17 Celebs Who Called Out Their Bullies Or Proved Them Wrong Years Later

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Unfortunately, a lot of people deal with bullying in school, and sometimes it continues after graduation or happens again in the workplace. For some, no amount of fame and fortune is enough to keep the bullies away, but they’ve felt empowered to fight back.

Here are 17 celebs who called out their bullies or proved them wrong:


On the red carpet at the Creed III premiere, Michael B. Jordan confronted Morning Hustle‘s Lore’l, a former classmate who was part of a group that “teased him all the damn time because his name was Michael Jordan.” When she brought up their school days, he replied, “[I was] the corny kid, right?”

Lore'l interviewing Michael

He was seemingly referring to comments her cohost, Dominique da Diva, made on the Undressing Room podcast in 2021, calling him a “nice, corny guy.”

On the episode, Lore’l described teasing him about his name, then continued, “He also would come to school with a headshot. We lived in Newark; that’s the hood. We would make fun of him like, ‘What you gonna do with your stupid headshot!?’ And now look at him!”

At the premiere, she denied calling him “corny” but admitted to making fun of his name. She said, “Well, you’re not corny anymore,” and then Michael just walked away.


After Hailey Bieber was accused of mocking Selena Gomez (though she denied it), Selena responded in a comment on a fan’s TikTok about the situation, writing, “It’s ok! I don’t let these things get me down! Be nice to everyone!”

Hailey deleted her original video.

In a TikTok comment, she said, “I never comment on this type of thing but we were just having a girls night and did a random tik tok sound for fun. It’s not directed at anyone.”


Days later, however, Kylie Jenner was accused of mocking Selena’s post about accidentally overdoing her eyebrow lamination on Instagram, though Kylie denied that was her intention. Selena found support in her fans. On a video that called out “mean girls coming at [Selena’s] fucking throat,” she commented, “I love you.”

On another TikTok celebrating her bravery and openness while living under constant public scrutiny, Selena commented, “That made me cry. Thank you!”

However, the alleged feud has seemingly continued with more recent drama.


While Lady Gaga was a student at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, 12 of her classmates reportedly started a Facebook group called “Stefani Germanotta, You Will Never Be Famous.” She previously spoke about being thrown into a trash can by boys in high school. However, she channeled those experiences to prepare for her Oscar-nominated role in A Star Is Born.

Lady Gaga in a gown on the red carpet

She told People magazine, “What I had to do was go back further into my childhood and into my high school years, when I was bullied and made fun of for having big dreams.”


Junior high was difficult for Taylor Swift because she “got dumped by this group of popular girls [who] didn’t think [she] was cool or pretty enough, so they stopped talking to [her].” However, a year into her music career, she played a hometown show, and those same girls “showed up, wearing [Taylor’s] T-shirts and asking [her] to sign their CDs.”

Taylor wearing a two-piece shiny outfit

She told Teen Vogue (via Yahoo), “It was bittersweet because it made me realize that they didn’t remember being mean to me and that I needed to forget about it too. And really, if I hadn’t come home from school miserable every day, maybe I wouldn’t have been so motivated to write songs. I should probably be thanking them!”


Likewise, the criticism Taylor received after her 2010 Grammy Awards performance with Stevie Nicks was really hard on her. In response, she wrote the song “Mean,” which she performed at the 2012 Grammys. She altered the lyrics to say, “Someday, I’ll be singing this at the Grammys.”

Taylor performing

Describing the song during a red carpet interview with Ryan Seacrest, she said that it was inspired by “criticism, rejection, and dealing with that, and kind of having to have this blind faith that things will get better.”


Growing up, Kim Petras was “bullied pretty badly” because “being transgender and going to school is tough,” but she used pop music as escapism. In 2023, she became the first transgender woman to win a Grammy for Best Pop Duo Performance.

Kim holding a Grammy

She told Glamour UK, “I’ve always just kind of wanted to do the same thing that I feel like pop stars did for me when I was a kid.”


In seventh grade, Winona Ryder “was wearing an old Salvation Army–shop boys suit” when a group of girls in the bathroom called her a gay slur, slammed her head into a locker, and kicked her when she fell. Years later, she ran into one of the bullies in a coffee shop. When the girl asked for her autograph, Winona refused and confronted her about the bullying instead.

Winona in a three-piece pantsuit

She told Harper’s Bazaar (via New York magazine), “She said, ‘Winona, Winona, can I have your autograph?’ and I said, ‘Do you remember me? I went to Kenilworth. Remember how, in seventh grade, you beat up that kid?’ and she said, ‘Kind of,’ and I said, ‘That was me. Go fuck yourself!'”


As a high schooler in Newton, Massachusetts, Priyanka Chopra Jonas was targeted by racist bullies. So she “broke up with America” and moved back to India, where she went on to become Miss World 2000, then a Bollywood star. She, of course, returned to the US as an adult and became a Hollywood star, too.

Priyanka in a yellow satiny gown with matching jacket

She told People magazine, “I was so blessed that when I went back to India, I was surrounded by so much love and admiration for who I was. Going back to India healed me after that experience in high school.”


Courtney Stodden, who became a target of public ridicule for marrying 50-year-old actor Doug Hutchison when they were only 16, called out Chrissy Teigen for allegedly taunting them and wishing for their death in public tweets and private messages.

After Chrissy briefly left Twitter because of bullies, Courtney made a video calling her “hypocritical” because, they said, “I experienced so much harassment and bullying from her when I was just 16 years old, just 17 years old, just 18 years old, at a time when I needed help. Like, I was being abused.”

On Twitter, Chrissy apologized, writing, “I’m mortified and sad at who I used to be. I was an insecure, attention seeking troll. I am ashamed and completely embarrassed at my behavior but that is nothing compared to how I made Courtney feel. … I have tried to connect with Courtney privately but since I publicly fueled all this, I want to also publicly apologize. I’m so sorry, Courtney. I hope you can heal now knowing how deeply sorry I am.”


In 2020, Samantha Marie Ware called out her former Glee costar Lea Michele for allegedly making “[her] first television gig a living hell.”

On Twitter, Samantha said in all capital letters, “I believe you told everyone that if you had the opportunity, you would ‘shit in my wig!’ amongst other traumatic microaggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood.”

Several of her costars, including Alex Newell and Dabier, supported her. Dabier also alleged that Lea wouldn’t let him sit with the other cast members at a table because he “didn’t belong there.”

In 2023, Lea told Interview magazine, “I think these past two years have been so important for everybody to just sit back and reflect. I did a lot of personal reach-outs. But the most important thing was for everybody to just take a step back. … At the end of the day, what matters the most is how you make people feel. And you have to put aside your feelings. The conversations that I’ve had behind the scenes with some people were incredibly healing and very eye-opening for me.”


Courtney Stodden also called out Joy Behar and Courtney Love for publicly slut-shaming them when they were a child.

Stodden told Daily Beast, “There were a lot of celebrities acting like playground bullies. Some of the worst treatment I got was from women, and we’re not going to get anywhere if we keep holding each other back.”


After Latto privately asked Nicki Minaj to leave her name out of her Grammys criticism, Nicki tweeted and deleted a screenshot of their texts and called her a “Karen.” In response, Latto tweeted, “I’ve ignored countless subtweets since March and instead addressed u in the dm. You’re asking why I didn’t speak up in ur defense… it’s the same answer I gave u when u asked why I didn’t congratulate you. Ur literally older than my mom tryna be a bully.”

She also shared evidence of Nicki criticizing her on Twitter and screenshots of a conversation in which she’d confronted her about it privately.

In a follow-up tweet, she continued, “With all this being said this wasn’t JUST about a Grammy category. U being funny bringing me up to defend ur case knowing our last convo didn’t end on good terms. U literally told me I’m not ‘flourishing’ and no one cares about my ‘little song.'”


When Blake Lively was in elementary school, other kids made fun of her “by calling [her] Big Bird because [she] was ‘too tall’ and had ‘yellow’ hair.” However, it came full circle when she did a Sesame Street segment and met Big Bird himself.

On Instagram, she said, “Here’s to making best buddies with the things that once hurt you.”


As a kid, Tom Holland “was bullied about dancing and stuff.” However, he didn’t let that discourage him, and when he was 12, he played the titular role in the West End production of Billy Elliot the Musical.

He told People, “You couldn’t hit me hard enough to stop me from doing [dance].”


On a video of Dua Lipa’s 2018 BRIT Awards performance, one anonymous user commented, “I love her lack of energy, go girl give us nothing!” It sparked a meme as others joined in to mock her unenthusiastic dancing. However, “getting bullied online … made [her] want to dance [her] ass off and just really get better.”

Dua dancing

She worked hard and improved her stage presence before her incredibly well-received Future Nostalgia era.

She told Vanity Fair, “You want to show that you’re here to stay, and you want to show that it’s not just about one album or one big song or whatever it is. I just wanted to make sure that this time around, I was very much in control of the fact that I’m going to do the music, then I’m going to rehearse. And then when I come in and I do the performances, they’re all going to be amazing. I’m going to prove to people that I can do this and that I’m here to stay.”


And finally, the day after ninth-grader Shawn Mendes uploaded one of his first YouTube cover videos, he went to school and walked “straight into a group of older guys yelling out, ‘Sing for me, Shawn, sing for me!’ in a way that made [him] feel absolutely horrible… made [him] feel like a joke, like what [he] was doing was just stupid and wrong.” However, soon after, his songs got popular on Vine, and he became a chart-topping artist.

Shawn onstage holding a guitar

Reflecting on Instagram, he said, “I was lucky though, I had the best friends & the best parents anyone could ask for… no matter what they would never let me stop doing what I LOVED to do just because someone ELSE thought it was stupid.

“It’s not [a] joke to me. To make someone feel bad about doing what they love… Every single person deserves to do what makes them feel alive.”

StopBullying.gov is an organization that provides resources to prevent harassment and bullying against children. Stomp Out Bullying offers a free and confidential chat line here.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org. The Trevor Project, which provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386.

If you or someone you know has experienced anti-LGBTQ violence or harassment, you can contact the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs hotline at 1-212-714-1141.

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