Everyone has a favorite band, actor, or athlete: a person to look up to and admire for their incredible accomplishments. But fame, notoriously, changes people. It opens up a world of excess to which only endless money can buy access. It also creates a lot of pressure to outsell or outperform previous efforts and always be better. Some celebrities let their status go to their heads, to the point that they think they’re above everyone else and can get away with more than the average civilian.
Those who have always heeded against having a celebrity as a role model may be on to something. After all, it’s happened too many times; that smiling, happy star does something so reprehensible that their perception and reputation is forever changed in the eyes of Hollywood and the public. Maybe you can forgive one incident if it’s small enough, but some celebrities have had such major transgressions that they cannot be ignored.
These fifteen celebrities were all once regarded as famous darlings, the kinds of actors, sports stars, or musicians that everyone felt good about appreciating. They had the kind of accolades and star power that some only dream of possessing. Then one fateful day, everything changed. News of a scandal broke, and the way that you saw some of your favorite celebrities was permanently altered.
It’s practically impossible to watch or listen to a star once they’ve been accused of something as horrible as domestic abuse, molestation – even murder charges. No one would blame you if you wanted to keep these celebrities on your personal blacklist. After all, these people’s ‘people’ have all but tried to write that some of these formerly big names out of the history books.
15. Bobby Hull
Bobby Hull may have ruffled some feathers during his career when he demanded more money per game from the World Hockey Association or WHA, but he still became a major player for the team and one of the best assets in the league. He was retired by the end of the 1970s.
Anyone could have forgiven Hull’s quest for more moolah. However, it’s a little more difficult to forget comments made about Adolf Hitler, especially when those comments were on the positive side. Indeed, way after his heyday in 1998, Hull gave an interview to a Russian publication. In it, he supposedly said that “Hitler…had some great ideas. He just went a little bit too far.”
Yes, you read that right. To cover up the gaffe, Hull claimed that he had been misconstrued and that he hadn’t mentioned Hitler’s name at all, but instead meant Darryl Sittler of the NHL. Whatever the truth is, it certainly tarnished people’s opinions of Hull.
14. Lindsay Lohan
Do you remember the cute early days of Lindsay Lohan‘s career when she played precocious twins Hallie and Annie in 1998’s the Parent Trap? Or even 2004, when she starred in cult smash Mean Girls? Back then, no one would have imagined that it would be Lohan herself that would become the mean girl.
After a brief stint as a singer and several other starring and promising roles, Lohan derailed her career in 2006 when her hard-partying preferences began to get in the way of her work, damaging her reputation as a budding starlet. Although she tried Alcoholics Anonymous for a while, the meetings ultimately didn’t stick because by 2007 Lohan would rack up two DUIs. She attended rehab (thrice) that same year, but she was also suspected of using cocaine and got fitted with a SCRAM bracelet to track her alcohol consumption.
The icing on the cake, though, was Lohan’s laughable jail sentence, in which she spent a ridiculous 84 minutes behind bars. In the years to follow, Lohan kept herself busy crashing her car, getting caught on more DUIs, supposedly stealing jewelry, and even getting arrested again for a very short time. Her public perception completely trashed, Lohan now has difficulty getting any work at all in Hollywood.
13. Tom Cruise
For a while there, Tom Cruise had it all. Good-looking and with a stunning resume behind him as an actor in such films as 1986’s Top Gun, 1996’s Jerry Maguire, and 2001’s Vanilla Sky, Cruise even managed to date top Hollywood starlets like Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz.
However, by the time he had fallen for Katie Holmes in 2005, something began to seem off. He did get a little overexcited on an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show, but you could forgive that because he was in love. Behind the scenes though, since the 1990s, Cruise had been a scientologist, an affiliation which would unravel his marriage and his public image.
In 2004 and 2005, Cruise made inflammatory remarks in the media about the use of antidepressants and the field of psychiatry, which he doesn’t believe in. Cruise also lost his publicist and chose a scientologist to make remarks for him in public.
Holmes, to her credit, stuck by her husband until 2013, when she decided to divorce Cruise. The major impetus for the split was that Holmes did not want their daughter Suri to become a scientologist. Holmes relocated to New York and lives there with Suri.
12. Ray Rice
As a professional running back, Ray Rice made huge strides playing on the Baltimore Ravens in 2008. His rushing record is the second best for the team, but many people are likely to overlook these career achievements for the events that transpired in Rice’s personal life.
In 2014, media outlet TMZ published a video of Ray knocking out his fiancée (now wife) Janay Palmer with a fist to the face when the two were in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Rice was arrested and charged with third-degree aggravated assault.
Due to the leaked video, Rice unfortunately became a viral sensation overnight. Just when the scandal began to blow over, more footage from that night surfaced. The NFL had no choice but to take action, and so it nixed Rice and also created a new no-nonsense policy that strictly prohibits any players from participating in domestic violence. Rice was able to get his firing reversed, but as of 2015, no NFL team wants to sign him.
11. Darren Sharper
Celebrities tend to be forgiven for a lot more than the average person, but there are limits. Darren Sharper is proof of that. He was a decorated NFL player who came from a college football background and has played on the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, and most recently the New Orleans Saints.
Sharper was named part of the 2000s All-Decade NFL team and also was in the Pro Bowl, which pits the elite National Football Conference (NFC) team against the best from the American Football Conference (AFC), five different times. However, if you ask anyone what they remember about Sharper, you might get a different answer.
That’s because Sharper majorly shot himself in the foot when he got cuffed in California on accusations of sexual assault in 2014. When the cops looked into Sharper’s file though, they found that this wasn’t the first time that he had gotten sexually rough and inappropriate with a woman. Over the years, he had also done the same to women in Nevada and Arizona.
Sharper had no choice but to plead guilty for his crimes. As of 2015, he’s estimated to be in jail for anywhere between three to eight years.
10. Tiger Woods
As one of the most skilled and popular golfers in the history of the game, Tiger Woods was the kind of squeaky clean celebrity that could seemingly do no wrong. For a very long time, he was lauded for his golf game and enjoyed a healthy, happy marriage with his ex-model wife Elin Nordegren. The two started a family together with two children, Charlie and Sam.
The bubble burst in November 2009 though when the media caught on to his infidelity. The National Enquirer actually dropped the bombshell first, but even the supposed mistress denied it. However, Woods was so rattled that he crashed his car.
By December, US Weekly shared a voicemail call from Woods to someone who clearly wasn’t his wife. Woods knew that the proverbial cat was out of the bag and so he released a public statement in an attempt to save face.
The damage was done though. Not only did he lose sponsorships from AT&T, Gillette, Accenture, General Motors, TAG Heuer, and Gatorade, but he also lost his wife. He and Nordegren were officially divorced by the summer of 2010.
9. Woody Allen
Comedy writer, director, playwright, actor, theater performer: Woody Allen has worn a lot of hats during his 50+ years in the entertainment business. Despite that, more people remember Allen for his skeevy behavior.
Firstly, after splitting with long-time girlfriend Mia Farrow back in 1992, Allen moved on to date his technically-not-his-stepdaugther-but-still-practically-his-stepdaugther Soon-Yi Previn. To make matters worse, Previn wasn’t even 20 yet while Allen was well into his 50s.
As if that wasn’t a large enough pill to swallow, Allen was also accused of having sexually molested his adopted daughter Dylan. The courts did prove that Allen had done no such thing, but Farrow still won custody of the children anyway.
Many years later in 2014, Dylan sent a letter to a friend to be posted online through the New York Times. In it, Dylan reopened the molestation accusations. This time Moses Farrow, Dylan’s sibling, got involved and insisted against any inappropriate behavior from their father. Still, Allen now has a pretty sketchy reputation even if he has a great body of work.
8. Mel Gibson
Being a Mel Gibson fan was always kind of difficult. On the one hand, he’s starred in such cinematic staples as Mad Max (1979), Braveheart (1995), and the Passion of the Christ (2004). On the other, he’s had alcohol problems for years, has made homophobic comments, and has also proven that he’s racist.
Gibson’s problems with alcohol have been well-documented. He was shut out of Ontario, Canada for a while after driving drunk and crashing into another vehicle. He got a DUI in 2006, but what’s more notable are the comments he uttered as the police were handcuffing him. Gibson started off apologetic, then he began ranting against Jews.
Although Gibson’s public relations camp worked hard to erase the tirade, Gibson had more troubles ahead of him. Besides a few more DUIs, Gibson made some very disturbing remarks to his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva about her likelihood of being raped by black men. It was enough for Grigorieva to get a restraining order against Gibson.
7. Stephen Collins
Whether you know him as Dr. Gene Porter in TV’s Revolution, or as Captain Will Decker in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Stephen Collins is a familiar face. His list of smaller roles on beloved TV shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and No Ordinary Family showed the world different sides of Collins’ skills.
If you have to skip the shows he’s appeared in after what happened in 2014 though, it would be easy to understand why. That year, an audio recording got into the hands of the New York City Police Department that supposedly took place between a young child and Collins. Even worse, the Los Angeles Police Department had already been looking into Collins since 2012 since he may have been involved in a sexual abuse case.
All of the allegations proved to be true. Collins eventually came clean and admitted to being involved with three very young girls between 1973 and 1994.
6. Lance Armstrong
Much like Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong was a superstar athlete that the world adored. Also much like Tiger Woods, just when it seemed like Armstrong couldn’t ever falter, he ruined his smiley reputation. In Armstrong’s case, he didn’t implode his career by cheating on his wife. Instead, he did some other cheating.
Armstrong began his cycling career in the early 1990s. By 1996, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had reached other crucial parts of his body, such as his brain. However, despite his low odds of surviving, Armstrong underwent chemotherapy and was eventually cured by 1997. He later moved on to win up to seven victories in the Tour De France between 1999 and 2005.
However, Armstrong found a way to ruin all of that. Despite that critics had always accused him of being on steroids or doping, by 2010 the charges were examined. The Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Justice Department both looked into the claim, and two years later in 2012 dropped all doping charges against Armstrong.
Unable to live with his guilty conscience any longer, Armstrong ousted himself in 2013 and confessed to having used steroids throughout his illustrious cycling career. As a result, all of his accolades were erased from the record books and the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited him from ever participating in cycling or similar sports again.
5. CeeLo Green
A powerhouse of a singer, Cee Lo Green led the fun Gnarls Barkley (the band that gave the world “Crazy”), had a profitable solo career, and regularly worked as a judge on the singing competition show the Voice. Green has even done on-screen acting as well as voice acting.
However, that same mouth that produces golden sounds has also gotten Green into trouble on more than one occasion, earning him quite a negative reputation. His first incident occurred in 2011 when a music journalist gave Green what he believed to be an unfair review of one of his live shows. He countered on Twitter, asking the female journalist if she was gay and offended by Green’s masculinity.
While it was an open-mouth, insert-foot moment, Green apologized and insisted up and down that he wasn’t homophobic. However, he proved that he didn’t learn much when he once again hopped on Twitter to make more incendiary remarks.
This time, Green was in the midst of legal proceedings regarding his accusations of having allegedly date raped an unconscious woman in 2012. That was bad enough, but to make matters worse, Green tweeted this out: “Women who have really been r*ped REMEMBER!!”
For a star dealing with a rape accusation, remaining mum probably would have been the best course of action. Green claimed he wasn’t guilty, but a judge gave him 45 days of community service and probation for three years.
4. Oscar Pistorius
Oscar Pistorius used to be a fantastic role model for people everywhere. He had overcome two amputations and despite using prosthetics, he still had a lengthy list of running records, including victories at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, the 2012 Summer Olympics, and the 2012 Summer Paralympics. In these events, Pistorius smashed records as an amputee.
However, life went very, very wrong for Pistorius in 2013–on Valentine’s Day no less–when he accidentally killed Reeva Steenkamp, his girlfriend. Pistorius insists that he had thought someone was breaking into his home in Pretoria, South Africa and so he shot Steenkamp.
When Pistorius went to trial, he was charged with the murder and sent to jail for five years. Pistorius also received additional jail time for reckless endangerment charges. Before 2013 was over, he had requested an appeal for his jail time, which will go to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
3. Bill Cosby
Whether you know Bill Cosby from his famous the Cosby Show, his Jell-O ads, his hosting Kids Say the Darndest Things, his standup comedy, or his children’s cartoon Little Bill, in the middle of practically all of that, Cosby was probably sexually abusing someone.
While that’s a strong statement, as many as 30 different women have claimed that Cosby was sexually inappropriate with them from the 1960s through the 2000s and beyond. An overwhelming majority of these women said that Cosby had used a type of drug on them before the sexual abuse took place.
Cosby was caught in hot water in 2005 when he dealt with 13 different accusers, all claiming sexual abuse. After settling those cases, Cosby was seemingly in the clear until comedian Hannibal Buress brought the whole matter up again in late 2014 during a standup routine. Buress flat-out called Cosby a rapist in the clip, which went viral. This caused the world to reevaluate their opinions on Cosby and recount the total amount of women, some even celebrities, that Cosby may have gotten his hands on over the years.
In the fallout of the media frenzy, Cosby stepped back from his role as a trustee at Temple University. As of early 2015, more and more women are still speaking out about their alleged experiences with Cosby.
2. Chris Benoit
Back in the 1980s, 1990s, and beyond, chair shots to the head were the norm in a professional wrestling ring. No one ever would have believed that those and too many direct headbutts would have been the undoing of decorated NJPW, WCW, ECW, and WWE star Chris Benoit.
However, on the weekend of June 22nd, 2007, Benoit was absent from WWE events and in his home, he murdered his long-time wife Nancy by strangling her. The next day, he let WWE Superstar Chavo Guerrero know that he would be taking a later flight to the next live show. He also texted some others to inform them of where to find his dogs on his property.
Before the weekend was out, Benoit also killed his 7-year-old son Daniel by suffocating him. Benoit committed suicide by hanging himself in his weight room at home. With both murders, Benoit left bibles nearby. He was shown to have severe brain damage that would have been fatal sooner than later.
Unfortunately, WWE learned of Benoit’s death before the company heard of the cause, so that Monday night, a special was aired in his honor. Benoit did leave a suicide note. WWE has since practically edited Benoit completely out of its history.
1. Ian Watkins
“Rooftops” and “Last Train Home” were some of the most popular songs from rockers Lostprophets. Forming in 1997, singer Ian Watkins led the band to astronomical fame, garnering number one singles and selling millions of albums along the way.
It’s a pretty safe assumption that no one would have ever believed that Watkins would be labeled a pedophile, but that’s what happened in 2012. He was caught with explicit material featuring children, but that wasn’t the extent of his horrific crimes. In total, Watkins was brought up on 13 different molestation charges, some against infants and others with children less than 13 years old.
Found guilty of the crimes, a judge gave Watkins nearly 30 years in jail as well as labeling him a registered sex offender. Understandably, the rest of the Lostprophets wanted nothing to do with Watkins and subsequently folded in 2013. That’s probably for the best, because it’s hard to imagine anyone ever being able to listen to the band again.
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