So many celebrities have come and gone that it’s hard to keep track. These days, with YouTube stars hitting the news and album singles dropping every week, it’s hard to keep track of who’s hot and who’s not, and it’s even harder to track where these not-so-hot ‘celebrities’ are going once the limelight shifts away. Once someone loses popularity, it’s hard to recapture it. So what happens to them all once we lose interest?
We know the popular “where are they now” stories: Charlie Sheen is “cleaning himself up,” but he’s still a fun train wreck to watch; Lindsay Lohan is probably in rehab again, but she’s sure to leave early to be in another bad movie; and Britney Spears has her own Las Vegas show, and we’re excitedly awaiting the day she shaves her head again. These are the stories TMZ can’t wait to share with us, even though our interest has been waning for the last few years.
What about celebrities we forgot long ago? Celebrities we haven’t wondered about in years? They’re still out there, so where are they? Were the rumors floating around about them true? Did Marion Jones really juice herself for the Olympics; did Steve from Blues Clues really overdose; should we be worried about Macaulay Culkin? Here are fifteen “where are they now stories” that you won’t believe!
15. Jake Lloyd – Baby Anakin Diagnosed With Schizo
Jake Lloyd played the young boy version of Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode 1, The Phantom Menace, which is regarded as one of the worst Star Wars movies. That said, the pod-racing scenes and Darth Maul fight are pretty epic. Besides, baby Anakin was adorable! We all wanted to see this cute baby boy grow up to be a Jedi. So what really happened?
Jake Lloyd hasn’t had an easy go since his stint on Star Wars ended. Since The Phantom Menace, he’s only acted in one project outside of the franchise (Madison). Though he still made appearances at events and sic-fi festivals, his fame waned.
What’s worse, Jake recently revealed he is a diagnosed schizophrenic, and it’s impacted his life in a serious way. In 2015, he was arrested for reckless driving (without a license) and resisting arrest. His mother has told media sources that he’s attacked her when not on his medication. He was recently admitted to a psychiatric facility to aid in his recovery. Family, friends, and fans all appreciate sensitivity and well-wishes for Jake as he recovers.
14. Kiefer Sutherland – Jack Bauer Singing Country
Kiefer is best known for his movies like The Lost Boys and The Three Musketeers, and television shows like 24. He’s regarded as a badass and plenty of people will go to see a movie simply because his name is on the bill.
However, it’s rare that we get to see him in movies these days. Kiefer’s still working (if you’re really desperate to see him in new work; you can see him in the pilot of the 2016 television show Designated Survivor as Tim Kirkman, or the movie Beat-Up Little Seagull, which is slated to release later this year), but he’s actually turned his interest to discography. Alongside his business partner Jude Cole, he owns the independent label Ironworks. He’s already dropped his single “Not Enough Whiskey,” and he plans on dropping the rest of the album later this year. Whether his music is any good or not is up to the individual audience member to decide, but we never thought we’d see Jack Bauer singing country.
13. Jonathan Taylor Thomas – Left Acting For College
You may not remember Jonathan by name, but you’ve surely heard or seen him act. He starred in such popular television shows as Home Improvement (Randy Taylor), The Bradys (Kevin Brady), and The Wild Thornberrys (voice of Tyler Tucker); he also did plenty of film work, including The Lion King (voice of young Simba), Tom and Huck (Tom Sawyer), and The Adventures of Pinocchio (voice of Pinocchio). Around 2006, Jonathan Taylor Thomas seemed to disappear abruptly from the screen; so where did he go?
College. Many colleges. He initially enrolled at Harvard after graduating prep school in 2000, and he traveled to St. Andrews University in Scotland to study for a year. Eventually, he transferred to Columbia University, where he continued to study philosophy and history until he got his degree in 2010. He spent a decade studying! He’s recently returned to acting. He’s had a recurring role in the show Last Man Standing for two years.
12. Malcolm David Kelley – From “Lost” To The Music Stardom
Malcolm David Kelley was on the cult favorite TV show Lost. Though he only appeared regularly on the show for the first season, he made frequent guest star appearances throughout the rest of the show up until the series finale as Walt Dawson, estranged son of Michael Dawson. He was only twelve-years-old when the show aired. Once off the show Malcolm finished his schooling, while still acting on the side.
The innocent young boy turned into a man and he has lost his primary interest in acting; he wants a Grammy. With friend Tony Oller, MKTO (standing for Malcolm Kelly Tony Oller) has already dropped some huge hits, including “Classic,” “American Dream,” “Bad Girls,” and “Thank You.” He likes to take his shirt off during shows and will pose for an Instagram pic or selfie with almost anyone, as long as they’re a mega hot chick. He still acts occasionally, but only to supplement his booming music career.
11. Michael Richards – From Comedic Genius To Outcast
Michael played arguably the most hilarious character on the ’90s television show Seinfeld, Cosmo Kramer. The character was wildly outrageous and possibly insane, very much like Michael Richards.
Since Seinfeld, Michael’s been trying to keep busy with stand up comedy shows. Ten years ago, at one of his shows at a Laugh Factory in West Hollywood, he angrily yelled racial slurs and violent threats at a group of black audience members, referencing lynching and Jim Crow Laws. Though he publicly apologized on several television programs and even made personal apologies to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, he never made efforts to apologize to the victims of his outburst. The incident tarnished his relationship with Jerry Seinfeld. Though the two are on better terms now, his stance on supporters of Donald Trump has his fans walking on eggshells again.
10. Jack Gleeson – Left Acting For Academia
Jack Gleeson played the character on Game of Thrones we all loved to hate: Joffrey Baratheon, the psychopathic, young heir to the iron throne. SPOILER ALERT: his character was killed off in the 2014 episode “The Lion and The Rose,” better known as “The Purple Wedding” for the lovely shade of violet his face turns when he chokes to death. So what has young Jack been up to since he lost the game of thrones?
Jack has set aside acting, perhaps even permanently, in pursuit of scholarly success. He’s a student of philosophy and theology at Dublin’s Trinity College. He’s professed that he’s no longer interested in acting as a career, especially after the poor treatment fans of Game of Thrones gave him; fans would deface posters of him and write awful things about him. He’s walked away from acting in pursuit of academic success.
9. Steve Burns – Left Blue’s Clues For…
We all know sweet, beloved Steve as the owner of a cartoon dog in a ’90s childhood classic: Blues Clues! Steve would run around the house with his adorable dog Blue, and occasionally with Blue’s friend Magenta, identifying colors and numbers and shapes and whatnot. So what happened to good old Steve?
He ditched the dog for a music career. He apparently was eager to have a music career, and didn’t think he could make a career out of being on a children’s show (weird, since he’d been doing it for seven years). Rumors circulated that he’d died in a car accident, overdosed on drugs, or been arrested for child pornography. None of the rumors were true, of course, but no one seemed to care enough to interview him. He made a solid effort at a music career, but his band only managed to release two albums- and neither was that good. Now, he’s trying to make it back into the acting career he forsook- guess he should have made a career out of Blue’s Clues after all.
8. Peter Ostrum – From The Chocolate Factory To Vet Sciences
Peter was the star of the 1970’s movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. He played adorable and honest Charlie Bucket. The movie was a hit back in the 1970s, an instant classic (one that would be remade and, arguably, ruined, by its remake). Peter hadn’t ever acted before being cast in the film, and he never acted again. So where did he go, and what did he do?
Peter likely would have had a lucrative career if he kept acting. Instead, he renounced the actor’s life in search of horses. He fell in love with horses while they were briefly on the set of Willy Wonka, and followed his passion to get his doctorate in veterinary medicine from Cornell University. He now lives in the countryside of New York with his wife and two children, where he is a veterinarian (primarily for horses).
7. Tonya Harding – Who Knows?
If you don’t follow Olympic winter sports, you may not know Tonya Harding. Tonya was an American figure skating champion. She won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, placed second in the World Championships, and attended the Olympics twice. She was full of promise. So what happened?
In 1994, Tonya was banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association for attacking fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan. Tonya, with the help of her husband, had hired someone to injure Nancy enough to keep her from competing. She was caught, of course. She’s since tried careers in boxing (where she actually had some success), automobile racing (she set a few new records), comedy commentating (you’ll see her on reruns of TruTv’s World’s Dumbest…), and even sex tapes to try to stay relevant. To learn more about her wild story, watch the movie about her life coming out soon (Margot Robbie will play Tonya).
6. Macaulay Culkin – From Cute To Creep
You’ll recognize Macaulay Culkin from some of his biggest hits: the Home Alone movies (1 & 2 as Kevin McAllister), My Girl (Thomas Sennett), The Pagemaster (Richard Tyler), and Richie Rich (Richie, himself), to name a few. He was the child actor that all studios seemed to want in their movies. He was cute, lovable, and good at his craft. So what happened to the boy when he grew up?
Macaulay got weird. He started doing movies with darker and more sexual tones. He published an experimental novel about his odd relationship with his father. He parodied Andy Warhol by releasing a video of himself eating a whole cheese pizza (it was also an attempt to market his pizza-themed comedy band that later hilariously failed). He’s been arrested for possession of drugs (from marijuana to prescription meds). He’s an odd guy. You can still see him acting, though, if you look in weird enough places.
5. Kel Mitchell – From Sketches To Doing Just About Everything
Kel is best recognized by his work with Kenan Thompson on shows like All That and movies like Good Burger, though he’s also well known for his character in the Ben Stiller movie Mystery Men (Invisible Boy). He was widely known in the ’90s. These days, he seems much quieter. What happened?
Kel may have played idiots on TV, but he was smarter than his characters let on. Though you may not see him acting much anymore, his voiceover work is everywhere, from Wild Grinders to Motorcity. He’s also tried his hand at a music career. His most recent work was in 2015 in a song called “Kel Mitchell” by Spec that he was featured in. He also prides himself on being a producer, investor, dancer, and writer, skills he occasionally utilizes in his guest appearances on shows. He’s certainly made a fortune for himself, even if you haven’t heard about it.
4. Dustin Diamond – Saved By The Bell-Themed Dirty Tape
Dustin played the quirky and goofy character Samuel ‘Screech” Powers on Saved By The Bell. He made a lot of terrible puns and was definitely the class clown, but everyone loved him as the class goof. So what kind of trouble is Screech getting into these days?
A lot of trouble. In 2004 he directed and released a Saved By The Bell-themed sex tape: Screeched – Saved By the Smell (the title of which does not make it sound appealing at all). In 2014, he was arrested because of a bar fight he and his wife had incited involving stabbings. He was convicted for carrying a concealed weapon and for disorderly conduct. A year later, he faced the same charges again with the addition of recklessly endangering public safety; he was sentenced to four months in prison. Since his release, he has kept to himself – perhaps Screech will clean up his act.
3. Carrie Henn – Left Acting Due To Mean Fans
Carrie Henn played one of our favorite children in science fiction, Newt from James Cameron’s Aliens. Carrie was only ten years old when the movie came out. She’d never acted before starring in the film and, outside of documentaries and interviews about Aliens, she never acted again. In the entertainment industry, she was a true star; briefly shining bright before her light was extinguished. So where did she go?
Carrie chose not to return to film because of how she was treated after Aliens. She wasn’t sure who her true friends were, and she received mean messages from jealous classmates and hateful kids. She elected to stay with her family and live a simple life. She went to California State University and got degrees in child development and liberal studies, and she’s now a teacher in Atwater, California. She married a cousin of Tommy Lee Jones and the two have a daughter. She is proud of her work in Aliens, but she plans to never again return to the screen.
2. Marion Jones – Disgraced Athlete Turned Honest Spokesperson
Marion Jones was an amazing champion of track and field as well as in the Women’s National Basketball Association (she played for the Tulsa Shock). In the 2000 Summer Olympics, she won three gold medals and two bronze medals. Unfortunately, this is not what brought her fame.
Marion, as well as many other Olympians, was accused of using steroids to win her medals. Her then husband C.J. Hunter testified against her and, after years of testing and trials/hearings, Marion publicly stated that she’d lied to investigators and had been using the performance enhancing drugs. She was stripped of her titles and medals, and she retired from her athletic career.
These days, she’s keeping her head down and staying out of trouble. After he threw her to the wolves, she divorced her husband and married a different Olympian, Barbadian runner Obadele Thompson. The two have a six-year-old daughter together, Eva-Marie. She has stuck to her word and doesn’t engage in paid athleticism. She does, however, visit schools and community centers and speaks on the dangers of steroids and the importance of honesty.
1. Ian Michael Smith – Left Acting For Academia
Ian is best known for starring in the title role in the movie Simon Birch, which is loosely based on John Irving’s book, A Prayer For Owen Meany. The heart-wrenching movie is about a young boy with stunted growth, making Ian an amazing lead; Ian was born with Morquio Syndrome, an enzymatic disorder that forever stunted his growth (he’s only 3’1″). Simon Birch was the only acting work he ever did. So where is he now?
Luckily, Ian’s Morquio Syndrome is treatable. He has undergone spinal fusions as well as osteotomies (surgeries that lengthen/shorten bones to correct mismatched lengths or correct alignment problems). Ian has never wanted to rejoin the entertainment industry, not because he didn’t enjoy his work, but because, like his character Simon, he feels a greater calling in life. He spent three years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and also spent time at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. He’s a big thinker and has plans to revolutionize how the entertainment industry and the world treat small people.