How many of you remember the days when we would block off time on our weekly calendars to watch our favorite television shows, program our VCR or DVD machines to record shows that we were going to miss, and consume all the entertainment news and gossip from newspapers, magazines, or those entertainment television shows that come on right when everyone is eating dinner?
In today’s world, we’re so used to being able to record television shows on our DVR, binge watch entire series on Netflix or Hulu, and find out what our favorite celebrities are up to by hopping onto Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, or even plain old Google. But as recently as the early 2000s, we had entirely different ways of following our favorite celebrities that didn’t involve all those technological luxuries we had today.
Just like those days are no more, there are celebrities we all fawned over in that era, whom we kind of forgot about as time moved on. A whole new group of celebrities have replaced them in our minds. Just like we got used to how life was back then, we were used to them being the biggest names in Hollywood and the entertainment industry. But things are different now, and so are the celebs who are the most popular.
So here’s our nostalgic look back at the celebrities we used to love in the 2000s who we’ve forgotten about.
15. Frankie Muniz
Francisco “Frankie” Muniz is something of an entertainment industry jack of all trades. Along with playing the title character in the Fox television family sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, Muniz is also listed as a musician, writer, producer, band manager, and even a race car driver (we’ll get to that last one in a second). During the peak of Malcolm in the Middle‘s popularity, CBS News called Muniz “one of Hollywood’s most bankable teens,” after also appearing in the kids film Agent Cody Banks (and its sequel, Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London the following year). However, in 2008, Muniz put his (very lucrative) acting career on hold, to pursue an open wheel racing career (think Formula One race cars). He even competed in the Atlantic Championship formula race car series. Since then, he’s dabbled in music, joining a band called Kingsfoil, and later managing a Pennslyvania-based band called Astro Lasso, comprised of some of his Kingsfoil bandmates.
14. Emmanuelle Chriqui
Only a select few people will remember that Emmanuelle Chriqui was the main character in the college cult-classic film 100 Girls. But the majority of people – especially guys – will recognize Chriqui from her role as Sloan McQuewick in the HBO series Entourage. She was Eric Murphy’s on-again, off-again girlfriend on the show, though the two of them eventually got engaged. But outside of her role on Entourage, Chriqui was never really able to “hit it big” in any other television or movie role. The only time she really came close was when she played Adam Sandler’s love interest in the hilarious (if not offensive) film You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. Over the last few years, she’s had a hodgepodge of film and television roles, but the only time she’s caught most people’s attention was when she reprised her role as Sloan in the Entourage film back in 2015. It’s a shame, too; the Canadian-born Chriqui, whose family is from Israel, is absolutely gorgeous. We wouldn’t mind seeing more of her in more prominent roles.
13. Melissa Joan Hart
Melissa Joan Hart got her “big break” in acting by playing the titular role in the show Clarissa Explains It All, which ran for three years in the early 1990s. But the majority of people will always associate her heart with her next big role: the highly relatable and lovable Sabrina Spellman in Sabrina The Teenage Witch. It premiered as part of ABC’s famous “T.G.I.F.” Friday evening line-up. ABC carried the show’s first four seasons, and then it was picked up by the WB, where it lasted until 2003. After that, Hart could never really recapture the magic (no pun intended) that she was able to make as Sabrina. She tried her hand at directing short films and videos, while making cameo appearances in a couple of television shows and made-for-TV movies. Her last major role was in the show Melissa & Joey, where she starred opposite Joey Lawrence. The show ran from 2010 to 2015.
12. Josh Hartnett
If you asked most guys in the early 2000s about what they thought of Josh Hartnett, they would’ve told you that he looked like a younger, moodier version of Lloyd Christmas, Jim Carrey‘s dimwit character from the film Dumb and Dumber. But clearly, women felt the complete opposite. After starring in hit films such as Pearl Harbor (2001) and Blackhawk Down (2001), along with the romantic comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002), Hartnett emerged as the newest teen heartthrob in the golden age of teen heartthrobs. He was named among Teen People’s “25 Hottest Stars under 25” and one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” in 2002, and named “Sexiest Vegetarian Alive” in a contest by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). And yet, even with his meteoric ascent, his film career basically topped out in 2006, with his award-winning role in the thriller film Lucky Number Slevin. By his own admission, he really didn’t enjoy all the fame he received, stating he was made “uncomfortable” by all of it. He said that “trying to stay at the top is a shortcut to unhappiness.”
11. Sarah Michelle Gellar
In an era where there were more teen heartthrobs for girls to fawn over than you could possibly count, for guys and their celebrity crushes, Sarah Michelle Gellar was probably at the top of the list. She’s most famously known for the titular character in the WB series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but maybe even more for her portrayal of the hyper-s*xual and conniving Kathryn Merteuil in Cruel Intentions. Opposite her eventual husband Freddie Prinze Jr., she starred as Daphne Blake in Scooby-Doo and Scooby-Doo 2. While she didn’t totally fall off a cliff (figuratively speaking) like her husband did after that, her prominence on the television and/or the big screen also slowed down after appearing in the latter Scooby Doo movie. As a mother of two now, Gellar co-founded Foodstirs, a food crafting brand and e-commerce startup selling easy to make and organic baking kits for children and families.
10. Mischa Barton
Mischa Barton began her acting career when she was only 10 years old and appeared as the main character in a movie at only 11 years old. She appeared in the romantic comedy Notting Hill (1999) and M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller The Sixth Sense (1999) before she was even 14 years old. But almost everyone remembers her for her role as Marissa Cooper in Fox’s hit televisions series The O.C.. That’s when her fame exploded, as she was named the “Next Big Thing” by Glamour magazine in 2003 and Entertainment Weekly’s “It Girl 2003” as well. But after The O.C. ended, so did Barton’s prominence as an actor. That’s when you’ll remember her for being another one of the Hollywood starlets who turned into a total hot mess. In 2007, she was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, possession of marijuana, and driving without a valid license. In 2009, when seeking medical attention for a tooth infection, she was committed by the practitioner helping her under a “5150,” which allows a psychiatrist to involuntarily confine a person deemed to have a mental disorder that makes them a danger to themselves and others. She’s only recently spoken publicly about her mental health issues.
9. Freddie Prinze Jr.
Freddie Prinze Jr. basically defined the concept of “the boy next door” during the peak of his stardom in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He had the movie star looks to reel in girls, and the sweet demeanor that would make mom’s and dad’s fall in love with him when their daughter brought him home. His breakout role was in the horror-thriller film I Know What You Did Last Summer (997) and its sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998). But Prinze brought that “lovable son-in-law” appeal when he appeared in the movie version of Scooby-Doo and its sequel Scooby-Doo 2. Playing the role of Fred, the leader of the group and the driver of the Mystery Machine van, he co-starred opposite his eventual wife Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played the role of Daphne. But after that, Prinze basically turned into more of a family man, though he’s had a few random television and voiceover roles since then, along with a sting as a host and a writer for WWE.
8. Mandy Moore
During her heyday, Mandy Moore was like an Olympic bronze medalist: really good at their particular craft, but ends up getting overlooked by the two people ahead of her. The teen singer/songwriter and actress rose to fame with multiple albums and singles between the late 1990s and early 2000s, but was often overlooked by the public because of the soaring popularity of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. She released her first album, So Real in 1999, which ended up going platinum. Her next two albums, I Wanna Be With You and Mandy Moore were successful, but didn’t quite garner the same level of acclaim as her first one. After that, her music career basically began to flounder, which led her to try her hand at acting. That resulted in a few television appearances – none of which anyone would remember if mentioned. She’s bounced back and forth between trying to jump start her music career and grow her acting career, with moderate levels of success, until her latest TV show, This Is Us.
7. Nicole Richie
Nicole Richie is best known for the fact that she’s the adopted daughter of Lionel Richie, the famous American singer, songwriter, actor and record producer. She was also known as the best friend of hotel heiress Paris Hilton. Richie’s rise to fame dovetailed with Hilton’s rise as a prominent Hollywood socialite, which resulted in the two of them starring in the reality television show The Simple Life, which was first carried by Fox for three seasons, and then by E! Entertainment Television for two subsequent seasons. But towards the end of the show, Richie and Hilton faced charges for driving under the influence. That led to something of a falling out between the two friends. From there, Richie kind of faded from the national spotlight, though she did continue acting in several small roles and cameo appearances, wrote a semi-autobiographical novel called The Truth About Diamonds, and worked with Bongo Jeans and Jimmy Choo. She’s now married to Good Charlotte lead singer Joel Madden, and the two of them have two children together.
6. Elisha Cuthbert
Elisha Cuthbert first became the girl that every guy had a crush on when she played Kim Bauer, the daughter of legendary federal agent Jack Bauer, in the television series 24. And for any guys that didn’t fall in love with her in that show, they definitely did after watching her 2004 film The Girl Next Door, when she played an ex-adult film star named Danielle. While her performance received mixed reviews from the usual curmudgeonly and overly judgmental critics, most guys loved the fact that she was able to deftly combine being sexy, lovable, and humble all at once. She did manage to parlay that success in a brief role in the hit film Old School (when she’s shown having a one-night stand with the main character, played by Luke Wilson) and a lead role in the critically-panned film House of Wax, but not much after that. She has continued to make television appearances in various shows, but not in any shows that the majority of people are watching. Nonetheless, she still holds the designation of being ranked among “The 100 Hottest Women of the 21st Century” and “The 100 Sexiest Women of Millennium” by GQ Magazine.
5. Adam Brody
After capitalizing on a brief role in the television show Gilmore Girls, Adam Brody‘s career took off when he was cast for the role of Seth Cohen on the teen drama series The O.C. His performance as Cohen led to him being called “TV’s sexiest geek” by the Los Angeles Times, and Time magazine saying Brody “redefined” the screen persona of being an”unapologetic” nerd. His witty sarcasm and dry delivery helped him land a few minor roles in movies such as the romantic action comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith, but after the O.C. ended in 2007, Brody couldn’t really find that next role to prolong the success he was enjoying. He continued to pop up in random films like Scream 4, Jennifer’s Body, and Think Like a Man Too, but they’ve all been roles where you might blink and miss his appearance.
4. Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton is one of the most famous celebrities that are famous for no particular reason. Sure, she’s the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels. But there’s a reason that, after being one of the most discussed socialites in the 2000s, she’s basically faded into irrelevance. As mentioned, Hilton teamed up with ex-bestie Nicole Richie to make a mockery of middle America in the reality television show The Simple Life, which abruptly ended after Hilton and Ritchie decided it would be a good idea to continue their hard partying ways, which resulted in a DUI. Between that, the subsequent home arrest, and her leaked tape, there has not been much keeping her in the news after the show was over. Since then, she’s tried dabbling in reality television and even pursued a career as a DJ, but in all honestly, it has not panned out. Her lasting legacy is basically her last name, and the fact that she somehow made the phrase “that’s hot” into something of a national catchphrase. Nevertheless, we all were fascinated by Paris and her scandalous ways.
In a decade that started with what could be considered the Golden Age of music, Marshall Mathers – better known to the world as Eminem – was the best-selling artist of the 2000s in the United States. He sold 47.4 million albums in the decade, making him the sixth-highest selling artist in recorded history. After exploding onto the music scene with The Slim Shady LP, Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show were certified diamond in U.S. sales, and both won Best Rap Album Grammy Awards. His Encore album in 2004 didn’t quite reach the same level of success, and he took something of a hiatus from the rap game after that. Because of his relentless work ethic, Eminem began to develop health issues, which led to him overdosing on methadone in late 2007. He briefly entered a rehab facility, but relapsed shortly after, which actually caused him to have a seizure. While he’s cleaned up, gotten in excellent shape, and resumed his music career, he isn’t anywhere close to what he was in the peak of his musical dominance.
2. Hayden Christensen
Very few people realize that Hayden Christensen has been acting since he was 13 years old, modelled for Louis Vuitton, and is currently engaged to actress Rachel Bilson (the couple even has a daughter together). Instead, the vast majority of people know Christensen because of his portrayal of the infamous Anakin Skywalker, in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith… and the fact that he got to make out with Natalie Portman in both films. But since then, Christensen hasn’t really done anything worth talking about. His 2008 film Jumper looked promising but was not received well by critics, and he was nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screen Combo, for his work opposite Jessica Alba in the film Awake that 99.99% of people never saw. Since then, outside of being Bilson’s significant other, Christensen has basically been a non-entity in Hollywood.
1. Aaron Carter
It’s not so much that we’ve forgotten Aaron Carter, the former pre-teen and teenage music star, and brother of Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter. Rather, it’s just that we have totally forgotten about how promising of a music star he was once, and what a train wreck he has become. At only 13 years old, Carter’s second album titled Aaron’s Party (Come Get It) went triple-platinum, and made him as famous – if not more famous – than his brother. But from there, Carter’s life began to unravel in an almost textbook stereotypical way. His next two albums didn’t come close to reaching the success of the first one. He had legal disputes with a former manager, who allegedly did not pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties on Carter’s first album. He dated teen starlets and models that we later learned had substance abuse issues of their own. After a failed attempt to keep his music career going, he tried his hand at reality television – the ill-fated House of Carters show on the E! channel – and failed there too. Over the last few years, the only times we’ve now talked about Carter was when he filed for bankruptcy in 2013 (he was more than $3.5 million in debt, largely stemming from unpaid taxes), or after being admitted to rehab in 2017 after those around him were concerned about his physical and mental welfare.
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