Celebs Who Can't Stand Dr. Phil

How did Dr. Phil host his Emmy-nominated television program "The Dr. Phil Show" for twenty years without even being a real doctor? It's the question on many Americans minds and it depends on how you view the word "doctor." Dr. Phil, whose real name is Phil McGraw, got his doctorate in psychology in 1979 — but he hasn't been licensed to practice in any state in nearly two decades. This means that any medical diagnosis he gave on his show was subject to legal sanctions given that it's illegal to practice without a license in California, where he filmed.

But the talk show host did his homework. His show avoided roadblocks by guests signing an agreement acknowledging that they were only getting "advice," and not actual medical counseling. Viewers have long questioned the host's credibility, calling him out for being a quack who does more harm than good. Even his former employees have accused him of a toxic and exploitative workplace. Despite numerous sexual assault accusations as well as charges against him for professional misconduct, he continued to welcome hundreds of guests until his show aired its final season in 2023.

In Dr. Phil's eyes — he doesn't need a certificate to help (or harm depending on your view) whoever steps foot onto his show. "I retired my license ... I don't need a license ... I've chosen instead to pursue another course and use of my education," he has previously said in a statement. License or not, we're taking a look at all the celebs who can't stand Dr. Phil.

Dr. Phil caused Nicholas Brendon heartache

Fans recognize Nicholas Brendon for playing Xander Harris in the popular television series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." While the show garnered him a cult-like fan following, his life was derailed by his bouts of depression, alcoholism, and various run-ins with the law. The actor appeared on the "Dr. Phil Show" in 2015, but his interview ended almost as quickly as it began. 

When the host began to question the actor on his current personal problems, Brendon got defensive. "Didn't you get evicted because you broke all the windows out in a rage?" McGraw asked Brendon. "Nope," he quipped back. Brendon continued to get upset, saying, "People aren't going to laugh at my f**king life, Doc, I'm not going to do this. What do you want to talk about?" The interview ended when Dr.Phil told the actor he smelt alcohol on his breath, adding that he got a report the actor was out drinking the night prior. "We're done," Brendon said as he walked off-set.

Brendon took to his Facebook (per People) after the interview to air his grievances. Brendon had been molested as a child and he claimed Dr. Phil chastised his mother for not putting him in treatment at the time. "Dr. Phil had some hard words for my mother, who I love dearly and who I have caused more heartache than I care to remember," he wrote. In response, a representative for the show told People that Brendon: "chose to disengage before a dialogue with Dr. Phil ever began."

Bhad Bhabie said Dr. Phil sent her to an abusive camp

"Catch me outside, how 'bout that?" — the words that took over social media and made a teenage girl famous. We're referring to Bhad Bhabie (real name Danielle Bregoli), whose bad girl attitude garnered her international attention and became an instant meme. The troubled teenager went on "The Dr. Phil Show" in 2016 when her tendencies towards aggression and physical violence took a toll on her relationship with her mother. 

Little was accomplished during the sit-down, which led Bhad Bhabie to ship off to the Turn-About Ranch in Utah on Dr. Phil's recommendation after the interview. The Christian-based camp aims to correct behavioral issues — and it seemed to have done so for Bhad Bhabie initially. She reappeared on the show following her stay and admitted she thought it would help her long-term. Her sass was ever-present, however, as she told Dr. Phil, "You were nothing before I came on the show."

Bhad Barbie ultimately condemned Turn-About Ranch in 2021, however, admitting she was abused at the facility. In a YouTube video in partnership with Breaking Code Silence, the Instagram influencer admitted she was unable to shower for days and was subjected to various levels of punishments staffers felt necessary. She called out Dr. Phil for his role in sending her there as well as fellow former "Dr. Phil Show" guest Hannah Archuleta who claimed she was sexually assaulted at the ranch during her stay. The camp said in a statement that they investigated Archuleta's claims but "were unable to corroborate her story."

Paris Hilton teamed up with Bhad Bhabie over abuse accusations

What better way to get your point across than to team up with millionaire Paris Hilton? Hilton reportedly DM'ed her to partner up against abuse at troubled teen camps, according to TMZ. The "Stars Are Blind" singer has been passionate about advocating for youth rights and got in contact with Bhad Bhabie after hearing about her experience at Turn-About Ranch. Hilton has a history of advocating against abuse at behavior camps, and she accused Utah's Provo Canyon School of abusing her when she attended as a teenager. The former "Simple Life" star advocated for a Utah state bill that banned cruel punishment at these facilities, and she was present at its passing in 2021.

Hilton's work with Bhad Bhabie aims to help raise awareness about Breaking Code Silence — an organization that helps support survivors of abusive behavior camps. "I support all survivors who share their personal experiences within the Troubled Teen Industry and I am proud of Danielle for using her voice and her platform," Hilton told TMZ. "People look up to Dr. Phil and I want to make sure the show is accurately portraying these residential facilities to desperate families and not continuing to spread the false narrative that these places heal kids," she added.

Dr. Phil responded to Bhad Bhabie's accusations on NewsNation's "Banfield" show. "We don't have anything to do with what happens to guests once they leave the stage," the television host said. "I assume if she had a problem she'd have filed a complaint with the proper authorities."

Shelley Duvall spoke out about her disturbing 'Dr. Phil' interview

Shelley Duvall made a name for herself in the 1980s with her starring lead roles in films like "Popeye," and "The Shining," but decades later she lives a life out of the spotlight. The actor rarely gives interviews, partly due to the trauma she endured while filming "The Shining." Despite her leaving Hollywood behind, she made a rare reappearance when Dr. Phil's team convinced her to do a sit-down interview at her Texas home. 

During her interview on "The Dr. Phil Show," Duvall struggled to make coherent thoughts and rambled on. At one point the actor admitted she believed the late Robin Williams wasn't actually dead and instead shape-shifting. The sit-down exposed Duvall's issues with mental health and drew loads of criticism from viewers who believed it exploited the "Popeye" star. "Unfortunately, on 'Dr. Phil,' the world saw what it's like to have untreated mental illness," film director Lee Unkrich told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's the enduring stigma around it that has helped make Shelley mostly forgotten by Hollywood."

Duvall herself regretted the interview, telling The Hollywood Reporter: "I found out the kind of person he is the hard way," adding, "My mother didn't like him, either." Despite the criticism surrounding the interview, Dr. Phil admitted on "Who's Talking to Chris Wallacethat he didn't regret doing the interview. "There are parts of that story I haven't talked about and won't talk about in specifics, but I can say generally that we worked with her family," he said. 

Mia Farrow called Dr. Phil a predator

Amongst several high-profile individuals who spoke out about Kelly Duvall's interview with Dr. Phil was actor Mia Farrow. The actor rose to fame with roles in the 1960s with roles in movies like "Rosemary's Baby"  and several Woody Allen films, and now uses her platform to pay it forward. Farrow was given the title of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2000 and continues to advocate for children's rights worldwide. 

The actor was advocating for a different cause in 2016, however, when she spoke out against Dr. Phil shortly after his explosive interview with Duvall. "There [should] be laws to protect mentally ill people from TV talk show predators like @DrPhil who is exploiting Shelly Duvall for his own gain," she tweeted at the time. Viewers rallied behind Farrow, with one user tweeting in response: "He is a disgrace to all of us LICENSED COMPASSIONATE therapist[s]."

Vivian Kubrick slammed Dr. Phil

Mia Farrow wasn't the only celebrity to speak out against Dr. Phil's controversial interview with Shelley Duvall. It hit close to home for individuals who know Duvall in a personal light, including Vivian Kubrick, who is the daughter of Stanley, the director of "The Shining." Vivian called out Dr. Phil tweeting out a statement with the caption: "My Letter to you @DrPhil. Re: Your exploitive use of Shelley Duvall is a form of LURID ENTERTAINMENT and is shameful." In her letter, Kubrick called his behavior disgusting, adding, "Shelly Duvall was a movie star. Whatever dignity a mere unfortunate creature might have in this world, is denied her by your displaying her in this way." Vivian called on others to boycott him, adding that the interview had "nothing to do with compassionate healing." 

Inspired by Duvall's story, Vivian started a GoFundMe page after the interview aired to help raise money for the actor. She also revealed that she teamed up with "Toy Story" director Lee Unkrich, who wrote a limited-edition book about what went on behind the scenes filming "The Shining" titled "Stanley Kubrick's The Shining" (Taschen)." Vivian admitted that in the process of writing the book, Unkrich found out that Duvall was in a state of financial hardship at the time and declined to interview for the novel. "Neither Lee nor myself, had any idea how severe Shelley's state until Lee texted me a link to the Dr. Phil trailer 2 nights ago. We were both horrified. That's when I fired off my 2 Tweets to Dr. Phil," she tweeted.

Lynne and Jamie Spears say Dr. Phil broke their trust

Britney Spears had what the media dubbed a very publicized "breakdown" in 2008 — and Dr. Phil inserted himself in the middle of the controversy. The drama began when Spears refused to relinquish custody of her two kids whom she shares with her ex-husband Kevin Federline. It turned into a three-hour standoff with the police that ended with her being wheeled off in an ambulance to Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. 

Who was there to check on the pop star in her time of need? Well, Dr. Phil, of course. The television personality paid a visit to the "Baby One More Time" artist during her two-night stay, at Lynne's request. After meeting with the artist, Dr. Phil made a statement to Entertainment Tonight (per TMZ) saying: "My meeting with Britney and some of her family members this morning in her room at Cedars leaves me convinced more than ever that she is in dire need of both medical and psychological intervention."

 Lynne and Jamie's liking weren't thrilled about the statement at the time — according to their former representative Lou Taylor. "Any public statements he made, because he was brought in under this cloak of trust, are just inappropriate," Taylor told Today. Dr. Phil made his own statement about the incident, saying: "My intentions were good, and I wish it had helped or had some positive affect, but clearly it did not. But let me be clear, I certainly do not apologize for trying to help this family or this girl in trouble."

Lindsay Lohan attacked Dr. Phil on Twitter

Don't come for Lindsay Lohan or her mother. Dr. Phil learned that lesson the hard way after having Lohan's mother Dina on "The Dr. Phil Show" in 2012. The interview was a train wreck, to say the least, with the television personality accusing her of putting on a different persona for the cameras and dodging questions. Dina seemed less thrilled about the host questioning her parenting style and more concerned about when the interview would end.

 "We're probably going to be done here in just a very few minutes — so let's at least have a few minutes of authenticity," Dr. Phil told Dina during the sit-down, adding, "You deflect everything." Dina responded by saying she was protecting herself, but not before Dr. Phil called her "phony and inauthentic." Dina clapped back by giving two middle fingers to the camera and saying, "The truth will prevail." Viewers criticized her for her erratic behavior during the interview, with some accusing her of being drunk. 

Lindsay took to social media following the interview to give her take — and she clearly wasn't a big fan. "@DrPhil You should be ashamed of yourself. What kind of man takes advantage of a woman @her most vulnerable state? YOU are the fraud," the "Mean Girls" star tweeted (per TMZ). Dina also spoke out about her time on Dr. Phil's show, telling TMZ she was not drunk and adding, "I don't care what it looks like. I'm fine and I don't care what anyone says."

Kim Richards stormed out of a Dr. Phil interview

Kim Richards has been open about her past struggles with alcohol addiction, especially since it was a major storyline during her tenure as a Beverly Hills Housewife. The reality star's issues escalated, however, when she was arrested for public intoxication in 2015. Shortly after the controversy, Richards appeared on "The Dr. Phil Show" to talk about the incident, but it quickly escalated into an intervention-like situation that she hadn't signed up for. 

During the sit-down (in which Richards' three children were present) Dr. Phil tried to convince her to begin treatment. After she complained about being away from her kids and not being able to find a facility that fit her requirements, the host called her out for her diva-like behavior. "You just gotta tell me you'll trust the process," he told Richards, adding, "and not make a bunch of, 'You gotta meet this demand and that demand." At one point she asked, "Is this an intervention? Cause it's feeling like one right now." When Dr. Phil told Richards he had arranged a local treatment program to help her get sober, the reality star was immediately uncomfortable. "I have a lot of anxiety right now. I have a lot of anxiety — I'm sorry I can't," she said before walking out of the room.

Ultimately Richards turned the corner on her road to sobriety and entered rehab for the fourth time following her 2016 arrest. In 2019, she told Entertainment Tonight that her new career as a Reiki practitioner has helped her stay sober.