Barbra Streisand reveals her biggest pet peeve about fans in memoir My Name is Barbra

Barbra Streisand has revealed the pet peeve about her fans that has dogged her throughout her five-decade career.

In her epic 992-page memoir, released today, the award winning actress had some helpful advice for fans who happen to spot her out in public.

Don’t interupt her conversations, don’t ask for an autograph while she’s eating, and whatever you do – don’t ask her to sing.

Streisand writes in My Name is Barbra that she was able to channel her own life into this moment, having dealt with her fair share of annoying admirers.

“I’ve noticed that normal boundaries… the kind of courtesy you’d extend to any stranger on the street… sometimes dissolve when people see ‘a star’.

“They’ll interrupt a conversation with my son to ask for an autograph or try to take a picture in a restaurant, when I’m in the middle of biting into a greasy spare rib.”

Barbra Streisand in 'A Star is Born' (Warner Bros/Kobal/REX)
Barbra Streisand in 'A Star is Born' (Warner Bros/Kobal/REX)

Streisand expresses her upset that fans will “even ask me to sing, as if I were some sort of performing seal”.

“They think it’s easy, but it’s not,” she says. “I don’t sing at home, I don’t sing in the shower and I don’t sing at parties. So, to just stand up and sing something for a stranger? You might as well ask me to jump off a bridge.”

Streisand explained that she used the frustration as a way into her character, Esther, in A Star is Born. The 1976 musical drama follows a famous but self-destructive rock and roll musician, John Howard (Kris Kristofferson), who discovers a talented young singer after he stumbles into a local bar.

During the scene, he gets into a fight with a fan who pesters him while he tries to watch Esther perform.

Streisand, who also executive produced the film as well as co-producing with her then-husband, Jon Peters,

She goes on to explain how people would “get nasty” if she didn’t comply with their request, often threatening to stop buying her records.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“They think they own you, because they paid for that album,” Streisand writes.

“Let me be clear. I’m grateful to my fans. They have supported me for decades. But sometimes I just want to finish my spare rib.”

A Star is Born was a box office smash and earnt Streisand the Academy Award for Best Original Song, as well as a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

Streisand was somewhat dubious about the 2018 remake of A Star is Born, starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, saying she would have preferred to see Beyoncé and Will Smith in the lead roles.

“At first, when I heard it was going to be done again, it was supposed to be Will Smith and Beyoncé, and I thought, that’s interesting. Really make it different again, different kind of music, integrated actors, I thought that was a great idea,” she told The Sunday Project in 2021.

“So, I was surprised when I saw how alike it was to the version that I did in 1976.”

Streisand went on to say that she “thought it was the wrong idea” for the remake but that she “can’t argue with success” after it grossed $436m (£315m) at the box office.

“[But] I don’t care so much about success as I do originality,” she said.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Despite her own unrivaled success over a career spanning six decades, Streisand recently lamented the lack of fun she’s experienced in life in a recent interview with the BBC.

“I want to live life,” she told the broadcaster’s music correspondent Mark Savage. “I haven’t had much fun in my life, to tell you the truth. And I want to have more fun.”

Instead, Streisand said she wants to get in her husband’s truck and “just wander”.

“Hopefully with the children somewhere near us,” she said. “Life is fun for me when they come over. They love playing with the dogs and we have fun.”

Streisand’s memoir, My Name is Barbra, is out now.