Bella Thorne loves to shake things up, and we’re not just talking about her Disney Channel series, Shake It Up. The actress, who rose to fame alongside Zendaya in one of the network’s fresh new crops of tween starlets, is a magnet for controversy. Though Disney managed to keep Thorne’s rebellious nature under wraps until the series ended in 2013, that notion was very short-lived.
Since graduating from Disney, Thorne has transformed herself into a fearless voice in an industry that regularly pushes down women and forces them into easily definable boxes. The actress, however, will not be caged. She’s committed to living an unconventional lifestyle — from her relationships to her career to her sexuality — which means she’s ruffled a few feathers along the way. Here are some of Bella Thorne’s biggest controversies. Can we get Tana Mongeau in here for a comment?
Disney almost fired her over a black bikini
Bella Thorne may have been a Disney Channel star, but she was a reluctant one. Much like her Shake It Up co-star Zendaya, the actress wouldn’t buy into the network’s insanely strict rules, and she had no problems calling out unfair behavior. This was never more evident than when Thorne was 13 years old, and — as she claims — Disney allegedly almost fired her over a bikini photo.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the incident occurred back in the golden age of nasty celebrity bloggers when the actress was barely old enough to graduate the eighth grade. In other words: it involved Perez Hilton because of course it did. He commented on Thorne’s body, claiming he’d be “more comfortable if she would just cover up,” after she wore a black bikini on a beach outing with Zendaya. “Excuse us, Bella? WHERE IS YOUR MOTHER???” read the 2011 post (via the Los Angeles Times). “Does she know you own this outfit? Please don’t tell us she bought it for you??”
Perez’s post reportedly caused “an uproar,” during which Thorne claimed the Disney Channel “tried to fire [her].” A spokesperson for the network told the Los Angeles Times that they merely “discussed” the way “they envisioned Bella’s personal brand image and career goals” and if her “immediate plans were compatible” with the “Disney-branded show.” That sounds rather stern, doesn’t it?
Bella Thorne's free spirit clashed with Freeform
In 2017, Bella Thorne graduated from the Disney Channel to Freeform, Disney’s network geared towards teens and young adults. This allowed her to be a little bit grittier, but not too gritty. Her series, Famous In Love, ran for two seasons before its controversial cancellation.
When the series was canceled over an alleged lack of funding from Hulu — who had SVOD rights to the show – The Hollywood Reporter claimed production members were relieved, largely because Thorne was reportedly causing problems on set by clashing with showrunner Marlene King and exhibiting “diva-like behavior.” King later dispelled the rumors, and Thorne spilled the real tea to the Los Angeles Times later that year. She claimed the network believed she was “uncontrollable and crazy” and dubbed her a diva “because they were scared [she] was going to go running [her] mouth if [she] was upset.” Run her mouth she did — even if it was warranted.
In that same interview, the actress revealed that network execs reportedly called her ugly “in emails” and were responsible for another embarrassing incident that happened “in front of everyone on set.” It was bad enough that the cast reportedly texted her condolences and messages of support. “It was all supposed to change on Season 2, and it didn’t,” she told the Los Angeles Times. Thorne reportedly didn’t even know her show was being canceled. On Twitter, she admitted that she discovered the news online like everyone else.
Did Bella Thorne steal her brother's girl?
Bella Thorne reportedly gave new meaning to the phrase keeping it in the family. The star made headlines when she was romantically linked to her brother’s ex-girlfriend, who is coincidentally also named Bella. Talk about a weird family love triangle!
According to J-14, the whole thing played out on Snapchat in 2016. Thorne had recently split from her boyfriend Gregg Sulkin after about a year of dating and posted some steamy snaps kissing Bella Pendergast, who previously dated her brother Remy Thorne. Sure, the pair are noted BFFs, but was there something more? The photos looked notably romantic, and Thorne did take to Twitter to call Pendergast her “soulmate.”
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SOULMATE. So lucky to have you baby @bellapendergast,” she wrote in an August 2016 tweet. We all call our best gal pals baby, right? Right? If not, Thanksgiving was probably pretty awkward in the Thorne household that year.
Coming out cost Bella Thorne roles
Bella Thorne came out as bisexual around the same time that she was romantically linked to her brother’s ex in 2016. Because it’s Thorne, she did it in the most nonchalant way ever. A fan asked her on Twitter if she was bisexual, and she replied with a very casual, quote-tweeted “yes.” The news didn’t just send tabloids into a frenzy. It apparently also impacted the former Disney Channel star’s career.
In an interview with Gay Times, Thorne revealed that coming out as bisexual caused her to lose roles and that people started acting “differently” around her. “There were a few places on the acting side that were very negative about it. There was someone who, right after I came out, canceled my audition,” she said. “You can just tell by the way that people act differently around you, the way they treat you differently, the way that they look at you or the way that they tiptoe around certain subjects because they’re walking on eggshells.”
Thorne later redefined her sexuality a second time. In a 2019 interview with Good Morning America, the actress revealed that she was “actually a pansexual, and I didn’t know that.” The girl likes what she likes!
Bella Thorne's polyamorous throuple was drama
Bella Thorne made headlines yet again in 2018 when she entered a very unconventional relationship with a controversial YouTube star. In short: Thorne was in a thourple — or three-person couple — with musician Mod Sun and Tana Mongeau, the vlogger behind the disastrously impromptu “TanaCon.” According to the Los Angeles Times, the actress regularly posted photos of her kissing both Mongeau and Mod Sun, who reportedly serenaded her private parts during his concerts. Gay Times described their three-way relationship as “open.”
“I don’t think anybody will really understand the bonds that I share with Mod or Tana,” she told Gay Times (via People). “Yeah, we joke around about poly, but we aren’t in the sense that we don’t put a word, a box or label too many things. It is what it is.”
At the time of this writing, Thorne’s throuple is what it was. The star was reportedly left heartbroken when she announced her split from Mongeau in February 2019. Just a few months later, Mongeau got engaged to fellow YouTuber Jake Paul, and Thorne stoked further tabloid drama by posting a photo of herself hysterically crying with the caption “When ur ex get engaged.” Clearly, she borrowed this approach from Mongeau, who is often seen crying on YouTube. According to Cosmopolitan, Mongeau commented “omg” on the post. Unexpectedly, Thorne did manage to love again. According to Yahoo, the actress appeared to enter another throuple later in 2019.
She stuck it to some hackers and leaked her own nudes
Bella Thorne isn’t one to get taken advantage of. In 2019, the actress was met with controversy after getting ahead of hackers and leaking her own nudes. In an NSFW tweet, Thorne posted text screenshots of a hacker threatening to release nude photos and video of the star. The messages included the steamy snaps.
“For the last 24 hours I have been threatened with my own nudes.” she wrote in a Notes app screenshot. “For too long I let a man take advantage of me over and over and I’m f***ing sick of it. I’m putting this out because it’s MY DECISION NOW U DONT GET TO TAKE YET ANOTHER THING FROM ME. I can sleep tonight better knowing I took my power back.”
Though hackers aren’t Thorne’s fault, the actress was slammed by Whoopi Goldberg on The View for getting into that situation. Goldberg claimed, “If you’re famous, I don’t care how old you are, you don’t take nude pictures of yourself.” Thorne later eviscerated the talk show host, claiming she didn’t “feel like getting beaten down by a bunch of older women.” She then said, “I hope you’re happy. I really do. I really hope you’re so f***ing happy because I can only imagine all of the kids who have their s**t released and then they commit suicide,” Thorne said in an Instagram story. Get ’em, girl!
Mod Sun vs. Bella Thorne
Mod Sun and Bella Thorne seemed like they were in it for the long haul, at least until they weren’t. In an April 2019 Instagram post, the actress announced their breakup and claimed she’d “always love” the singer. It didn’t take long for things to become controversial as Mod Sun accused the actress of lying about the details of their bitter breakup.
Two months after calling it quits, Thorne appeared on Jenny McCarthy’s SiriusXM radio show, where she claimed that Mod Sun was threatening to sell her passport, computer, and wallet on the internet. “I just recently missed this big work opportunity I had to do because of this passport situation,” she claimed. “And I needed my scriptwriting computer back. That was a big one.”
Mod Sun had a different opinion. The star told TMZ that Thorne called him two months after they split, saying she thought her passport might be in his house and that she needed it in two hours. It was 11 p.m., and he was allegedly across the country, but he still sent someone over to his home to check for it in the morning. He also claimed she already took her computer back. “I was like mind blown by that,” he told TMZ, “that she would say I was messing up her career. Like dude, that’s her fault.”
From Disney Channel to adult entertainment
Bella Thorne shockingly switched networks from the Disney Channel to, eventually, Pornhub. Could anything be more polar opposite? In 2019, the actress ruffled feathers when she became a legitimate porn director — but this wasn’t just any porn. Even the Independent questioned whether it was actually “visionary art” and acknowledged the star’s “efforts to elevate” the genre “into something with artistic worth.” Who knew?
According to CNN, Thorne’s first adult film — Her & Him – was part of Pornhub’s Visionaries Director’s series, which features “debut films by unexpected guest directors to diversify porn production.” She’s apparently been looking to make moves in the genre for a while. “I’m really lucky that Pornhub wanted to come on and produce this with me because originally, I was shopping it around a very long time ago, and things were very different,” Thorne said in a behind-the-scenes YouTube video. “People are kind of scared to make a movie like this one when it comes to dominance and submissive(ness) between a male and a female and how this relationship can turn quite sour.”
According to USA Today, Her & Him garnered the former Disney Channel star a Vision Award at the Pornhub Awards. That’ll go nice on the shelf next to her Teen Choice Award.
Was Bella Thorne's body positive Instagram caption racist?
In 2017, Bella Thorne sparked an internet outrage over a supposedly body-positive Instagram caption that had alleged racist undertones. According to Insider, it all went down when Thorne posted a photo from her GQ Mexico shoot and revealed that she “specifically asked for no re touching” despite her “insecurities, about pretty much everything.” She ended the thoughtful post with a not-so-thoughtful statement: “IM A HUMAN BEING AND IM REAL. So hip hop your a**es over the fence and GET OVER IT.”
Revelist, along with a number of commenters, labeled the comment a “racist Mexican joke” that spoke about immigration and Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. “Bella Thorne really told a Mexican magazine to ‘hip hop your a**es over the fence and get over it,'” wrote one commenter (via Revelist). Another wrote, “Fence and Mexico. It’s a touchy issue.” Indeed, it is.
Thorne didn’t specifically comment on the controversy, but she did subtweet about it. “Latina and proud,” she wrote, with a trio of heart emojis. Really, though. Read the room, girl!
Bella Thorne vs. Rob Lowe
Rob Lowe isn’t exactly someone you want to annoy. He seems like he has a pretty high tolerance, but once you cross the line, prepare to face the wrath. In the past, he’s thrown down (at least verbally, according to The New York Times) over DirecTV blocking out the NFL playoffs in his local area. The playoffs are a pretty big deal, and even though he’s starred in basically a dozen DirecTV commercials, the dude apparently doesn’t have any qualms about biting the hand that feeds him. In other words: Bella Thorne — who appears to embody everything Lowe hates about celebrities — was no match.
Lowe’s rage was sparked when Thorne complained about how traffic in Los Angeles was forcing her to miss Mod Sun’s concert. The only problem was that this wasn’t normal LA traffic, which everyone can universally agree is crazy annoying. This traffic was caused because people were literally dying in a mudslide. “This attitude is why people hate celebrities/Hollywood,” Lowe wrote in an Instagram caption next to a screenshot of Thorne’s tweet. “Bella, I’m sorry you were inconvenienced. We will try to move out our dead quicker.”
According to Insider, Lowe and his family had to evacuate their home in Montecito because of the mudslides, which killed at the very least 15 people. We said it once, and we’ll say it again: read the room, Bella!
Bella Thorne was accused of ripping off a Black-owned beauty brand
The Internet doesn’t take too kindly when A-listers rip off the little guys, so it’s not really surprising that Bella Thorne’s eyeshadow palette sparked mass outrage. Sure, it’s hard to be original when there are only so many colors — and so many colors that are specifically on-trend — but the Internet definitely noticed that Thorne’s makeup palette bore a striking resemblance to one by Juvia’s Place, an independent, Black-owned beauty brand.
According to Insider, Thorne released two eyeshadow palettes through her record label Filthy Fangs, which is enough of a red flag in and of itself because eyeshadow palettes are not CDs or iTunes downloads. She reportedly claimed that “every makeup palette does look the same except for mine.” Well, hers and allegedly the palettes by Juvia’s Place, which clearly share some of the same shades along with similar packing. As the beauty brand said in a statement, “It’s unacceptable, seems like Bella’s team members didn’t do enough research.”
Amidst the social media outcry, Thorne did defend herself. The star tweeted that she may have the same manufacturer as Juvia’s Place and questioned if she was “suppose to look up every pallet ever made.” She then retweeted a photo of a different Juvia’s Place palette and claimed, “Honestly this one is dope if I were gonna copy one it’s this one.” Basically, she didn’t really help herself. A simple apology would work.
Bella Thorne sparked outrage after joining OnlyFans
Throughout 2020, OnlyFans was a hotbed for adult celebrity content. According to Entertainment Weekly, Cardi B — who got her professional start as a stripper — joined the platform, though she just shared behind-the-scenes footage rather than x-rated content. Aaron Carter also has an account, which is reportedly a ripoff for anyone who was hoping to see him get down and dirty. We’re not sure who that demographic is, but it’s someone. Finally, Bella Thorne joined the platform and became one of the few celebs who managed to annoy sex workers across the globe.
According to The Guardian, Thorne — who claimed she joined the platform to research a new role — ended up making $2 million in less than a week by charging her 50,000-ish subscribers $200 for nudes. The problem was that the “nudes” weren’t actually nudes. She was wearing lingerie, and customers complained en masse, triggering a bevy of refunds. At the time, it very much seemed like the mass refunds caused OnlyFans to change their policy in a way that disadvantaged actual sex workers who didn’t have a multi-million dollar net worth, though the platform denied this. Previously, there were no payment caps, but now exclusive content is limited to $50 a pop, and tips are cut off at $100. All creators are also paid monthly instead of weekly, which rightly angered those living OnlyFans paycheck to OnlyFans paycheck. As some would argue, stay in your lane.
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