When you are famous (as in a real life celebrity), people will never forgive you for the following offenses:
1) Arrogance, or self-importance of any sort, especially the belittling and tearing down of others.
2) Manipulation, or coercion, or stacking the deck, or going behind people's backs. (Technically, this can include bullying and violence.)
3) Falsity/Non-Credibility, this includes outright lying, hypocrisy, unresolved mental illness, and (here's an oxymoron) a "consistent lack of reliability" in performance and/or in accuracy of information.
Mistakes and failures can be forgiven. Weaknesses and shortcomings can be overlooked. But these three sins are death to any celebrity.
I came to these conclusions the other day (not because I'm famous--and I'm not) after analyzing the lives and foibles of those celebrities who rack up the most controversy: Madonna, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, John McEnroe, Rosie O'Donnell, Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Pat Robertson.
I also thought deeply about those celebrities who once were dearly and widely loved, but later declined in favor, or else fell outright fell from it: Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Michael Jackson, Suzanne Somers, Nia Vardalos, Winona Ryder, Russell Crowe.
And those celebrities who plummeted from great heights and were later elevated back to a place of dignity again: Robert Downey Jr., Donald Trump, Tiger Woods, Kirstie Alley.
And then I examined those celebrities who have endured rock-solid with unflappable grace and poise: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Reeve, Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bill Cosby, Nicole Kidman, Stephen Spielberg, Michael Jordan, Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, Eddie Murphy, Billy Graham, Jodie Foster, Robin Williams, Meryl Streep, Will Smith.
(On a side note, the jury's still out on Mel Gibson, especially after the success of "Apocalypto." Time will tell where he will eventually "fall" on this list.)
So, how much of this wisdom do we apply to us lowly peons of neither fame nor favor? All of it, I'd say. They all have lessons we can learn from.