No eye contact: The stars rumoured to demand people don't look at them

From Tom Cruise and Ellen DeGeneres, one sign you are really famous is when rumours start circulating that you do not allow your employees to look you in the eye

Donald Sutherland as President Snow in The Hunger Games (Credit: Lionsgate)
Donald Sutherland apparently refuses to let people look him in the eye on movie sets. (Credit: Lionsgate)

From Tom Cruise and Ellen DeGeneres to Katy Perry and Leonardo DiCaprio. One sign you are really famous is when rumours start circulating that you do not allow your employees to look you in the eye.

Donald Sutherland is the latest star to have been linked to the celebrity 'no-eye contact rule'.

Boy Meets World star Rider Strong claims when he worked with the 87-year-old Hunger Games star on the 1993 thriller Benefit of the Doubt, he was informed, “Nobody can make eye contact with him.”

No one really knows what the 'no eye-contact' rule is all about. It has been linked to ego and being a diva.

But with celebrities feeling every aspect of their lives is on display and public property, perhaps it could be seen as a self-preservation technique?

So where did the no eye-contact rule originate? We dig back through the rumours to try and pinpoint who was the first star to decide they didn't want to be looked in the eye without consent.

Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba attends the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 12, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jemal Countess/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images)
Jessica Alba has revealed which stars she worked with who she was told not to look at. (Getty Images)

Jessica Alba, 42, is now an A-List actor herself, know for her roles in Honey, Fantastic Four and Sin City. But despite her fame and fortune, the 42-year-old actor does not have a problem with making eye-contact.

However, back when she was starting out, she landed a supporting role as a pregnant teenager in Beverly Hills 90210 back in 1998.

As a minor character, she has revealed she was told not to look the main stars of the show - including Luke Perry, Tori Spelling, Jennie Garth and Jason Priestley - in the eye.

Read more: Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling react to Jessica Alba’s 90210 claim (Today, 2 min read)

She said: "On the set of '90210' I couldn't even make eye contact with any of the cast members, which was really strange when you're trying to do this scene with them."

She added she was told she would be "thrown off set" if she broke the rule.

Alba speculated: "I don't really know why. Maybe because the leading characters were so popular they didn't want other actors looking at them.... You wouldn't be allowed to talk to them unless they spoke to you first. It was bizarre. But I guess that's what happens when you become a big star."

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise attends the
Tom Cruise has laughed off rumours he ever said no one can look him in the eye. (Getty Images)

For many years the Mission: Impossible star was linked to the 'no eye-contact' rule. He famously does not like being out of control, as illustrated when he was pranked on the red carpet back in 2005.

But as many showbiz reporters who have met 61-year-old Cruise will tell you - he has a habit of fixing people with an intense stare as part of keeping charge of interviews.

Read more: Tom Cruise denies that crews can't look at him on set (Indie Wire, 2 min read)

And director Chris McQuarrie recently told The Sunday Times that when he asked Cruise what was the "weirdest" story he had ever heard about himself, the Hollywood action hero laughed that it was a "myth" that people "were not allowed to look me in the eye."

Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock attends the UK Special Screening of
Sandra Bullock reportedly shut down an on-set rule that no one could look her in the eye. (Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

An entertainment journalist called Steve Heisler claimed back in 2010: "I was an extra in The Lake House when Sandra Bullock was in it, and we were told that we were not allowed to make eye contact with her unless she initiated the eye contact."

But other rumours circulating online claim the 58-year-old Oscar-winning actor say that the crew on one of her movies started the 'no-eye contact' rule on her behalf, and when she found out about it she threw a big party for the cast and crew to clear things up.

Katy Perry

Katy Perry's drivers mustn't look at her in the rear-view mirror. (Getty Images)

According to a leaked rider in 2011, the Firework singer and Trolls movie star has a rule that her drivers "are directed not to stare at the backseat through the rear view mirror."

They are also not permitted to start a conversation with the 38-year-old singer or ask for autographs and selfies.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio lors du 76e festival de Cannes le 21 mai 2023. (Photo by Laurent KOFFEL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
One Upon A Time, some people were told not to look Leonardo DiCaprio in the eye, or so the story goes. (Getty Images)

The Wolf Of Wallstreet star, 48, began his acting career when he was just 17 and after starring in numerous blockbusters has become almost as famous for enjoying dating younger women as appearing on screen.

Read more: Leonardo DiCaprio allegedly had 'no eye-contact' policy on set (InStyle, 1 min read)

The Hollywood Reporter claimed in 2019 that on the set of Quentin Tarantino's One Upon A Time In Hollywood: "Some crewmembers on were instructed to avoid making eye contact with him."

Ellen DeGeneres

The Late Late Show with James Corden airing Tuesday, May 4, 2021, with guest Ellen DeGeneres. (Photo by Terence Patrick/CBS via Getty Images)
Ellen DeGeneres reportedly said she had 'no clue' where the no-eye contact rule surrounding her came from. (CBS via Getty Images)

Chat show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres, 65, spoke out and apologised after multiple reports that her staff and crew felt mistreated and found the show a toxic place to work.

One of the ways in which her staff felt disrespected was being told they could not look her in the eye.

According to Page Six DeGeneres told staff in a Zoom call addressing the reports: "I don’t know where it started. Please talk to me. Look me in the eye.”

Mike Myers

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 01: Actor Mike Myers is interviewed prior to the Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool FC at Etihad Stadium on April 01, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Mike Myers is alleged to have fired a bodyguard for looking him in the eye. (Getty Images)

The Austin Powers star has been the subject of multiple claims of 'diva behaviour' on set of his films, including Dr. Zeuss kids movie The Cat In The Hat.

A bodyguard who worked with the 60-year-old actor on The Love Guru in 2008 has claimed he was fired for looking at Myers in the eye.

Read more: Mike Myers branded a 'diva' on 'horrible, nightmarish' The Cat In The Hat shoot

He revealed he had been told not to look the Shrek star in the eye, but accidentally made eye-contact while allowing him into his trailer.

The bodyguard tweeted: "Within an hour I get a phone call letting me know that I'm fired, and I have to get off set because I broke this weird rule."

Myers denies the claims.

Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone on Wednesday, May 10, 2023 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images)
Sylvester Stallone was sued by staff who said they were told to leave the room every time he entered. (Getty Images)

The Rocky star, 77, allegedly had a rule in his home that not only staff could not look him in the eye — if he entered a room they were in, they must back out and "vanish immediately".

The claims were made public in 1999 when five staff, including butlers, maids and cooks, sued him for unfair dismissal, claiming they were fired for accidentally breaking the rules.

Stallone's lawyers dismiss the claims as "fictional".

Donald Sutherland

Donald Sutherland attends Opening ceremony of the 11th edition of the Lumiere festival in Lyon, France, on October 12, 2019. (Photo by Nicolas Liponne/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Is Donald Sutherland the originator of the 'no-eye contact' rule? (Getty Images)

Rider Strong recently revealed on Pod Meets World podcast: “I did a movie with Donald Sutherland [in 1993] and he has an eye-contact rule.

“If you’re in the scene with him, you could make eye contact with him but his whole thing was that every crew member has to look away.”

Boy Meets World co-star Will Friedle observed: “That’s ridiculous... A stupid, egotistical power trip.”

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand performs onstage at Madison Square Garden on August 03, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Kane/Getty Images for BSB)
When Barbra Streisand stays in a hotel, staff must allegedly face the wall when she passes. (Getty Images for BSB)

The 81-year-old chart-stopping singer and movie star is a renowned diva - famous for controlling which side of her face can be filmed, controlling her image and demanding everyone is done to her exacting standards.

One lasting rumour goes that when she stays in hotels, staff must turn and face the wall when she enters the room.

It would seem it's impossible to trace back the first celebrity who came up with the 'no eye-contact' rule. But one thing is for sure - when it starts circulating, you know you've made it.

Watch: Simon Pegg on working with Tom Cruise