Image: via WesternHoliday

When we think of historical figures, we tend to imagine world leaders, scientists or social revolutionaries. Unless they’ve had an extraordinary influence on culture, however, celebrities often get overlooked when it comes to the serious business. But that doesn’t mean that showbiz stars haven’t played their part in world-changing events. And like anyone else, they can find themselves mixed up with forces beyond their control. Just take these 20 celebrities, for example, who became embroiled in the thick of things as history unfolded around them.

20. Russell Crowe was targeted by Al Qaeda

Undoubtedly, Russell Crowe is many things to many people. For some, he’s an Oscar-winning actor thanks to films like 2000’s Gladiator. For others, he’s a hotheaded celebrity who loves to pick an argument. But for the terrorist organization Al Qaeda, Crowe represented a threat. In fact, the notorious group planned to kidnap him as part of a “cultural destabilization plot” in 2001.

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