Why many celebrities with fame and riches are unhappy?
Having fame, riches, and even the approval and desire of most people is no guarantee of happiness. When a person becomes a celebrity, he/she is distanced from other people, and they are now part of the group that receives attention instead of giving it, who make the news instead of just watching it. With that change, they are now something seen as greater than what they used to be (assuming they aren’t a child of a celeb couple, so they started out normal, not famous).
The problem with the celeb lifestyle is that it turns success and validation, things that are largely internal, into a business based on external factors. Most people want to get rich, but those who actually try usually have the forethought to get rich doing something useful. They start a business, they make connections and start coaching people, stuff like that. THEN, once it takes off and they’re making all the money they could ever want, that’s when they get to feel success and validation.
However, a celebrity has the journey and destination mixed up. The whole point of their job, what they make a living doing, is coming across as successful, and getting the validation of others. So what’s there to do when you make it? Feel extra successful and validated? Eventually, it starts to feel like other people liking you is more important and more true than how you feel about yourself.
As a funny aside, this is why there are so many celebrity weight-loss experts that are fat. They’re famous for having lost weight and being healthy already, so why would they really need the personal motivation of actually keeping the weight off? Everyone already tells them “Good job, you did it, you’re my inspiration.”
To the rest of us in the outside world, celebrities might seem connected to their fans, but on some level, even for the nicest ones, it’s something they are incentivized to do. They literally couldn’t make a living if people didn’t see them as successful and enviable anymore.
These things, among other reasons, is why I don’t look up to celebrities. I don’t care about them, what they have to say about basically anything, I completely reject my country’s (USA) celebrity worshiping culture. And I think over time, with future generations, my thinking may gradually catch on and become the majority. Why should there some group of people, mostly in Los Angeles, that the world at large needs to know about and keep track of?
But enough about that. Let’s discuss more in the context of your question. What’s so bad about being famous, that famous people often can’t enjoy it?
Attention is a double-edged sword. Much as people desire it, they also fear it equally. Celebrities get huge amounts of attention, people talk to them, and about them, and judge them. Some celebrities are just annoyed, others feel obligated to keep up some kind of front, especially these days, where it seems like you’re not a real celebrity if you haven’t shoved your nose into politics at least once a year. All of this is stressful. It’s not unheard of for a celebrity to do or say one thing that ruins the movie or show they were acting in and promoting. Sure, maybe they did something wrong, but now a bunch of people who didn’t anything wrong, and who probably worked a lot harder than the celebrity did, get to pay the price when people boycott the film or send angry letters, all over what the celebrity said or did in real life instead of the movie. Talk about overwhelming responsibility to NEVER say the wrong thing. I know I couldn’t take it!
This stress and the burden to carry this lifestyle forces them to gain more fame because more attention is a safety net. No press is bad press, they say. But, this might lead to more overwhelm and more personal matters getting blown up too big for their own good, which can cause even celebs who love their families or friends to deliberately distance themselves, so as not to bring their current life situation down on them. So if you’re the average celebrity, you’ve got the world on your shoulders and people asking you why you said that thing you said, all the time, and now you’re spending less time with the people whose opinions really matter.
On the other hand, people who are not famous or celebrities usually think that once they get fame and money, they will be happy. But in reality, happiness is unconditional and internal. Fame and money can give momentary fulfillment and excitement, but the emphasis on momentary.
Many people value the idea of being a celeb because they equate it to being rich and famous. You don’t necessarily have to be a celebrity to be those things, though. George Washington was an important guy, but I don’t think you’d say he was a celebrity of his times (Ben Franklin probably was, though). Celebrities aren’t ALL rich and famous people, they’re people who make a living off their image as a rich and famous person, usually working in the entertainment industry. It’s a cool idea if it were allowed to happen naturally more often (and that’s what the internet has done, to a degree, which is great). But today, we have a celebrity industry that has turned these people into a business. Even children are involved, often to their detriment.
Rich people and celebrities do have one thing in common, though, they almost always want to be richer, more powerful, more everything. Stagnation is terrifying, let alone backsliding. Once they reach a level, a goal, it doesn’t matter, what’s the next goal, no time to celebrate. Or, what’s it gonna take to never stagnate, to stay rich and/or relevant? Even people who are miserable being celebrities, for the reasons I stated above, still usually get caught in this scarcity mindset, eager to protect the job they hate at all costs.
There comes a point when this greed and obsession defines a person’s whole life. Everyone has goals, everyone would be happy with more than what they’ve got, and that’s great. Strive for more, if you want it.
After a certain point, though, everything has diminishing returns. There is such a thing as being too well-known, too trusted, too famous for the wrong reasons. And all the money in the world can’t buy you out of that nightmare.
This discussion is broad and kind of never-ending. There are multiple reasons celebrities with fame and riches could be unhappy. In the context of our discussion, I have an article to share: The Homeless Millionaire: How Making Money is Only Half the Battle. You can read that on my website to get some other dimensions to this topic.
Feel free to reply if you need any clarification.