Before Brangelina was even a thing—and therefore before it was not a thing anymore—Angelina Jolie was caught up in another controversial relationship, with fellow actor Billy Bob Thornton this time. After meeting on the set of Pushing Tin in 1999, the two Hollywood rebels entered a drama-fueled whirlwind of a romance that contained every defiant behaviour you could think of, from a Las Vegas wedding and a now-removed tattoo to blood necklaces and underwear swapping. This relationship was absolutely wild—toxic, some might even say.
Those of you who are already familiar with the endless list of scandals and tabloid-worthy rumours Thornton and Jolie’s relationship consisted of might have noticed the similarities between the iconic duo and 2021’s most talked-about couple, Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) and Megan Fox. MGK designed Fox’s engagement ring with thorns so that whenever she would try to take it off, her finger would get lacerated? Talk about controversial/borderline dangerous behaviour. Come on, the 90s couple walked so that MGK and Fox could pretty much run.
If you’re not yet sure what we’re talking about right now, here’s everything you need to know about both relationships so that you can make up your own mind about the disturbing similarities they have to offer.
When the two actors met in 1999, they were each involved with someone else—Thornton was engaged to Laura Dern and Jolie was dating Timothy Hutton, freshly out of her marriage with actor Jonny Lee Miller.
In Pushing Tin, Jolie and Thornton played a married couple working through the strains of their relationship following a bout of infidelity. It soon became clear that the two co-stars felt a spark from something more emotional than their performances.
Not only was Thornton cheating on his fiancé with Jolie, but in May 2000, the two of them thought it would be a good idea to go to Las Vegas and get married out of the blue. And yes, Dern was still married to Thornton at the time. After the news about the wedding came out, Dern commented to Talk magazine that she “left our home [hers and Thornton’s] to work on a movie, and while I was away, my boyfriend got married, and I’ve never heard from him again.”
Reporting on the wedding, Ranker wrote, “According to the reverend who presided over the Vegas nuptials, the couple went casual for their ceremony. Jolie pulled her hair back, didn’t worry about getting too made up, and said ‘yes’ without too much pomp and circumstance.”
After marrying, the couple purchased a massive Beverly Hills home from Slash, the lead guitarist of Guns N’ Roses, for $3.75 million. This purchase seemed to solidify the couple’s commitment to one another and showed that they were settling down—if ‘settling down’ can even be used to describe what was about to happen next.
After the couple split, Thornton stayed in the home until he put it on the market in 2012.
Jolie and Thornton couldn’t keep their hands off of each other. While walking the red carpet at the premiere of Gone in 60 Seconds, which Jolie played a role in, the freshly married couple kept kissing in front of the paparazzi, completely fine with letting the whole world into their private life. When a correspondent for MTV News asked the couple about the most exciting thing they’d ever done in a car, “individually or together,” Thornton said: “I think it was today. My favourite one in a car was today, just before we got here. What is this, MTV? Well, you want me to be honest with you? We fucked in the car on the way here.” Ba-dum tss.
The premiere PDA wasn’t a one-time thing either—let’s just say that the sexual chemistry between the two celebrities was hard to miss. In the June 26 issue of US Weekly, the couple gave the magazine an interview where they spoke of their deep love for one another, as well as all the amenities they were installing in their home, because why not? That included the “padded room,” where, supposedly, they would go in the middle of the night when they were so in love that they “[wanted] to kill each other.” No biggie.
Thornton also said that he was on the verge of a heart attack whenever he and his wife locked lips. Jolie used the time to talk about how Thornton affects her bones to the marrow, and she insinuated that they spent most of their time being intimate. She told US Weekly, “It’s amazing that we actually leave the room—ever. But you know what? It’s beautiful and I think I’m going to [perish] every few minutes. Then I feel so complete and safe and warm and in love and then I just feel like I’m on fire and I’m so excited and I didn’t know I could feel that through my entire body.” If that doesn’t sound like a slightly outdated version of Fox’s infamous Instagram captions, then I don’t know what does.
Not to kink shame or anything, but publicly saying that you like to exchange underwear with your wife for the day or wear your partner’s blood around your neck was pretty fearless at the time—or simply questionable, it all depends on how you look at it.
In any case, both Thornton and Jolie were very open about the intimate details of their relationship. In a 2000 interview with The Morning Call, the former dispelled myths about his eccentric lifestyle and his marriage with soon-to-be Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft.
On the underwear rumour, Thornton cleared up that it was a rarity and that the rumour stemmed from a mix-up on the way to the gym. He explained, “I did wear my wife’s underwear working out in the gym one day and a guy saw it. But I don’t wear my wife’s underwear every day. I wear it, like, occasionally.”
Okay, so the underwear rumour might have been slightly blown out of proportion by the press—what about the blood vials they were known to wear around their necks? The couple infamously started wearing each other’s blood in small vessels mounted on chains back in 2001. Speaking to Insider in 2018, Thornton explained, “The necklaces were a very simple thing, ‘Hey let’s poke our fingers with a pen and smear a little blood on there and when we’re away from each other we’ll wear the necklace.’ It was that easy. But by the time it came out in the press, it sounded like we were wearing a bucket of blood around our necks.”
Bucket of blood or only a few drops, it comes as no surprise that MGK has been said to wear a few drops of Fox’s blood around his neck…
During the summer of 2002, claims of Thornton’s supposed infidelity started cropping up. At the time, the actor was allegedly seeing a therapist for sex addiction. It was said that he slept with the therapist, and when Jolie found out about it, she was devastated. Rumours aside, Thornton revealed in 2018 that the couple had, in fact, separated because of their differences—he was agoraphobic, she was a social butterfly.
Shortly after these rumours started making the rounds, their relationship came to an end. Around this time, Thornton supposedly removed or covered up his tattoos dedicated to Jolie. Meanwhile, Jolie waited until 2005 to remove her own Billy Bob tattoo.
While speaking with Vogue in 2004, the actress explained that she got into the relationship too early, and that they both changed too much to make their marriage work. “It took me by surprise, too, because overnight, we totally changed. I think one day we had just nothing in common. And it’s scary but… I think it can happen when you get involved and you don’t know yourself yet.”
On Thursday 20 January 2022, Thornton’s son Harry, 27, told Page Six that MGK and Megan Fox were nothing more than “copycats” of his father’s past relationship with Jolie. It’s not hard to see why he would say that—the modern-day power couple clearly took a page or two off Thornton and Jolie’ book. Both relationships are written in the same font, if you will.
PDA on the red carpet was only replaced by, well, tongue-stricken PDA on the red carpet too. Scandalous interviews with celebrity tabloids turned into scandalous interviews with the likes of GQ followed by some cryptic and cringe-worthy Instagram captions. Blood necklaces stayed in place, only filled with two new starstruck lovers’ blood.
While Thornton was problematic too—just Google pictures of him before he met Jolie and you’ll understand how much of a phase his relationship with her was from the beginning—his substitution, in the form of MGK, proved to be even more so. This, put on top of how little privacy we now give celebrities, can only lead the copycat couple to a more toxic relationship than their predecessors.
Over the years, Machine Gun Kelly (MGK)—real name Colson Baker—has somehow managed to continuously make headlines. First, he became known as that guy who tried (and ridiculously failed, might I add) to diss Eminem on his song ‘Rap Devil’. Give it a few years and MGK went from rap-industry B-teamer to Megan Fox’s manic pixie dream boy and Pete Davidson’s bestie. Along with Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, the duo brought power couples back from the 2000s.
What some of you may not know however, is that beyond his cringeworthy persona, Machine Gun Kelly has a pretty shady history of sexualising underage girls throughout his career. And surprise, surprise, it’s part of the reason why Eminem noticed him in the first place. Just like we previously exposed Drake’s behaviour, we have all the receipts on exactly why it’s high time we cancel MGK—here are all the times the artist said or did some questionable things. Buckle up, Megan.
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The singer’s now-infamous beef with Eminem (real name Marshall Bruce Mathers III) actually originated years before the release of ‘Rap Devil’. Back in 2012, Machine Gun Kelly tweeted about Marshall’s daughter, Hailie Jade Mathers, who was 16 at the time. The now-deleted tweet read, “Ok so I just saw a picture of Eminem’s daughter… And I have to say, she is hot as fuck, in the most respectful way possible cause Em is king.”
At the time, Eminem did not hear word of the tweet and years passed without anyone else seeming to see such a statement as problematic. Then in 2018, the rapper came out with the song ‘Not Alike’ where the lyrics read, “I’m talkin’ to you, but you already know who the fuck you are, Kelly. I don’t use sublims and sure as fuck don’t sneak-diss. But keep commenting on my daughter Hailie.”
Talking to the American journalist, radio personality, executive producer and rapper Sway during a 2018 interview, Eminem explained how he ended up finding MGK’s tweet six years later. “One day, you know, you go down a wormhole on YouTube or whatever,” he said. “I see ‘Machine Gun Kelly Talks About Eminem’s Daughter’ or whatever. I’m like, ‘What the fuck?’ I click on it… He starts doing a press run, basically, about Hailie. I’m like, ‘What the fuck? Yo, my man better chill’.”
He continued, “The reason I dissed him is actually a lot more petty than that. The reason that I dissed him is because he got on—first he said, ‘I’m the greatest rapper alive since my favourite rapper banned me from Shade 45’ or whatever he said, right? Like I’m trying to hinder his career. I don’t give a fuck about your career. You think I actually think about you? You know how many fucking rappers are better than you? You’re not even in the fucking conversation.”
Between MGK and Eminem, things never died down—and for good reason. In his 2020 song ‘Zeus’, Eminem rapped, “Fair weather, wishy-washy. She thinks Machine washed me. Swear to God, man, her favourite rapper wish he’d crossed me,” while on the song ‘Gnat’ he added, “They come at me with machine guns. Like trying to fight off a gnat.” MGK took to Twitter to address the latest gibe.
As expected, fans of the two respective sides each attempted to prove exactly who ‘the best rapper of all time’ is.
But his comment about Eminem’s daughter is not the only time Machine Gun Kelly showed signs of sexualising teens. It’s a pattern for the artist.
During a 2013 interview with Fuse, the then-23-year-old singer revealed his celebrity crush to be Kendall Jenner, who was 17 at the time. When the interviewer asked if he was counting down the days until she was 18, which, let’s be honest, is a creepy question in and of itself, MGK responded, “I’m not waiting ‘till she’s 18, I’ll go now.”
“I’m 23, I’m not like a creepy age. I’m 23, she’s 17 and she’s a celebrity—there is no limits right there,” he continued. No matter how old MGK was when he made such a statement, the laws of California (where Jenner lives) say otherwise. The age of consent is 18, making whatever he ‘dreamt of doing’ to the model illegal.
“Robert Plant, who was one of the greatest lead singers ever, dated a girl that was 14,” he defended himself. “Axel Rose, who was one of the biggest badasses ever, dated a girl that was 16.” The man is literally naming some of the creepiest rock icons there are—we should have spotted the red flags. “I don’t care. Say what you want, man. If Kendall Jenner was in your bedroom naked, and you’re 50, you’re going,” MGK added in his last attempts at justifying such problematic comments.
But wait, it gets even worse.
In 2010, at 19-years-old, MGK tweeted, in what can probably be seen as his worst offence so far, “I wish 13/14/15 year old girls weren’t allowed to be hot so I wouldn’t feel like such a creeper when I look at them… I’m still 19 #imjustsayin.” Obviously, this tweet has also been deleted since then.
Oh, and in 2009, he also tweeted, “There’s a little 13 year old girl next to me going crazy over my Transformers tattoo, don’t worry though I won’t pull an R Kelly.” Charming.
In 2011, the now-idolised celebrity tweeted yet another worrying thought, “Ok so I got a Facebook message from a 14 year old just now saying ‘hey, you’re sexy as fuck. I’d tap dat’.”
As if his obvious sexualisation of underage girls wasn’t enough, Machine Gun Kelly has also previously said some questionable things about black women.
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In a 2012 YouTube video posted by Baller Alert where MGK was interviewed while walking the BET Awards’ red carpet, the presenter asked him about one of his recent tweets that stated he likes “chocolate milk.” He answered with, “I’ll tell it like this, my child is black. Black girls give the best head.” It goes without saying that his statement was saturated with misogynoir however, it remains unclear exactly why he had followed up with that statement—the generalisation that was implied in what he said and the manner in which he spoke about it were worrying to say the least.
During this interview, a black woman who was standing behind the interviewer walked away, visibly offended, and Machine Gun Kelly took it upon himself to call her a “dirty dick bitch” while still on camera—disrespecting the type of woman he half-assed ‘praised’ just seconds before. All the while, having a young pre-teen black daughter. Classy.