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We are all fascinated by sharks, as evidenced by “Shark Week” and movies like “Sharknado” and “Jaws.”
For most of us, sharks are terrifying, but we can safely keep our distance from them.
Some celebrities, however, have gotten up close and personal with the dangerous predators.
While filming “David Hasselhoff’s Sharkwatch,” a series of films for The Underwater Channel, Hasselhoff had a terrifying run in with a tiger shark, one of the most dangerous sharks living in the ocean.
Hasselhoff spoke to Hello! Magazine about the incident, detailing how small he felt swimming next to the shark and how terrified he was seeing its open mouth and the seemingly never-ending rows of teeth.
“Suddenly, a tiger shark loomed towards me — a big girl, around 10 foot long. Although I’m 6 foot and no lightweight, I felt as if I appeared nothing more than a snack to her,” Hasselhoff told the magazine. “She opened her huge mouth. All I could see were rows of white razor-sharp teeth. I held out the bait, hoping that would keep her happy. I admitted to (the show’s expert) Mark that I’d been more scared than I’ve ever been when the shark had opened her mouth.”
Luckily, Hasselhoff’s trick with the bait worked, and he was able to escape the tiger shark unscathed.
During a 2014 interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Leonardo DiCaprio opened up about the time he got stuck in a diving cage with a great white shark, something he claims had not happened in the 30 years a scuba diving company offered this experience.
“We went scuba diving looking for sharks, and I had a huge fear of sharks. And when I did ‘Blood Diamond’ in 2006, I actually got stuck in a cage with a great white, which was awesome,” DiCaprio told Ellen. “It was great. It was a gigantic great white, and it was in the cage with me.”
He went on to explain that tuna had somehow gotten stuck at the top of the cage and when the shark attempted to eat it, he got himself stuck in the cage.
“It went into the cage with me, and half of its body was in and out,” DiCaprio explained. “And I flattened down at the bottom, and it was this far away, and it chomped a few times. But I survived it.”
Bethany Hamilton was well on her way to becoming a professional surfer when she was bitten by a shark at 13 years old.
Hamilton lost her left arm in the shark attack, but she was back in the water just 26 days after the accident. Through hard work and dedication, she was able to do the impossible and make it as a pro surfer.
“Looking in hindsight, I see all the beauty and good that’s come from the loss of my arm that I wouldn’t change life to be how I think it should be but rather just embracing life as it is,” she told CNN.
Hamilton says her faith kept her going when things got tough.
“When tough times come my way,” Hamilton told CNN, “I definitely rely on my faith in God and just be like, ‘Hey God, I don’t know why I lost my arm, but I’m going to trust you and know that good can come from this situation.’”
During an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Hayden Panettiere called herself a shark magnet. She claims that any time she’s in the ocean, whether it be paddleboarding or swimming, a shark appears. She went on to describe one particularly scary experience while scuba diving.
“This safety diver got in to take pictures of my brother and my mom, and they had their fins on. And when the shark comes too close, you put your fins in their face, and I didn’t have my fins on. And, all of a sudden, they start going, ‘Shark, right behind you,'” Panettiere told Kimmel.
She made it out of the situation unharmed, but admittedly didn’t do it in the safest way possible.
“I swam for my life. … They were yelling at us because the worst thing to do is to swim away from the shark and make all the splashing,” she explained. “I was like, ‘Guys, you yelled shark. … How else do people react?’ I practically walked on water back to the boat.”
John Krasinski and Emily Blunt
John Krasinski and his wife Emily Blunt went scuba diving on their honeymoon and ran into a shark. Krasinski explained on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” that the only way he was able to convince Blunt to scuba dive was by promising her they wouldn’t see any sharks.
“Emily never wanted to learn scuba diving, and I was like, ‘We will never get into trouble with sharks,’ and I saw it, and Emily didn’t,” Krasinski said. “It was pretty scary.”
While on a break from filming Disney Channel original movie “Teen Beach Movie,” Ross Lynch decided to have some fun and go snorkeling in Puerto Rico.
After a snorkeling for a while, Lynch and his friends encountered a shark he described as being “a good enough size to take a limb.”
“We were snorkeling for three hours, so we were a bit far out and a shark started swimming up to us. And we all freaked out and … held on to each other real close,” Lynch explained.
Luckily for Ross and his friends, the shark showed no interest in them and swam away without harming them.
In an effort to face his fears, Will Smith agreed to swim with sharks for a Shark Week special, “Will Smith: Off the Deep End.” Smith’s fear of sharks was so intense he didn’t want to learn to swim until he was well into his 40s.
“I blame Steven Spielberg,” Smith said on the show, referencing the 1975 film “Jaws.” “I was literally scared in the bathtub. I literally felt like a shark could come out of the spout.”
“I am a firm believer that fear creates the greatest atrocities and evils that have ever been committed on this planet,” Smith said on the show. “Fear is poison, and I’m gonna cleanse mine.”
He called the experience life changing, claiming “there was Will Smith before the sharks and there is Will Smith after the sharks.”
Australian actor Ryan Kwanten started surfing at a young age and continues to this day, despite his terrifying encounter with a shark at the age of 12.
“I fell off the top of a wave and put my hand down, expecting to get the sandbank, and it went straight into the mouth of a shark … (but) it was a woebegone shark; it’s got more gums than teeth. … I didn’t get bitten, I got gummed (but) there are scars to prove it,” Kwanten said.