When you think about it, we’re almost in the 2020s. Those songs that you still have on your iTunes that will occasionally pop into your queue when you shuffle your music that remind you of your middle school dance or of that time you did karaoke at your cousin’s birthday party? Those songs are officially old. And the shows you watched with your friends that you were certain you’d be rewatching for decades to come? Those shows are officially old. In all likelihood you, dear reader, are officially not counted as one of the youths. Tough to swallow, isn’t it?
We talk about the 2000s like we’re still living in them- but really it’s just that “the twenty-teens” is a long phrase and it’s easier to just say “2000s.” The 2000s are long over and the celebrities that achieved their fifteen minutes of fame have come and gone. You may like to think that you still know all those celebrities; after all, you witnessed the fifteen minutes of fame, you were there! But alas, even we, the seasoned and weary old-timers, have forgotten about those lost starlets that give it their all, though their all wasn’t enough, in the 2000s.
But hey! Let’s not linger on old memories; we should be celebrating and reliving them! So let’s enjoy this blast from the past and party like the world didn’t end with this revisit to some of the 2000’s forgotten celebrities and starlets. After all: if we can’t say we remember them, no one can.
15. Willa Ford
By name, you probably don’t remember her at all. Her birth name is Amanda Lee Williford, but that apparently wasn’t a striking enough name for a hot young celebrity (you can see how creative she was in the selection of her stage name). She tried her damnedest to make her mark on Hollywood, but nothing she ever did really stuck. Her hottest single, “I Wanna Be Bad,” was sort of popular back in 2001. When her music career didn’t really take off, she tried to garner attention by leeching off of other celebrities and shows, like Uncle Kracker and Park Ji-Yoon (a Korean pop star). When that didn’t work, she was a guest Pussycat Doll in Vegas and even got her own spread in Playboy (wow, dream big). But we’d already lost interest. By the time she was in the remake of Friday the 13th, she was already old news.
14. Ashlee Simpson
Oh, Ashlee Simpson. It’s not like we really forgot about her… we more-so intentionally removed her from the spotlight and told her to sit out for a while.
Ashlee is the younger sister of Jessica Simpson, who was also more of a big deal in the 2000s but has managed to be occasionally relevant most of her career. Envious of her big sister’s fame, Ashlee managed to finagle a career in music with her premiere single “Pieces of Me.” From there, she got some more success in the forms of a musical album, her own television show, and even on London’s West End theatre district. However, her moment in the spotlight ended abruptly after her Saturday Night Live appearance where she was caught in the act of lip-syncing live from New York. Ouch. These days, she’s officially retired from acting (though few of us knew she actually tried it) and releases a new album every few years between divorces and having kids.
13. t. A. T. u.
t.A.T.u. was one of the coolest, punkest groups of the 2000s. The singing duo, composed of the Russian duo Julia Volkova and Lena Katina, released some amazing music with pointed messages back in the 2000s including the songs “All the Things She Said,” “Not Gonna Get Us,” and “All About Us.” Despite popular belief, Julia and Lena were never dating but they did promote the values in support of LGBT rights back in a time and place where such things were not discussed, let alone advocated for. They were exceptionally brave and bold young women- so what ever happened to them?
They’re actually still kind of active, despite the duo announcing their split in 2014. They performed at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and just last year released a remix of the original Russian version of “All the Things She Said.” Who knows if they’ll make a return to the public eye?
12. Shane West
Maybe you don’t remember Shane West by his photo- he does kind of have that generic “2000s-douchebag” look going on. Shane was a popular actor in the 2000s best known for his heartthrob, bad-boy turned lover-boy role in A Walk to Remember. The movie, which was Nicholas Sparks’ first novel-turned-movie, was about a teenage girl who is able to soften the tough heart of a juvenile delinquent as they fall in love before tragedy strikes the young girl down. It’s a cute story, but one we all know even if we have no interest. Shane’s career actually took off after the 2002 romance; he went on to have breakout roles in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and ER, and even managed to survive into the twenty-teens with a recurring role in Nikita, but his career has certainly petered out. He’s a lead on the show Salem, but who actually watches that?
If you thought you’ve heard anything out of Shaggy recently, you’re probably wrong: it wasn’t him. Shaggy was one of the most popular Jamaican infused rap and R&B artists in the United States at the time (maybe ever). Some of his top hits and still played singles are “It Wasn’t Me,” “Angel,” and “Boombastic.” He was crazy popular back in the early 2000s; he’s been featured on albums that have won Grammys and has performed with celebrities like Cyndi Lauper, Natalia, and Fay-Ann Lyons. Though a true American (he was even a Marine!), his Jamaican roots are strong and the country loves him just as much as he loves it. He still produces music, though not nearly at the rigorous and popular rate that he used to. You might not have noticed that one of his most popular recent songs, “I Need Your Love,” was even his since there were so many guest artists on the track! Watch for his name because he’s definitely still trying to stay relevant.
10. Ryan Cabrera
Again- you probably have no idea who we’re talking about. What if we told you that, when his hair isn’t slicked down in this unattractive poof, its gelled out to points like a white boy afro (not a good look for anyone)? How about if we brought up his one hit wonder, “On the Way Down?” It hit several charts in 2004 and was played constantly on the radio. That song alone earned him a double platinum album, and he had enough fame and traction to get himself featured on many popular movie soundtracks of the time like Son of Mask and Fantastic Four. He produced several more albums throughout the 2000s, but none of them seemed to strike the same famous chord as his first big hit. He’s still making music these days, if you can believe it, though he doesn’t really have many tours or exciting gigs going for him.
9. Ruben Studdard
You’ve got to remember Ruben Studdard! He was a contestant and winner of the second season of American Idol (you know, back when it was a show that people actually watched). His interesting style, which combined his Gospel, smooth voice with R&B and pop, was all the rage and everyone was obsessed with Ruben. He got a Grammy in 2003 and even took a turn on Broadway in 2008 as Fats Waller in the classic musical, Ain’t Misbehavin (whose soundtrack was later Grammy nominated). However, when you analyze his career, his turn on Broadway was not an honor but a desperate move to stay in the spotlight. His fame was starting to wane around 2004 and no matter what he seemed to do, he couldn’t get it back. He even tried to get back in the spotlight by becoming the first celebrity guest on The Biggest Loser, but was eliminated (technically twice) before any exciting attention came his way.
8. Michael Vartan
You’ve gotta recognize this hunk- or, at least, your girlfriend is bound to know who he is. Michael Vartan was one of the hottest heartthrobs of the 2000s. The babe actually had his biggest sexy breakout role in 1999 in Drew Barrymore’s romantic comedy, Never Been Kissed. From there, he had smitten the hearts of women worldwide and he would make a fortune continuing to do so. He went on to have leading roles in The Next Best Thing, The Mists of Avalon, One Hour Photo, Alias, Monster-In-Law, Big Shots, Rogue, and Hawthorne before the 2000s turned into the twenty-teens. And even today, he’s still acting and making bank! You can see him in Bates Motel, Ring of Fire, and the upcoming series The Arrangement. He’s worth around $8 million these days, and mostly because he knew how to make his cute smile and charming eyes work for the screen.
7. Seann William Scott
While Michael Vartan was a total heartthrob that could make women swoon just by walking into the shot, Seann William Scott often played characters that would make women roll their eyes in annoyance by simply being in the cast. This actor and comedian had a knack for being in some pretty immature and douchey movies- though, to be fair, they were some of the highest earning movies of that decade! He’s known for the American Pie franchise as well as his roles in Role Models, Dude Where’s My Car, and Road Trip. Like we said, pretty low brow stuff. But he certainly earned a pretty penny doing it! He’s worth around $25 million dollar (whoa- it pays to be a douchebag) and he still manages to get himself in front of the camera these days, though he’s most known for his voice acting as Crash the possum in the children’s Ice Age franchise.
6. Jesse Bradford
Here’s another popular 2000s actor that you may not remember at all, but your girlfriend is sure to recognize. Jesse Bradford is most easily recognized for his work in the 2000 hit Bring It On with Kirsten Dunst as the love interest and nerdy friend, Cliff Pantone. But that was just the start of Jesse’s film and television career- well, not really… he’d been acting since the 80s, but he was just gaining attention by 2000! He went on to star in popular movies like Clockstoppers, According to Spencer, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, W., and My Sassy Girl; he also had amazing roles in television shows like The West Wing, The Eastmans, and Twenty Questions. He’s still acting these days, though he’s got nowhere near the fame he had ten years ago. Now he’s stuck with titles like 10 Rules for Sleeping Around, Guys with Kids, and Dead Awake with guest roles in shows like NCIS and Teachers.
You’ve got to remember Eve! She blew us away back in 2002 with her most popular hit, “Let Me Blow Ya Mind.” From there on, she gave us a few more half rap/half pop hits like “Gangsta Lovin,” “Satisfaction,” and “Rich Girl” throughout the 2000s. She even had the sense to diversify her career early on in efforts to remain relevant- she had roles in both of the Barbershop movies, had her own short lived TV series named after her, and even had the chops to get into Drew Barrymore’s lauded film Whip It. Her career definitely slowed post 2010, but perhaps intentionally. In 2010, she met her future husband, Maximillion Cooper, and the two have four kids to take care of. She still works occasionally but it’s not like the woman’s got to; she’s earned $10 million all on her own, and that’s not to mention her entrepreneur-husband’s vast wealth aside.
4. Samantha Mumba
You might not remember Samantha Mumba but, looking at this picture of her, you probably wish you did, don’t you? Samantha Mumba was a popular singer and actress back in the 2000s, likely best known for her music since her acting was a bit lackluster. Some of her most famous songs were “Gotta Tell You,” “Baby Come On Over,” and “Always Come Back to Your Love,” all of which were featured on popular mixed-cds of the time (remember Now That’s What I Call Music! cds? Now you’re really feeling old, huh?). Her biggest cinematic hit had to be her 2002 role in The Time Machine beside Guy Pearce, but she also starred in Boy Eats Girl and Johnny Was. These days she’s not all too famous. However, like Eve, she might be using her accumulated fortune (approximately $5 million) to live comfortably with her hubby and two year old baby.
3. Matthew Lillard
You may not recognize his name, but you’re sure to recognize that goofy face. Matthew Lillard might be most popularly recognized as the live-action version of Shaggy in the recent 2000s Scooby Doo franchise, since he nailed the role so perfectly. However, he had an amazing acting career back in those days. We couldn’t even attempt to list all the titles from his 2000s career (it’s a long list), but some of his notable work was in Love’s Labour’s Lost, Thir13en Ghosts, Wicker Park, Without a Paddle, Extreme Movie, and One of Our Own. However, even by the end of the 2000s his career was beginning to wane. He started to take work wherever it seemed to present itself, even in roles on Law & Order. His work as Shaggy Rogers certainly type-casted him as a goofy goober and might have had a negative impact on his acting versatility, but it made him a fortune too!
2. Macy Gray
Oh, Macy Gray. We loved you so much back in the 2000s and then managed to swiftly forget about you. Oops. Macy recently did a cameo in the Netflix series Fuller House and looked the camera dead in the lens and said plainly “what am I doing here? I won a Grammy.”
Macy deserves better! Her song “I Try” was easily one of the most popular songs to kick off the new millennium, so what happened? Well, the start of the 2000s brought Macy only modest success with a cameo role in Spiderman, and with guest appearances on albums by The Black Eyed Peas, Fatboy Slim, and Slick Rick. Perhaps her fatal mistake was that, when she was invited to sing the national anthem at the Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibition game, she forgot the words and was booed off the field. Well, Macy, you messed up. She’s still producing music today, but she never seemed to fully recover from that one big mistake.
1. Brendan Fraser
OH YEAH, BRENDAN FRASER! He’s a person we used to love! Brendan Fraser was an acting hit back in the 2000s. Why? We don’t really know… he’s not objectively stunning and he doesn’t exactly have the performing skills to knock us on our butts. But he managed to worm his way into our hearts with hits like The Mummy franchise, Bedazzled, and Journey to the Center of the Earth. He even managed to charm our pants off with his tiny cameos on Scrubs! So what happened to him. Well… he’s still around. He’s just working on some more obscure projects. He was a star of the mini series Texas Rising and is still a star on The Affair. He’s even got two movies in post-production to be released later this year. Though he’s lost his goofy, wily charms, he’s still a decent actor that is certainly able to capture our attention… occasionally.