The accolades, respect, privileges, free stuff and big cheques are just a few of the things that can make being famous awesome. It is very understandable that once somebody gets a taste of the high life, they’d have a difficult time giving it up. In this day and age many everyday people are awfully desperate to become influential any way they can, so how can we expect former celebrities to walk away with grace? Even some criminals seem to be somewhat motivated by the infamy they may end up enjoying if their actions are remarkable enough to gain the world’s attention.
When putting together this list, we were looking for people who at one time were incredibly well-known but have since fallen by the wayside. Then we considered the attempts at reclaiming the popularity they once enjoyed and how clear it is to observers that they can’t give up on the idea that they will have their day again.
19 Katie Price
At one time simply known by the name Jordan, she first came to prominence as a topless glamour model, after posing for The Sun’s Page 3 section. Thereafter trying to make a go of everything from books, fashion, music and television presenting, Katie also became known for a sex tape that was leaked online. Recently catching the eye of the British tabloids and the general public by totally rehauling her body, Katie, at one time a curvy woman has become incredibly ripped. Never able to give up the spotlight, Katie has turned nearly every aspect of her life into an opportunity to gain the world’s attention, including being filmed every minute of the day as a Big Brother contestant.
18 Courtney Stodden
For the love of god, why do so many of us know the name of this would-be celebrity just because she married a character actor, who was fifty at the time when she was only sixteen. Twenty-one years old at the time of this writing she separated from her husband for a time and announced plans to divorce before the dysfunctional duo evidently reconciled. After all, who is going to tune into the freak show when the main act has broken up? After an extremely disastrous attempt at a music career, Courtney has principally turned to the chasm that is reality television to maintain her tenuous grasp on fame. Appearing in the twelfth season of The Uk’s Celebrity Big Brother, as well as appearing alongside her husband on the second season of Couples Therapy, she needs us to think she makes good TV.
17 Corey Feldman
Corey Feldman, one of the most famous young actors in the eighties will always be remembered for films like The Fox and the Hound, The Goonies, Stand by Me, Gremlins, and The 'Burbs. We will also likely never forget his appearances in movies like The Lost Boys, License to Drive, Dream a Little Dream and many others alongside Corey Haim. Ah, The Coreys, we loved you so much, once upon a time. A duo inexorably linked together, each was famous on their own but the wattage at which their celebrity shined seemed to multiply when they appeared together. Since his former partner in crime passed away, Feldman has continued to work in a few films that play off his former popularity, while releasing an autobiography, appearing on reality TV and releasing music.
16 Axl Rose
At one time, Guns N' Roses was one of the most popular and influential hard-rock bands in the world. Releasing five albums over six years, they sold millions of records all over the world before they got bogged down in drama and diva behavior. The biggest source of the drama, from all accounts, originated from lead singer, Axl Rose, whose frequent walk-offs mid-concert resulted in several riots. Somehow managing to hold onto to the band’s trademark name, Axl spoke for more than a decade about a forthcoming album with an all new line-up of members. Finally coming to fruition in 2008, a full fifteen years after the band’s last release, it was extremely apparent that the public wasn’t as interested in this new incarnation.
Best known in the years since because of his bloated appearance and braids, he continued to tour with a shadow of the former group before managing to mend fences and reunite with Slash and Duff McKagan. If the fact that this legendary egomaniac managed to humble himself enough to make the reunion possible isn’t evidence of his desperation, we don’t know what is.
15 Steven Seagal
Actor, producer, director, screenwriter, martial artist, Aikido instructor, musician, entrepreneur, reality television star and reserve deputy sheriff, such a list of accomplishments could only belong to one man. Steven Seagal, during the late eighties and early nineties, was unquestionably one of the biggest action stars in the world. Starring in classic films like Above the Law, Hard to Kill, Under Seige and Executive Decision, he seemed to have a Midas touch for a while. Once he began to make self-important movies and packed on a lot more weight, Hollywood seemed to stop calling before he managed a comeback of sorts with 2001’s Exit Wounds. After that resurgence died down, Steven began to take on roles, in what seems like any film he could get, including seven films you likely haven’t heard of since 2014. He also took his real-life passion for law enforcement to the airwaves as the star of Steven Seagal: Lawman, a series that forever threatens to return for a fourth season at any moment.
A former employee of the WWE, Chyna broke ground in the world of wrestling as the first woman in the WWE who was employed due to her incredible build instead of a sexy look. A member of D-Generation X, one of the most storied factions in the company and entire wrestling world’s history, she became immensely popular for a time. A former multiple-time Women’s Champion, Intercontinental Champion and number one contender to the WWF Championship, saying she is accomplished in wrestling is a massive understatement. Equally famed for her two stints on the cover of Playboy Magazine, appearances on shows like The Surreal Life and Celebrity Rehab, she has done whatever she can to stay relevant in recent years. After years of making claims about her ex-boyfriend Triple H, some of which seem to be true and others seem to have been made up for attention, Chyna starred in five adult films.
13 Vanilla Ice
When the man who was born Robert Van Winkle became Vanilla Ice and dropped the song Ice Ice Baby on the world in 1990, he became one of the most famous people alive overnight. A big enough star that he was included in a club scene in the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze and starred in his own movie, Cool as Ice, he seemed poised to take the world by storm. Unfortunately for him, that follow-up success never came to pass and before long his claims to fame became more and more odd. Whether it was appearing in Madonna’s photobook or starring in two reality shows, one focused on his handyman skills being put to use on fixing up homes and the other on him becoming Amish, he always kept us guessing. Most recently relying on working in a pair of critically demolished Adam Sandler movies, he was also arrested for grand theft in 2015 for stealing from a home he believed to be abandoned.
12 Farrah Abraham
We would never have thought that it would be possible for someone to become a celebrity by having a child at the age of sixteen, but incredibly Farrah managed to do just that. Cast to appear on the MTV series, 16 and Pregnant, she and a small group of girls who were in the same situation were given the spin-off show Teen Mom to star in. Taking part in all four seasons of the show, once it came to an end, Farrah first attempted to record music and release a memoir to make ends meet, to no avail. Seeming to cultivate zero real-life skills in her life, she appears to have known that her only chance lied in continuing to be famous. Taking part in a so-called sex tape that was clearly professionally shot, she also was featured on the fourth season of Couples Therapy, despite being unattached, as well as the special Being Farrah. Finally returning to her initial claim to fame, she currently is one of the stars of Teen Mom OG.
Cast as the man-servant to Ted Dibiase, The Million Dollar Man, during the height of the WWF’s Rock and Wrestling popularity in the eighties, Virgil mostly looked imposing while counting his boss’s money. Eventually turning his back on his employer, the two men took part in a short-lived feud before they both found themselves employed by WCW in the mid to late nineties. Once again appearing together for a short time, Virgil, then known as Vincent, became a long-standing member of the nWo, before the company closed its doors. In the years since he has become infamous in wrestling circles for what he is willing to do to make a buck. After years of showing up in New York subways offering to sell you his autograph, Virgil now is willing to show up at your party to watch wrestling with you if you can meet his price.
10 Tara Reid
When American Pie was released without much fanfare, nobody saw just how popular the film would be coming. Giving the majority of the film’s main cast a chance at true fame, that few young actors ever receive, Tara, for a time, seemed like she may be the person who had a best-taken advantage. After receiving a highly coveted role in the movie Josie and the Pussycats, she played the female lead in Van Wilder, a comedy that would develop a sizable following. Unfortunately, she would then act in movies that were universally deplored, like My Boss’s Daughter and Alone in the Dark while also becoming a tabloid fixture for her partying ways. No longer, a fraction as esteemed as she once was, she’d better hold onto the cult status the Sharknado movies, which she is a star of, has produced and she seems to know it.
9 Tori Spelling
The daughter of a legend in the annals of television, Tori had every opportunity in the world to become a character actress at least. Playing minor roles in shows like Saved by the Bell or T.J. Hooker, her big break came when she was cast as a lead in one of her father’s shows, Beverly Hills 90210. Playing the character Donna Martin on all ten seasons of that massively popular show, her star still seemed to instantly fade once the series came to an end. Still receiving a few acting roles in the years since Tori’s main source of attention and income has come at the hands of reality television. The star of a series of shows based on her life and various dramas with her husband Dean McDermott, including focusing heavily on his infidelity, she seems to be willing to sell her entire life.
8 Tila Tequila
The first, and to our knowledge only, person to become famous because of MySpace, it was Tila’s willingness to show off her body in photos on the site that earned her a lot of fans. Capitalizing by starring in two dating shows that centered on her bisexual status, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, saw singles of both genders try to gain her affections. Modeling for magazines like Playboy, Stuff, and Maxim, she tried to become a singer and DJ with little to no success. Another former star to appear in a few adult films, Tila had sex with both men and women on screen. Most recently cast to appear on Celebrity Big Brother, her time on the show only lasted a single day after viewers found out about a slew of racist remarks she’d made in the past.
7 Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt
Heidi, one of the main people that The Hills, a reality show, focused on, started out as the main character's best friend before quickly becoming her worst enemy. Once she became romantically linked with Spencer Pratt, a disgusting blonde facial hair adorned douchebag that pretty much everyone hated, the duo arguably become the show’s most talked about figures. Whiny and annoying, the pair has attempted to regain our attention in an amazing array of ways. Having many plastic surgeries in a single day, taking part in other reality shows, where they quickly become widely deplored and releasing awful, awful music are just a few of their tactics.
6 Kate Gosselin
If having a baby at sixteen can make you famous then we guess becoming pregnant with six kids at once is equally worthy. Starring alongside her then-husband, Jon Gosselin, on the show Jon & Kate Plus 8, the couple seemed to have it out for one another from the beginning. After their marriage, very publicly, dissolved, Kate seemed obsessed with remaining famous, as evidenced by the show being renamed Kate Plus 8 and her constant media appearances. Competing in the tenth season of Dancing with the Stars, she also memorably trotted her kids out on national television when it was clear they wanted to be anywhere else.
5 Paris Hilton
Famous for taking part in a sex-tape and being the great-granddaughter of a man who built an empire of hotels, Paris is the very definition of being famous for being famous. A party girl of the highest order, Paris’ years of nightclub appearances and the aforementioned sex tape made her famous enough to get her own reality show, The Simple Life. A show focused on Paris and her best friend, at the time, Nicole Richie, a couple of young people who grew up in affluence, experiencing a so-called simpler life, it became a big hit. Since then, however, Paris has mostly experienced either an abject failure or small successes. Her music career, for instance, earned her a single song that was a minor hit and a bunch of tunes that were widely ignored, including her latest track, Crazy that leaked online in January of 2016 to a resounding thud.
4 Dustin Diamond
Saved by the Bell, one of the most popular shows amongst teens in the nineties is a cultural milestone for millions of the young people who grew up with it. Remembered well enough that it has been the focus of several reunions over the last few years, one of the show’s leads, Dustin Diamond, has been conspicuously absent from these efforts. That is because his former co-stars want nothing to do with him after years of bad mouthing them and his willingness to do anything to make himself look better.
Taking part in the release of Screeched – Saved by the Smell, a sex tape, in which it turned out that he didn’t actually take place in the actual sex scenes, he instead relied on a stand in. Touring thereafter as a “comedian”, his reputation for being a jerk followed him in that arena and he also took some part in the writing of the book Behind the Bell, which trashed his famous co-stars. Appearing in the reality shows Celebrity Big Brother and Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling, Dustin doesn’t seem to be willing to turn down many opportunities.
It seems easy to forget, at this point, but there was a several year span where Madonna was considered to be the most ground-breaking performer in all of the music. Recreating her image again and again over the years, she seemed to always know when it was time to pivot and seemed to have her finger on the pulse of society’s tastes. Over the last decade, the opposite seems to be true. Earning the ire of millions of people when she adopted a clearly fake English accent, she then misfired once again when she adopted a militaristic look onstage and in her music videos. Currently attempting to shock the world by things like flashing her boobs onstage, stripping and kissing Drake, who happened to appear disgusted, and pulling down the top of an underage guest, Madonna needs to give it up.
2 Lindsay Lohan
A former child star, Lindsay’s greatest claim to fame is her roles in movies like The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, and Herbie Fully Loaded. Also managing to put together an impressive run of hit songs in the midst of her biggest acting years, there was a time where she seemed to be omnipresent and everyone seemed to be happy with that. Unfortunately, since her heyday, Lindsay has become something of a former child star cliché. Unable to regain the popularity she once enjoyed, she has become a criminal, controversy machine whose life revolves around drama. Attempting to make comebacks again and again, either through the Oprah-produced reality show, Lindsay, which imploded or by acting in awful movies like The Canyons and Liz & Dick, she certainly hasn’t given up.
1 Hulk Hogan
Arguably the most famous professional wrestler of all time, The Hulkster was The WWF’s biggest star during the entire Rock and Wrestling era that was so popular during the eighties. Transitioning to WCW in the nineties, he managed to rejuvenate his career by becoming a founding member of the nWo, the most popular faction in the entire industry at the time. Hogan seemed like he was made of Teflon since he even managed to have another run atop the WWE in 2002 and decided the fate of TNA wrestling for a period of time.
Known to be willing to do what it takes to get the spotlight, even when he was popular enough to not need to, Hogan’s stunts can get pretty whacky. Announcing that he would run for president, posting videos of himself on the toilet, and lying about the stats of his career despite his amazing accolades are just a few of the things he has done to get attention over the years. Hired back by the WWE for a fourth run in 2014, Hogan seemed like he’d finally got his dream gig before things went horribly awry. The subject of a sex tape that was recorded years earlier, transcripts of thoroughly racist remarks he’d made in that bedroom were released. Previously seen as a champion of the people, his disgusting statements forever damaged the image he’d spent years building and the WWE, wisely, released him from his contract. Instantly taking to social media, Hulk retweeted remarks by fans that painted him as a victim in the situation despite his awful actions, including one poster who compared him negatively to President Obama. Practically pleading at every turn for the WWE to rehire him, Hogan seems unable to step away from the spotlight for even a few weeks to let the world move past his appalling statements.