Just like in life, Hollywood has been known to grant second chances to its stars on both television and the big screen. Everyone loves a good comeback story and sometimes, showing that even celebrities make mistakes can be an appealing aspect to their public persona that can help to draw in more fans. From questionable roles that actors have taken in order to get the bills paid to embarrassing incidents in their personal lives, sometimes even A-list celebrities have demons in their past that have come back to haunt them. In fact, some of these celebrities have gone on to become some of the most beloved actors in Hollywood.
One of the best examples is Robert Downey Jr. since he has been able to come back from drug use and even an arrest coupled with a mug shot that went viral. Yet, he has cleaned up his act and has since gone on to become the world’s favorite Ironman character with the heart of gold. People have all but forgotten about his questionable past and nowadays, he is simply known for his incredibly likable persona and gift in the acting department. However, not everyone can be as lucky. In fact, all too many celebrities have gone down the Lindsay Lohan path to become completely washed up in their field. Fortunately, there is a happy medium between these two paths in Hollywood and a number of celebrities fall into that category. Check out our list of the 15 A-list celebrities that can’t escape their embarrassing past, and see how they have been able to achieve success in Hollywood even though people still reference their most awkward moments.
15. David Hasselhoff – The Shirtless Binging Video
David Hasselhoff started his acting career as one of the hunk heartthrobs on The Young and The Restless, which led to a stellar acting career on television. From his iconic role on Knight Rider to his long-run on the hit series, Baywatch, there was a time when Hasselhoff was the epitome of an A-list TV actor. Yet, while there are some actors that managed to hang onto their relevancy beyond the ‘90s, Hasselhoff was not one of them. Perhaps it was because he wasn’t able to hang onto his youthful looks or perhaps it was because he never grasped evolving his fashion style, but whatever the case, his look is stuck in a time warp that has undoubtedly hindered his ability to continue his thriving acting career. However, his dated look is by far not the most embarrassing aspect of his past. It was the shirtless binging video that went viral that probably has him staying up nights. In 2007, The Hoff attempted to scarf down a cheeseburger while on the floor and shirtless in a Las Vegas hotel room. It’s difficult to say what was the most unappealing aspect of the video, a beer-belly man on the floor or the unappetizing way he ate the burger.
14. Tom Sizemore – Damning Videos
Not many actors can boast having roles in the number of iconic films that Tom Sizemore has acted in throughout his career. Born on the Fourth of July, Natural Born Killers, Heat, Saving Private Ryan and Pearl Harbor are just a few of the films he’s acted in. With a professional career filled with big budget hits like these, it seemed impossible for Sizemore to fall from greatness in his acting career. Yet, a series of public outbursts and videos of his supposed drug use quickly turned him from an A-list actor to a forgotten has-been. Sizemore claimed he had sex with Paris Hilton (which she denied), and he even released a variety of adult film videos. These are things A-list actors definitely wouldn’t do but it’s his drug-use videos that were the most damning. Videos depicting Sizemore allegedly smoking crystal meth went viral and the world was left feeling shocked over how this once-beloved actor could have thrown his career down the toilet in such a short amount of time. While the world loves a comeback story, it will be difficult for fans to forget these embarrassing moments that were caught on video.
13. Tom Hanks – Embarrassing TV Role In The 80s
Tom Hanks is thought of as one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood. From his incredibly likable public persona to his drama-free marriage to the likewise beloved actress, Rita Wilson, it seems that every film role he takes is touched with a drop of gold. Audiences flock to each and every Tom Hanks film, and yet, people still can’t help but remember him from his TV days. Like many actors first starting out in Hollywood, Hanks took on quite an embarrassing TV role that is still referenced today. Back in the early ‘80s, Hanks starred alongside Peter Scolari in the television series, Bosom Buddies. The premise was more than a bit unbelievable since Hanks and Scolari were made to disguise themselves as women in order to live in a particular apartment building. The series was canceled after two seasons but Hanks’ performance dressing in drag is hard to forget. Hanks undoubtedly regrets having taken this TV role since it’s hard to put two seasons dressing in women’s clothing and donning makeup and a wig in the past.
12. Will Smith – Rap Career
Will Smith is an actor that exudes an extremely likable persona in the public eye and has quickly become part of a power couple alongside his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Their children have equally made names for themselves and both father and son have worked with each other on numerous films. Yet, it’s difficult to look beyond Smith’s early career in the entertainment industry. From the previous rap career most notable for the singular hit, “Parents Just Don’t Understand” to the TV stint on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, it’s hard for audiences to solely think of Smith as a film actor when he’s dabbled in so many other categories in the entertainment industry. Now that he’s had so many serious acting roles in Hollywood, it seems unfathomable for him to go back to his rapping career. While there was some talk that he and DJ Jazzy Jeff would partake in a comeback tour, that rumor has never come to fruition. Perhaps the best part of the whole ordeal is that Smith has been able to hang onto his youthful looks from back in his TV days (despite a few grey hairs).
11. Tom Cruise – Being Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is the ultimate in A-list actors in Hollywood since he’s been involved in some of the most iconic films on the big screen. From Top Gun to Risky Business to Jerry Maguire, it seems that Tom Cruise can do no wrong when it comes to his acting skills. While his professional life has continued to excel over the years, instances from his personal life have overshadowed his public persona. Audiences can perhaps overlook the incredibly insensitive remarks he made regarding Brooke Shields’ battle with postpartum and maybe even his couch-jumping interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show, but some of the other outbursts are a little more difficult to forget. In 2005, Cruise got into a heated battle with Matt Lauer on the NBC Today show and his devotion to Scientology was more than a bit strange. Also, the divorce with Katie Holmes became embarrassing in and of itself because of the way it all went down. Cruise was completely blindsided, while Holmes made it seem like she had to run for her life to escape his clutches. Then, of course, there were the never-ending rumors regarding Holmes’ new relationship with Cruise’s co-star, Jamie Foxx. While audiences still seem to turn out for Cruise films, consensus regarding Cruise on a personal level isn’t exactly favorable.
10. Reese Witherspoon – Embarrassing Arrest
Reese Witherspoon has long been thought of as one of America’s Sweethearts because of the way she transitioned from being a childhood actress to an A-list film star. While there were some film roles that were a little more risqué in nature, the majority of the characters she played held up the “good girl” persona from her public life. From the Legally Blonde film series to her Oscar-winning portrayal of June Carter in the 2005 film, Walk the Line, audiences felt that Witherspoon was the one actress that they could count on to never go the route of the Lindsay Lohan path. Yet, all of that went out the window when Witherspoon was arrested for disorderly conduct in April of 2013. When her husband, Jim Toth, was being arrested for driving under the influence, Witherspoon reportedly disobeyed police officers’ orders by refusing to get back into the car. She became extremely irate and started pulling the fame card to try and dissuade the police from arresting Toth. When that didn’t work, she started saying that she was pregnant even though she wasn’t. This embarrassing incident was only made even more public when her smug looking mugshot became plastered over every headline afterward.
9. Tim Allen – In Possession Of…
Back in October of 1978, Tim Allen was arrested for possession of cocaine. The amount he was in possession of was so severe that he could have been sentenced to an astounding length of time – life in prison. Rather than fighting the charges in court, Allen chose to work with the prosecution by testifying against his cohorts. As if being a rat wasn’t bad enough, Allen went on to act in the TV sitcom, Home Improvement, as the embarrassing role of Tim “The Toolman” Taylor. From the drug arrest to the ridiculous TV grunting, Allen has found it difficult to be considered a serious actor on the big screen. While the Home Improvement series was actually considered to be a hugely successful show, his A-list acting status didn’t transition well to the silver screen. In fact, it seems that the only real way he was allowed on the big screen was through his voice-over work in the Toy Story film series.
8. Arnold Schwarzenegger – The Nanny
When it comes to actors on the big screen, sometimes having an accent can be a good thing for moviegoers. From Penelope Cruz to Salma Hayek, there is definitely something appealing about an actor having a unique accent in their acting role. This couldn’t be more evident than in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character portrayals since his accent is almost instantly recognizable. His acting career is filled with a number of memorable performances, from Conan the Barbarian to The Terminator film series. While there have been some embarrassing film roles like Junior or Twins, the true embarrassment came when it was revealed that he had a mistress while married to Maria Shriver. Not only was it an embarrassment for his personal life and career in politics but one look at the mistress and the world went into total shock. “Mildred The Maid” became an instant hot topic for the tabloids since she wasn’t exactly considered to be a typical Hollywood beauty. Instead, it showed just how foolish Schwarzenegger could be in regards to who he would take to the sack.
7. John Travolta – Secret Double Life?
When John Travolta first started out as an actor, audiences instantly fell in love with him through his character portrayals. From his iconic roles in Saturday Night Fever and Grease to his incredibly likable persona, it seemed that he would forever be a Hollywood A-lister that would don the silver screen for years to come. As he aged, he continued to thrill audiences through his acting roles but shocking allegations about his personal life put a stain on his heartthrob reputation that people are still finding it difficult to forget. A number of male masseuses came out to accuse Travolta of sexual battery and there were even allegations that he had been holding an intimate relationship with his male pilot from his private plane. Travolta has been happily married to actress, Kelly Preston, since 1991 and has denied claims of sexual relationships with other males. However, it has undoubtedly hurt his public persona and probably put a strain on his acting opportunities in Hollywood.
6. Emma Roberts – Abused Her Boyfriend
As the daughter of famed actor, Eric Roberts, and the niece of Julia Roberts, the future was very promising for the young starlet, Emma Roberts. With stunning good looks and a famous family, Roberts was slated to have a hugely successful career. Yet, numerous allegations of behind the scenes diva antics seemed to follow her everywhere she went. Yet, the biggest snafu in her personal life came in July of 2013 when she was arrested for domestic violence in Canada. At the time, she was dating American Horror Story actor, Evan Peters, when police were called to their hotel room after reports of an alleged fight breaking out in their room. When police arrived, Peters had a bloody nose and a reported bite mark, at which point, Roberts was arrested. Although she was subsequently released because Peters refused to press charges, the altercation has remained in the memory of the public ever since. Regardless of how big of a film star she may become in the future, she will forever be thought of as one feisty lady offscreen.
5. Kristen Stewart – The Homewrecker
Kristen Stewart is an actress that has a pretty good mix of Indie films and blockbuster hits in her roster of acting roles throughout her professional career. The Twilight film series was what truly made her a household name but she has since become known more for her embarrassing interaction with the married director, Rupert Sanders. While working with him during the filming of Snow White and the Huntsman, Stewart was caught in some pretty compromising photographs with the married director while she was in a relationship with actor, Robert Pattinson. The public already had a huge attachment to her relationship with Pattinson since it worked into the whole Bella Swan and Edward romance from the Twilight films. The public couldn’t get over the fact that Bella would actually cheat on Edward and definitely couldn’t take to her being the other woman in a mistress role. This embarrassing incident has completely overshadowed her acting skills in the eyes of the public and the world hasn’t let her forget it ever since.
4. Shia Labeouf – Even Steven To Fury…Literally
When Shia LaBeouf first started out in Hollywood, he was a youthful actor that seemed to have a bright future as a film star. Gaining roles in big blockbuster films like the Transformers film series, people were starting to think of him as the next big action star on the big screen. He was frequently seen on the red carpet looking dapper in tuxedos and custom-made suits and became a bit of a heartthrob for young girls everywhere. Yet, things started to go downhill pretty quickly when videos of LaBeouf started to surface online. The one with LaBeouf begging his “friend” to slap him in the face was just the start of his downward spiral. Other incidents include him walking the red carpet with a bag over his head, him stealing French fries from a homeless man, and videos of him riding elevators with strangers. His strange stunts have completely overshadowed his acting ability and people are no longer thinking of him as the next Tom Cruise on the silver screen.
3. Mel Gibson – Racist
Mel Gibson is an actor that had a hugely successful career in the ‘80s, with iconic films like Braveheart and the Lethal Weapon film series. While he started off as a heartthrob that millions of women swooned over on the big screen, aspects of his personal life started to make the public feel differently about this aging actor. From building his own church on his property to the infamous drunken arrest, Gibson was no longer seen as a sought-after film star. His arrest for a DUI back in 2006 wasn’t just an instance of a celebrity knocking back a few too many. He went on a tirade filled with racist and anti-Semitic comments that went viral. From someone that gave the world the hugely successful film, The Passion of the Christ, this wasn’t exactly something that audiences could forget. Not only did it negatively affect public perception of Gibson but it hindered him from getting any more real roles in Hollywood for almost a decade.
2. Charlie Sheen – His Entire Life
Charlie Sheen is an actor that comes from Hollywood royalty, being related to both Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen. His film career was filled with a number of memorable roles and his stint on the hit television series, Two and a Half Men, made him a millionaire many times over. Yet, his personal life has been filled with a borage of snafus that are difficult to forget. He was listed in the infamous Heidi Fleiss book as one of the celebrities known to engage with her high-class prostitutes and partook in some online dating sites where he listed himself as “an A-list actor.” While the ruckus adult entertainment star parties were bad enough, the videos that went viral were the icing on the cake. Sheen could be seen sticking cigarettes in his nose and acting completely erratic while going on rants and tirades in an incoherent fashion. Audiences won’t soon forget about this new Charlie Sheen they have come to know, regardless of his famous family or previous iconic film roles.
1. Hugh Grant – Cheating On Elizabeth Hurley
While Hugh Grant may not be what American audiences would think of as a Hollywood heartthrob like Brad Pitt or Joe Manganiello, he is definitely part of the celebrity elite as a British actor. His incredibly likable public persona and romantic characters he’s played on film were the stuff dreams were made of during his heyday. Yet, that all changed after he was arrested with a sex worker named Divine Brown. At the time, Grant was in a highly publicized relationship with British bombshell, Elizabeth Hurley, and fans couldn’t grasp why he would jeopardize that to hook up with a prostitute. That notion became increasingly intensified once they got a look at Divine Brown. Grant’s mug shot went viral and he looked like just another sleazy “John” rather than a Hollywood A-lister. While Grant has made a number of films since his 1995 arrest, the public can’t help but remember his “lewd conduct” arrest from his past.