Tragic Hollywood Starlets: 11 Leading Ladies Who Hid Their Secret Pasts

By  | 

In todays entertainment industry, were constantly bombarded with headlines about the famous faces we adore seeing on our screens. From scandalous secrets to heartwarming stories, there isnt much that celebrities can keep hidden from the public eye anymore.

But back when Hollywood was just getting started with silent films and big budget pictures, stars were able to keep at least a few things private. Though there were also plenty of infamous gossip writers, they tended to work with the performers rather than expose them.

Thats why its so shocking to see how many of the beautiful ladies below were concealing some tragic moments in their lives. Over the years, since the height of their fame, historians have uncovered the heartbreaking truth behind some of the worlds most captivatingand iconicwomen.

Did we miss one of your favorite leading ladies? Leave a comment and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

Thumbnail source: Flickr

1. Judy Garland


The legendary andmulti-talented performerwas deemed an “ugly duckling” when she arrived in Hollywood at the age of 13, forced to wear caps on her teeth and plastic disks to change the shape of her nose. MGMstudio headLouis B. Mayer would frequentlyrefer toher as “little hunchback.”

2. Hedy Lamarr


After becoming a successful actress in her nativeGermany, her first husband became so possessive that he essentially kept her prisoner in their home. She finally escaped by disguising herself as their maid and fleeing to Paris.

3. Ginger Rogers


Fred Astaire’s iconic dance partner was kidnapped by her own father twice as an infant after her parents separated a few months before her birth, and she never saw him again the rest of her life.

4. Dorothy Dandridge


Her daughter was born with severe brain damage and ultimately had to be placed in a mental institution.After a long affair with director Otto Preminger ended with his refusal to leave his wife, she discovered those in charge of her finances had stolen $150,000 and left her in debt owing $139,000 in back taxes.

5. Mary Pickford


As half of the original Hollywood power couple with Douglas Fairbanks, Pickford’s life was frequently overshadowed by issues with alcohol, which beganwhen her father abandoned the family before dying of a blood clot.

She also suffered domestic abuse from her first husband when he drank and became jealous of her career becoming more successful than his own.

6. Carmen Miranda


Her devoted mother supported her career, but when her father found out about Miranda going on her first audition, he took his disapprovalout on her mom with physical abuse.

7. Joan Crawford


Her father abandoned the family just months before she was born, something she didn’t realize until her brother confessed that her step-dad wasn’t her biological father. She also endured a serious leg injury which kept her out of school for over a year.

8. Clara Bow


The original “It Girl” grew up caring for her mother throughout childhood and dealing with her bouts of “psychosis due to epilepsy,” waking up one morning with her mother holding a knife to her throat.

9. Ingrid Bergman


She lost her mother at just two years old, followed by her father when she was 13. After being sent to live with an aunt, that relative also passed away after just six months with her.

10. Hattie McDaniel


The Academy Award winningGone With the Windactress had awful luck when it came to love, losing her first two husbands and being treated cruelly by two others, one of them actually threatening to kill her.

She alsobecame severely depressed after suffering a “false pregnancy” and never had children.

11. Jayne Mansfield


Shelost her father at 3 years old when he suffered a heart attack while driving with Mansfield and her sister in the car, an eerie premonition for her owndeath in a horrificautomobile accident with her children in the back seat.

Did we miss your favorite starlet’s tragic secret? Leave a comment and SHARE their heartbreaking stories with your friends!

Read more:

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

We use Google Tag Manager to monitor our traffic and to help us AB test new features.

Decline all Services
Accept all Services