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Jerk With A Heart Of Gold: Real Life
  • Amy Winehouse, sort of, throughout her life and even today Winehouse was portrayed as a selfish, hopeless, inconsiderate, alcoholic and drug addict and a terrible role model to young girls by the press. Ironically however anyone whoever worked with her which included Tony Bennett, Quincy Jones, Mark Ronson, Mick Jagger, V V Brown and Saleem Remi consistently described her as a sweet, kind, caring, humorous person.
    • Adele referred to her as a real joker in her tribute to her at the Royal Albert hall, and paid tribute to her both for inspiring her musically and for the kind person she was.
      • She also launched the music career of her god daughter Dionne Bromfield who said Amy was like a sister to her.
      • She was also a very charitable person tirelessly supporting many charities (especially children's charities) including, 21st century leaders, Anti slavery international, Bid 2 beat aids, Save the Children, Children of the Andes, Little Dreams Foundation, Greenpeace, St Jude's children research programme, Red Cross, Teenage Cancer Trust, UNHCR, UNICEF and Toothfairy Foundation.
      • She also paid for the life saving surgery of a man in St. Lucia.
  • Perhaps Oscar the cat might be an example of this. He's said to be unfriendly to patients, except when they don't have long to live (he seems to always know) in which case he cuddles up to them. It's as though the cat not only knows said patients are about to die but uses its cuddling to have people die happy... and reserves his cuddling for that particular purpose.
    Dr. David Dosa: He is not a cat who will spend quality time with residents on the ward, unless they're about to die; he's not a cat that likes to spend a lot of time with staff; he keeps to himself.
    • Seriously cats in general. Dogs are known for their loyality but cats, for all their aloofness, have been known for taking a sudden change of owners VERY badly and often lose their will to continue living if they don't take their new owner well.
  • Israelis stereotypically have this as their defining characteristic. It is known in Hebrew as "tzabar", and the English equivalent is Sabra. The Other Wiki states that this is named after the Indian Fig Opuntia cactus, which is "a tenacious, thorny desert plant with a thick hide that conceals a sweet, softer interior".
  • Clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman was rumoured to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Many performers described him as being difficult to work with, due to his arrogance and perfectionism. But he secretly funded college educations for some of the musicians who worked under him. And if you said anything bad about his band members, you were in trouble.
  • Stephen Pastis, creator of Pearls Before Swine
  • Jillian Michaels is harsh, unforgiving, and without a doubt a Drill Sergeant Nasty, but when the chips are down and her contestants are in trouble, she is more than willing to cut through the crap and have a heart-to-heart - which usually results in a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming of truly magnificent proportions. She also tends to take her contestants' failures personally and is often the more overtly emotional of the two trainers.
  • Ty Cobb was an unrepentant bastard for most of his career, and indeed most of his life. However, he was one of the few players to support Major League Baseball's decision to integrate. After he died, he left most of his fortune (an early investor in Coca Cola, he was very rich) to go towards building a hospital in his native Cobb County, Georgia, and to funding a scholarship for underprivledged Cobb County students. It should be noted that Cobb County is predominantly black, and for a white Southerner to do all that in The Fifties is downright awesome.
  • One waitress recalls an old man who was usually harsh, yet she put up with him because he was a regular customer. When he died, she was shocked to discover that he put in his will that she inherited five thousand dollars and his car.
  • Shorty Rossy of Pit Boss is an ex-con little person known for his short fuse, but he also rescues pit bulls along with running a talent agency for little people, and does his damnedest to help both groups (often risking his life and health to do it).
  • Christina Aguilera: She's considered by some to be a bitch, but she does put a lot of work into philanthropy and does value the people who have supported her career. Also works for the World Food Programme.
  • Genghis Khan.
    • Temujin certainly had some positive traits such as deciding to institute laws which disregarded status and choosing aides based on merit rather than clannish insularity. He also engaged in Pragmatic Villainy, such as deciding that a tribute of silk from China collected annually was worth more to his long-term interests than butchering the people and taking their cities. He certainly had no problem with putting entire populations to the sword and claiming every last thing of value as plunder if a people submitted or were conquered. His ruthlessness may have hidden a complex character, but certainly not a nice one.
  • The Beatles:
    • Paul McCartney.
    • John Lennon, who had lots of problems with school but nevertheless showed a genuine caring heart toward the scarred world.
  • Warren Ellis: Warren himself and by proxy most of his heroes usually tend to come across as this. In his blog, on the surface he comes off as pretty grumpy, but there are plenty of entries that show he loves his fans, and he is very supportive of many young and independent comic book artists and other creative people, by bringing larger attention to them.
  • Michael Bay: He has a reputation as an absolutely tyrannical director, but when he's not actually doing anything regarding movies he's reportedly quite nice, and he's shown himself to have quite a sense of humor on a number of occasions.
  • Spike Milligan could be one of these on a good day, or when dealing with children or animals. Everyone else... not so much, although it varied by the state of his bipolar disorder.
  • Harlan Ellison mixes this with Tsundere and takes it Up to Eleven. He is best known for being the walking, talking Trope Codifier for Jerk Ass, and yet... He is and was a tireless campaigner for human rights, a proponent of struggling writers, and apparently one of the most loyal and devoted friends you could ever have. Talk about Mood Whiplash.
  • Marlon Brando was known to be a bit of a heartbreaker who was difficult to work with in films and hard to interview, but his interest in civil rights and environmental issues shows that there was definitely some good in there.
    • Charlton Heston was also a prima donna actor with an ego roughly the size of Saturn, who also was involved in the civil rights movement almost since its inception and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in his early '60s march to Washington. His political ideology was also rather liberal, with the only conservative side to him being his passionate defense of the 2nd amendment.
  • In some ways, Vince Lombardi.
  • Sean Avery of the New York Rangers is widely considered the most hated player in the NHL note , being essentially a professional jerk that trolls to get a reaction from other players and throw them off their game. However, he recently appeared in an ad supporting gay marriage, his reason being that he knew several gay friends in Los Angeles and New York, and that he felt it was right. While that ad sparked some backlash from some figures in the hockey world, there was a lot of backlash against that from many others, resulting in the, shall we say, unusual situation of Avery getting most of the support for his antics. (Maybe that was his ploy all along?)
  • Don Cherry, known as a Jerk Ass hockey commentator who is no stranger to offending people on the air with his extremely conservative views and rants against "left-wing pinkos", to the point where he has been accused of promoting hockey violence, is himself a real life supporter of charitable causes, and founded the Rose Cherry Home for Sick Children in honor of his longtime wife, Rose, who died in 1997.
  • American Apparel founder Dov Charny is said to be a wholly unpleasant man, and a lech on top of that, having been sued for sexual harassment several times. He's also one of the clothing industry's most passionate activists against sweatshops.
  • A lot of people who are autistic, or even just socially awkward, may occasionally seem mean, uncaring, or condescending, but that doesn't mean that they are. A lot of them are really great people, who just don't know how to socialize properly, so they end up acting in ways that can seem mean.
    • This can be true when it comes to cross-cultural interactions as well. Social customs can be very different across cultures, and it can make someone who is unfamiliar with the local customs seem like a jerk, even when they make every attempt to be nice and friendly.
    • One book in fact claimed that socially awkward people might be better understood by thinking of them as foreigners in their own country.
  • Many individuals are distrusting, paranoid, and suspicious of people they don't know, and will not be the slightest bit friendly to most. Yet, this is just a survival instinct to deal with a world where things like hardened criminals, scams, and other terrible things happen. And when it comes down to it, they don't hate people in general, and in fact, can be quite caring and loyal to those who can get on their good sides.
  • Jack Dee puts on a very surly and humourless act for his comedic work. When out of his work, he's still deadpan but frequently promotes many good causes, often on his Twitter page he will retweet a lot of good links (missing people notices, charity links, important news articles related to it, etc.).
  • Simon Cowell is the stereotypical Mean Brit, seeing as he's the Trope Codifier, and when interacting with his fellow judges on the American X-Factor this continues, but watch the way he interacts with the girls in his group and he definitely shows a softer side with them. He also doesn't seem nearly as nasty in interviews, just a natural Deadpan Snarker who turns it Up to Eleven for the judging table.
  • Rwandan President Paul Kagame is well-known for not tolerating much dissent. He's also well-known for ending the Rwandan Genocide. Probably debatable if he's an example of this trope or Even Jerks Have Standards, though.
  • Almost every military leader of any rank has a switch they can throw at will from their default personality to the crazy bastard ready to rip your head off. It's usually reserved for subordinates whose screw-ups aren't simple accidents and for any instance of disrespect. Most military men and women are normal family folk underneath the uniform. The job requires they be ready to enforce ruthless discipline when they must.
  • Kanye West is known for his nearly endless self-aggrandizing comments, bouts of narcissism, interrupting Taylor Swift and saying that George Bush doesn't care about black people. He also clearly adores his (deceased, sadly) mother, starting and participating in a large number of charities, and criticizing the nigh-endless stream of homophobia in rap music.
  • Eminem is known for his extremely violent and often misogynistic lyrics (which doesn't necessarily mean he believes in it since it's Alter Ego Acting) and making fun of people, but he cleaned up his drug problems (twice, which might make it better or worse) and is extremely protective of his daughters. He's also very loyal to his friends and has never done anything worse than insult people.
  • Buddy Rich, drummer extraordinaire, had a temper that could fly off the handle at any moment and there are several tapes of his yelling at his bandmates for next-to-nothing. According to one of his friends, Buddy had a soft heart and his favorite song was "Being Green" by Kermit the Frog.
  • Gordon Ramsay is apparently a genuinely nice guy in private, and praises and supports subordinates and pupils who perform well. Ramsay's virtues, however, do not include temperate language, even temper and a willingness to suffer fools gladly.
  • Prince Phillip is rude, stubborn, and bad-tempered, but he's unfailingly humble and is always supportive of his wife.
  • James Cameron is known for his extremely difficult personality, very fiery temper and his willingness to work actors and crew sometimes nearly literally to death (His tyrannical attitude is extensively listed under Prima Donna Director, Bad Boss and Troubled Production). Its gotten so bad that crew members and actors have refused to ever work with him again and the phrase "You can't scare me. I've worked with James Cameron" has become quite popular. He is however known to be very kind and friendly when not working and describes himself as a "Nice guy when I'm not losing my mind". He also will never put an actor or crew member in a dangerous situation without putting himself in it too and holds himself to the same high standards as everyone else. If nothing else, he has mellowed out a lot recently.
  • Almost everyone in the world is this. You can't be nice to everyone, which means to the people who don't like you, you're a Jerkass. But to your loved ones, you have a heart of gold.
  • Christian Bale: Yeah, he won't be living his infamous outburst down any time soon, but this is the same guy who visited the victims of the Colorado shooting at the Dark Knight Rises, with very little promotion, and according to Warner Bros, he wasn't representing them.
  • Director John Ford was known for his hard drinking, hard fighting persona which included frequently assaulting and belittling actors, insulting producers and hiring his brother Frank just to yell at him in front of the crew. However its been shown that this was often to help his reputation and many stated that he was infact a very sensitive, poetic and intelligent man who was also fiercely patriotic and supported many Liberal causes. The best example of this is a story that when a man once approachged the wealthy Ford asking for $200 dollars for his wife's operation, Ford violently assaulted him in front of onlookers. Later the man was given a check for one thousand dollars, had Ford's own chaffeur drive him home and Ford had a specialist flown in from San Francisco at his own expense. He later purchased Them a house and financially supporte Them for the rest of Their lives.
  • John Wayne often spoke of Homosexuality negatively and called it "Too filthy for discussion" in an interview. He also became good friends with and a frequent co-star of Rock Hudson, despite knowing that Hudson was gay. He also refused to speak negatively of Democratic presidents.
  • Sam Halpern of Shit My Dad Says fame. He's foul-mouthed, overly blunt, and unwilling to suffer in silence. On the other hand, he stands up for those less fortunate, cares deeply about his family and friends, is Nice to the Waiter, and tries to be a good person.

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