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Join Capital as we look at celebrities who have been the victims of bullying and hear their stories about how they overcame the bullies.
Jessie J has revealed that she was bullied when she was a child by people who called her Bugs Bunny because she had large teeth - a reference she includes in the song 'Who's Laughing Now'. Speaking about her own experiences, Jessie said the bullying was "totally malicious and ugly", but that "suffering bullying means that you are special and that’s what I want all children to know". She told Cosmopolitan: "My song 'Who's Laughing Now' was important to me and I heard people saying that music helped to talk about bullying and get help. I kept every letter I have received since the beginning of my career and made a book so I can read them in 10 years time."
Cheryl Cole has candidly admitted that she has been bullied on social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook and called bullies "evil". "People judge my appearance and hair, and say that I look fat," Cheryl told Grazia recently, adding that she had setup her charity The Cheryl Cole Foundation to help children have also experienced "very public" forms of bullying. She said: "I get what these kids have gone through because I had a tough upbringing and I understand what it feels like to get bullied like some of them."
Taylor Swift was bullied by a group of popular girls at school after they decided she wasn't cool enough to hang around with any more because she liked country music. But the experience ended up being a positive one for the 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' singer, who said it gave her motivation to write songs. She told Teen Vogue that the same girls later went to watch her live in concert: "They showed up, wearing my T-shirts and asking me to sign their CDs. It was bittersweet, because it made me realise that they didn't remember being mean to me and that I needed to forget about it, too."
Speaking to Allure in 2008, RiRi revealed that she was bullied at school because some of her fellow pupils thought she was too "white". She said that she was cursed by her so-called friends, but had managed to overcome the bullies to become one of the biggest pop stars in the world. She said: "I didn't understand. I just knew I saw people of all different shades and I was light. Now I’m in a much bigger world."
Lady Gaga was another pop star who has admitted that she was bullied as a child. Horrible boys once threw the singer in a trash can and the star admitted that she struggled to understand why. "Everybody was laughing and I was even laughing. I had that nervous giggle… I remember even one of the girls looking at me like, 'Are you about to cry? You're pathetic.' That's what it felt like, you're pathetic." The 'Born This Way' star has used her experiences in her music and said recently that her fans had helped her to see how bullying had affected her. "I knew that it affected me deeply but it wasn't until a little bit later that I realised how much it affected me and how much it was still very present," she said. "I think it took me to get to know my fans and to see similar struggles in them to access that wound in myself."
Cher Lloyd opened up that she bullied after she first enjoyed success on The X Factor and began accepting random people as friends on Facebook and Twitter. Speaking to Panorama, Cher said she cried herself to sleep because she was "so scared" by the criticism she faced, but has overcome her problems by talking to others. "I never thought I could talk to anybody about it because I didn't feel I needed to as I was strong enough to get through it alone, but that's the worst thing you can do," she said.
The 'Lose Yourself' rapper might be one of the most respected rappers in hip-hop, but Eminem has revealed that he was beaten up a lot as a child because he frequently changed schools. Speaking to Anderson Cooper, Em said he felt like he was being singled out, but that he ultimately wanted to prove the bullies wrong. "There was certainly like a rebellious, like, youthful rage in me. And there was also… no getting away from [the] fact that I am white and you know this is predominantly black music. And people telling me 'You don't belong, like you're not going to succeed because you are this colour.' Then you wanna show those people that you can and you will."
Madonna was bullied as youngster because she didn't fit in with the "popular girls", but that the support of the gay community had been invaluable to her. "I wouldn't have a career if it weren't for the gay community," she said. Speaking to Ellen, Madonna said she had used her own experiences being bullied to help her inform her children and urged people to ignore gossip to try and overcome bullies. "I think it would be interesting for everybody to try one simple experiment… Try to get through the day each and every one of us… without gossiping about somebody," she said.
Katy Perry was another celebrity who was bullied at school - because of her boobs! The 'Teenage Dream' star said her figure prompted people to call her "over the shoulder boulder holder", but that it was ironic that she is now regarded as a sex symbol.
This summer, Tulisa Contostavlos spoke to Capital FM about what she called the "adult bullying" of Cher Lloyd, telling us that she felt sickened after the 'Want U Back' singer was bottled on stage at a festival. "I just call it adult bullying, it's ridiculous," she said. "You think when you get older people get over that sort of stuff and people forget how young she is and vulnerable. I get bottles thrown at me all the time, but I'm so used to it that I'm just ducking and diving and carry on singing. You know me, I'll have a go at the person who does it anyway so it doesn't really bother me as much."