Bette Midler turns 73! Her most controversial moments, including that Melania tweet

Erin Jensen

Hocus pocus, maybe at 73 Bette Midler will change her focus.

The Oscar-nominated actress/singer turns another year older Saturday. In her decades of life, the "Beaches" star has caused quite a few waves with her words, in real life and on Twitter. Here are some of her most controversial moments.  

Her smack at FLOTUS

Twitter users were crying foul following Midler's NSFW tweet on Nov. 14, knocking first lady Melania Trump. Midler shared an image from the former model's steamy shoot with British GQ in 2000, a flight-themed spread, which had Trump posing in the cockpit clad in an ensemble that appears to expose her nipples.

Bette Midler turns 73 on Dec. 1, 2018.

"The dry cleaning bill for the upholstery on Air Force One must be insane," Midler cracked to nearly 1.5 million followers. She added a vulgar hashtag along with her post.

On Nov. 17, Midler returned to the topic, armed with more punchlines for her adversaries. 

"15,000 people liked this pic... and others said it was disrespectful to 'Melanie,' " she said in a NSFW tweet. "PROOFREAD, people!!"

Knocking her haters once more, Midler added, "Cranky, cranky! You #Tumpeteers are really trying to make a mountain out of this. You should stick to your own areolas of expertise."

When she called women 'the N-word of the world'

Midler's Trump blow came about six weeks after she was skewered for an Oct. 4 tweet in which she wrote "women, are the N-word of the world." 

After mass backlash and calls for the tweet's deletion, Midler obliged three hours later and issued an apology.

“The too brief investigation of allegations against Kavanaugh infuriated me. Angrily I tweeted w/o thinking my choice of words would be enraging to black women who doubly suffer, both by being women and by being black,” she wrote Thursday night. “I am an ally and stand with you; always have. And I apologize.” 

Her controversial quote paraphrases the title of a song written by Beatles member John Lennon and Yoko Ono from their 1972 album "Some Time in New York City." The song was problematic during its release nearly five decades ago, and the reception of Midler's tweet was no different today. 

A jab at Rand Paul

Midler took to Twitter in February to express her feelings about Rand Paul, who was behind a brief partial government shutdown. 

"Where's Rand Paul's neighbor when we need him?" she tweeted

Midler was referring to Rene Boucher, the Bowling Green man accused of attacking Paul at his home in November. Many people on Twitter weren't too happy about the  apparent call for further violence.

Her transphobic tweet about Caitlyn Jenner

In 2016, Midler made another mea culpa for a Twitter tumble, this time after an offensive joke about Caitlyn Jenner and the end of her reality show.  

"Now that @IAmCait has been cancelled, will she go back to being Bruce? Will Kris (Jenner) take him back? Do I smell a re-wedding?!" Midler wrote in a now-deleted tweet, according to People magazine and HuffPost UK

Midler specifically aimed her apology at the Human Rights Campaign, which works with the public on issues that transgender people face. "Dear friends @HRC whom I have always supported. Sorry last tweet offended," Midler wrote. "An idle musing. I seem to have misread the temper of the times."

A Twitter feud with Kim Kardashian West

Caitlyn isn't the only member of the KarJenner family that Midler has Twitter tussled with. Also in 2016, Midler knocked Kim Kardashian West for posting a nude selfie with black bars covering her private parts. 

"Kim Kardashian tweeted a nude selfie today," the multi-Tony Award winner wrote at the time. "If Kim wants us to see a part of her we've never seen, she's gonna have to swallow the camera."

Kardashian West fired back on Twitter, calling out Midler for being "fake."

"hey @BetteMidler I really didn't want to bring up how you sent me a gift awhile back trying to be a fake friend then come at me," she wrote.

Her Grande-sized diss

Midler took a swing at her fellow musician in 2014 in an interview.

"It's always surprising to see someone like Ariana Grande with that silly high voice, a very wholesome voice, slithering around on a couch, looking so ridiculous," Midler told The Telegraph. "I mean, it's silly beyond belief and I don't know who's telling her to do it.

"I wish they'd stop," she continued. "But it's not my business, I'm not her mother. Or her manager. Maybe they tell them that's what you've got to do. Sex sells. Sex has always sold."

In spite of Midler's comments, Grande kept right on breathin', sharing on Twitter she harbored no ill will.  

"Bette was always a feminist who stood for women being able to do whatever the F they wanted without judgement!" she wrote. "Not sure where that Bette went but I want that sexy mermaid back!!! always a fan no matter what my love."

"and I will still quote first wives club every single day of my life," she added in a NSFW tweet.

Midler later relented on Twitter that Grande was talented in an apology of sorts. 

"About my screed on @ArianaGrande...She does have a beautiful voice, on a couch or off.' " she tweeted.

A divine misstep 

Midler got in trouble for another interview more than a decade earlier. At the time, she was starring on the CBS sitcom "Bette," which premiered in October 2000, and struggling with the show's workload. She reportedly complained about her TV gig to David Letterman, Jay Leno and "Access Hollywood"

Per ABC News and People magazine, she described "Bette" to Letterman as "the lowest thing that ever happened to me in my life... I'm like a dung beetle pushing this ball of dung up a mountain."

"I got into a lot of hot water" because of remarks made during the Letterman appearance, Midler shared with reporters, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "But I'm not sorry I said it. I don't like to lie. I'm obliged to tell the truth, and the work I'd been doing before that pronouncement was really hard work.

"I was singing, dancing, had costume fittings," she added. "The shows in the first half of the season began technical work on Tuesday and lasted until Friday at 2 in the morning. I'd never encountered such a pace."

The program was axed. Its last episode aired March 7, 2001.

Contributing: Cydney Henderson, Bryan Alexander and Bobby Shipman of the Louisville Courier Journal, a part of the USA TODAY Network

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