Every year, we, the public and the media, see stars rise and fall. Whether from personal scandals, professional struggles, or just random occurrences, it’s all too common for our windows in the lives of celebrities to lose their shiny gloss. While so many sites are dedicated to the successes of our favorite public personas, we see the dirt come to light all too frequently as well.
In this list we’ve collected some of the celebrities we think have had the most horrible year. Horrible with a pretty significant caveat, that is, since these are still celebrities, and we know they’re not going to be struggling with paying the rent anytime soon. Having a bad movie in a year could be detrimental to a career, but it’s hard to make that call this early. We’re also excluding celebrities that died or who had loved ones that died this year, purely out of respect.
Would you trade your year with these celebrities? Some of them had problems that others would love to have (you can’t flop in a blockbuster if you don’t have the chance to star in one) while others have problems that evoke sympathy immediately.
15. Kelly Ripa
Have you forgotten about the Kelly and Michael drama yet? It’s safe to say Kelly hasn’t. Back in the spring of 2016, Michael Strahan announced he would be leaving Live with Kelly and Michael, and while it was shocking for all to hear after the duo’s on camera charisma, it didn’t hit anyone as hard as the blindsided Kelly Ripa. In mid-April, the show was still continuing as usual, until a meeting with the executive producers after April 19’s show. Strahan attended the meeting and released a sympathetic press release.
Ripa, understandably, was a bit shell-shocked by the announcement. She took a day off, and allegedly was pretty pissed about having the news revealed to her the same time it was revealed to everyone else. Since his departure, Ripa has been through a variety of stand-in hosts, with mixed success. It’s impressive how Ripa has fought through struggles earlier in the year and still seems as professional and on-her-game as ever.
14. Natalie Dormer
If you’re surprised to see an actress who seems to be still on the rise (in addition to being one of the hottest ladies on the planet) on this list, maybe you aren’t familiar with Game of Thrones’ season 6 developments (and if so, maybe you should avoid reading the rest of this because SPOILERS).
Getting killed off in Game of Thrones is hardly novel by this point, with plenty of major characters dying in each season. But Natalie Dormer’s Margaery Tyrell was a favorite on the show, and her death, lit in green flames and pulled off by the sinister Cersei Lannister, was a shocker to many. And perhaps Dormer would have preferred her contract with the show last a little longer, considering its massive critical and commercial success.
But that wasn’t the end of it for Dormer in 2016. She also starred in the massively unpopular horror movie The Forest. While Dormer held her own against an unworthy script, the few scares and tedious pace earned it a 10% and 22% on Rotten Tomatoes, from critics and audiences respectively.
13. Susan Sarandon
Maybe this is an odd pick, since Susan Sarandon hasn’t been a part of particularly horrible or particularly great films recently. Her appearance in the public eye has been mainly in conjunction with politics, as she was a champion of Bernie Sanders’ ‘political revolution’ that made his primary run a big scare for the eventual nominee, Hillary Clinton (heard of her?).
While many of Bernie’s followers, and Bernie himself, joined the cause for Hillary Clinton in an unsuccessful attempt to keep the presidency out of full Republican control, Sarandon stayed strong in her convictions. These convictions only petered out with a last minute endorsement for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. Unpopular opinions are not a reason for someone to have a horrible year, but the backlash Sarandon faced in response to her endorsement and her continued preaching against both Trump and Clinton was real and severe, as some accused her of being able to vote based on her conscience solely because her comfortable life was probably not going to be affected much by the election anyway.
America’s favorite super-couple has ended. Especially those of us of the younger generation have had Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in our lives seemingly forever, or at least since Mr. and Mrs. Smith. As well as being two of the most stunning people in Hollywood for most of their careers, Pitt and Jolie had also created what seemed like an unbreakable bond. Millions of children teeming around them, smiles in every photo, successful careers still in full swing, these two seemed like they kept it together better than most Hollywood couples.
And to be fair, they did. After 12 years together (two of which they were married), they lasted a long stint compared to other couples. But in September of this year, Jolie filed for divorce. Apparently ‘irreconcilable differences’ did the pair in. Of course, this news was met with thousands of theories regarding why and when and what happened. And while divorce is always painful, we have to think that having such a public eye looking into private affairs made for a rough year, without even going into what might have made the year rough enough to cause a divorce in the first place.
11. Adam Sandler
Come to think of it, every year since Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore era has probably been his worst. The comedian strikes out again and again, but decades-past popularity still gives him the star power to pitch bad movies and, disappointingly enough, star in them himself. This year, it was the poorly received Netflix movie The Do-Over that had critics once again rolling their eyes at Sandler’s antics. This time though, it seemed audiences had a similar reaction.
Maybe Sandler has just lost his on-screen charisma that charmed audiences in the late 1990s. Or maybe after more than fifty films, we’ve run out of patience for the same jokes. Either way, 2016 marks another bad one for this actor.
10. Chris Christie
Oh, Chris Christie. The definition of a tough 2016. While assumed to be one of the top contenders for the Republican nomination before debates and primaries really began, Christie was one of the first out, without a top finish or much of a devout following after, his campaign dissipating like it never existed at all. What most remember of Christie from earlier in the year was his swing to back Trump, a candidate he prodded and argued vehemently with throughout the primary. The image of him behind Trump during a campaign gained him infamy via becoming a (not very flattering) meme. It also became representative of how he had apparently sold out on his convictions in order to get a good position in Trump’s cabinet, if Trump was victorious.
But that didn’t work out either. Because news of the George Washington Bridge came up, and all fingers pointed to Christie punishing a mayor for not supporting him. Christie’s involvement in the scandal may have cost him a Vice Presidential bid with Trump, and basically made him even more politically toxic than he had already become.
9. Shailene Woodley
It’s no secret that the Divergent series is on its way downhill, with the fourth and last film on its way in a less than impressive fashion: a straight-to-TV, single movie adaptation. Don’t get us wrong – we wish fewer book adaptations would stop splitting the final installment into two movies (looking at you, Hunger Games, Harry Potter and The Hobbit), but the lack of ambition and commercial confidence in the last movie is pretty obvious under the circumstances. While Shailene Woodley hasn’t been bad at all in the movies, her breakout franchise is not on the rise.
In addition, Woodley was a strong Bernie Sanders supporter this year, and we all know how that panned out. While Bernie’s run was a success by many counts, especially since it was so unexpected and gained such a grassroots following, being frozen out by DNC leaders and failing to earn the Democratic nomination was painful for his followers. In addition, Woodley protested at Standing Rock recently, and had many fervent speeches in support of the efforts there. While commendable in every way, these protests also had negative consequences for Woodley, including an arrest and a not-guilty plead by the Fault in Our Stars star.
8. Taylor Swift
Everyone’s favorite country-gone-pop singer is no stranger to drama. With a huge fanbase, internationally adored albums, and a consistently sold out tour schedule, it seems like Taylor Swift has it all together. But she is human, as exemplified by her squad drama this year. Swift’s squad, full of models, singers, and other insanely skinny and beautiful celebrities like Selena Gomez and Cara Delevingne, has been a topic of public discourse for a while. This year was no different, as Swift allegedly kicks out squad members who break her temperamental rules.
As well as her more public squad drama comes Swift’s rather covert boyfriend drama, as she and both Tom Hiddleston and Calvin Harris had romantic relations and then falling outs. That kind of celebrity soap opera action will keep the press entertained all year, and it sure did the trick this year. And if all that weren’t enough, Kardashian/West drama popped up again. It just always does, doesn’t it, TayTay?
7. Ryan Lochte
So if you’ve forgotten by now, the Olympics happened this year. And while dozens of top stories always emerge from the infamous games, with medal counts and record breaking runs, a few scandals often emerge as well. Few scandals have become so ridiculous as the one involving Ryan Lochte, America’s second favorite male swimmer before Rio 2016.
Fans were disturbed and surprised after Lochte claimed he was robbed at gunpoint while in Brazil for the games. This confused sympathy turned into criticism and disbelief when the real story came out: Lochte hadn’t been attacked or even robbed, but had actually committed acts of vandalism at a gas station. When confronted by a security guard, he made the allegations as a sort of ridiculous revenge.
Ryan Lochte first made a name for himself with stupendous swimming ability, a sort of boyish, idiotic child, and a horrible TV show. Now, he’s ruined his name with one of the more pathetic sports stories of the year.
6. Kim Kardashian
While Ryan Lochte’s story shocked and outraged people because of his lies, Kim Kardashian’s story of being robbed outraged people because of the lack thereof. Only glimmers of inconsistencies cast brief doubt on her story, but overall it seemed all too real.
After her concierge was locked up and gagged, intruders broke into her Paris hotel, locked her in her bathroom, and stole millions worth of jewelry. This was no petty pickpocket job: this was a planned and terrifying robbery. While the jewelry was estimated later by sources at a sweet ten million, it’s our guess that that’s not what the lasting effects of this was.
While drama with Kanye (who makes his debut further on down the list) added to the emotional strife of the year, we’re sure 2016 won’t go down as one of her best.
5. Bernie Sanders
After accruing a huge following during his primary campaign, and sparking indignation with the Democratic Party for allegedly throwing the primary in Hillary Clinton’s favor, Bernie dropped out of the race, to his supporters’ surprised and tear-dripping faces. While it’s one thing for a primary opponent to ‘flip-flop’ and support his or her previous opponent in the race against the opposing party, Bernie’s entire campaign was hinged on the word ‘revolution.’ And it’s not very revolutionary to back an establishment-soaked politician.
While his intentions in stopping Donald Trump were clear, they weren’t at all successful, as we all well know. Can Bernie step up and be the revolutionary he wants to be in years to come after selling out this year? We’ll have to see. What was a huge year for Bernie ended with a lackluster finish.
Killing animals to save people isn’t all that unusual. Frankly, killing animals at all is part of most of our daily lives, most likely in the form of meatball sandwiches at lunch or pot roasts at dinner. But when Harambe, a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, was shot by a zoo worker after a child found his way into the ape’s enclosure, something ignited in American culture. It now seems like some bizarre phenomenon. Who was actually angry? And with who? Whatever the answers to these questions, Harambe has become a household name, familiar enough to win a substantial (though disputed) number of votes in the contentious 2016 US presidential election.
So, why was it a bad year for the gorilla, you might ask. Well the obvious answer is that Harambe died. The next answer is that the only reason people know or care about Harambe is because he died. And lastly, he was dragged into one of the dirtiest elections involving some of the most hated candidates ever, which would be a stain on anyone’s 2016 resume.
3. The Cleveland Indians
3 and 1 going into the fifth game of the World Series. The entire world rooting against them (except for a single state). A sad history of decades of losses, trumped by their competitors’ longer history of losses. Game 7 of the World Series might well go down as one of the most riveting and intense games of baseball played, which basically means that the Indians’ loss has been immortalized.
Now, it’s hard for us to feel that bad for any professional sports loss – we know the big players are still rolling in cash. And the Indians had a successful year outside of November 2’s big day, but it’s still not hard to find some sympathy for the team. They would have been cultural villains if they would have won, but even that would be better than what they were after they lost their big lead on the Cubs: forgotten.
2. Kanye West
Where there’s Kanye West, there’s headlines. While the aforementioned Taylor Swift feud continued (long past it ever deserved to last, by the way), Kanye West was involved with much scarier drama later this year.
After a disastrous concert where he barely played any music and used the platform to voice his defiant support for Donald Trump and critique of other well-known names, such as Beyonce and Barack Obama. Bizarrely enough, this tirade was complicated by the fact that West himself did not vote, but claimed if he had it would have been for Trump. After the incident and the abrupt cancellation of his next 21 tour dates, West was hospitalized. With stress and exhaustion cited as reason for his hospitalization, reports from the family make everything sound A-OK, while any word from West still sounds like the same old erratic and dramatic Kanye we’ve all grown used to.
1. Hillary Clinton
Do we have to explain? By our count, half of all major party candidates have lost presidential elections so far, but Clinton’s loss was especially felt due to the surprise, outrage, and confusion it caused. Trump’s victory was bizarre based on too many factors (total inexperience, unprecedented comments about Islam and women, and bad polling) that make for an especially painful loss for the election’s pollster favorite, Hillary Clinton.
With jabs and jeers being thrown by both parties throughout the election, no one came out without any scars. But Clinton was labelled a cheat and worse for months. These comments may have been easier to brush aside if she had been victorious. The loss puts Clinton in a precarious position moving forward, as well. She can hardly protest the system or the results. And what felt like huge momentum building up for over a decade toward her potential election has now dissipated, leaving her supporters wondering what she’ll do next, and if she should want to try to build up support for the next four years.