A-list beefs: We can’t get enough of ’em. Preferably with some withering repartees, and punctuated with the occasional punch in the face. Ryan Murphy’s FX series Feud portrays one of Hollywood’s most infamous: the infighting between dueling divas Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) and Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) on the set of 1962 psychodrama What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? But Joan and Bette are far from the only two celebs who ever publicly clawed at each other’s throats. We’ve compiled a list of pop culture’s most bitter standoffs, from literary giants with an ax to grind to rock stars throwing tambourines at each other’s heads.
Gore Vidal vs. Truman Capote
Shade Rating: 9
Cranky literary giant Gore Vidal was famous for getting into it with his fellow writers, but he saved his greatest vitriol for rival Truman Capote. Both men made a splash as openly gay writers in the late 1940s. Vidal famously claimed that when he first met Capote at a party, he mistook the pint-sized author for a “colorful ottoman” and sat on him. Their war went nuclear when Vidal sued Capote for slander in the ’60s (for saying that Bobby Kennedy threw Vidal out of the White House for being “drunk and obnoxious”) and the latter countersued. When Capote died in 1984, Vidal called it “a wise career move.” Ouch.
Faye Dunaway vs. Roman Polanski
Shade Rating: 10
Movie directors and stars often have uneasy relationships when filming, but perhaps none was more acidic than Roman Polanski and Faye Dunaway’s on the set of 1974’s Chinatown. According to Peter Biskind’s book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, Polanski heaped abuse on Dunaway that ranged from him yanking a hair from her head when it was blocking a shot to denying her a bathroom break during a scene. Dunaway responded in the second instance by tossing a coffee cup full of urine in the auteur’s face, to which he cried, “You cunt, that’s piss!” “Yes, you little putz!” the actress replied. Debra Winger vs. Shirley MacLaine Shade Rating: 7 Despite the loving mother-daughter relationship Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger portrayed in 1983 weepie Terms of Endearment, their off- screen rapport was anything but affectionate. An infamously difficult co-star, Winger frequently clashed with MacLaine during filming. Hollywood lore has it that on set, the former once lifted up her dress in order to fart in the latter’s face. Both earned Academy Award noms for best actress for their performances; when MacLaine beat out Winger, she ended her speech by declaring, “I deserve this.”
Katy Perry vs. Taylor Swift
Shade Rating: 6
In the modern age, we have social media to keep track of A-lister feuds in excruciating detail. And surely there’s been no tit-for-tat showdown in the past decade quite like the one between these pop superstars. The two were thick as thieves in the late 2000s, frequently photographed together at awards shows and sharing cat anecdotes over Twitter. Then came the duo’s back-to-back dating of soulful guitar arm-candy slice John Mayer. But their real beef started over backup dancers. During Swift’s 2012 arena tour, a handful of backup dancers jumped ship when Perry hired them for her own tour. Swift vented her displeasure in epic fashion in her 2014 song “Bad Blood,” and dissed Perry in a subsequent Rolling Stone interview without ever mentioning her by name. “Watch out for Regina George in sheep’s clothing,” Perry tweeted after the interview came out. What a time to be alive.
Liam Gallagher vs. Noel Gallagher
Shade Rating: 9
Frankly, it’s kind of incredible that the two brothers at the center of ’90s Britpop outfit Oasis haven’t actually killed each other yet. Their sniping extends over decades, ranging from petty insults to onstage fights to literally hitting each other over the head with everything from tambourines to guitars to cricket bats. Noel finally quit the band in 2009, and Liam sued his brother for libel in 2011. Their insults for each other have been numerous and creative. “He’s like a man with a fork in a world of soup,” Noel said of Liam in 2009. But maybe nothing outdoes the simple elegance of a 2016 tweet from Liam, which consisted of a photo of his brother and the word “Potato.”
Jay Z vs. Nas
Shade Rating: 7
Hip-hop history is full of very public beefs, but perhaps none in recent memory has packed quite the punch of Jay Z and Nas’s decade-long rivalry. It began in the late ’90s when the two were battling for New York City rap supremacy in the wake of Biggie Smalls’s death. The pair traded disses for years on tracks ranging from Jay’s “Takeover” to Nas’s “Ether.” Things came to a head in 2001 when Hov bragged about sleeping with Nas’s girlfriend on “Supa Ugly.” The two legends buried the hatchet in style in a joint 2005 concert, and have collaborated multiple times since. Some stories do have happy endings.
J.K. Rowling vs. Twitter trolls
Shade Rating: 7
Even being the most beloved author of your generation doesn’t insulate you from haters—particularly in the age of Twitter. Harry Potter scribe J.K. Rowling has drawn ire on social media for everything from her revelation that Dumbledore is gay to her public denouncing of Donald Trump’s policies. Fortunately, she’s been even more clever than Hermione Granger in her elegant takedowns. When one Trump supporter threatened to burn their Harry Potter books and DVDs, Rowling responded: “Well, the fumes from the DVDs might be toxic and I’ve still got your money, so by all means borrow my lighter.” When another charmer called her a “disgusting slimy Labour cunt,” she replied: “The Internet doesn’t just offer opportunities for misogynistic abuse, you know. Penis enlargers can also be bought discreetly.”