George Clooney Has Come Clean About His 15-Year Feud With Russell Crowe

George Clooney has gained a reputation as a relatively mild-mannered actor who’s known for his charm and charisma. So it may surprise you to learn that the star has been at war with fellow movie A-lister Russell Crowe for years. And in October 2020 Clooney dragged their feud into the spotlight once again.

Clooney and Crowe have each enjoyed extraordinary success as actors. Both stars have a number of leading roles to their names and are Academy Award winners in their own right. But while the pair are arguably of equal standing in the movie world, it would seem that there’s some tension between them.

Yes, it appears that even A-listers aren’t immune to a bit of mud-slinging when the opportunity arises. And over the years Crowe had criticized Clooney for appearing in TV commercials, while Clooney has called Crowe out for playing in a rock band. So it would appear that there has been no love lost between the two.

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Clooney first rose to fame playing Dr. Doug Ross on the TV drama ER. But since ditching his scrubs, the actor has carved out a successful career in Hollywood. He has enjoyed a number of major movie roles which have even included an outing as the iconic superhero Batman.

Crowe, meanwhile, started out in Australian cinema before becoming a Hollywood megastar. He is known for movies such as L.A. Confidential, A Beautiful Mind and Gladiator. Off-screen the New Zealand-born star has embarked on a musical career, which included fronting the band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts.

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On the face of things then, it would seem that Clooney and Crowe were very much cut from the same cloth. Both of them are ranked among the most influential actors of their generation. Plus the two men have each won a Best Actor Oscar. Clooney bagged the award for his role in the 2005 movie Syriana while Crowe was honored for 2000’s Gladiator.

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But delving into their respective pasts, it would seem that fame and critical acclaim weren’t the only things that the pair have in common. Because even their childhoods could be considered as similar – with both future movie stars being raised far from the bright lights of Hollywood.

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Clooney, for instance, was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on May 6, 1961. Due to his father’s job, the family moved a lot during the star’s upbringing, setting up home in a number of locations across Kentucky and Ohio. They eventually settled down in the small town of Augusta, Kentucky, where they lived in a Victorian home.

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And Crowe grew up on the opposite side of the world to Clooney. He was born in Wellington, New Zealand, on April 7, 1964. At the age of four, the would-be actor relocated with his family to Sydney, Australia. But they returned to New Zealand around a decade later in 1978.

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But while both Clooney and Crowe’s childhoods seemed far removed from show business, both of them had links with the industry. Despite his modest upbringing, Clooney’s dad Nick, was a news anchor and TV personality. His aunt, on the other hand, was Rosemary Clooney, a famous actress and singer.

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Crowe’s links to show business were perhaps more modest, but they existed nonetheless. During the family’s time in Sydney, both of his parents worked as caterers on different TV and film sets. So growing up, the star spent a large proportion of his youth hanging out on shoots.

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This early exposure to the world of show business provided both men with their first tastes of the spotlight. Clooney appeared on the small screen from the age of five, starring in sketches alongside his dad. Similarly, Crowe got his break aged six appearing as an orphan on the Australian TV show Spyforce.

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Yet both actors had their careers as child stars cut short. Clooney took a break from show business after a brush with Bell’s palsy, which causes partial paralysis to the face, in middle school. And it would seem that Crowe was forced to put his acting career on hold when his family returned to his native New Zealand.

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It wouldn’t be until the 1990s that both men received their big breaks. Clooney’s came in the form of ER in 1994. While a year later Crowe made his American movie debut alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Gene Hackman and Sharon Stone in The Quick and the Dead.

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As the years rolled on, both Clooney and Crowe carved out successful careers as Hollywood leading men. And both actors came to be considered heartthrobs in their own way. Clooney himself won People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” gong twice, and he was long considered “Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor” until his 2014 marriage to Amal Alamuddin.

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But while Clooney’s charm and personality made him the object of fans’ affection, the opposite may be true for Crowe. That’s because, thanks to his impulsive behavior and a couple of alleged brawls, the New Zealander established himself as one of show business’ great bad boys. Even so, just like Clooney, he came to be considered as one of the sexiest men in Hollywood. Just ask Meg Ryan.

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All things considered, you would be forgiven for thinking that Clooney and Crowe had a lot in common. And it’s not hard to imagine the two men sitting down and chewing the fat about their successful careers. But it turns out that the pair don’t exactly see eye to eye.

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Because come 2020 Clooney and Crowe had been embroiled in a 15-year feud with one another. And during that time, shots were fired by both sides. For example, Crowe attacked Clooney for appearing in TV commercials, and Clooney took aim at the New Zealander’s rock band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts.

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It’s not clear where the apparent bad blood between Clooney and Crowe stems from. But it’s been rumored that the cause was a case of sour grapes. According to the Australian magazine New Idea in November 2020, Clooney was envious of Crowe for bagging the lead role in Gladiator back in 1999.

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In case you don’t remember, the 2000 film Gladiator was a huge success. The Hollywood blockbuster won five Oscars including Best Picture. For his performance as the fallen Roman general Maximus, Crowe was honored with his own Academy Award. But in 2020 a source told New Idea, “[Clooney] always wishes he got that one.”

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And Gladiator is apparently not the only example of Clooney coveting a role that ultimately went to Crowe, the New Idea source added. The supposed insider claimed that Clooney was “flabbergasted” when he wasn’t considered for the New Zealander’s role in The Nice Guys in 2016.

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So it may be the case that tension had been bubbling between the pair ever since the turn of the millennium. But the first time the public appeared to be made aware of the feud was around 2013. It was then that Clooney revealed Crowe had labeled him a “sell-out” for appearing in TV commercials.

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You see, Clooney has starred in numerous commercials over the years. But most prominently he has been the face of Nespresso coffee machines since 2006. Speaking in 2013 to British newspaper The Guardian, the actor revealed a curious use of the spoils he made from Nespresso. He’d put most of the money, in fact, towards funding a satellite that watched over the former Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashi. Random!

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But despite Clooney’s good intentions, it appeared that Crowe wasn’t impressed. And in 2013 Clooney told Esquire magazine that the Gladiator star had “picked a fight with me.” He said of Crowe, “He started it for no reason at all. He put out this thing saying, ‘George Clooney, Harrison Ford, and Robert De Niro are sellouts.’”

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And Clooney claimed, in the same interview, that Crowe later tried to reach out to him in an attempt to make amends. He explained, “The truth is that [Crowe] did send me a book of poems to apologize for insulting the s*** out of me, which he did.” But by then the gulf between the pair had grown.

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Perhaps in retaliation to Crowe’s “sellouts” comment, Clooney laid into his fellow actor’s musical endeavors. The actor told Esquire “I put out a statement saying, ‘He’s probably right. And I’m glad he told us, ’cause Bob and Harrison and I were also thinking about starting a band, which would also fall under the heading of bad use of celebrity.’”

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Attacking his band really riled Crowe, Clooney claimed. The Ocean’s Eleven star revealed, “That’s when he really went off on me. ‘Who the f*** does this guy think he is? He’s a Frank Sinatra wannabe.’ He really went after me.” But on this occasion at least, Clooney said he decided not to join in the slanging match.

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In the version of events that Clooney put forward to Esquire magazine, he reached out to Crowe reminding him they had nothing to gain from a public spat. He explained, “I sent him a note going, ‘Dude, the only people who succeed when two famous people are fighting is People magazine. What the f*** is wrong with you?’”

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During a subsequent award season following their feud, it seemed likely that the two actors would run into each other. Clooney said of Crowe, “He was gonna see me at the Golden Globes… So he sends me a disc of his music and a thing of his poetry. I think he said, ‘I was all misquoted,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah. Whatever.’”

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In that same, surprisingly candid, interview with Esquire Clooney also took aim at Leonardo DiCaprio. It appeared that the actor was disapproving of the company DiCaprio was keeping after the pair’s respective teams played a basketball game. And it seems that Clooney was not impressed with the opposing side’s bravado.

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Clooney told the magazine, “The thing about playing Leo is you have all these guys talking s***.” Getting to the crux of the story, he added, “We’re all like 50-years-old, and we beat them three straight.” Clooney concluded, “How they talked about their game made me think of how important it is to have someone in your life to tell you what’s what. I’m not sure if Leo has someone like that.”

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But despite Clooney’s comment about DiCaprio, it was his dispute with Crowe that appeared to have had a long-lasting effect on him. That’s because the actor returned to the subject in November 2020 during a chat with GQ magazine. And while speaking to the magazine, Clooney discussed several run-ins he’d had over the course of his career.

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Yes, the star said that he was proud to pick “good fights.” Among the spats was one with TV Guide for failing to include fellow ER actor Eriq La Salle on a front cover. In 1997 Clooney noticed that while the magazine regularly featured the show’s white stars on its front page, black actor La Salle had never received the honor.

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So Clooney mounted a campaign against the magazine. He persuaded his co-stars to boycott the publication and spoke publicly about the alleged inequality. In the end, TV Guide responded by awarding La Salle with his own cover story. Not a bad result all round then. But that’s not all.

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Because the star also took on a Washington Post critic who suggested that Confessions of a Dangerous Mind wasn’t directed by Clooney, but by his friend Steven Soderbergh instead. So Clooney wrote a letter to the writer on the matter teasing, “Letter actually written by George Clooney,” at the end.

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Then, of course, there were Clooney’s issues with Crowe. The actor addressed the cause of the feud in his interview with GQ. Clearly still hurt by his comments, Clooney said of his fellow film star, “Just out of the blue, he’s like, ‘I’m not some sellout like Robert De Niro and Harrison Ford and George Clooney.’ I’m like, ‘Where the f*** did that come from?’”

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But it seems that Clooney is actually a fan of the celebrity feud phenomena. While speaking to GQ, the actor admitted, “I have much more fun watching Chrissy Teigen.” It would appear that the movie star was referring to the model’s tendency to get a touch prickly on social media when critics try to call her out.

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Because Teigen has gone head-to-head with a number of celebrities online over the years. In 2019 she was even involved in a Twitter spat with the President of the United States, Donald Trump. After he referred to Teigen as John Legend’s “filthy-mouthed wife,” the model responded by calling him a “p**** a*s b***h.”

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And the way that Teigen is unafraid to take on even her most famous critics seemed to impress Clooney. He told GQ, “Somebody steps into her world and you go, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t do that, dude.’ It’s so much fun. Like somebody who thinks they’re really smart, and you just go, ‘Ugh, dude. You brought a knife to a gunfight.’”

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So while Clooney has expressed his bewilderment at Crowe’s apparently unprovoked attack, it seems that the film star isn’t completely opposed to celebrity spats. After all, he enjoys watching Teigen take down her detractors on Twitter. Thus it’s hard to say if we’ve heard the last words on the feud between the two leading men.

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It may not be clear whether these Hollywood heartthrobs have put their bad blood to bed just yet, but fans of A-lister feuds needn’t be disheartened. You see, there are plenty more binge-worthy celebrity spats worth keeping an eye on. And it isn’t always leading men that don’t get on, either. Actor Mo’Nique and Oprah Winfrey have been butting heads for years, and in July 2019 their dispute reached a whole new level.

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Oscar-winning actor Mo’Nique and world-famous talk show host Oprah Winfrey have had their fair share of conflict over the years. Yes, even though the famous pair were once close friends, it seems that their bond broke down spectacularly. And in July 2019 Mo’Nique shared a brutally honest video that revealed new details of their nasty fallout and, in doing so, took the feud to new levels.

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But why did their relationship turn so sour? Well, Mo’Nique has spoken out about the feud’s origins on a number of occasions. You see, apparently the Oscar winner felt betrayed by Oprah after the chat show host orchestrated a very public incident involving several of Mo’Nique’s family members. And even though the actor has called out her former friend demanding an apology, it seems that – as of the time of writing – she still hasn’t gotten what she wanted.

In July 2019 Mo’Nique recorded a video with Comedy Hype in which she revealed new details about the pair’s long, bitter battle. The actor also again requested that Oprah should properly apologize to her. And even though Oprah herself didn’t comment, it’s safe to say that Mo’Nique gained the internet’s attention, at least: the clip had accrued close to 900,000 views and over 7,000 comments less than two months after it was posted. But how exactly did the feud begin?

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The pair’s animosity seems to have its roots in Mo’Nique’s Oscar-winning role in Precious – a movie inspired by Sapphire’s book, Push. In the film, she played a woman called Mary Jones: the cruel mom of the title character. As you may already know, Precious grapples with a number of serious themes, including rape and incest. And it seems that parts of the movie reminded Mo’Nique of her own personal experiences.

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During promotion for the film, Mo’Nique alleged to Essence magazine in 2008 that she herself had been sexually assaulted by her own sibling. “I was molested by my older brother. And even when I confronted him and told my parents, he said I was lying, and nothing was really done,” she claimed.

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Mo’Nique further revealed that while she didn’t view her parents as responsible for what had happened, she would always remember their reactions to her claims. “My father was very upset, but it never got mentioned again,” she said. “I’ll never forget my mother saying, ‘If it’s true, it will surface again,’ and I remember thinking, ‘Why would I lie? Why is there even an if in this?’”

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Perhaps because Mo’Nique was able to draw on her own harrowing experiences, she was lauded by critics for her performance in Precious. The actor nabbed a number of awards for her role in the movie, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. And it seems that at this point in Mo’Nique’s career, she and Oprah were still firm friends. After all, when the actor accepted her trophy in March 2010, she thanked Oprah personally, saying, “Because you touched it, the whole world saw it.” But the stars’ budding friendship would soon be left in tatters.

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In April 2010 Mo’Nique’s brother, Gerald Imes – the person she had accused of sexually abusing her – appeared on Oprah’s show. During their interview, Imes alleged that he had in fact abused Mo’Nique – just as she’d claimed. He apologized to his sister and admitted he had “betrayed everybody’s trust.” The actor herself, however, was not there.

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According to Imes, he felt that taking illicit substances had led him to become abusive. “I started using cocaine, heroine [and] alcohol at the age of 11. I used these drugs to hide my own pain – to hide my own fears… The drugs allowed me and afforded me the opportunity to hurt my sister,” he said. The actor’s brother also claimed that he himself had been sexually abused.

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Mo’Nique’s mother and father also appeared on the show. “It was such a heartbreaking thing to accept,” her mother, Alice, said. She then told Oprah that she wanted to believe that her daughter’s role in Precious may have been beneficial to her. “Okay, it took until she was 42 to do this. I don’t care how long it took. I’m just happy it happened,” Alice told the chat show host.

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Imes – who spent 15 years behind bars for sexually assaulting someone else – then confessed to Oprah that he hoped to reunite with Mo’Nique one day. He also appeared to forgive his sister for the claims that she had made against him. “I’m not angry [about] the statements she made by coming forward. I’m proud that she was able to come to a place where she could relinquish her pain – her hurt,” he said.

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But instead of healing a family rift, the interview appeared to have made the situation far worse. You see, in 2017 it became obvious that Mo’Nique had some serious beef with Oprah. During a comedy set at the Apollo Theater, the Oscar winner called out various people she was angry with, including the acclaimed talk show host. In fact, she said on stage that Oprah could “suck my d**k – if I had one.”

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After this explicit outburst, Mo’Nique later released a video where she further explained her anger toward Oprah in that same year. “That particular night when I said what I said, I’m unapologetic for saying it,” she announced. The actor then detailed what had really happened in the lead up to her family appearing on Oprah’s show, and why she felt that her former friend had betrayed her.

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The Oscar winner explained, “There was a time [when] I got a personal phone call from Oprah Winfrey. It was during the whole awards season.” According to Mo’Nique, the chat show host told her that Imes had been in contact. In Mo’Nique’s words, Oprah had said to her friend, “He wants to know if he can come on the show. And before I agree to him coming on the show, I need to call you up to get your approval.”

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Allegedly, Oprah had then said she wanted Mo’Nique to be interviewed on the show, too. But the actor refused. “Everybody’s allowed to change. My brother could truly be a changed person and he could come on the show and explain it, but I don’t want no part of it,” the Oscar winner explained during her video.

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Then, according to Mo’Nique, she and Oprah had a “very personal and intimate” conversation, discussing “how we dealt with our families, how we dealt with being in our position, how our families were trying to grab and take. We had that conversation. I shared with this woman – especially about my mother.”

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And Mo’Nique went on, “Now I want y’all to hear me. I shared with Oprah that me and my mother were not on good terms. I really shared with her what’s going on with my family. She never says anywhere in that conversation, ‘Mo’Nique, I’m going to have your mother on the show.’”

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After hanging up the phone, Mo’Nique was apparently pleased that Oprah had seemed to consider her feelings before putting her brother on the show. But then their friendship took a nosedive. You see, while the actor was taking a break from her own show in her trailer, she turned on her television and saw the episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show that her brother was scheduled to appear on. However, unbeknownst to Mo’Nique, her parents were also in attendance.

During the video, Mo’Nique revealed that she would never have consented to her mom being interviewed. “Had Oprah said to me, ‘I have your mother,’ I would’ve said ‘Shut that s*** down,’” she explained. “Because I don’t want the world seeing my mother being so greedy over money that she’s willing to do anything to go on your show.”

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After the show aired, Oprah reportedly did call Mo’Nique. “When she called, I got butterflies in my stomach,” the Oscar winner said during the video. But apparently the host didn’t apologize, and Mo’Nique said she was too “caught up in the Oprah whirlwind” to tell her how angry she was. So she seemingly decided to convey exactly how she felt to the chat show host the next time that the pair crossed paths.

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Eventually, the Oscar winner got in touch with Oprah again. According to Mo’Nique, the host told her, “I did not know that your parents were going to be there. Let me check into it, and I’ll get back to y’all.” But Mo’Nique alleged that she never did. In fact, the two apparently didn’t meet again until they both attended a star-studded Oscar party for Lupita Nyong’o – when their feud worsened.

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At the party, Mo’Nique reportedly demanded an apology from Oprah in front of a number of their fellow partygoers. She apparently told the other woman, “Sister, you and I have to have a conversation.” She also allegedly said that she had admired her as a child – and this had made the situation hurt all the more. And according to Mo’Nique, the host responded with, “If I did something that offended you, I’m sorry.” But the Oscar winner seemingly didn’t consider this to be a proper apology.

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By contrast, Oprah remained quiet about the affair until the following year. You see, while promoting her new movie A Wrinkle in Time, she opened up about Mo’Nique to Global Grind TV in 2018. “It’s a law that, if you meet negative with negative, you will just have a combustive, negative force of energy,” the star said.

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The chat show legend went on, “You can’t meet negative energy where it is. You have to rise above it; you have to transcend it. You have to be the light… It takes just a little bit of light, and we are warriors of the light. I would never stoop to try to meet somebody where they are negatively. [I] don’t care who they are.”

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After Oprah’s interview, one of her fans took to Twitter and shared the following comment: “Warriors of the Light… And it takes a great amount of darkness to overcome the light! So we can see clearly who is shining vs. who is whining. I love me some Oprah.” Mo’Nique, though, saw the tweet and responded, “My love, fake gold shines, too, but it doesn’t change the fact that it will turn your neck green.”

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The feud between the two women still seemingly hasn’t ended, either. As we already know, in 2019 Mo’Nique released another video calling out the chat show host. What’s more, parts of this one – made in conjunction with Comedy Hype – were directed right at the host herself. “Oprah Winfrey, you know what you need to do,” the Oscar winner said. “And stop hiding behind what you call ‘negative comments.’”

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Mo’Nique then explained the whole situation once more: the problem of her mother being on Oprah’s show. But the actor seemed most hurt over the conversation she’d had with the host about their respective moms. “I shared my relationship with her about my mother, and she shared hers with me, which I will never repeat, because she shared it with me about her mother and father,” she stated.

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Oprah has, in fact, shared a lot of details about her life – and her parents – over the years. Her mother was a teenager when she had her. The young single mom left the little girl with her grandmother, who allegedly beat her with a stick if she ever behaved poorly. And the family was also so impoverished that some of the future star’s clothes were made from sacking.

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The famous host also opened up about her childhood and her relationship with her mom in an interview with the Washington Post in 1986. “I ran away from home. I started acting out my need for attention – my need to be loved. My mother didn’t have the time. She worked every day as a maid,” the TV personality explained. “I was smart, and my mother – because she didn’t have the time for me, I think – tried to stifle it.”

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If this type of candid comment was similar to the secret that Oprah shared with Mo’Nique, though, the world will probably never know. But the Oscar winner had a lot more to say in her Comedy Hype video. “I’m watching my brother, who molested me, sit on this stage trying to paint this picture of ‘I’m trying to be a help,’” she said. On the show itself, the host had told Imes, “[Mo’Nique] said if you expressing what you had done to her could save one family, then it would be worth it.”

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The Oscar winner then revealed that she was still waiting for a real apology from Oprah. “Until that woman says, ‘Let me apologize to you publicly,’ it’ll be ’til the day I leave this earth,” she said, before talking to the star directly. “Because what you did was malicious, and it was intentional, and it was ugly,” she said.

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And during the video, Mo’Nique also detailed the ways in which she had tried to contact the chat show host before resorting to confronting her at the Oscar party. “Keep in mind I was trying to reach out to have this private conversation. No return calls, [and] whatever numbers she did give no longer worked. However it went, I could not get to Oprah Winfrey.”

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Mo’Nique also reflected on what she remembered happening at the infamous Oscar party during the video, too. According to the actor, other women had witnessed her and Oprah argue. “People can say I’m loud, they can say I’m tactless, they can say I’m overbearing – as Oprah Winfrey has considered me – but what they’ve never said is, ‘She’s a liar,’” she announced.

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The actor continued, “Ain’t nobody ever said Mo’Nique is lying. So for all the women that was there last night, they know exactly what was said. I said to her, “How could you have my mother on your show? That’s not what we discussed, and you don’t understand what I’ve had to walk through since you had my mother on your show.”

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In fact, Mo’Nique had had to deal with people approaching her on the street and offering their own – unsolicited – opinions about her mom. “I gotta deal with women coming up to me in Walmart and saying, ‘Your mother ain’t s***,” she explained. “I gotta defend. They ain’t lying, but I still got to defend it, cos that’s my mother.”

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Mo’Nique then opted to speak directly to Oprah once more. “You don’t understand what position you put me in, doing that,” she said. “So, this my moment to talk to you.” And the actor also took the opportunity to again rip into the host’s first apology to her. “’If you think I did something wrong?’ No, Oprah, it ain’t what I think.”

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Mo’Nique then talked about the first time she had met Oprah, and the massive impact it had on her. “I’m a little black fat girl from Baltimore, Maryland,” she said on the video. “And I saw this fat black woman on a TV show [and] said, ‘When I grow up, that’s what I want to do.’”

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That woman on TV was, of course, Oprah. It turns out that a young Mo’Nique even got to meet her on a field trip. “I hugged that woman,” the Oscar winner revealed during the video. “I said, ‘When I grow up, Miss Winfrey, I want to do what you do.’ And she said, ‘You know, you’ve got to work really hard.’” So the aspiring actor seemingly followed Oprah’s advice to the letter, resulting in her own fame.

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At one point, Mo’Nique went on to Oprah’s show, and the Oscar winner remembered what the host had said to her when she was a little girl. According to Mo’Nique, “The woman hugged me and said, ‘When I look at you, I ain’t doing nothing but looking at me.’” The actor went on, “And then when I remind her that’s what she said to me, she says, ‘Oh, I say that to everybody.’ Well, then what does that make you?”

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However, comments about Mo’Nique’s video were slightly mixed. “[Mo’Nique] needs to not give people who mistreated her so much power over her emotions. It’s not healthy,” one person said. Conversely, many others sang the actor’s praises. One person was conspicuously absent, though: Oprah has yet to respond to the video, and perhaps she never will. So, at least for now, it seems that the pair’s feud is far from over.

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