Psychology behind celebrity deaths

The untimely death of George Michael will leave a void in the hearts and minds of adults and teenagers alike. He created a fictional persona in order to cope with his sexuality and pressures of media attention as he became an integral part of pop culture. George had an altruistic trait in his personality which facilitated his giving millions to charities and on a more personal note, to individuals he met on the street, such was George Michael.

Like many famous celebrities who have died during the past year there are psychological aspects associated with how we mourn their loss. We know where we were and what we were doing when we learned of the death of George Michael or Robin Williams, the list is endless. Moments after we hear the news social media is saturated with videos and tributes of the late singers performances and lyrics.

George Michael

Ironically whilst we feel the loss we have in fact rarely met these pop idols, we know little about their real lives and intimacies, we know nothing about the reality of the causes of their depression. Loss of a loved one is intensified by the meaning it has for our own person and the joy it has now eliminated. Depression and low mood is normal to experience in particular when we loss our pop idol. For older adults he was our teenage heartthrob and this becomes an integral part of our personal identity. When a celebrity dies, these feelings of sadness is in fact good for us to experience. The reason being that it heightens our sense of empathy and understanding of death.

Some celebrities die after a long life of service to entertainment whilst other are taken form us in their early life. Celebrity deaths help us to understand the nature of addictions and its tragic consequences. In the context of Celebrity culture it helps viewers and fans to assess their own values and beliefs about death and also helps fans understand the full humanity of celebrities and the problems they have to endure on tour and the struggle to maintain a degree of intimacy about their private family lives and relationships.

These feelings of sadness is in fact good for us to experience when a celebrity dies. Some celebrities die after a long life of service to entertainment whilst other are taken form us in their early life. Celebrity deaths help us to understand the nature of addictions and its tragic consequences. In the context of Celebrity culture it helps viewers and fans to assess their own values and beliefs about death and also helps fans understand the full humanity of celebrities and the problems they have to endure on tour and the struggle to maintain a degree of intimacy about their private family lives and relationships. At the hearing of the late George Michael’s death it became nostalgic for me and many others when we reflect back psychologically to the time and place we heard that song and its lyrics.

Read more interesting articles from celebrity tv psychologist Dr Arthur Cassidy – Social Media Psychologist and Broadcaster.