Skip to main contentSkip to footer

6 bizarre celebrity conspiracy theories: From Avril Lavigne's death to Beyoncé's Illuminati status

Did Michael Jackson fake his death? Is Paul McCartney actually an impersonator?

Celebrity conspiracy theories
Georgia Brown
Senior Lifestyle & Fashion Writer
12 April 2024
Share this:

There is something about conspiracy theories, no matter how wild, that sets the Internet's soul on fire. 

As a society, we can't help but get swept up by the nonsensical excitement of faux storylines, especially when public figures are involved. 

Take the Princess of Wales, who's recent absence from the public eye and Photoshop-gate image turned into a spitball of conspiracies online, which varied from death to infidelity, only to be dispelled by her heartbreaking account of discovering she has cancer

Catherine, Princess of Wales arrives at the Shaping Us National Symposium at the Design Museum on November 15, 2023 in London, England. The symposium event, hosted by The Princess of Wales and The  Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, brings together leaders and specialists to consider key foundational skills for early childhood which can result in healthy adult lives. © Getty
The Princess of Wales was the centre of several conspiracy theories amid her break from the public eye

"Some people are attracted to conspiracy theories as a way to fulfil unmet psychological needs," explains Dr Ricky Green, an expert in conspiracy theories at the University of Kent’s School of Psychology

"This often stems from a desire to feel secure and in control of one's life, especially during times of threat, economic instability, and anxiety. During these times conspiracy beliefs can provide a sense of understanding to one's disadvantaged position by identifying a group that is supposedly responsible."

Dr Green added: "Some people are drawn to conspiracy theories because they find them entertaining, similar to enjoying different movie genres for their distinct qualities. Despite how diverse they, most conspiracy theories share common features, like challenging accepted knowledge and explaining events in unusual and entertaining ways."

Most chilling is that most conspiracy theories are 'proven' by those who start them, with theorists providing an easy solution to some complex problems, which makes them even more believable.

From celebrities who have faked their deaths, to the infamous urban legend that Beyoncé is a member of the Illuminati, there are enough conspiracy theories online to start a library. 

Here, see the wildest celebrity conspiracies following the world's biggest stars…

Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne in a leather top with orange hair at the 2022 JUNO Awards Broadcast © Getty
Conspiracy theorists believe that Avril has been replaced by a lookalike called Melissa Vandella

In what is arguably one of the wildest celebrity conspiracy theories of the 21st Century, a fabricated story states that Avril Lavigne died by suicide in 2003 after her grandfather's death plunged her into depression.

In a scramble to not lose profits and reap the success of her album 'Let Go', conspiracists believe the Canadian punk-pop princess' record label replaced her with a body double named Melissa Vandella.

The theory gained traction in 2014, coinciding with Avril's five-year hiatus from the spotlight as she dealt with an ongoing diagnosis of Lyme disease. It is believed to have originated from a Brazilian blog post titled 'Avril Esta Morta', translating to 'Avril is Dead', which was published in 2011.

Avril Lavigne at Paris Fashion Week© Getty
Avril Lavigne appeared alive and well at Paris Fashion Week in 2023

Avril, 39, has denied the claims several times over the years, addressing it as recently as 2022 in an interview with Galore Magazine.

"When people bring it up, and it's been brought up to me for like, years, that there's this conspiracy theory that I'm not me or something? I'm a clone? How did something like that get so - I don't know, it's just the weirdest rumour."

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney© Shutterstock
Theories surrounding Sir Paul McCartney's supposed death have been around since the 1960s

Possibly the best known example of conspiracies surrounding celebrity deaths is the urban legend that Paul McCartney of The Beatles actually died in 1966 and was replaced with a lookalike to spare the public from grief.

The theory, recognised in pop culture simply as 'Paul is dead', was even parodied by the British pop musician when he released the name and cover art of his 1993 live album, 'Paul is live'.

Throughout the 60s and the decades following, both the Beatles' press office and Paul himself have dispelled the rumours, deeming it "a load of old rubbish" and his record label saying that "the story has been circulating for about two years – we get letters from all sorts of nuts but Paul is still very much with us".

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest in June 2009© Getty
Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest in June 2009

Michael Jackson's death in 2009 rocked the world, when the 'King of Pop' died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest just weeks before his highly-anticipated 'This Is It' comeback tour was due to premiere in London. 

Despite post-mortem reports revealing the singer died as a result of acute propofol intoxication (a form of anaesthetic medication for intense pain), a string of wild conspiracy theories stating that Michael is still alive have swirled the Internet more than a decade on from his passing.

Some fans believe MJ faked his own death to avoid his significantly high debt, which was between $400 and $500 million at the time of his death. Much of the star's wealth, his forensic accountant William R. Ackerman explained, went into the funding and upkeep of his infamous Neverland Ranch.

Other conspiracy websites claimed that a border control officer had seen Michael crossing the US border to Mexico after his reported death, but there have been no sightings of him in Mexico in the last 15 years. 


Both Beyoncè and Jay Z have been the centre of Illuminati conspiracy theories© Getty
Both Beyoncè and Jay Z have been the centre of Illuminati conspiracy theories

Of course the Internet wouldn't let Queen Bey's otherworldly success be credited to her talent alone - she's apparently a member of the world's most secretive Satan-worshipping society, of course. 

According to conspiracy theorists, Beyoncé and her husband, Jay Z, have been members of the Illuminati for years, fuelled by the presence of repetitive demonic symbolism in her lyrics, music videos and live performances that supposedly denote signs of the devil. 

The Iluminati's existence in today's society is itself a conspiracy, but the cult was once a real-life thing. The Order of the Illuminati, founded in Bavaria, was a secret society that operated from 1776 to 1785. Their founder Adam Weishaupt, believed "the monarchy and the church were repressing freedom of thought”, said National Geographic.

Beyoncé recently dropped Cowboy Carter
Beyoncé recently dropped Cowboy Carter

Anti-clericalism and anti-monarchism isn't all that shocking in today's society, but what makes the so-called Illuminati so threatening, is the belief that members possess the power to manipulate and mastermind world current affairs. Not sure where Cowboy Carter fits into that narritive, mind you...


Rapper Tupac Shakur poses for photos backstage after his performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois in March 1994© Raymond Boyd
Rapper Tupac Shakur poses for photos backstage after his performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois in March 1994

Legend says that American rapper Tupac Shakur faked his own death and then fled the USA. The rapper was murdered on September 7, 1996, in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada when he was just 25 years old.

He was shot four times and died from his wounds after spending six days in the hospital. One of the pieces of "evidence" theorists use is the date on the last photo taken of Tupac and Suge Knight which reads 8 September, 1996, the day after he was admitted to the hospital. There is also a video interview of Tupac’s mother Afeni who said he was tired of fighting and "being vilified" and in the end, "he chose to leave quietly." 

There are many different variations of the conspiracy and tons of 'clues' that can lead you down a rabbit hole for hours.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in 2011© Tim Mosenfelder
Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in 2011

Steve Jobs, the legendary CEO of Apple, died in 2011 aged 56 of a rare form of pancreatic cancer. Yet eight years after his death, a photo of a man having a coffee at an outdoor cafe in Cairo went viral after conspiracy theorists claimed it showed the late Apple founder to be alive and well. 

Fans over analysed everything from the man's stance in the photograph, to the fact that he was barefoot in the snap - and Steve was known for taking off his shoes during brainstorming sessions to feel more grounded with the earth.

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

More Celebrity News

See more