In 1997, the paparazzi famously became the subject of scorn after Princess Diana and her lover Dodi Al-Fayed died in a car accident while allegedly trying to escape photographers. The real story, as it later emerged, was that the crash was caused by the incompetent actions of the chaffeur, who had been intoxicated and careened out of control while in the Pont de l'Ama road tunnel in Paris.
But the impression still burns in our memories. The often sneered-at industry is big business, of course, which is the reason it still exists. Recent photos of Kristen Stewart cheating on Robert Pattinson published in Us Weekly were estimated to be worth $300,000, while photographs of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are reported to have pulled in $500,000 in 2005. The recent topless travails of another royal, Kate Middleton, wife of Princess Di's son William, have highlighted the desperation of the paparazzi to secure such money shots. And in the perpetual game of cat and mouse, more and more we are seeing examples of the paps interfering with their celebrities' lives in a way where they're not only documenting the story, but becoming part of it.
From Britney Spears to Lindsay Lohan, here are other examples of when the paparazzi inadvertently become part of the story they're trying to tell -- and sell.
The Princess of Wales tragically died on Aug. 31, 1997, after a lifetime of evading photographers in her native England. While her death was later blamed on her chauffeur's intoxication, her legacy as a harassed celebrity lives on.
Topless shots of Kate Middleton hit French tabloid <em>Closer,</em> spurring a media debate about privacy and ethical use of photographs taken in a private setting. (That didn't stop the some <a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/kate-middleton-topless-seven-million-1343110">7 million British people</a> who have peeped the pics, according to the <em>Mirror</em>.) The <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2012/09/14/british-royal-family-lawsuit-kate-middleton-naked-photos-pics-closer-magazine/#ixzz27hy634uE">Royal Family later sued the publication</a> on the basis of privacy violation.
The former teen star has had a series of vehicular accidents, but none more perfectly exemplified the cat-and-mouse chase between her and the paps when she reportedly instructed her assistant to hit a paparazzo with her car in 2010. The photographer, Grigor Balyan, <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2012/08/01/lindsay-lohan-paparazzo-lawsuit-response/">later sued the actress</a>; Lohan insisted he obstructed her car.
Spears' meltdown in 2008 came to a peak when she began <a href="http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1579490/britney-spears-happily-dating-paparazzi-photographer.jhtml">"happily dating" paparazzo Adnan Ghalib </a>-- who then reportedly fed the star's personal information back to his photo agency, Finalpixx.
A curveball in the <a href="http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26980877/ns/today-entertainment/t/ex-celebrity-mag-staffer-turned-locklear/#.UGTICqSe7lk">Heather Locklear 2008 DUI case </a>came when it was revealed that the person who called the police to report her erratic behavior was actually a former editor for<em> Us Weekly</em>, who happened to be tailing the actress. <a href="http://www.hollyscoop.com/heather-locklear/strange-twist-in-heather-locklear-dui-case.html">And then reportedly called the paparazzi.</a>
Amanda Bynes' downward spiral resulted in her giving the paparazzi a bit more than they asked for last week, when she attacked one fellow's video camera. On the incident, <a href="http://www.etonline.com/news/125227_Pap_in_Shocking_Amanda_Bynes_Struggle_Speaks_Out/index.html">the paparazzo, Vladimir Labissiere,</a> said, "It was like getting scratched by a cat at this point and I didn't want to have her become aggressive, nor was I being aggressive towards her. … At the end of the day I got my shot and I got scratched up and I hope she gets whatever she needs for her life."
Alec Baldwin's contempt for the tabloid industry, which he rants about frequently on his Twitter page, came to a head when he punched a <em>Daily News</em> photographer. The paparazzo had been waiting for the "30 Rock" star outside of the building where he was presumably obtaining his marriage license, together with wife Hilaria Thomas. <a href="http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-06-19/news/32321371_1_hilaria-thomas-alec-baldwin-thoughtless-little-pig">Said photographer Goran Veljic</a>: "He was like crazy, you know? There was an eruption of mad. ... You're going to get a marriage license, you should be happy. What happened with this guy?"