Hollyweird, in collaboration with @velvetcoke, takes stock of once-known but obscure or forgotten stories about popular celebrities and cult figures.
Hilary Duff and Avril Lavigne are not friends. Not now, not ever. But their age-old feud was Anything But Ordinary. It happened So Yesterday — back in early 2004 — while Avril Lavigne was on an era-defining "flash mob" style 21-city mall tour to promote the release of her second album, Under My Skin. Lavigne was made aware of a remark Hilary Duff made to the press that really got under her necktie.
"I read [in a magazine] that I was supposedly mad at my fans for dressing like me," the 19-year-old told Newsweek in March 2004. "They quoted Hilary Duff saying, 'Avril needs to appreciate her fans more.' I'm like, 'excuse me?' First off, it's not even true. I never said that. And second, who the hell cares what she has to say about my fans? Hilary Duff's such a goody-goody, such a mommy's girl."
Lavigne's original offending quote went something like, "I sometimes see girls who are dressed like me and made-up like me. Get a life, you know?" The irony was that fans could purchase skinny ties and Avril shirts on one of the many product pages on avrillavigne.com as late as 2003. However, her statement irked Duff, 16 and Disney-trained, who shared her thoughts on the subject of appropriate fan treatment with the World Entertainment News Network, saying, "I think some of the things Avril said about her fans were kind of mean-spirited. She said that she was pissed off at her fans for copying her style. I was like, 'You should be happy that these people like you and look up to you!'" Especially if you're selling it to them on your official site.
Punk princess Lavigne's reply? "If [Duff] doesn't shut her mouth, then I'll shut it for her," she told People in March 2004. "Hilary is more of an actress than a musician," she added, noting that "people, like, wrote songs for her." The irony here is that Duff worked with writing team The Matrix on her 2003 album Metamorphosis, who Lavigne worked with to write many songs from debut album, Let Go.
The "Complicated" singer also spewed another insult live on the air to MIX 98.5 morning guy John Lander in Boston, saying, "I'm like, 'Who are you to talk about me? You should know better. Don't talk trash with me.' You [Duff] can go screw yourself." Duff's rep replied to Lavigne's affront with a statement: "Hilary is sorry that her remark got blown out of proportion. She's never met Avril, but she is a huge fan of her music."
Months later, as Lavigne moodily stalked the red carpet at Toronto's MuchMusic Video Awards in June 2004 (Canada's answer to MTV's VMAs), a reporter asked her about the supposed rumblings that Duff was ready to make an apology. "Yeah, I'd like to see that one," Lavigne said sarcastically, skipping her backstage press duties. Duff was also in attendance and also neglected to show up backstage.
"Of course I saw Avril at the MuchMusic Awards," Duff followed up with The Calgary Sun after the awards. "I see her all the time at events, but we've never actually met so we have never talked to each other," Duff explained. "I don't think we've ever purposely avoided each other. These kind of events don't lend themselves to socializing."
The war of words continued. In July of 2004, Duff was confronted with the enmity by a TIME magazine journalist, who asked about Lavigne calling her a mommy's girl. "With Avril Lavigne, her CD is in my car right now," she replied. "You know what I did? I said something I shouldn't have said. I said she should respect her fans more. And then she called me a mommy's girl or a good girl. I don't care. I am a good girl."
Lavigne's loathing continued to haunt her, and, when asked who would win in a fight between the two on Top of the Pops in October 2004, Duff tried to save face. "Uh oh! I don't know, she looks pretty tough," Duff said, laughing. "Maybe she'd kick my butt. I've never gotten into a girl-fight before. I'm a pretty good, like, verbal fighter. But I don't lose my temper too much. I don't scream. But I have a pretty good evil eye."
Years pass. Avril Lavigne tops the charts with "Girlfriend" and gears up for her wedding to Sum41's Deryck Whibley. Duff sings about her divorce from Good Charlotte's Joel Madden and stalking incident on her album Dignity. It's 2007, three years after the feud should have fizzled out, and Duff is forced to eat her words about purposely avoiding one another in public. The two were set to attend the same event: the Maxim Hot 100 party at the Hotel Gansevoort in New York City. Knowing they should not be in the same room, the singers were scheduled to arrive at different times, but, according to a rep, "unfortunately arrived at the same time."
Though their handlers spent the evening doing their best to distract them, according to Metro New York, "the rest of the evening was a constant battle to keep the warring stars apart, with both parties threatening to leave if the other stayed."
As late as 2008, Duff was being asked about the bitter spat. The hostility has since cooled off, but neither camp has extended an olive branch, real or otherwise. So I guess, Here's to Never Growing Up.