“I want people to remember me as a full-on entertainer and a good person.”
It saddened me to learn she drowned in Lake Piru after going for a swim with her son. Fortunately, she mastered enough energy to save his life. Her passing brought memories of many celebrities’ tragic passing.
I thought about Selena Quintanilla. I had never gotten over her terrible end. She was a 24 years old American singer and songwriter whose life was also cut too short by someone she thought was her best friend.
But like them, many other celebrities died in shocking ways. Their ends marked the end of an era for many fans. And their talents, unique personalities, and early death boosted them into “legendhood,” in a way that maybe wouldn’t be possible if they were alive.
When celebrities die, most of the time, you can experience disbelief and sadness, and there are good reasons for this.
You Develop Parasocial Relationships with Celebrities
According to a post on Social Work Today, you develop relationships with celebrities. This type of connection is similar to your relationships with other people in your life. Can you believe this effect also has a name? This is known as Parasocial Interaction 🤔.
Parasocial Interaction is a term coined in 1956 by the Sociologist Richard Wohl. It’s a one-way street relationship where one person, the fan, invests time, and energy in the other person, the celebrity.
This relationship is a fascinating mass media psychological effect that tricks your brain into believing you have a face to face relationship with celebrities.
So, when celebrities die, they can affect your emotional state. Interesting right?
4 Ways Celebrity Deaths Affect Your Life
1- You Experience Grief When Celebrities Die
Thanks to the parasocial relationship you develop with celebrities, it’s only reasonable to respond to their deaths in the same way you would react to the death of someone you love.
You see, grief is a universal emotion with feelings of acute pain and sadness when you experience loss. You experience these feelings when you lose people you know or things that are important to you.
When you have a parasocial relationship with celebrities, you love their music, their shows, their personalities.
To some extent, you even identify with them. For this reason, you invest time in watching their work, you follow what they do in social media, and you look forward to their next move.
So, when celebrities die, you are losing some connection, plus you know there will be no future interaction with them. Grief is the most natural reaction you can experience. When this happens, remember to be kind to yourself and take some time to grieve your loss.
A few years ago, mourning a celebrity was a lonely experience. Some people didn’t even understand why they felt sad. But today, social media and other forums have enabled fans to be more open about grieving celebrities.
Fans can connect on different platforms to share feelings of loss while honoring the life of celebrities.
2- You Feel More Empathy Towards People Who Are Suffering
The tragic losses of Whitney Houston, Princess Diana, Amy Winehouse, Kobe Bryant, and his young daughter Gianna Bryant were just too painful to see. They are a clear reminder that tragedy happens to all people at any given time without any discrimination.
Watching celebrities experience tragedies can trigger empathy for those who are suffering. Empathy gives you the ability to understand others compassionately. Celebrity deaths remind you that people who seem happy and successful also experience pain and suffering.
Feeling empathy involves recognizing that life is fragile for everyone. When you are aware of this reality, you gain the power to create meaningful relationships with those around you. Likewise, empathy might even inspire you to take initiative in finding ways to help those in need.
Celebrity deaths can bring change to society. Depending on how they die, they can bring collective awareness on different issues. These issues can include harassment, poor mental health, addiction, and lack of travel safety. Their deaths can also serve as a “wake up call” to reevaluate your goals and relationships.
3- When Celebrities Die Your Perception of Them Becomes More Positive
Did you know the artist Vincent van Gogh became famous after his death? During his lifetime, he only sold one painting, but today his paintings are some of the most valuable and expensive artworks in history.
Celebrities are popular for being successful individuals with special talents. Celebrity talents can create cognitive bias. The Halo Effect is a type of cognitive bias that makes you assume the entire life of a celebrity is as “good” as their talent and success.
The Halo Effect causes cognitive distortion in your perception of celebrities. And according to Psychology Today, the halo effect can even go in overdrive when celebrities die!
So, when celebrities die, you think of them as being more “holy.” You will remember all the good things about them and kind of forget about their bad traits.
Their bad behaviors won’t matter as much anymore because your feelings of compassion are also influenced by their death. These feelings will outweigh any behavior you despised at a given time.
4- You Remember Your Mortality
When celebrities die, you also have to confront the reality that life can be short. This feeling can even become more uncomfortable if their departure is tragic and unexpected.
Today, it’s encouraged to be a positive person. No many people want to talk about dying or facing challenges openly.
However, thinking about your mortality can help you to find more appreciation, make necessary changes, and invest your time in the right places and with the right people. All of these assessments can lead to a more meaningful life.
According to Psychology Today, most people fear death for a couple of reasons. These reasons are fear of pain and fear of losing consciousness. Dr. Lewis suggests the pain of dying can be compared to your pain of living and losing consciousness is like your consciousness before you were born (none-existent).
Other fears are not seeing your loved ones again, being forgotten, and taking life for granted. But all of these fears are part of being alive, so if you make time for your loved ones, offer help when needed, and make a habit reassessing your dreams and priorities, you can live more wholly with less fear.
Making the Most of Your Life
Life is the greatest gift you have. Even challenges and the stress you face brings opportunities for personal growth. Celebrity deaths affect your life because you have a relationship with them, you are biased by their success, and they remind you life can be short.
Grief is a natural emotion when you lose someone or something you love. Celebrity deaths bring collective awareness of diverse social and medical issues and even inspire you to help others in need.
You can make a habit to live a confident and intentional life. These habits can reduce fears and bring more happiness.
Remembering those who are gone too early. Thank you for sharing your talents with us.