A smoking hot bod can launch a career, but it can’t always sustain one. Some stars were born to enjoy the spotlight for their entire lives— ahem, the entire Kardashian brood springs to mind— while others, it seems, stepped into it with a tad more reluctance and seem content with a slow fade from the red carpet’s taxing eye.
Many of Hollywood’s hottest starlets fare the same. They’ll release a new blockbuster or record a new album every 2-3 years, but for the most part prefer to stay out of the headlines. Some settle down and allow Hollywood to pass them by, and others fade in popularity not through personal choice, but because people simply stop caring about them. A few party themselves to obscurity, and others graduate into more mature, indie-art house film roles that don’t generate much buzz. Tragically, they (and their glorious physical assets) fade from public memory until they become irrelevant.
Most of the stars on this list have been in the limelight for around a decade or so and seem to have lost the ability to really make headlines. Some can’t find good roles, or their fans have moved on to other things. For many, their personalities simply wear thin on the public, and fans tire of their act. Others’ time in the spotlight seems simply to never have been meant to last— not every celebrity can age as well as Jennifer Aniston. For most, it takes far more than good looks to remain relevant.
Here are the hottest women of Hollywood that, despite how good looking they are, no one cares about anymore.
15. Britney Spears
If some celebs step out of the spotlight with grace and others do so in an involuntary struggle to stay relevant, Britney Spears definitely locates herself among the latter. Spears was once the hottest pop idol of the 90s, her bleach-blonde mane an icon in the era of Friends and NSYNC. Her scantily-clad dance routines helped to define a time when sexualized costumes still mattered to the American public, when girl-next-door Southern innocence transitioning into sexy schoolgirl was still fresh enough to demand attention.
A new album hasn’t done much to erase the permanently hungover look she seemed to rock continuously throughout the mid-2000s. The days of Spears as Hollywood’s favorite “teen idol” seem long gone. Fans hungry for a flashback to 2004-era Britney can check out Lifetime’s upcoming biopic Britney. Even worse for Spears, teenage sweetheart and fellow Mickey Mouse club alum Justin Timberlake remains a leading frontman in Hollywood, with both film and music careers keeping him continuously relevant all this time.
14. Amanda Bynes
The former Nickelodeon star hasn’t got much to show for the past five years after a surprisingly successful transition into film roles. The Hairspray and Sydney White actress, despite carving out a niche in the hearts of 90s kids everywhere, retired from acting in 2012 and has demonstrated no interest in returning. Instead, she’s been involved in a string of DUI arrests and has spent time in and out of rehabilitation clinics.
If there’s a single leading lady on this list who is almost certain to never make positive headlines again, it’s Bynes. For as likeable as she was on All That and The Amanda Show in the 1990s, the former teen idol is stuck in the mud as far as her career goes, and her former fans doesn’t seem to mind one bit.
13. Heidi Montag
Among careers that were never meant to last, Heidi Montag probably stands alone as the persona who fell the quickest. No one can doubt her stunning looks (before all the plastic), however, and she’d deserve a spot on this list even if she hadn’t fallen quite so far, so fast.
After leaving The Hills, Montag made a few appearances on reality television shows, most notably her controversial stint with husband Spencer Pratt on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! Her first foray into the music industry, 2010’s Superficial, failed to recoup its production budget. She’s largely remained out of the spotlight since, however, losing out to replace Megan Fox, in the third Transformers instalment. Perhaps it was for the best. Montag’s career seems to be permanently buried, never to be resurrected.
12. Reese Witherspoon
Of the irrelevant stars on this list, Reese Witherspoon is perhaps the one who has fallen the least into irrelevance. She remains semi-popular, a lazy and uninspired performance in 2014’s Wild notwithstanding, and though we all seem to know her, few can be said to look forward to seeing her in new movies.
Indeed, her casting seems to define the term uninspired when it comes to film roles. She’s a safe, but never interesting, bet for casting directors. Witherspoon’s attractiveness stems less from an outstanding physical appearance (though she’s certainly not lacking) but from a gentle, bring-home-to-mom personality that, while charming, can quickly get nauseatingly dull. Witherspoon has descended into irrelevance not because audiences don’t care about her, but because they don’t get excited about her, and haven’t for quite some time.
11. Katie Holmes
Did Katie Holmes become irrelevant before or after her marriage to Tom Cruise and subsequent conversion to scientology? Whatever the answer, she’s clearly not relevant today. The days of Dawson’s Creek sure seems like a long time ago, don’t they? Holmes has focused more recently on smaller drama films like 2015’s Touched With Fire, where she plays a bipolar poet who finds love in a psychiatric hospital. So, yeah, not really relevant for every audience. Unlike others, however, Holmes seems primed for a career resurgence. She’s set to star in next year’s Logan Lucky alongside such stars as Channing Tatum, Daniel Craig, Hillary Swank and Adam Driver, which is primed to be a smash hit.
10. Jessica Simpson
This bombshell departed the spotlight far more quietly than many others on this list. In the past few years, Simpson has seemed content to work in the fashion and beauty industries and making only small, occasional public appearances. A string of high-profile relationships, from ex-boyfriends John Mayer and Tony Romo to ex-husband Nick Lachey, saw her fail to gain the favor of public opinion, and likely contributed to her rather quiet exit from Hollywood A-List-dom. When is the last time you actually cared about Jessica Simpson? 1998?
This is one career that likely won’t be rejuvenated any time soon. An awful reality show, a few pregnancies and a string of successful business ventures seem to have convinced Simpson to leave her acting career where she left it.
9. Courteney Cox
Despite leading roles on one of television’s all-time most popular shows, most cast members of Friends went on to lead only semi-successful careers after the show’s finale. Among them, Courteney Cox has had perhaps the second most successful run after the one and only great Jennifer Aniston, but her post-Friends work can’t be classified as anything more than average. Yes, Cougar Town was okay, but how many Scream sequels can one person appear in without becoming irrelevant? A case could be made that Cox lost all relevancy when Friends ended over a decade ago, a sad argument that could be made for most of the show’s other stars.
Cox had a great run, but perhaps it’s best for fans’ lasting image of her to be the perpetual stream of Friends re-runs that never seem to get old. We cared about both Courteney Cox and Monica in the 90s, and in the 2000s we began to let go of Monica just a bit… but in 2016, it’s only Monica who’s relevant anymore. Sorry, Courteney. You did this to yourself by being a part of such a universally well-liked show.
8. Halle Berry
What was the last good movie Halle Berry was in that wasn’t part of the X-Men franchise? Like Aniston, Berry seems to have aged uncommonly well— she’s still as gorgeous as she was in 2002. Uniquely mature and sophisticated, Berry has always played the part of the sexy older-sister type with flair and sensuous conviction, and the public adores her.
My personal all-time favorite (and most-underrated) Bond Girl, Berry also takes the honor of having played the hottest Catwoman, narrowly beating out Anne Hathaway‘s performance in the slightly more-recent The Dark Knight Rises. Hathaway, however, has managed to stay relevant to audiences in 2016, while Berry’s popularity has suffered from some rather conservative role choices. Only so many roles in superhero films, no matter how sexy their leather jumpsuits, can sustain a career in a market so flooded with them lately.
7. Megan Fox
Megan Fox burst onto the scene in 2007’s Transformers, instantly exploding into one of Hollywood’s most alluring and enticing sex symbols. Fox inspired so much media attention that various online blogs and outlets decided to boycott mentioning her name for short periods of time— a true testament to how popular she’d become.
As she struggled from the beginning with unwanted media attention, it’s not a huge surprise Fox has largely avoided the spotlight in recent years. Marrying and raising three sons seems to satisfy her lately, though she’s still one of the most tantalizing starlets to have ever graced the red carpet.
Let’s hope that Fox will learn to own the hottest-mom-in-Hollywood look. Fox’s distinctive eyebrows and her tremendously seductive gaze make her irresistible. She’s one seductress on this list who we haven’t exactly stopped caring about, but rather forgot about because she’s been so quiet lately. She’ll be back (we hope).
6. Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton was never really famous for doing anything, though she does have a surprisingly long list of acting credits on her resume. Helped along by the scandalous-heiress image perpetuated by the release of her 2004 sex tape with then-boyfriend Rick Salomon, Hilton always seemed to be someone people flocked to like magnets yet never really seemed to truly like.
Paris’ personality seems to have worn thin on the public, which wasn’t helped by an arrest, a few only semi-successful albums and a failed Oxygen reality show in The World According to Paris. Nowadays, Hilton seems content to focus on her successful fragrance business and event promotion duties, for the most part staying out of the media’s spotlight.
5. Katherine Heigl
Katherine Heigl‘s career has had an unusual trajectory. After rising on the breakout success of Grey‘s Anatomy, she peaked with a series of successful rom-coms, among them 27 Dresses and Knocked Up, but then immediately fell off and hasn’t risen since. Who knows what’s going on in Heigl’s life that’s made her post-2010 career so much less successful, but let’s hope this bombshell can return to form soon— watching her exchange banter with Gerard Butler in The Ugly Truth was simply too much fun.
Heigl’s intelligence and innocent wit, coupled with her fondness for playing charters that slowly sink into depravity, made her a favorite with fans. And with one of the hottest smiles in Hollywood, how can we blame them?
Some may argue about Snooki’s inclusion here, not because they think she isn’t irrelevant but because of the frankly astounding polarity centered around two important questions: Was Snooki ever relevant? Was she ever hot?
For the sake of Snooki’s notoriously unstable emotional state, we’ll do our best to avoid causing any kind of meltdown and give a hesitant yes to both questions. At her best, Snooki made us feel better about ourselves. At her worst, she made us feel awful about humanity. She was at least marginally likeable while doing so, however.
The spectacle that was Jersey Shore certainly could not last. Perhaps the best thing we can conceivably say is that, for all the popularity of the show, Snooki was by far the most relevant at the time, and possibly the hottest as well Sorry, Pauly.
3. Jessica Alba
Talk about a career plummet. What sorcery could possibly make a person think doing Spy Kids 4 could be a good idea? Jessica Alba, despite her tempting and comely looks, never seemed to grow into a very strong or adaptable actress. To her credit, she’s been an outspoken critic of Hollywood’s sexualization of women and refuses to appear nude in any of her films, even going so far as to sue Playboy for inappropriately using her image, receiving a personal apology from Hugh Hefner himself. Though she’s been named countless times as being among the hottest and most alluring people in the world, Alba has shied from the spotlight in recent years, no doubt in part to what seems like her limited repertoire as an actress.
Alba’s personality is charming enough as well, yet somehow she never advanced past supporting film roles outside of Honey and Into the Blue after successful television stints in The Secret World of Alex Mack and Dark Angel. Alba seems doomed to forever wear spandex in mid-level action thrillers.
2. Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie has made more headlines the past decade through her personal life than through any especially successful blockbusters. Her recent separation from husband Brad Pitt seems only the most recent in a string of controversies that don’t exactly endear Jolie to fans. Worse so, her filmography as of late has been anything but stellar, with only Maleficent deeming mention. Jolie did work as a producer on 2014’s Unbroken, but other than that she’s been quiet lately, muddling in the grey area between “less popular than she once was” and “nearing complete irrelevance.”
Fans already fed up with Jolie’s antics during and following her relationship with actor Billy Bob Thornton are seeing a reprisal in recent weeks as she argues back and forth with Pitt over their impending separation and over who will receive custody of their many children. The worst part of the separation for Jolie’s public profile seems to be that it confirms an already popular sentiment of her as a shrewd, vindictive and spiteful person— and it certainly won’t be helping her film career anytime soon.
1. Keira Knightley
Okay, so she isn’t exactly “irrelevant.” No one will deny Keira Knightley hasn’t fallen hard, however, she seems to no longer be capable of carrying a film on her own. In her most recent major roles, The Imitation Game and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, she’s reduced to playing the good-looking, mature-female-presence type that could probably be played by anyone (but boy does she play it well). A far cry, clearly, from Knightley’s days scouring the seas of the Caribbean with Captain Jack Sparrow by her side.
Whatever high-seas adventures await Knightley, fans have hope that they come sooner rather than later. Despite recently receiving her second Academy Award nomination, Knightley herself hasn’t really been making headlines recently. She’s set to star in Collateral Beauty alongside an ensemble cast including Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Edward Norton and the immortal Helen Mirren.
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