For better or worse, Tyrese Gibson is one celeb who has never seemed afraid to speak his mind. Having first gained prominence in the entertainment world as an R&B artist before winning over Hollywood viewers with his character of Roman Pierce in the Fast & Furious franchise, this multi-talented star has demonstrated — time and again — that he has some strong opinions … and the world needs to hear them.
From disputes over film roles to his personal squabbles and philosophical thoughts, Gibson has jumped head-first into several controversies over the years. He’s also often taken to social media to provide fans with his side of the story, at times stirring up further drama when he probably would’ve been better served by keeping his affairs private instead of airing his dirty laundry out on Instagram. And yet, Gibson isn’t one to back away from a fight.
Let’s dive right into the many controversies Tyrese Gibson has waded into (or, um, entirely manufactured) over the course of his varied career.
Tyrese Gibson roamed New York City subways to promote his album
A few years before he was introduced to a new group of fans in 2003 through his role in the long-running Fast & Furious franchise, Tyrese Gibson was best known as an R&B singer with hits like «Sweet Lady» and «How You Gonna Act Like That.» He switched things up once again in 2015 when it came to promoting his sixth and final studio album as a solo artist, Black Rose. The week before releasing it on his own label, Voltron Recordz, that July, the artist opted for some pretty unconventional marketing tactics, taking to the New York City subway to spread the word, per the New York Daily News.
A video shared on Instagram showed Gibson asking subway riders to purchase his new music, telling the crowd, «Excuse me, everybody. My name is Tyrese, I’m a singer, I left all of the major record labels so that I can do my thing as an independent artist.» With Page Six noting that the star’s «security [was] in tow,» he added, «I’m independent. I’m grass roots. I’m in these streets. I’m a street performer.»
While these admittedly odd optics could have backfired, most fans seemed to appreciate the move, with one writing on Facebook, «Tyrese you went from professional to hood in about 2.5 seconds. LOL I love it!» It’s unclear whether this actually affected Black Rose«s sales, but it did debut as his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, making this one controversial move worth taking.
Tyrese Gibson sided with Vin Diesel over Dwayne «The Rock» Johnson
In 2016, a war of the words erupted between two Fast & Furious franchise stars: Vin Diesel and Dwayne «The Rock» Johnson. Their beef went public that August when the former pro wrestler posted a profane rant on Facebook, allegedly directed at Diesel, toward the end of filming The Fate of the Furious. In the since-deleted post, Johnson claimed that certain «male co-stars» were «chicken s**t,» adding, «When you watch this movie next April and it seems like I’m not acting in some of these scenes and my blood is legit boiling — you’re right.» Yikes.
Soon after, TMZ reported that several other co-stars were «upset» by Johnson’s fiery message. While Diesel and Johnson continued to trade veiled references to each other, one Tyrese Gibson eventually entered into the fray. The singer-turned-actor initially defended Johnson, captioning a since-deleted Instagram video of Johnson singing to his daughter in part with (via E! News), «I think Dewayne aka DJ happens to be one of the most humble, down to earth and professional people I’ve ever worked with and more importantly he’s my brother we have NEVER had a problem and will never have a problem.»
Literally one day later, however, Gibson changed his tune and publicly made his allegiances to Diesel known on Instagram. (Wait, what?!) Alongside an image of the two together, Gibson wrote in part, «If no one else will jump out there and stand up I will — You’re my brother for life let’s keep it positive and keep rockin this thing.»
Tyrese Gibson lashed out at The Rock again over his movie spin-off
After siding with Vin Diesel amid his drama with Fast & Furious co-star Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson once again levied his own complaints on Instagram in September 2017. In a series of since-deleted posts, Gibson pleaded with Johnson to return his calls related to rumors surrounding the WWE alum’s planned spin-off, Hobbs & Shaw, which would hit theaters in the summer of 2019.
Commenting on a photo of Johnson signing papers at his desk, Gibson claimed he had «purposely ignored [their] heart to heart moment» over the matter, adding, «I’m on your timeline cause you’re not responding to my text messages — #FastFamily is just that a family…….. We don’t fly solo.» When news broke that the release date for the ninth Fast & Furious film had been pushed back from spring 2019 to 2020, Gibson went on another posting spree: «Congratulations to @TheRock … for making the fast and the furious franchise about YOU,» he wrote in part, before alleging in a subsequent post, «I guess this whole time he had a problem cause he wasn’t the ONLY ONE on the movie poster.«
Johnson later called the feud «disappointing» and «one-sided» in an appearance on Watch What Happens Live, while Gibson admitted regret for how he’d handled things, but didn’t apologize. When Hobbs & Shaw broke records at the box office, Johnson simply tweeted, «Remember, the best way to shut the mouth of a [clown] is to flex with success and a smile.»
Tyrese Gibson was slammed for slut-shaming women
Tyrese Gibson landed himself in hot water once again in 2017 after he gave a controversial interview to BET. The appearance was ostensibly supposed to promote the Fate of the Furious film, but instead waded into some questionable relationship-talk. Speaking to single women, Gibson urged them, «Don’t settle … Because I’m gonna tell you all right now, and this might be harsh, sluts, skeezers, hoes, tramps and overly aggressive promiscuous women, they are never without a man because they don’t have no standards. They ready to have sex with any and everything that want to have sex with them.» Wow. He went on to praise women who have stayed single for years, claiming that they’re «actually holding out because you have your value.»
Naturally, voices around the Internet were not amused by Gibson’s hot takes, with Wendy Williams addressing the controversy on her talk show. «Who made him the moral police?» she rhetorically asked. «No one asked you … Tyrese, you never say anything bad about men, you’re always talking bad about women.»
For his part, Gibson later apologized in an Instagram post, writing in part, «My intentions were there but my delivery f**king horrible.» He added, «My mother taught me better than this….. lesson learned in life you will learn that It’s not always «what» you say, it’s the «how» we choose to say it. For the record I’m far from a misogynist, a male chauvinist or flat out mean.»
Tyrese Gibson was investigated by authorities over child abuse allegations
In October 2017, TMZ revealed the shocking news that Tyrese Gibson was under investigation by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services for alleged child abuse. News of the case broke as a child custody battle between Gibson and his ex-wife, Norma Gibson, unfolded over then-10-year-old daughter Shayla, stemming from claims made by Norma in court that Tyrese physically abused Shayla over a dozen times.
While Tyrese admitted he’d «struck» Shayla once on her behind, Norma accused him of spanking her until she could not sit down. She alleged in court documents obtained by The Blast that her ex-husband «went into a rage, pushed our daughter to the ground, pinned her face down, put his knees on her back, grabbed her hands with one arm and beat her with the other.» Tyrese denied these claims, calling them «hurtful lies,» according to People.
After Norma was granted a temporary restraining order against Tyrese for both herself and their daughter, the singer-actor fired back with a since-deleted Instagram post (via People), claiming that she was simply jealous of his marriage to second wife Samantha Lee Gibson earlier that year. «Norma I know you can see this, I’m sorry I got re-married, I’m sorry we didn’t work out,» he wrote. «I’m sorry you haven’t been able to find another man since we separated.»
Tyrese Gibson hired a plane to display a message to his daughter
As Tyrese Gibson’s alleged child abuse case — filed by his ex-wife, Norma Gibson — raged on in the fall of 2017, he allegedly pulled an elaborate stunt to reach out to their daughter, Shayla, the day before she was scheduled to testify against him in a hearing concerning his allegations.
The Blast reports that Gibson, who was prohibited from reaching out to his ex-wife and daughter due to his temporary restraining order, allegedly sent flowers, balloons, teddy bears and other gifts to his then-10-year-old child’s school. Gibson also reportedly hired a plane to fly over the building, followed by a banner reading in all caps, «NO MATTER WHAT, DADDY LOVES YOU SHAYLA.» Per The Blast, a «mortified» Shayla allegedly cried and hid in her principal’s office when she saw the message. Meanwhile, members of Norma’s legal team believed that Tyrese was attempting to «influence» Shayla’s court testimony with his public display of fatherly affection. «This disturbing behavior is a complete violation of the Restraining Order,» Norma’s lawyer stated. «It is a reflection of Mr. Gibson’s erratic state of mind.»
The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services would eventually close its investigation in November 2017, declining to pursue criminal charges against Tyrese.
Tyrese Gibson melted down on social media
Hours before a November 2017 court appearance related to his custody dispute over daughter Shayla, Tyrese Gibson turned heads when he broke down in tears in a video shared on Facebook. Wearing a t-shirt that read, «Shayla Rocks,» he first addressed his ongoing feud with Dwayne Johnson in the since-deleted seven-minute clip (via People), before switching gears to the situation at home.
«Don’t take my baby, okay? I’ve been away from my baby for two months. I just want my baby and no one’s listening cause no one’s in the courtroom,» a visibly emotional Tyrese pleaded ex-wife Norma Gibson, before going on to reference the financial strain he’d faced amid their ongoing legal battle. «I’m at $13,000 a month, what more do you want from me?» he continued. «I don’t hate you Norma. I don’t know why you hate me, but I don’t hate you.»
Following concern over the singer-actor’s mental well-being, Tyrese took to Instagram with another post he later deleted, and blamed his fragile state on «psych drugs.» Per Page Six, he wrote that «because of this high stress and very traumatic experience» of the trial, he «was advised then ultimately connected with multiple therapist[s] and psychiatrist[s] … these were the psych drugs that was suggested and this is the reason I had a complete meltdown online.» Tyrese added that he was no longer on any psychiatric medication, telling his followers that he «flushed [them] down the toilet.»
Tyrese Gibson falsely claimed Will and Jada Pinkett Smith gave him $5 million
After originally claiming in his tearful social media video that his famous friends had abandoned him during his time of emotional and financial need, Tyrese Gibson went on to claim in November 2017 that Will and Jada Pinkett Smith had helped out with his legal fees. «When we show UP for each-other there’s nothing that can’t be done I️ repeat nothing,» Gibson wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post, which featured a series of photos of himself with the Smiths (via Us Weekly). «My wife kept the news away from me cause I’ve been on with lawyers all day but our family and our sister Jada-Pinkett Smith and my brother Will Smith just sent us 5 million dollars to help keep us afloat.»
However, shortly after Gibson’s announcement, TMZ alleged that the Smith family never actually made any donations to his bank account. Hm. Gibson himself later confirmed as much, blaming the effects of his psychiatric medication on his consciousness at the time. «I’ve already mentioned that there was a few talks with the Smiths and those meds made me jump out there and speak on monies that never came in,» the singer-actor shared on Instagram. «I’ve already again apologized to them privately and publicly for everything.»
Tyrese Gibson also lied about his second wife’s pregnancy
As Tyrese Gibson’s custody battle with his ex-wife, Norma Gibson, over daughter Shayla raged on in late 2017, the singer-turned-actor appeared to suggest that he was expecting a child with his second wife, Samantha Lee, whom he’d married in a secret wedding that March. Speaking to fans in a November 2017 Facebook Live video, Tyrese mentioned that he had «another one on the way» (via Hollywood Life), with the video’s original caption shouting out «[his] wife, who is now pregnant.»
Later that month, however, Tyrese reversed course and revealed the truth on Instagram. In the same message that he admitted that Will and Jada Pinkett Smith hadn’t actually loaned him $5 million to cover his court fees, Tyrese confessed that he’d misrepresented the facts about Lee’s supposed pregnancy as a result of his prescription medication. «I was advised to use some psych meds called Rexulti and I did and did some really stupid things publicly and privately that will take me a while to recover from,» he captioned the post in part. «To clear the air cause I’m an open book and got nothing to hide. My wife is not pregnant and never was (those meds had me on one).»
American Express sued Tyrese Gibson for thousands of dollars
Tyrese Gibson was vocal in his complaints about his finances during his late 2017 custody battle with his ex-wife — with tabloids pointing to his dire financial straits, which were revealed in his legal documents at the time. Per TMZ, Gibson claimed that he earned nearly $106,000 per month and had almost $885,000 saved, but was also facing monthly expenses of over $107,000, and had allegedly spent $200,000 fighting his child abuse allegations. Despite the singer-actor’s estimated net worth of $3 million, this technically put the celeb in the trouble financially.
By the following year, Gibson’s money woes unfortunately came back to haunt him when the gossip rag reported that American Express was suing him for over $61,000 in unpaid bills. Yikes. Just like that, Gibson added his name to the list of celebrities to be handed lawsuits by the credit card company over unpaid debts, joining the likes of Iggy Azalea, Tory Spelling, and Charlie Sheen.
According to The Blast, Gibson went on to allegedly settle the lawsuit by September 2018, agreeing to pay off his balance in installments, with the exact details of the settlement remaining under wraps.