- Magazines often alter the appearance of celebrities in their pages.
- Celebrities do it themselves, too, on their social media accounts.
- Sometimes Photoshopping is used to clear up slight blemishes or adjust lighting, but other times it makes people look unrecognizable.
- Not even Brad Pitt or Beyoncé are free from disastrous Photoshop jobs. Here are the worst offenders.
Magazines have always been in the business of crafting celebrity appearances. Even before Photoshop existed in 1988, the magazine industry has collaborated with celebrities to carefully present images that shape our consciousness.
Digital editing takes that to another degree. Now, any celebrity can change their appearance in a photo with the swipe of a finger.
For many people, it’s a serious problem. One major criticism lobbed at celebrities and magazines is that they promote unrealistic body standards – especially for women.
Celebrities often post Photoshopped selfies. And, of course, altered images are common in advertising as well. Sometimes, though, the manipulation is obvious. And that leads fans, critics, and even celebrities themselves to sometimes react harshly.
Here are 53 celebrity Photoshops that turned into disasters.
Aly Weisman contributed to a previous version of this article.
1. Lena Dunham was clearly missing something in this 2014 Vogue cover shoot.
Like many things Lena Dunham does, it was controversial.
Her arm mysteriously disappeared.
Other photos from the shoot were also heavily Photoshopped, but Dunham was OK with it. She told Slate that she saw the Photo shoot as a fantasy, not something that was supposed to emulate real life.
"Vogue isn't the place that we go to look at realistic women," she said. "Vogue is the place that we go to look at beautiful clothes and fancy places and escapism and so I feel like if the story reflects me and I happen to be wearing a beautiful Prada dress and surrounded by beautiful men and dogs, what's the problem?"
2. Zendaya was surprised to see her body look different in a 2015 shoot for Modeliste magazine.
"Had a new shoot come out today and was shocked when I found my 19-year-old hips and torso quite manipulated," she wrote on Instagram. "These are the things that make women self conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have. Anyone who knows who I am knows I stand for honest and pure self love. So I took it upon myself to release the real pic (right side) and I love it."
The magazine blamed a third party editor and posted the original photo.
The magazine's editor blamed "an independent editing company," pulled the issue, and restored the original photo for publication.
"Modeliste advocates positive body image, self love and the empowerment of women," Amy McCabe, the Editor in Chief, wrote in an open letter. "We are all beautiful and unique in our own way, and it is through these differences that make us who we are as individuals."
3. Fans called out this Kylie Jenner selfie for Photoshop.
The image seems to have a glaring issue.
The wall in the background appears to curve right around where her stomach bends in.
For what it's worth, Jenner took to Snapchat not long after to explain that it wasn't Photoshop, it's simply the way her curtain looks.
4. In 2016, Meghan Trainor posted a side-by-side image of what she looks like in real life and how she was made to appear in her "Me Too" music video.
"They Photoshopped the crap out of me and I'm so sick of it, so I took it down until they fix it," she explained on Snapchat.
It was fixed within a day.
After Trainor took the video down, she got the studio to release a version of the video without body manipulation.
5. Katy Perry appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in August 2010.
She was interviewed at length about how she went from a singer in a church to a sex icon.
Pre-Photoshop photos appeared on Tumblr.
Rolling Stone drew criticism for making changes to her body. Perry's skin had been smoothed over, her thighs thinned, hand modified, and had several moles removed.
6. Vogue posted this photo of Miranda Kerr on Instagram after the 2012 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.
Kerr's waistline in her Instagram post is noticeably smaller than it is in the original photo.
She claimed she pulled it off the internet and didn't know it was Photoshopped, but it's not the only photo she's posted with those issues.
7. Adam Levine appeared in the November 2011 issue of Vogue Russia with his then-girlfriend, model Anne Vyalitsyna.
Something's not right.
He lost half his torso.
Something went seriously wrong when the image was edited.
8. Jennifer Lawrence appeared on the June 2011 cover of Flare magazine.
The original photos show that Lawrence's cover image was modified heavily.
Her body looks different in the original photos.
Her waist was thinned and her cheekbones and collarbone are noticeably more pronounced.
Lawrence has been outspoken on her dislike of altered images.
9. Kerry Washington's 2016 Adweek cover didn't thrill the actress.
She said it looks very different from what she sees when she looks in the mirror.
"I just felt weary," Washington wrote on Instagram. "It felt strange to look at a picture of myself that is so different from what I look like when I look in the mirror. It's an unfortunate feeling."
Adweek's editorial director at the time said the magazine made "minimal adjustments."
"Kerry Washington is a class act. We are honored to have her grace our pages," James Cooper said in a statement. "To clarify, we made minimal adjustments, solely for the cover's design needs. We meant no disrespect, quite the opposite. We are glad she is enthusiastic about the piece and appreciate her honest comments."
10. Kim Kardashian West wore a tight black getup in the April/May 2009 issue of Complex Magazine.
But Compex made a huge mistake.
The original photo was accidentally uploaded on the Complex website.
Kardashian West was made to look like she has smoother, lighter skin, and a thinner appearance in the retouched version.
She was fine with it.
"So what: I have a little cellulite," she wrote on her website. "What curvy girl doesn't!?"
It's far from the only time Kim has been in a photoshop fail.
11. Priyanka Chopra's armpit was Photoshopped out of existence in her 2016 Maxim cover.
Her arm seems to just stick out of her torso.
After her armpit went viral, the actress joked about it on Twitter.
Chopra took the mistake in stride.
12. Britney Spears looks fitter than ever in her "Work B**ch" music video from October 2013.
And her dancing in the music video remained as energetic as ever.
But it looks like her body was edited.
The Daily Mail obtained pre-edited photos from editing service HOAX Films, where Spears' already-thin waist and thighs were further slimmed digitally.
13. Look at this photo of Selena Gomez that was posted by her makeup artist.
Hung Vanngo does makeup for a lot of different celebrities.
The door appears warped — it may have been manipulated to make her hair look more volumized.
The doorway is warped right above her shoulder, indicating that's where it was Photoshopped. The effect may have been to make Gomez's hair look more full than it actually is.
14. Gwyneth Paltrow graces the March 2012 cover of Harper's Bazaar.
Paltrow wore a dress designed by Anthony Vaccarello.
Inside the magazine, something seemed wrong.
Paltrow seems to be pulling the hem of her dress around one of her legs, but the placement of that leg seems totally wrong.
15. Does this 2009 W magazine cover with Demi Moore look off to you?
Some people thought it was Photoshopped.
Moore denied any Photoshopping, but her hips appeared narrower than her thigh.
16. Tennis player Andy Roddick appeared on the June/July 2007 cover of Men's Fitness.
He looked really buff, but he noticed something wrong.
Even Roddick didn't recognize his huge arms in the retouched photo.
Magazine Photoshops disproportionately modify the appearance of women, but men aren't exempt.
"Little did I know I have 22-inch guns and a disappearing birthmark on my right arm," Roddick wrote on his blog post.
17. This 2013 ad for "Pretty Little Liars" wasn't popular with stars of the show.
Two of them criticized it for changing how they look.
Ashley Benson and Troian Bellisario both called it out.
"We all look ridiculous. Way too much photoshop." Benson wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post. "We all have flaws. No one looks like this. It's not attractive."
Bellisario agreed with Benson's criticism.
"I couldn't agree more," she wrote on Instagram. "Very cool concept as always. But aren't we attractive enough women as we are? Why can't we just look like us?"
18. In another "Pretty Little Liars" ad, one actress seemed to be missing a leg.
Who is it?
It's another case of a mangled leg.
Actress Sasha Pieterse lost her left leg somewhere.
19. Hello! magazine nabbed Prince William for the cover of its February 22, 2010 issue.
Do you see what's been modified?
It looks like the magazine filled out his hairline.
A receding hairline is always hard to deal with, and William's pose only emphasized it, so the magazine may have filled it in for that reason. He also usually has blonde-ish hair, but it was turned brown for the cover.
20. Kristen Stewart appeared on the cover of Glamour's November 2011 issue.
Do you see what looks Photoshopped?
Upon closer inspection, Stewart seems to be missing her left forearm.
It could be carefully placed behind her leg, but it seems to have disappeared altogether while Stewart contorted herself into that pose.
21. Country music singer Faith Hill appeared on the July 2007 cover of Redbook.
But her proportions don't seem right.
Her arms are totally wrong.
Some retouch work left Hill with a nonexistent right arm, a left arm that's too big yet too thin in strange places, and a back that seems to collapse into an isosceles triangle.
22. Drew Barrymore looked great in her white dress on InStyle's February 2012 cover.
But something's missing.
Where's her left hip?
23. Sarah Jessica Parker landed the March 2013 cover of Harper's Bazaar China.
She doesn't look like herself, though.
Her skin seems totally different in the magazine.
The magazine gave her piercing, otherworldly eyes and perfect, glowing skin. High contrasting also makes her cheekbones really sharp.
24. Fans took issue with Kelly Clarkson's figure on Self's September 2009 cover.
The magazine distorted her figure.
"Do we retouch? Yes!"
The magazine digitally shed pounds off of Clarkson to make her look "her personal best," according to then-editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger.
"Do we retouch? Yes! Did we alter her appearance? Only to make her look her personal best," Danziger said. "Did we publish an act of fiction? No. Not unless you think all photos are that."
In the interview the magazine published, Clarkson said she was happy with her weight.
"My happy weight changes ... Sometimes I eat more; sometimes I play more. I'll be different sizes all the time," Clarkson said. "When people talk about my weight, I'm like, 'You seem to have a problem with it; I don't. I'm fine!' I've never felt uncomfortable on the red carpet or anything."
25. Oprah Winfrey's August 1989 TV Guide cover wasn't really Oprah.
That's Oprah's face, but everything else looks wrong.
The magazine edited Winfrey's head onto the body of '60s star Ann-Margret — without either of the stars' permission.
"Oprah would not pose on a pile of money like that," her spokesperson said at the time.
See the original Ann-Margret photo here.
26. Time's June 27, 1994 cover featured O.J. Simpson's mugshot.
It was shortly after he was arrested for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Simpson, and Ron Goldman.
The cover made his skin look much darker.
Critics attacked the magazine, saying that it made him look darker to emphasize his skin color and make it more "menacing."
Compare it, for example, to a Newsweek cover from the same time with the same photo. Newsweek didn't retouch the photo, making Time's cover look much worse by contrast.
27. Lindsay Lohan forgot to take care of one crucial feature in this shot.
"My feet look red lol-had to take that out. Only real red is my hair," she wrote in her now-deleted Instagram post.
The door behind her is warped, indicating that some parts were curved.
Doors shouldn't look like that.
28. Beyoncé definitely doesn't need any Photoshop.
But in this 2014 photo posted to her website, fans noticed something was amiss.
This stair isn't straight.
It's not the first time she's been accused of manipulating her thigh gap in pictures.
Strange stairs have also haunted other celebrities, like Lindsay Lohan.
29. Ariana Grande counted down the days until the release of her single "Focus."
Look carefully at her right hand.
Her right hand looks bizarrely long.
It could be because of the camera lens. Or maybe someone decided to make Grande's hand twice its usual size in Photoshop.
30. Model Martha Hunt is selling a swimsuit with another model in this Victoria's Secret Instagram post.
But something isn't right.
Did something happen to her arm?
In this image, it looks like her left arm disappeared somehow, with an elbow impossibly far away from her body.
31. This Instagram photo from Taylor Swift got a lot of attention.
It was one of the few times Taylor Swift showed off her belly button on Instagram.
But the metal guardrail behind her and the band Haim shouldn't look like that.
As with doorways and walls, there's a curved background feature that should appear straight. It's a dead giveaway for photoshopping.
32. Jordyn Woods posted a photo with her BFF Kylie Jenner in May 2017.
Both of them have huge followings on social media.
Look closer at the carpet.
33. Kris Jenner has also been called out for Photoshop. Here's a selfie Gordon Ramsay posted.
They met in 2014.
And here's the version Jenner posted to her own Instagram page.
34. This John Mayer selfie was supposed to be a joke, right?
Needless to say, their skin is usually not that smooth.
Mayer has a reputation as a prankster, and that Photoshop wasn't convincing.
35. Lupita Nyong'o graced the November 2017 issue of Grazia UK, but she looked a little different than expected.
Nyong'o wasn't happy with the result.
The magazine photoshopped off a lob of her natural hair.
Nyong'o posted unedited images on Instagram that revealed the magazine took off a chunk of her hair and smoothed out the rest.
The actress wasn't happy.
"I am disappointed that @graziauk invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like," Nyong'o wrote on Instagram. "Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women's complexion, hair style and texture."
The magazine later apologized for publishing a modified image.
36. Solange Knowles had a similar situation with London's Evening Standard magazine. Notice anything weird about this image?
The issue was published in October of 2017.
They also chopped off a bunch of her hair.
Solange wasn't happy about it, referencing her song "Don't Touch my Hair" in an Instagram post. It's also a bizarre twist from the story, where she talks about the importance of being proud of natural hair. The article's writer also disowned the piece, unhappy with the edits made.
Representatives for the Evening Standard later said they edited out her hair "for layout purposes" but apologized for the whole thing.
"Plainly we made the wrong call and we have offered our unreserved apologies to Solange," the magazine said in a statement.
37. There's a problem with Oprah in this Vanity Fair photo.
She's featured in Vanity Fair's 2018 Hollywood issue, alongside other celebrities. Here's an "outtake" where Winfrey is hanging out with Reese Witherspoon and Tom Hanks.
She has an extra hand.
So that's how Oprah is so productive. Vanity Fair acknowledged the error and fixed the photo online.
In another photo published in the issue, it looks like Reese Witherspoon has three legs, but the magazine says it just appears that way because of a shadow from the draping of her dress. Decide for yourself.
38. There's something weird going on here with Emma Watson in a 2010 Burberry ad.
Something's off here.
She's missing her right leg.
39. This 2009 ad with the model Filipa Hamilton has a serious problem.
It's pretty obvious.
The proportions are completely wrong.
The advertisement's editors drastically distorted her proportions. After it was released, Hamilton stopped working with the brand.
"They fired me because they said I was overweight and I couldn't fit in their clothes anymore," Hamilton told the New York Daily News.
A representative for Ralph Lauren said the image was published by mistake.
"The image in question was mistakenly released and used in a department store in Japan and was not the approved image which ran in the US," the company said. "We take full responsibility."
40. Elizabeth Olsen appeared as Scarlet Witch with a few other Marvel characters on a cover of "Empire" in 2018.
Olsen didn't approve.
Elizabeth Olsen didn't recognize herself in the photo.
"Does this look like me?" she asked in a now-deleted Instagram post.
Allure pointed out that Olsen's cheekbones were sharpened and her skin darkened. Her hair, too, went from a blonde to something more brassy.
41. A lot seems wrong with this Kim Kardashian West's Instagram post from March.
The image was supposed to promote the March For Our Lives rallies against gun violence.
The entire world is wobbly.
As many people noticed, a parked car behind her looks like it's been squished into a thin triangular shape and the ground seems to bend behind her, as if there's a seam in the concrete running across the parking lot. The shadows behind her legs also look artificial.
Though the photo has more than 1.6 million likes, it has no comments. The Daily Mail reported that Kardashian West disabled comments after she was called out for Photoshopping.
In a post on her website, Kardashian West said the photo was cropped from an image a fan made with a mirror effect, which is why there seems to be a seam on the image's right side.
42. Lady Gaga didn't like her 2013 Glamour cover.
She had an issue with a common Photoshop technique.
At Glamour's "Woman of the Year" awards, she told her fans to "fight back against the forces that make them feel like they're not beautiful."
On the magazine cover, her face looked airbrushed.
When the magazine honored her at their "Woman of the Year" event, she used her platform at the event to criticize the modification of women's bodies in media.
"It is fair to write about the change in your magazines. But what I want to see is the change on your covers," Gaga said. "When the covers change, that's when culture changes."
43. Kate Winslet, too, was displeased with her February 2003 GQ UK cover.
Parts of it had been retouched.
Winslet disparaged it in another magazine interview.
"The retouching is excessive. I do not look like that and more importantly, I don't desire to look like that," Winslet said. "I actually have a Polaroid that the photographer gave me on the day of the shoot ... I can tell you they've reduced the size of my legs by about a third. For my money, it looks pretty good the way it was taken."
GQ UK's editor at the time, Dylan Jones, said the Photoshop was fine.
"We do that for everyone, whether they are a size six or a size 12," he told the BBC. "It hasn't a lot to do with body size. Practically every photo you see in a magazine will have been digitally altered in this way."
44. Jake Paul posted a photo of himself flexing before an upcoming boxing match.
Before his boxing match with fellow YouTube celebrity KSI, Jake Paul has been posting several photos of himself shirtless and ready to fight. But there's something off about this one.
Those muscles look weirdly transparent.
In other photos, his shoulder muscles are much smaller.
45. Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio look fit in this "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" promo shot.
In August 2018, Sony uploaded a picture of Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," dressed in 1970s-era outfits.
Their necks don't look right.
But Sony uploaded the wrong version of the photo to its publicity site. Anyone with the right software, Page Six reported, could see the image's edit history, which showed that both of their necks had been modified. DiCaprio normally has a bigger chin, too, and some of Pitt's wrinkles had been removed.
46. Problems with "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" continued with the release of its poster.
Brad Pitt still looks odd.
Fans mocked the poster for its amateurish design, comparing it to posters for romantic comedies like "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days."
Brad Pitt's face in the poster appears to be seriously edited. Like the earlier image Sony released, it's possible that editors tried to make him look younger. But critics said his face comes off as waxy. There are inconsistent shadows by his neck and by his Hawaiian shirt, making it look like they may have been pasted on from elsewhere.
47. This Calvin Klein ad with Kourtney Kardashian had a lot of people talking in August.
The Kardashian-Jenner family do a lot of ads with the underwear brand, but there's something wrong about this one.
People said her arm looked way too slim to be real. Calvin Klein said it was just the lighting.
A number of people said Kourtney's arm was unrealistically slim in the photo, Photoshopped to look thinner than humanly possible.
But according to Calvin Klein, the effect is a combination of poor lighting and low-resolution social media images. The sunlight is making part of Kardashian's arm light enough to blend in with the background, the company told INSIDER.
"As you'll see from the high-res version of the image, there are no issues with Kourtney's arm," Calvin Klein, Inc. wrote in a statement. "However, the light is hitting it which makes it slightly less defined. Unfortunately, when the image is posted to social media in a lower-resolution format, the shape of her arm loses its definition, creating the effect which social media users have commented on."
48. Some people thought there was something wrong with this photo of Kylie Jenner and Stormi Webster.
In May, Kylie Jenner posted a photo with her daughter on Instagram. But something seemed amiss to some followers.
Did she Photoshop her daughter's ear?
Some people saw a warped wall behind Stormi's ear, and thought Jenner may have tried to edit Stormi's face. Others thought Jenner was just trying to edit her arm, but not her daughter.
49. Lili Reinhart's body was slimmed down in Cosmopolitan Philippines Instagram page.
For its March issue, Cosmopolitan's Philippines edition posted a photo of "Riverdale" star Lili Reinhart with her midriff showing. As Reinhart posted in an Instagram story, her body was modified to look slimmer.
Reinhart wasn't happy about it.
As she wrote in her Instagram story, Reinhart criticized Cosmopolitan Philippines for misrepresenting her body.
"It's sad that you felt our bodies needed to be slimmed down," she wrote. "So like every other day, women ... do kick some ass. You are being heard. You are strong and sensational."
50. The magazine did the same for her co-star Camila Mendes.
Mendes was featured on the cover of the American edition.
The Cosmopolitan Philippines Instagram account posted a slimmed-down version of the photo on Instagram.
Instead of recycling the same image of Mendes from the American magazine's cover, the Cosmopolitan Philippines account appeared to post a slimmed-down picture of her as well.
"We want readers to know that those bodies are not ours; they have been distorted from their natural beauty," Mendes wrote. "We prefer to see our bodies the way they actually are. I'm not interested in having a slimmer waist, I'm more than satisfied with the one that I already have."
The Instagram posts featuring Reinhart and Mendes have since been deleted.
51. In October 2018, Kim Kardashian West posted a photo on Instagram advertising her beauty company.
The photo, taken by the legendary photographer David LaChapelle, promoted her "Flashing Lights" collection.
Some people thought she didn't look like herself.
Critics of the image thought Kardashian West was Photoshopped so much that she no longer resembled herself, especially the lower half of her body.
A week later, Kourtney Kardashian posted a photo with herself and Kim that looked drastically Photoshopped, apparently making fun of the ad.
52. Khloé Kardashian didn't escape scrutiny either.
There's something going on with her thumb, and her hair has been airbrushed.
The first thing many people noticed is that Kardashian's left thumb seems to have been bizarrely duplicated, so that it looks like she has two next to each other.
Kardashian said in the comments that an unspecified "glitch app" is responsible for the dual-thumb, and attacked the people pointing out her abnormal thumb.
"Babe, it's a glitch app. You can't control what it makes a glitch effect to," she wrote. "The fact that y'all think one would Photoshop thumbs concerns me a bit. What the hell are y'all Photoshopping?"
The photo was edited in other ways, too. If you look closely around her hair, there are clear airbrushes that were apparently meant to change the shape of her hair, either making it look more slim or voluminous in different parts.
53. Kourtney Kardashian posted this photo of herself to Instagram in March.
Her body is severely mangled.
Kardashian's body in the image seems seriously messed up. Her left leg looks like it drifted off in the bathtub, her knee ending up well below the rest of her body. Her right arm is bizarrely slimmed down and its thumb looks like it got chopped off. Her face also looks out of place, as if it's been pasted on from an entirely different picture.
- Read more:
- 11 times this year the internet had a field day with poorly doctored photos
- 15 bewildering conspiracy theories that celebrities think are true
- 18 celebrities who posted Photoshopped pictures of themselves on Instagram
- 11 cleverly Photoshopped photos that went viral and stumped the internet