For my ex, who robbed me blind, gave me bad publicity, and contributed exactly nothing to this book.
A dedication is arguably the most personal part of a story, usually a few well-chosen words of praise for a parent or partner. In a celebrity memoir, it’s also the one page untouched by ghostwriters and editors, who shape the rest of a star’s life into 300 pages of easily digestible prose. But how often is it honest?
Click Image to Read the Most Memorable Celebrity Dedications
Earlier this month, Mark Wahlberg reminded the world he wrote a memoir in 1992—one that begins with a now infamous shout-out. He said he regrets "that stupid book...that I dedicated to my penis" and that he’s now embarrassed (although, giving credit where it’s due, his body and those Calvins were the only possible things to thank for his early success).
Combing through hundreds of celebrity autobiographies reveals funny and touching glimpses into famous lives. Russell Brand thanks his parents and warns them of what the book holds; Mia Farrow gets in a not-so-subtle dig at Woody Allen; Bill O’Reilly pays tribute to his fans, not his family; Arnold Schwarzenegger singles out motivational body builders.
Wahlberg isn’t, however, the only one who wishes he could rip out a page. Even though dedications are always written in good faith, over time some of them become regrettable. Heather Mills, for instance, is probably not missing Paul McCartney after their blowout divorce, but her memoir reminds us that the Beatle was once her “best friend and loving husband.”
Before Twitter became a haven for stars and their soundbites, one of the only outlets for a celebrity to be unfiltered, aside from an onstage acceptance speech, was by telling his or her life story with the help of a big, fat book contract. Whether vain, honest, or hilarious, their words are at least illuminating.
And luckily for those who thanked the wrong person the first time around, Hollywood loves a sequel.
Kara Cutruzzula is deputy features editor at The Daily Beast.