When one door closes, another one opens. However, for celebrities, another door doesn’t always open. All it takes is one box office disaster, one public breakdown, one DUI, and celebrities can have their entire career ruined. It doesn’t take much for Hollywood to decide that it’s done with a celebrity, which only adds to the everyday pressure.
The celebrities on this list were once some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, they fell completely out of the spotlight. Sometimes it was their fault; other times they actively chose to step out of the spotlight because they were done with the business. This list is dedicated to the celebrities that were at the peak of their careers in the early 2000s, only to suddenly disappear.
15. Jessica Simpson
Jessica Simpson is a singer and actress that everyone knows the name of — but not many people can actually name things that she’s released. Her first album, Sweet Kisses, was released in 1999. The album was designed to be “anti-sex appeal” as a direct contrast to the albums released by artists such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Simpson’s debut album sold over 4 million copies — but that wasn’t good enough for her record company. She was rebranded into a Britney Spears knockoff, and critics slammed her for selling out.
Simpson had declared at the start of her career that she would remain abstinent until marriage but quickly turned herself into a sex icon for fame. Her role as Daisy Duke in the film The Dukes of Hazzard was highly sexual, which led to her releasing a music video for the song These Boots Are Made For Walkin’. The video is nothing short of softcore p*rn.
Jessica Simpson stopped being famous around the time her sister, Ashlee Simpson, stopped being famous. If you remember, Ashlee Simpson fell out of the spotlight almost immediately following a lip-syncing performance that went horrendously wrong on Saturday Night Live. Apparently, Hollywood doesn’t care for phonies.
14. Halle Berry
To date, Halle Berry is the only black woman to have won a Best Actress Academy Award. She won the award for her performance in Monster’s Ball (2001). During the early 2000s, Berry was the highest-paid actress — pretty good for a woman who started her career after finishing as the 1st runner-up in the Miss USA Pageant.
Halle Berry made her breakthrough in the 1992 film Boomerang and landed a role in a number of other films, including The Flintstones, Bulworth, and Swordfish. She became known to the younger generation for her role as Storm in the early 2000’s X-Men franchise.
Since then, it seems that Halle Berry’s career has taken somewhat of a nosedive. The select few movies that Berry has appeared in the past few years (outside of her appearances as Storm) have been downright terrible. She appeared in Movie 43, The Call, and Things We Lost in the Fire — all of which were box office flops. Will her upcoming appearance in Kingsman: The Golden Circle end her flop streak? Hopefully.
13. Elizabeth Hurley
Elizabeth Hurley entered the limelight as a model in her late twenties. She landed her first acting role in 1987 in the film Aria, but you more than likely will remember her from a number of roles she did at the end of the 1990s and early 2000s. One of these roles was Vanessa Kensington in the films Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. She went on to play The Devil in the film Bedazzled starring Brendan Fraser — a role where she’s highly sexualized. The entire film, she tries to seduce Brendan Fraser — and if his character weren’t so in love — she would’ve succeeded. No man could resist Hurley in her prime — and most guys would have a hard time saying no to her now.
12. Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar was in everything that young teenagers watched near the start of the 21st century. She appeared in I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream 2, Small Soldiers, Scooby-Doo, The Grudge, and, of course, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. To some people (like me), she will always be Buffy.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran for six years (1997-2003) for a total of 144 episodes. As the face of such a popular show, it may have been difficult for Sarah Michelle Gellar to rebrand herself in other roles. As a result, her career came to a halt after starring in The Grudge 2 (2006), and she hasn’t found much success in the other roles that she’s taken, which also may have led to her career ending prematurely.
11. Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes‘s career is eerily similar to Lindsay Lohan’s. She made her debut on the television show All That with the lead role in three seasons of the show. Following All That, Amanda starred in her own show, The Amanda Show. Once that ended, Amanda decided to take a swing at making a name for herself in the movie business. Her first film was Big Fat Liar, where she appeared next to Frankie Muniz as the star of the movie. All of her films (with the exception of Love Wrecked) were commercial successes and only brought her more fans. People loved how quirky and real she appeared to be in all of her roles. Any girl that grew up in the 2000s has seen Amanda Bynes’s movies and loved them.
Easy A (2010) was the last role that Amanda Bynes appeared in. She announced on her Twitter account that she didn’t love acting anymore and decided to take a break. Two years later, Amanda Bynes took a swing at launching a career as a fashion designer — and that’s where the controversy began.
Amanda Bynes was arrested on separate occasions for driving while impaired, a hit and run, criminal possession of marijuana, and starting a fire in a stranger’s home — all in the span of two years. She also began Tweeting rants making wild accusations. One of these accusations was that her father had sexually abused her as a child. She quickly retracted that saying that he didn’t sexually abuse her but instead claimed that he had implanted a microchip in her brain that forced her to make that accusation. Essentially, she struggled with mental health issues.
In June 2017, Amanda Bynes announced that she wanted to return to acting. She is now essentially unrecognizable, and her years of mental health issues may have completely ruined her career — but we’ll see.
10. David Schwimmer
David Schwimmer rose to fame while playing Ross Geller on one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, Friends. He appeared in all 236 episodes over the course of the show’s 10-year run (1994-2004). The main cast members all wanted to be paid the same amount, and that pay rose from $75,000 per episode in season three to $1 million per episode in seasons nine and ten. Needless to say, Schwimmer and the rest of the cast of Friends were set for life — but with such a promising career ahead of them, how could they retire?
Schwimmer became known to a number of children as the voice of Melman the giraffe in the Madagascar franchise. Other than that, he’s appeared in a few small movies and directed a film or two. His biggest role since Friends was playing Robert Kardashian in the 10-part docu-series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Is this the relaunch of his career?
9. Chris Tucker
Chris Tucker is loved by everyone for one reason: Rush Hour. Though the comedian has appeared in movies such as Friday, The Fifth Element, Jackie Brown, and Silver Linings Playbook, the highlight of his career has always been the Rush Hour franchise.
After the success of the first Rush Hour film, Tucker said that he wanted a $20 million salary for Rush Hour 2, and a $25 million salary for Rush Hour 3, though he later settled for a $40 million two-movie contract that included an unannounced addition to the series. In the 9 years between the first Rush Hour and Rush Hour 3, Tucker appeared in no other films. Why would he? He was pretty much set for life. In 2011, he started performing as a stand-up comedian once more and appears to be picking and choosing the roles that he wants.
Though his music career started in the 1990s, Shaggy managed to make an appearance in everyone’s favorite songs from the turn of the century. In 2000, Shaggy’s album Hot Shot was released and eventually certified 6x Platinum in the U.S. This album featured singles It Wasn’t Me and Angel. From there, Shaggy slowly drifted further and further from fame.
In 2002, Shaggy released the album Lucky Day, which wasn’t nearly as successful as Hot Shot but still went Gold. The album performed well in Europe, mainly for the single Hey Sexy Lady. You won’t recognize the title, but you’ll probably recognize a portion of the song.
After his commercial success in Europe, Shaggy took his music internationally. He’s primarily performed tours in Europe, Africa, and Western Asia. Though he seems to get nominated for a Grammy every few years, nobody seems to care about Shaggy anymore — possibly because nobody can understand him.
7. Josh Hartnett
Once upon a time, Josh Hartnett was a teenage heartthrob. In the late 1990s, he appeared in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, The Virgin Suicides and starred in war films such as Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down. The films he appeared in at the start of his career were commercially successful and critically acclaimed — so what happened to him?
The problem with being such a good-looking actor is that eventually, one’s looks will fade. Hartnett needed to be more than a pretty face — and he wasn’t. As his career progressed, he began appearing in romantic comedies and horror films with less well-known directors choosing him for roles. He’s appeared in 40 Days and 40 Nights and Sin City, but his last “big” movie was 30 Days of Night — and that came out 10 years ago.
6. Mischa Barton
Though she appeared in many other films and television shows, Mischa Barton is best known for her role as Marissa Cooper on The O.C. (2003-2007). The short-lived teen drama is one of the most famous shows to come out of the early 2000s — and it was the peak of Mischa Barton’s career. She was a gorgeous, well-known talented actress, so how did she fade into obscurity? She hasn’t appeared in anything worthwhile since The O.C. In fact, half of the movies she’s been in don’t even have Wikipedia pages.
After The O.C. came to a close, Barton had a number of problems with the law. She was arrested for driving under the influence in 2007, sued by her landlord for over $21,000 in 2010, and sued her own mother in 2015 for “breach of contract” and “theft” over a house that both of them owned.
In addition to legal problems, Barton has been evaluated by mental health professionals twice. Once, in 2009, where she was involuntarily detained by a psychiatrist because she was deemed to have a mental disorder that made her a danger to herself and others. The second time was in 2017, when she was found screaming while slumped on her backyard fence.
Raven-Symone started her career in 1989, appearing on The Cosby Show as Olivia Kendall. She’s released a number of albums and even made an appearance or two on the US Billboard Hot 100 — but let’s be honest: everyone knows her as Raven Baxter, from the Disney Channel show That’s So Raven.
That’s So Raven was the highlight of her career, hands down. She was nominated for a number of young artist awards for her performance as Raven Baxter in over 100 episodes. She made a number of appearances on other Disney Channel shows, such as Sonny With A Chance (Demi Lovato‘s show) and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
Recently, Raven Symone has come under fire for saying she refuses to identify as African-American or gay. Instead, Symone states that she is an “American” and a “human who loves humans.” For many years, Symone stated that she refuses to label herself but directly contradicted this in 2016 when she referred to herself as a lesbian on The View.
4. Freddie Prinze Jr.
Freddie Prinze Jr. met his wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar, on the set of I Know What You Did Last Summer. Through his relationship with Sarah Michelle Gellar and a number of movies that marketed him toward teenage girls, Freddie Prinze Jr. became famous for a number of years — so famous, in fact, that he was able to launch his own sitcom, Freddie, which was canceled after the first season. A number of Freddie Prinze Jr.’s films bombed, including Delgo, which is one of the biggest box-office flops of all time. The movie was made on a budget of $40 million and grossed around $700,000 domestically and a bit over $900,000 worldwide. That said, every millennial will remember Freddie Prinze Jr. as Fred from the live-action Scooby Doo movies. The movies haven’t aged well, but they were great to watch at the time.
In 2008, Freddie Prinze Jr. decided to join the creative team of World Wrestling Entertainment, as he was a longtime fan of the program. He’s also been a voice actor for a number of video games, including Lego Indiana Jones, Mass Effect 3, and Dragon Age: Inquisition. It’s safe to say he’s fallen out of the spotlight.
3. Lindsay Lohan
Has any celebrity fallen faster than Lindsay Lohan? With her movie debut, The Parent Trap (1998), Lohan was well on her way to a promising film career. Fans were able to watch her literally grow up in the spotlight, as she was only around 10 years old when The Parent Trap came out.
Lohan became involved in a number of Disney productions, including Freaky Friday and Herbie: Fully Loaded, but one of her most iconic roles was when she played Cady Heron in Mean Girls — a movie loved by pretty much everyone.
Unfortunately, Lohan began her exit from the spotlight soon after filming Herbie: Fully Loaded. Her film and music careers were constantly interrupted due to her problems with drugs and alcohol. She bounced between rehab and the courthouse throughout her twenties, which put a halt to her career. Over 10 years after her first DUI, it seems that Lohan is trying to put the past behind her. But unless she lands another role like Cady Heron, her career is just about dead.
2. Brendan Fraser
Though most popular in the 1990s, Brendan Fraser was still relevant in the early 2000s. He was acting in The Mummy series, Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and Journey to the Center of the Earth later in the decade.
The problem with Brendan Fraser is that he was cast in movies because he was somewhat of a stud. He was jacked, had great hair, and had a friendly look to his face. It was the case of women wanting him and men wanting to be him. Unfortunately, Brendan was cast in a number of movies that did terribly. He took the approach to star in any movie that would let him — and it killed his career.
Looking through his filmography, although it’s long, a number of movies were box-office flops. Hell, you probably haven’t heard of most of the movies that Brendan Fraser starred in. Dudley Do-Right (1999) grossed $10 million on a $70 million budget, and Monkeybone (2001) grossed $7.6 million on a $75 million budget. His movies were expensive, and they didn’t make money. He should’ve been a lot more selective with his roles.
1. Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle made a name for himself through his stand-up comedy. He never landed a lead role in a movie; though if he wanted to, he definitely could’ve. He had his own television show, The Dave Chappelle Show for a number of years, but again, his bread and butter was his stand-up comedy. Chappelle was such a great performer that Kevin Hart said he considers Chappelle to be the greatest stand-up comedian of all time. His routines have been studied by universities, and any comedian in the business will tell you that Chappelle is a genius.
In 2007, Chappelle held the record for the longest stand-up set, performing a show for a total of six hours and 12 minutes, beating Dane Cook‘s time of three hours and 50 minutes. He was also known for showing up unannounced at comedy venues to perform comedy.
Dave Chappelle ended his own career due to his dissatisfaction with Hollywood. While filming The Dave Chappelle Show, he thought that a number of the sketches were distasteful and warned that if Comedy Central aired the unfinished material from the show’s third season, he wouldn’t return to the show. In 2006, Comedy Central aired the material.
Since then, Dave Chappelle has been laying low, focusing all of his energy into his stand-up. In 2017, he released two comedy specials, after a 13-year hiatus of filming his comedy.
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