Considering how much fuss Richard Gere has gotten over his "obscene" attempts to plant an unwanted Hollywood-style kiss on Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty (Indian extremists have been salivating over the images and calling for Gere's arrest), we figured we'd investigate a few other lip-smacking shockers. You know, things that stunned the world, stopped the presses, or were thoroughly over-hyped for one reason or another.
1. The Iranian Gloved Kiss
While we're not exactly fans of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian Prez was recently accused of "indecent behavior" when he got caught kissing the thickly-gloved hand of his first grade teacher. Quick to act, a Hezbollah newspaper berated the smooth operator for behaving contrary to Sharia law. Of course, this isn't the first time the so-called forward-thinking Ahmadinejad has been criticized for his lefty views. The conservative leader has taken flak from ultra-conservative leaders for making such inflammatory statements as "women should be allowed to watch soccer matches."
2. Star Trek's Interracial Kiss
I'm not sure what's most amazing about Nichelle Nichols—that the actress was discovered by Duke Ellington, that she became the first black character on TV to play a non-stereotypical role, that she was involved in television's first interracial (black/white) kiss, or that she actually got Martin Luther King, Jr. to become a Trekkie?! I'd have to say the last, since it was the civil rights activist who convinced Nichols to weather the public harassment and stay on the show, but the kiss was pretty revolutionary as well. Except that it wasn't really a kiss. Despite the public outrage and supposed banning of the show in various cities, Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhuru never actually locked lips-- NBC censors insisted that the two remain an inch apart at their closest.
3. Al Gore's Convenient Kiss
Who can forget when old Al planted one on the Tipster in 2000 to highlight his faith in monogamy and energize the Democratic National Convention? While ostensibly spontaneous, the make-out session was conceived to separate himself from Bill's lecherous ways while making a wooden Gore seem far more red-blooded. And the stunt worked. While turning off some, The Kiss gave Gore a significant boost in the polls. Who knows? If only he'd gotten to second base on stage, maybe he'd have sealed the election.
4. Superman's Kiss
Perhaps one of the most expensive kisses in history, producers on the 1982 film Deathtrap believed that the peck between former Superman actor Christopher Reeve and Michael Caine ended up being box office kryptonite. The quick smooch startled moviegoers, and set the filmmakers back at least $10 million dollars in bad publicity and lost revenue.
5-7. Awards Show Kisses
Since these are all a little too gossipy, but should probably be included, let's lump "˜em together and keep them quick:
5. The Infamous Angelina Jolie/brother kiss. "I did not give Angie a French kiss, it was something simple and lovely," James Haven insists. Ugh. Simple and lovely? Debatable. Quick? Definitely not.
6. Madonna/Britney MTV kiss. I'm not sure why this was considered controversial and press-worthy since the whole affair was so blatantly manufactured. Perhaps it was just because despite her "I'm not that innocent" declarations, Britney still seemed pretty innocent at the time? What's funnier about the whole thing is that Christina Aguilera was involved in the smooching as well (pictured), and got zero buzz out of her part in the show.
7. The 1994 Michael Jackson/Lisa Marie "We're so in love" kiss. Clearly.
8. Ellen's TV Kiss
Easily one of the most talked about television smooches, the 1997 kiss between actress Laura Dern and comedian Ellen DeGeneres on the "coming out" episode of Ellen sparked a national firestorm. A few Baptist groups boycotted ABC/Disney for months for airing the show, and the Jurassic Park actress Laura Dern said her career was by hindered by the backlash—she was blacklisted in Hollywood for a year following the episode.
Thanks to Sandy Wood and Kara Kovalchik for providing the research. If you spotted any big, controversial or important kisses we missed, drop it in the comments below. You know we dig it when you learn us some facts!