We all need a good cry sometimes. The only difference? Most of us can do so in the privacy of our own homes without having our crying faces projected on the small screen for all to see — unlike celebrities.
Through the years, stars like Fergie, Bradley Cooper and Pharrell Williams have choked up during their talk show appearances — and their hosts aren’t immune to tearing up either — causing us to ugly-cry all the way through.
Keep scrolling to view a handful of those moments. Warning: You may want to stock up on tissues before pressing play.
B.J. NOVAK’S TWEET MAKES MINDY KALING TEAR UP
While chatting to Today host Hoda Kotb, the new mom and Champions star got teary-eyed after Kotb read BFF B.J. Novak’s sweet Twitter message for the actress.
“When I met @mindykaling she lived in a small apartment on Fairfax Ave,” read Novak’s tweet, which also included a movie poster of Kaling as her A Wrinkle In Time character. “This is what’s in front of that building today. Congrats Mindy and a future congrats to all those who see you in it and are inspired to do great things.”
Kaling couldn’t help but noticeably tear up. “It’s really moving,” she told Kotb. “When I was coming up there was no one who looked like me on TV or film, and it was such a nice thing that he remembered that. I was so moved by that. No, it’s true: If you dream big, you can get whatever you want.”
PORTIA DE ROSSI SURPRISES ELLEN DEGENERES
De Rossi surprised her wife during her 60th birthday celebration on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, showing up and teasing a “really special” gift for her longtime love. The Scandal actress showed a video about one of the talk show host’s heroes: late conservationist and Gorillas in the Mist author Dian Fossey. “Ellen, you will carry on Dian’s legacy by giving them a permanent home in Rwanda,” said de Rossi, presenting her wife with her own namesake gorilla conservation center in Rwanda. “Now, you will join Dian as a protector and champion of these amazing animals, the mountain gorillas. Happy birthday!”
JIMMY KIMMEL GIVES A TEARFUL MONOLOGUE ABOUT SON BILLY
The late-night talk-show host tearfully revealed on a 2017 show that his newborn son, Billy, had successfully undergone open-heart surgery after being diagnosed with a congenital heart disease, called tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia. “We call him Billy. Six pushes, he was out. He appeared a normal healthy baby,” Kimmel began his opening monologue while fighting back tears.
But three hours later, a nurse noticed something was wrong with Billy. “My wife was in bed relaxing. A very attentive nurse at Cedars-Sinai heard a murmur in his heart and noticed he was a bit purple, which is not common,” Kimmel explained. “[Nurses] determined he wasn’t getting enough oxygen in his blood, either in his heart or lungs … It’s a terrifying thing, you know, my wife is back in the recovery room, she has no idea what’s going on.”
Since then, Kimmel has regularly shared updates about Billy on social media, most recently telling fans his son is doing better with each passing day, and has already successfully undergone his second heart surgery.
MEGHAN MCCAIN IS COMFORTED BY JOE BIDEN
Former vice president Biden appeared on The View in December 2017 and consoled the co-host, whose father John McCain was diagnosed with same cancer that took the life of his late son, Beau. As Meghan became emotional talking about her father’s diagnosis of stage 4 glioblastoma, a rare and highly aggressive form of brain cancer that has a median survival rate of 14 months, Biden switched seats so he could hold her hand and comfort her. “There is hope,” he said. “And if anybody can make it, your dad [can].”
TAYLOR SWIFT HONORS JIMMY FALLON’S LATE MOM
In November 2017, Swift made an unannounced appearance on The Tonight Show, during the host’s first show on air since the death of his mother Gloria. The singer performed her song “New Year’s Day” while playing the piano following the comedian’s monologue. Serendipitously, the lyrics unintentionally referred back to a story an emotional Fallon told about his mother squeezing his hand three times to say “I love you” when he was a child.
“When we were little, my mom would walk us to this store, me and my sister, and she would squeeze my hand three times and say, ‘I love you,’ and I would squeeze back, ‘I love you, too,'” Fallon explained, pausing to gather his composure. “And… last week I was in the hospital and I grabbed her and squeezed, ‘I love you.'”
Swift’s “New Year’s Day” lyrics include the line, “You squeeze my hand three times in the back of the taxi / I can tell that it’s gonna be a long road / I’ll be there if you’re the toast of the town, babe / Or if you strike out and you’re crawling home.”
FERGIE OPENS UP ABOUT HER SPLIT FROM HUSBAND JOSH DUHAMEL
Around the same time the songstress and her husband of eight years announced they were going their separate ways, Fergie was scheduled for an appearance on The Wendy Williams Show to promote her latest album and discuss life after divorce. The singer burst into tears as she opened up about her split from Duhamel. “We’re doing the best we can … It wasn’t my plan. I wanted to stay married forever,” the Double Dutchess hitmaker told Williams. When Fergie cries, we cry.
PHARRELL WILLIAMS CHOKES UP ABOUT ‘HAPPY’
At the height of Williams’s song “Happy,” Oprah Winfrey invited the artist on her OWN Network show to discuss his career and the song’s hit status. “Zero airplay, nothing,” Williams began, recounting how quickly “Happy” rose up the music charts. “And then the next thing you know, we put the video on November 21st. All of a sudden, boom.”
What followed was a montage Winfrey showed Williams of people from around the world creating their own music videos for “Happy,” which brought the singer to tears. “It’s overwhelming because I love what I do and I just appreciate the fact that people believed in me for so long that I could make it to this point,” he told the talk show host.
BRADLEY COOPER SPEAKS ABOUT HIS ACTING TEACHER
The critically acclaimed actor broke down when speaking about his basic technique acting teacher, Elizabeth Kemp. In an attempt to sum up the impact Kemp has had on the star, Cooper — who gave the teacher a standing ovation — tearfully said: “I was never able to relax in my life before her.”
JIMMY FALLON PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE LATE ROBIN WILLIAMS
In 2014, the Tonight Show host tearfully paid tribute to late comedian Robin Williams one day after his death. “He’s one in a million. He’s unbelievable,” Fallon said of Williams, showing archival footage of the comic when he stopped by The Tonight Show, back when Johnny Carson hosted the show. Fallon ended the montage by standing on his desk and proclaiming “O Captain! My Captain! You will be missed.” — an homage to Dead Poets Society, which starred Williams.
ELLEN DEGENERES SURPRISES JIMMY KIMMEL WITH A TRIBUTE TO HIS SON
The late-night host made an appearance on a February 2018 episode of DeGeneres’ talk show, where she revealed she dedicated something special to his 10-month-old son William “Billy” John, who underwent two heart surgeries in 2017. DeGeneres revealed she had one of the rooms in the Heart Institute at the Children’s Hospital named in honor of Billy.
“Thank you very much,” Kimmel said after a picture of the plaque is revealed, visibly moved to tears. “It means a lot to me.”