I can assure you with 100% accuracy that Marissa Tomei won the award.
The ironic part was that she barely squeeked by to get the nomination....she just got it.. However - she did win the award fair and square -- so you can put that one to rest.

Jan 22 10 - 4:47pm
AR

Here's a short about Catherine the Great that deals with this very issue....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtUb7iZ2wNw

Jan 24 10 - 7:35pm
wjr

the story about the private parts is a total waste of time. How low do you have to sink to get more print.

Oct 12 10 - 5:42pm
questionable

Simon Cowell gay?? Why this is hardly mentioned anymore is unbelievable to me!!
He always has beards and after they split up, they stay working for his company?? C'mon! Who keeps even one ex around when they get a new girl. Never mind 2 or 3 ex's still working closely with you!
Plus all the tabloid stories about his visits to lapdancing clubs and late night sex trysts with pics of girls leaving his front door, with his head popping out the door! Its so convoluted he's gotta be gay. And thats before you take into account his dress sense, way he talks, his hair and his male grooming.

Dec 06 10 - 11:38am
Alive and Well

Jm Morison is alive and well living with Writer/Actor Ryan Dior in the UK

Apr 10 11 - 2:40am
Honduras

Well, this is very interesting indeed. Would love to read a little more of this. Good post. Thanks for the heads-up.

Apr 18 11 - 11:35pm
Jake

Several people here mention the Paul is Dead Rumor circa 1969-70. I definitely think you should include it. I was 14 at the time and I can tell you that the intensity of the rumor, the sheer buzz power, was off the charts feverish for exactly one week.

Someone here says that Robert Kennedy had Marilyn Monroe killed. This is absurd. The Kennedys had lots of enemies, as powerful reformers always do. The rumors about RFK having Marilyn off'ed may very well have been started by right-wing FBI and CIA people who HATED the Kennedys. J. Edgar Hoover comes to mind.

You're right about Hoover and dresses - he was WAY too much of a control freak to ever do that. I think he was essentially asexual. His love was bureaucratic power, the power to repress and to say "no," a different kind of power from what the Kennedys wanted.

The best short profile of Bobby that I've read recently is here:

http://historyaccess.com/robertf.kennedya.html

Jun 07 11 - 12:52am
alexis Garcia

Bobby Kennedy was seen by a patrol officer in LA the night Marilyn died. Bobby's people had him in Vegas

Jun 03 11 - 4:45pm
Barry

I now Lou Christie has a big schlong, everyone in Rock and Roll knows he's blessed with a big fat italian penis. check out some of his pictures from the 60s Ask Dick Clark about it.

Jul 07 11 - 6:13pm
Tim

I lived in england years ago and knew his band. He was known for his large schlong, they called him Big Lou. Yes Lou Christie has big balls too and always wore a jock strap on stage too. Ladies were lined up to take there turn , just to see it.

Dec 31 11 - 3:27am
Eric

My ex-roomate's sister worked in the emergency room of the LA hospital when Gere came in to get the gerbil taken out in the middle of the night. Thats pretty close.

Jan 06 12 - 6:29pm
Big C

Why did the gerbal fail it's drivers liscence..........…..………It couldnt get out of gere.

Jun 24 12 - 3:13pm
Tommy

Sorry but some rumors didn't get the list, and it's like crazy they didn't

like Madonna and HIV/ hepatitis C rumor, abortion etc.
2Pac faked his own death