15 Most Shocking Celebrity Revelations We Learned After They Died

In our celebrity-obsessed world, it’s hard to believe that any secrets could ever be withheld from the public for an extended period of time. With the intensive media coverage, the internet, and the greediness of friends, family, and acquaintances all trying to cash in by spilling all the gossip on our favorite celebrities, it’s a wonder that we don’t know everything there is to know about each and every celebrity walking this Earth. But, we don’t know everything. Not even close. While we do get plenty of information, many of the deepest secrets are held onto tightly until long after the star dies. Hell, even though we never can say for sure, we’re certain that countless secrets are kept indefinitely, if only to preserve the memory and the image of the star after their death.

For the stars on this list, however, secrets were released. We just had to wait until they passed away to hear about them. Some of these secrets were speculated at while the star was alive, but we just didn’t know for sure if it was true or to what degree. Some secrets were divulged by people close to the celebrities, whereas some were released in coronary or police reports. For many people, these secrets changed the way they viewed the celebrity. For good or ill, the new information we received made us feel that maybe we didn’t know the celebrity as well as we thought we did. Here are the 15 Most Shocking Celebrity Revelations We Learned After They Died.

15. Elvis Presley

Even though his career had slowed down in the years leading up to his death in 1977, Elvis Presley was still the most famous musician in the world when he died. Prior to his death, Presley’s weight changed dramatically. He was accused by some people close to him of abusing drugs heavily and his health was seriously in question. But Presley and his family vehemently denied almost everything. When he was found dead on his bathroom floor, however, details started to be made public. The coroner’s report listed “fourteen drugs in Elvis’ system, ten in significant quantity.” When Presley’s physician was called in for questioning, being linked as potentially responsible for the King’s death, he stated on record, “In the first eight months of 1977 alone, he had [prescribed] more than 10,000 doses of sedatives, amphetamines, and narcotics: all in Elvis’ name.” The same doctor also revealed that he believed Presley died from chronic constipation. The autopsy revealed that Presley’s colon was twice the size it should have been, both in length and diameter. Not the most pleasant lasting image of the great Elvis Presley.

14. Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher‘s death was sad all by itself. When it was coupled with Debbie Reynolds‘ death the next day, her mother, it was made even more tragic. Anyone who knew anything about Fisher knew that she was open about her life and her past. She was a frequent drug user in the past and probably still dabbled from time to time. The news of her death stated that she died of cardiac arrest during a flight bound for LA. Recently, however, the toxicology reports have painted a different picture. It appears that her heart issues were accelerated by drug use that was anything but “dabbling.” In her system, coroners found cocaine, methadone, MDMA, opiates, heroin, and alcohol. Much of this was consumed within 72 hours prior to her death.

13. Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s death at age 46 was a shock to film fans everywhere. Considered one of the greatest actors in the industry, Hoffman was a giant celebrity. At the peak of his fame, Hoffman did an interview in which he admitted that he greatly struggled with drug addiction as a young man at New York University. He had said that during that time, he would take “anything I could get my hands on. I liked it all.” After entering rehab in 1989, Hoffman stayed clean for 23 years. Although it was kept secret at the time, in 2013, Hoffman relapsed and found himself back in rehab. Later, his family would say that this short stint helped, and he got clean once again. Then, on February 2, 2014, Hoffman was found dead with a heroin needle in his arm. The death was ruled an accident by “acute mixed drug intoxication, including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and amphetamine.”

12. Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke’s death is one of the strangest celebrity deaths ever; but it was made much weirder afterward. Cooke was shot during an altercation with a hotel manager. He was naked except for a sports jacket and was allegedly belligerent and demanding of the manager when she shot him. She then recounted hitting him with a broom handle until he died. The legitimacy of this account was called into question after Cooke’s funeral when singer Etta James recounted what she saw at the funeral. She said that Cooke’s head was almost removed from his shoulders. His face and hands were broken beyond belief. She seriously doubted that any woman, broomstick-aided or not, could do this kind of damage to him. Conspiracy theorists use this account as evidence that Cooke was murdered by others for various reasons.

11. River Phoenix

River Phoenix‘s death has been widely covered by this point. Hell, the recording of his brother, Joaquin Phoenix, calling 911 when River was dying was broadcast everywhere. The autopsy reports showing a crazy cocktail of drugs in his system and the talk of how he overdosed outside the Viper Room has been discussed to death. But leading up to this moment, Phoenix was one of Hollywood’s cleanest and purest stars. He was known for his veganism, his social and political interests, and his humanitarian efforts. It wasn’t known by anyone outside of his circle that he was a rampant drug user and alcoholic. Twenty years after Phoenix’s death, it was said that he was staying with John Frusciante in the days prior to his overdose. He and Frusciante, famous for his time with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, would allegedly go on multi-day drug binges. For everyone who saw Phoenix as that sweet kid before his death, this news was a huge shock.

10. Brittany Murphy

Maybe it’s because we’re jaded or because it happens so frequently in Hollywood, but when Brittany Murphy died, many assumed it was drug-related. Technically, it kind of was drug-related, but not in the usual way. Officially, Murphy died of pneumonia and anemia, but her death was aided by over-the-counter medication. Nothing really jumped out to people from this news at first. It wasn’t until a few months later when her husband, Simon Monjack, died of the very same thing. Now, obviously, pneumonia is contagious, but this second death piqued the interest of Murphy’s family and friends. Her father then asked for some of her hair to be tested for a more detailed report. The results allegedly came back with the presence of “abnormally high levels” of toxic heavy metals, as many as 10 different metals. Some have claimed that this is evidence that Murphy and Monjack were poisoned. Who knows for sure?

9. Phil Hartman

When the world learned of Phil Hartman’s death, that was shocking enough. But, in the weeks and years that followed, more details were released that made the whole situation even crazier. The police report was clear: Hartman and his wife, Brynn, got into an argument over her drug use. Later that night, while high on cocaine, Brynn entered their bedroom where Hartman slept and shot him twice, killing him. She then drove to a friend’s house, confessed, went home, and shot and killed herself in the bathroom. Then, several years after Hartman’s death, comedian Jon Lovitz revealed that Brynn had been sober for 10 years before this event, and it was fellow comedian Andy Dick who provided her with cocaine at a party that got her hooked once again.

8. Whitney Houston

It was no secret that Whitney Houston was a drug addict. Her life in the limelight was checkered with disturbing accounts of drug abuse and craziness that we don’t often see from celebrities. In the years leading up to her death, though, it was said that Houston had been clean. Her family was said to be shocked when they learned that drugs were found in her system. Yet, the revelations that were discovered in her coronary report and the police report from the scene of her death painted an uglier picture than any of us had imagined. Found dead from accidental drowning in a bathtub, Houston was acutely intoxicated by cocaine. Various paraphernalia and cocaine were found close by. There were 12 different medications found in the room prescribed by five different doctors. What was more shocking was that Houston had dentures to replace the teeth that years of crack use had worn away. She also had a considerably large hole in her nasal cavity from continuous cocaine use.

7. Rock Hudson

Rock Hudson was one of Hollywood’s leading men in the ’50s and ’60s and was a heartthrob adored around the world. Although many of the details of his personal life were known to people close to him, little was known publicly about Hudson until his death in 1985 of AIDS-related complications. It was then that people started to look back and reveal what they knew about his hidden sexuality. Prior to his death, rumors swirled that he did have AIDS, but this was denied by Hudson’s people, claiming that he had liver cancer instead. When he died and the truth of his disease came out, the speculation of his homosexuality turned to validation, and the world learned once and for all that one of their heterosexual heroes was actually and always was a gay man.

6. Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel, the French fashion designer and businesswoman, was celebrated as a woman who helped change the feminine image in fashion in early to mid-20th century. When the second World War broke out, there were rumblings that Chanel was consorting with the German enemy, but she was cleared of any wrongdoing. The closure of her shop, which resulted in the loss of 4,000 jobs, was criticized; but nothing much was ever made of this either. Chanel died in 1971 a French hero. In 2011, however, 40 years after her death, Chanel’s biographer, Hal Vaughan, published a book that was based on newly declassified documents. In this book, he revealed that Chanel had openly collaborated with German intelligence activities during the war. She was also in a relationship with a German spy.

5. Margaret Gibson

Margaret Gibson was a silent film star in her own right, but her death and the news that came during it made her into a much larger figure than she was in life. Gibson’s career flitted away after she was involved in a few scandals and she moved around quite a bit, eventually fading from memory. Then, in 1964, Gibson was living back in Hollywood when she suffered a heart attack. Feeling that she was dying, she called in a priest to give confession. There, in the sight of the priest and her neighbors, Gibson confessed to one of Hollywood’s most famous unsolved mysteries, the murder of director William Desmond Taylor. While some immediately wrote it off as an attempt to build a legacy for herself, Gibson had worked with Taylor very early in their careers and the timing was right.

4. Robin Williams

When news broke of Robin Williams death, the world was shocked. One of the most loved comedians by so many different generations, Williams was one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. Then, we learned that he committed suicide and was severely depressed, and the rumors started going wild. People looked to past films and interviews and tried to pinpoint what made the man, who made so many laugh, so depressed. But the most revealing information came even later than this news and was delivered to clear up all the misconceptions. Yes, Williams did commit suicide, but he didn’t do it because he suffered from depression. In fact, he suffered from a debilitating brain disease called Diffuse Lewy Body Dementia/ Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). This disease causes confusion and mixed signals in the brain, of which depression is a side effect.

3. David Carradine

We’ve come to expect that elderly men, such as David Carradine, die in peaceful ways. When the news started filtering out that legendary B-Movie actor Carradine had passed away at age 72, it wasn’t necessarily that much of a shock. Then, we started hearing more details. At first, it was suicide by hanging. Then, it got more detailed. It was accidental asphyxiation. Carradine had been shooting a film in Thailand and was discovered in his hotel room, alone, naked, gagged, tied up, and hanging, wearing a women’s wig and fishnet stockings. Carradine’s ex-wife spoke about his “deadly” sexual interests and several lovers of his came forward and added to those claims. It’s not that we can’t imagine people dying in this way; it’s just that we can’t imagine a 72-year-old Carradine die this way.

2. Billy Tipton

Born in 1914, Billy Tipton was a successful Jazz musician in the US. He lived until the age of 74 and was well-known around the country. During his life, he adopted three sons with his partner, a stripper named Kitty Kelly. Although it wasn’t learned by the public until the press began offering his family members large sums of money to verify the postmortem rumors, Billy Tipton had been living and performing as a transgender man. For most of his life, Tipton had been taping down his breasts and padding his pants to hide his female s*x. When his partner and one of his sons spoke to the media and told this story, it was front page news everywhere and is still one of the most shocking revelations we’ve learned about a celeb after they die.

1. Jimmy Savile

Jimmy Savile was an English DJ and one of the nation’s most beloved television and radio personalities. He died in 2011 just short of his 85th birthday, and more than 4,000 adoring fans paid tribute. Throughout his life, there had been a number of accusations placed against Savile, but nothing was ever taken too seriously by the media or the justice system. There were rumors that he had suspicious encounters with young people, but his star power and money kept him safe from any persecution. Approximately a year after his death, however, an investigation began into the accusations. In a startlingly short period of time, more than 400 victims came forward, a large majority of them saying that they were raped or s*xually assaulted by Savile when they were children. Accounts of necrophilia and child p*rnography blew up as well. In the end, everything with Savile’s name on it was stripped, and his legacy was changed from hero to villain.


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