Being the richest woman in entertainment has its drawbacks; namely, people will try to blackmail you left and right. So it came to pass with Oprah Winfrey, who was the victim of an extortion plot by the aptly named Keifer Bonvillain. In 2007, Bonvillain allegedly demanded that Winfrey pay him $1.5 million in exchange for not leaking “
damaging recordings of phone conversations” with one of Winfrey’s employees. Oprah immediately involved the FBI, who captured Bonvillain after luring him to an Atlanta hotel with $3,000 and the promise of more cash. After Bonvillain was released on bail, however, he continued to antagonize the television star, filing for $180 million in damages from the
suit (the case was later dismissed), and publishing his tell-all book,
Ruthless, in January 2008, describing the phone calls and accusing Oprah of being both racist, a miser, and a lesbian. (His rock-solid evidence? “Gay couples enjoy planning things together. Oprah and Gayle have planned balls, parties, charity events, trips, shows, and much more.”) And if all that wasn’t trouble enough, Bonvillain is back with another tell-all book,
The Broken Road, exposing FEMA fraud (and drug abuse) after Hurricane Gustav—all backed up by, you guessed it, secret audio tape.