The Fame Monster

Billy Ray Cyrus recently granted an interview with GQ Magazine. In the interview, Cyrus commented on what has happened to his family since the fame of Hannah Montana hit his home. He said, “It destroyed my family. I’ll tell you right now—the show destroyed my family.” When asked if he wished the show had never happened, he said, “I hate to say it, but yes, I do. Yeah. I’d take it back in a second. For my family to be here and just be everybody okay, safe and sound and happy and normal, would have been fantastic. Heck, yeah. I’d erase it all in a second if I could.”

Cyrus joins a long list of famous people who have said fame has changed their lives for the worse.  

Actor Shia LaBeouf said, “I don’t handle fame well. Most actors on most days don’t think they’re worthy. I have no idea where this insecurity comes from, but it’s a God-sized hole. If I knew, I’d fill it, and I’d be on my way.” 

Pop singer Lady Gaga said, “If anyone had told me at the start of my career what success brings with it, I would have thought twice about it.”

Actor Jim Carrey once said, “I wish everyone could experience being rich and famous, so they’d see it wasn’t the answer to anything.”

Why is fame so destructive? Why does fame seem to destroy people who might otherwise live “normal” lives?

Fame carries the seed of its own destruction. Pop star Madonna once said, “The public has a hard time thinking of any celebrity as human. We become larger than life, and are no longer attributed with human characteristics.”

She is right. Fame brings exaltation. The famous become larger than life. They are worshipped. But we weren’t made to be worshipped. We are not made to be exalted. Exalting self is one of the most destructive things we can do.

Pride places us in competition with God and others. We can never enjoy anyone or anything fully because it is always a competition. Habakkuk 2:4 says, “as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him.” The proud – those who inflate themselves and feel everyone should have the same inflated view is at odds with God, others, and even themselves.

So many people think becoming famous is the answer to all of life. They feel that somehow there is meaning to be found there. But, LaBeouf is right – they are trying to fill a God-sized hole with fame. And it does not fit. Only God fits in a God sized hole. Fame only devours, creates a bigger hole, and leaves emptiness.


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