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Gisele Bündchen’s Crying Video Because Of Paparazzi: Understanding The Dangers Of Obsession Culture With Celebrities

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

A few days ago, body cam footage went viral on the internet. Instead of showing some kind of police approach against a criminal, surprisingly its “main character” was the übermodel Gisele Bündchen who was pulled over by an officer in South Florida, U.S. According to the video, the model committed a traffic violation while she was trying to run away from the paparazzo’ harassment. “I just want to live my life”, said Gisele crying to the policeman.  

The video leak is controversial: If she is complaining about not having privacy, why would the video be posted on the internet? Is there any public interest in showing such a moment of vulnerability?

Paparazzi stalking as a lucrative industry

Take your daily life as an example. You wake up in the morning, have breakfast, dress up and go to your college or work as a normal person, right? But now, imagine this situation: you are a celebrity who is trying to have a routine that I just mentioned before, but you notice that there are some people waiting for you to leave your house. The moment you step out the door, a crowd starts taking photos and chasing your car. It seems to be a nightmare, isn’t it? 

That’s what happened to the singer Britney Spears in 2007/2008. According to an interview published by Glamour UK, the photographer Nick Stern revealed that he had waited outside Britney’s home to take pictures of her as soon as she appeared during his days as a paparazzo. At that time, he used to work at one of the most famous photographic agencies, Splash News. “You would get to her house early in the morning at first light, up on Mulholland Drive and invariably there’d already be a large number of photographers already up there”, said the former paparazzo. He also remembered that it was common to have a high-speed pursuit along the road between photographers and the singer, who used to drive quickly trying to protect her children’s privacy.

Britney Spears’ photos were very lucrative. Stern said that they could cost a million dollars! However, photographers were not the only ones taking advantage of her, they were just following the high demand of the public. Readers of the main magazines wanted to see those images. The celebrity obsession culture was an industry constantly fed up with paparazzi photos. “Britney news had become mainstream news […]  Britney Spears was not treated as a person. She was treated as a commodity or even a consumable”, he said. 

It is possible to say that the harassment affected Britney’s already-unstable mental health. She has publicly spoken about her struggles with bipolar disorder which culminated in one of the most popular paparazzi photos of her: the singer shaved her hair and hit a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella.

Another vulnerable moment of hers happened in 2006 when the star almost dropped her son while trying to avoid the camera flashes. When she went to a cafeteria to ask for help, one of the employees started to act like a paparazzo, taking photos of Spears crying with her son on her lap and later selling them to the press.

The fatal drive that caused Lady Diana’s death

The fact that most of the stalking between photographers and celebrities involves high-speed chase is a topic that has always been in debate since Lady Diana died in a car accident in Paris, in 1997. The Princess, her current boyfriend and the driver Henri Paul were trying to mislead some paparazzi when the car crashed into one of the pillars of the Pont de l’Alma tunnel.

Just like Britney, the Princess of Wales was the photographer’s target. All the tabloids wanted to report about her new relationship with Dodi Fayed, an Egyptian film producer and the eldest son of the billionaire businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed. Did you know that the most expensive paparazzi photo ever taken was of them? It is estimated that each photographer received £500 thousand for discovering her new boyfriend after the divorce.

However, Diana was more clever than the paparazzi. She used to wear the same blue sweatshirt everyday to work out in London so that all the photos taken would seem to be outdated. The Princess was one more victim of the invasive mainstream, but she had some tricks to fool them.

The dark side of fame

Arguably, it’s true to say that the lack of privacy is the dark side of fame. Everytime, the public’s eyes are on you, watching every action and (sometimes) waiting for the next mistake. It can be very overwhelming and stressful, as it would be registered forever on the internet through images. 

In a recent interview to Cosmopolitan, Lindsay Lohan reflected on her career: “ […] When I first started out in the business, none of us had a say in how to control our own narrative. There were paparazzi pictures, and then people ran with it”. The actress, along with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, was the 2000s It-girl and the paparazzi’s favorite. Even when she was leaving the rehab, after spending 90 days in treatment in 2013, Lohan was followed by photographers.

Since Lilo was a child, she had to deal with mainstream harassment. After taking a break on her career and moving to Dubai, where paparazzi are illegal, she found peace in motherhood and marriage. In another interview, this time for Bustle, Lindsay confessed what made her move abroad: “I feel like some of [my work] got overshadowed by paparazzi and all that kind of stuff when I was younger, and that’s kind of annoying […] I feel like that kind of took on a life of its own. So that’s why I wanted to disappear”.

Is there any rule against paparazzi in the United States?

There are no rules that ban paparazzi from doing their work in the U.S. Their profession is considered a form of freedom of speech, but there are some exceptions when it comes to taking photos of celebs in their homes, for example. Each state has the autonomy to establish its rules. In New York, there are some rules against harassment and vehicle chase. It is legal to take photos in public spaces, but photographers can’t use those images to promote ideologies or products without permission.

Gisele was driving in Florida, where it doesn’t have any restrictions against paparazzi in community areas. Just like the policeman said in the video, “I can’t prevent them from doing their job, which is to take pictures”. For them, it is only a few photos; but for the person being chased, it is the impossibility to have a normal life.


The article above was edited by Giulia El Houssami

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Larissa Buzon Cardoso

Casper Libero '26

Journalism student who loves writing. I am keen on fashion, music, art and TV series.