6 Highly Famous People And Their Embarrassing Facts

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it”, famously said Sir Winston Churchill. In history books and the common narrative, the defects and wrongdoings of victors are downplayed while of the vanquished, are exaggerated. We fondly remember many historical personalities for their heroic deeds and actions yet if we delve deeper into their records, we figure them to be not all that saintly. Presented here are six highly famous personalities and their embarrassing facts that you weren’t taught about at high school.

Mahatma Gandhi

Famous People And Their Embarrassing Facts

How we remember him

A prominent leader of the Indian independent movement, an advocate for truth and non-violence. Through his non-violent civil disobedience campaign, he was instrumental in ending the 150 years of British tyranny in India and empowering the underprivileged sections of the Indian society. Modest and compassionate, his example inspired movements for civil rights and freedom all over the world.

Embarrassing Fact: He was a dirty little man

In 1906, he had vowed to abstain from sexual relations and become celibate in order to archive a state of enlightenment. However as he grew older, his fascination with sex grew so much that it was among the subject he most talked about.  In the 1940s, he began sleeping unclothed with young naked women as part of his “experiment” to “test” his celibate state.  Some of the women he slept with, including the wife of his grandnephew Kanu Gandhi, were under 18. These experiments caused some of his staff members to resign in disgust.

Winston Churchill

 Famous People And Their Embarrassing Facts

How we remember him

A skilled statesman and orator, who in Britain’s darkest hour, inspired hope and courage in the hearts of its many citizens, urging them to carry on their resistance against Nazi Germany. Widely respected, his state funeral saw one of the largest assemblies of world leaders in history. He remains one of the most influential figures in British history as well as among its greatest.

Embarrassing Fact: He was a racist warmonger

As Europe celebrated the end of World War 2, Churchill was already busy planning war with the Soviets so to “impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire”. Operation Unthinkable was the codename given to the war plan created on his orders. Thankfully, the British Chiefs of Staff Committee was comprised of sane individuals and they rejected the plan as being….unthinkable! Had his plan gone ahead, the world would have seen itself plunged itself into yet another terrible war.

And as far as racism is concerned, we’ll let his words speak for itself:

“I do not admit… that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia… by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race… has come in and taken its place.” – Churchill  at Palestine Royal Commission in 1937.

And as for the case of the terrible Bengal famine, he deliberately insisted on grains to be instead shipped to Europe,  commenting that the “starvation of anyhow underfed Bengalis is less serious than that of sturdy Greek”.

George Washington

 Famous People And Their Embarrassing Facts

How we remember him

One of the founding fathers of the United States and the commander-in-chief of  its continental army during the American revolutionary war . Famous and widely admired for his leadership qualities , Washington was unanimously elected twice for the highest office and his example set many precedents for the succeeding national government of the country. Even today, many consider him to be among the greatest presidents in US history.

Embarrassing FactHe was a clever trickster and an extravagant shopper

When appointed as the commander in chief of the army, he refused to be given a salary, stating he had no desire of making  any profit, instead taking in an expense account.  With that, he was able to do a lot more shopping that could have been possible with the meager 1 grand per month he had turned down, spending 6 thousand dollars on liquor alone.

In a span of 8 years, he had spent a sum of nearly 450,000 dollars (amounting to4, 250,000.00 in today’s money). And he tried to pull off the same clever trick again when he was inaugurated as the president but this time he was turned down and given a set annual salary of $25,000. A scan of his expenses can be viewed here.

Albert Einstein

Famous People And Their Embarrassing Facts

How we remember him

Perhaps the greatest mind of the 20th century, he is credited with developing the theory of relativity , one of the two fundamentals of modern physics. In popular culture he is best known for his  equation ‘E=mc2’.

An exceptionally gifted mind, Einstein’s contributions to science are immense and for his services to the field of  theoretical physics , he became a recipient of the Noble Prize. His scientific achievements have made the word “Einstein” become synonymous with Genius.

Embarrassing Fact: He was a playboy

He cheated on both his first and second wife respectively.   While married to his first wife, Marić, he started an affair with his cousin Elsa and later parted ways with Marić to marry Elsa.  But shortly after marriage, Einstein formed a relationship with his secretary Betty Neumann. In his letters, he described as having relations with 6 different women during his marriage and after the death of his second wife.

Mother Teresa

Famous People And Their Embarrassing Facts

How we remember him

A living saint on Earth, founder of the Missionaries of Charity, a charity organization active in more than 133 countries dedicated to helping the sick, the poor and the needy.  Teresa was a recipient of numerous awards ,including the Nobel peace prize and was widely admired throughout the world for her selfless efforts to help the poor.

Embarrassing Fact: She was a religious extremist 

She actively encouraged members of her order  to covertly baptize dying patients without regard to their religion.” Sisters were to ask each person in danger of death if he wanted a ‘ticket to heaven’. An affirmative reply was to mean consent to baptism. The sister was then to pretend that she was just cooling the patient’s head with a wet cloth, while in fact she was baptizing him, saying quietly the necessary words. Secrecy was important so that it would not come to be known that Mother Teresa’s sisters were baptizing Hindus and Muslims.” –  words of a former nun who worked at the missionary of charity.

Teresa also believed the suffering was necessary, considering it a ‘gift from God”, Despite the millions received as donations, the conditions in her clinics was abysmal. Most of the funds received  did not go into helping the poor but rather in missionary work.


Famous People And Their Embarrassing Facts

How we remember him

Among the brightest and most influential writers of the enlightenment age, Voltaire was an advocate of religious freedom, liberty and secular values. A highly versatile writer, he produced work in almost every literary works.  His satires and sharp wits are well known as well as his criticism of the Ancien Régime and the Catholic Church.

Embarrassing Fact: He was an anti-Semite 

Voltaire held noting but contempt for the Jews, viewing them as outsiders and dangerous to modern society. Voltaire viewed that Jews, being ‘Asiatic’ rather than European, were by race inherently corrupt and unlike Christians, could not be ‘saved’. He obsessively wrote hundreds of works regarding Jews, arguing them to be complete degenerates and utterly vile.  Because of Voltaire’s writing and influence, racial anti-Semitism lingered on in Europe for the next one hundred and fifty years, their most ruinous consequence being the birth of Nazi philosophy.

A. R. Usmani

Historian | Researcher | Likes to live in the past because housing is much cheaper

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.