Warning: This article contains mention of child sexual abuse.
2023 has seen many celebrities getting more candid than ever about their lives by penning tell-all memoirs.
Britney Spears, Pamela Anderson, John Stamos, and Prince Harry are just a handful of the famous faces who’ve released personal books this year — and it’s safe to say that each of them have divulged several shocking details about their life experiences and personal relationships.
So, here are 8 celebrities who made huge revelations in their memoirs this year.
1. Britney Spears
In Britney Spears’s memoir, The Woman In Me, the singer revealed that she quietly had an abortion after falling pregnant while she was dating Justin Timberlake. The pair were together between 1999 and 2002.
Britney writes that she wanted to have the baby, but claims that Justin “wasn’t happy” about it and was certain that he “didn’t want to be a father.”
“It was a surprise, but for me, it wasn’t a tragedy. I loved Justin so much. I always expected us to have a family together one day. This would just be much earlier than I’d anticipated” she writes. “But Justin definitely wasn’t happy about the pregnancy. He said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young.”
“If it had been left up to me alone, I never would have done it. And yet Justin was so sure that he didn’t want to be a father,” she adds.
Elsewhere in her book, Britney opens up about the intense media scrutiny she’s faced throughout her career. Back in 2007, shortly before she was placed under a tight conservatorship for the next 13 years, she infamously shaved her head — something that she writes was a “fuck you” to the world — and attacked a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella. Recalling this in detail, Britney reveals that afterwards, she actually reached out to the paparazzi agency to apologize.
2. Jada Pinkett-Smith
Jada Pinkett-Smith is another celebrity who got incredibly candid about her life in her memoir, Worthy, after facing years of media scrutiny — namely over her marriage with Will Smith.
In the book, Jada made the shocking revelation that she and Will — who tied the knot back in 1997 — have secretly been separated since 2016. She later revealed that she was “shocked” when he referred to her as his “wife” at the infamous 2022 Oscars.
3. Julia Fox
Julia Fox’s memoir, Down The Drain, was released in October — and while most people fixated on the details of her whirlwind relationship with Kanye West, which took place while the rapper was still trying to pursue his ex-wife Kim Kardashian, the model’s book sheds light on many of her harrowing experiences in life.
In one chapter, Julia recalls the moment she realized that she’d had a miscarriage during a night out.
“One evening at Mama’s Bar in the Lower East Side, I go to the bathroom to pee. When I pull down my pants, I find something strange on my panties. It looks like a ball of wax with veins running through it. I examine it closely and flick it into the toilet. As I flush, it dawns on me that I just had a miscarriage,” she writes.
Julia continues, “I scramble and try fishing it out, but it’s too late. I watch my embryonic sac circle the drain and disappear into the New York City sewage system.” She later adds that she had “no clue” who the father was, and ended up going back to the bar right afterwards.
4. Pamela Anderson
Pamela, who was 7 months pregnant with her second child, Dylan, when she realized the tape had been stolen, reveals in her book that she has “not watched it to this day.” When she and Tommy sought legal action, they were interviewed separately during their deposition — and she writes that in the room, there were naked photos of her everywhere. She claims that the lawyers told her she had “no right to privacy” because she’d appeared in Playboy, and asked her invasive questions about her sex life.
Elsewhere in her book, Pamela reflects on her childhood, revealing that she was sexually abused by a female babysitter growing up, who allegedly forced her to “play weird games on her body.”
5. Kerry Washington
Kerry Washington’s book, Thicker Than Water, sees the actor opening up about her secret abortion in detail for the very first time.
Kerry reveals that she had an unplanned pregnancy shortly after starring in Save the Last Dance in 2001. Out of fear of ruining her career, she writes that she chose to give the doctors at the clinic a fake name in order to protect her identity, and subsequently chose to keep the entire thing a secret.
“I sat in the waiting room and completed the paperwork with false information: a made-up name, a pretend address, a nonexistent email,” she writes, adding that she “wanted to be careful” and “wanted this procedure to remain private.”
The actor goes on to recall feeling terrified when a nurse at the clinic told her she looked exactly like a “movie star” — Kerry Washington.
“As the doctor opened my cervix and inserted the thin vacuum tube, the nurse looked down at me, smiled, and very gently said, ‘Do you know who you look like?’ I think she was trying to comfort me, to tell me that even though this moment was incredibly difficult, she could see the beauty in me, could see that I reminded her of a movie star,” she writes.
“She said my real name. I could hear it under the muffled sound of the water in which I was drowning. Kerry Washington. It was my name, but the version she was calling out had nothing to do with me. And so, in that moment, I didn't know who I was,” she adds.
6. Prince Harry
It may feel like a lifetime ago, but yes, Prince Harry’s book, Spare, was released this year — back in January. And it features several raw experiences about his life, many of which he’d kept private over the years.
One of the most shocking things detailed in Spare is an alleged physical assault that Harry claims took place in 2019. He says that his brother William, whom he calls his “archnemesis,” referred to Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle, as “rude” and “abrasive,” before allegedly attacking him.
“He set down the water, called me another name, then came at me. It all happened so fast,” Harry writes, “So very fast. He grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and he knocked me to the floor. I landed on the dog’s bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me. I lay there for a moment, dazed, then got to my feet and told him to get out.”
Elsewhere in his book, Harry candidly recalls the moment he had sex for the first time. He describes the encounter, which was with an “older lady” while he was 17, as “humiliating,” writing, “I mounted her quickly, after which she spanked my ass and held me back... One of my mistakes was letting it happen in a field, just behind a busy pub. No doubt someone had seen us.”
7. Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton’s self-titled book is full of shocking revelations about her tumultuous life — one of which being a disturbing relationship she had with her school teacher while she was in the 8th grade.
Paris writes that the teacher was the one to pursue her, telling her that he had a “crush” on her and repeatedly gushing about how “mature” and “intelligent” she was. "We talked for hours about how amazingly mature, beautiful, and intelligent I was, how sensual, misunderstood, and special. He reminded me that Princess Diana was 13 years younger than Prince Charles. And Priscilla Presley was my age when Elvis fell in love with her,” she writes.
Paris says that the controversial relationship came to an end after her parents unexpectedly showed up while they were making out in his car outside her home. “This terrifying blissful kissing went on for what seemed like a long time and seemed to be evolving into something more. I don't know where he would have taken it if my parents hadn't pulled into the driveway,” she writes.
8. John Stamos
In John Stamos’s book, If You Would Have Told Me, the actor says that he was sexually abused by his babysitter when he was around 10 years old.
He writes that he felt “trapped” at the time, though suppressed his emotions and “packed” away his trauma for years. In an interview with People ahead of his memoir’s release, John revealed that began to reflect on his experience while putting together an acceptance speech for an award he received for his advocacy work to support child victims of abuse.
If you are concerned that a child is experiencing or may be in danger of abuse, you can call or text the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 (4.A.CHILD); service can be provided in over 140 languages.