Celebrities are always being watched no matter what they do, which is why when they fall from grace, they really fall down quite a ways. We’ve seen celebrities rise and fall within moments, sometimes after barely a moment in the spotlight and others after decades in the sun. Some celebrities who lost their whole careers ended up losing everything and became total jokes, while others just had their careers derailed for a while before ultimately ending up back on track. Either way, many celebrities aren’t defined by their storied careers but by the things they did off-camera.
While some of these celebrities lost their careers years– or even decades– ago, there are others that are losing their careers right now in a whirlwind of entertainment scandals that are the result of light being shed on their past misdeeds.
Unfortunately, there are also very talented people who have lost everything just because they did something the public didn’t approve of at the time but is totally acceptable today. Regardless, here are fifteen celebrities who had their careers forcibly ended, either by the law or the court of public opinion.
15. Paul Reubens, The Worst Movie Theater-Goer Ever
Paul Reubens was a big deal during the 1980s thanks to Pee Wee Herman. I grew up with his TV series myself the way millennial kids grew up with 90s shows. Unfortunately, in 1991 the public perception of him totally changed when he got arrested in Sarasota, Florida for indecent exposure at an adult movie theater. He pled no contest to the charges and disappeared for the rest of the 90s. His show and merchandise also got pulled. He tried staging a comeback in the early 2000s, but that ended very quickly when it was discovered that he had illegal images on his computer. He always denied that he had them, but his reputation went up in flames even more after that. He’s making a real comeback now, but that doesn’t make up for two decades in hiding.
14. Tara Reid, From Superstar To Sharknado
Tara Reid grew up in commercials and has been acting since she was six years old, and was poised to become a major movie star after her success in American Pie. However, her party girl antics seriously derailed her career. She’s done some cool things in recent years, like a Bollywood musical and the Sharknado franchise, but things could have been different. She had a string of box-office duds that coincided with her becoming a laughingstock thanks to some pretty embarrassing behavior on her part. She became known for being a party girl who didn’t listen to people, which is bad in Hollywood. The final nail in her career’s coffin was plastic surgery, though. Back in 2004, she got liposuction because she wanted a six-pack and it went really wrong. It was just a lot of bad things at once.
13. Harvey Weinstein, The Scandal That Broke 2017
The current scandal against Harvey Weinstein is still unfolding and for good reason. Weinstein was always associated with rumors of inappropriateness over the years and decades, but his power in the entertainment industry made those rumors disappear. However, that all changed when a report was done on the alleged harassment by the New York Times and the New Yorker, dozens upon dozens of women started coming forward. So far, over 80 women have come forward, including some big names. Among the accusers are Rose McGowan, Lupita Nyong’o, Kate Beckinsale, Cara Delevingne, Heather Graham, Eva Green, Daryl Hannah, Lena Headey, Paz de la Huerta, and Angelina Jolie. The whole thing is still being sorted out, but it’s opened up a huge dialogue about harassment in general and given way to more harassers being revealed.
12. Rob Lowe, The Guy Who Made The First “Tape”
Among the images found on Paul Reubens’ computer was an adult film starring Rob Lowe. It was the first tape of this nature to get copied and sold, so we have him to thank for that even being a thing. The tape was recorded in 1988 and it made the news then, too: the whole thing just got revisited with the Reubens scandal. The thing that made this even worse was that one of the women on the tape was a 16-year-old girl. Lowe didn’t get prosecuted for it since he didn’t know, and he might have gotten away with it without any hits to his public image had a similar tape not come out with him, a friend, and another woman. Lowe was never actually out of work at any point and is still a big star, but this blunder cost him a role in Titanic and possibly other big roles.
11. Lindsay Lohan, One Of The Great Hollywood “What-Ifs”
Lindsay Lohan is one of the great “what-ifs” of entertainment history. Had things not gone the way they did for her, what would her acting legacy have been? She started out in show business at three years old, which led to her huge movie career. She was set to become one of the biggest movie stars of all time before 2007 happened. In May 2007, she got taken to the hospital after a car accident. She’d just gotten out of rehab for undisclosed problems, but those problems became super clear after her cocaine use hit the news. Her career might have been able to withstand one cocaine revelation, but she got arrested for the same thing two months later. She then starred in one of the worst movies ever made, solidifying her downfall. She’s still acknowledged as a really talented actress and still works in acting from time to time, but she’s best known for being a trainwreck, which is death to a career.
10. Brendan Fraser, The Guy Who Passed Up The Wrong Role
Brendan Fraser has a pretty great filmography and he’s really funny, but he’s not really around anymore. Unfortunately for him, this isn’t because of any big scandal he had. It all came down to the one really bad career decision. Fraser was in the 3-D film Journey to the Center of the Earth, and when it was time to make a sequel, he bowed out. This was at the point where he was a major movie star and the sequel would have helped seal the deal for him. Instead, his role went to The Rock, while Fraser went on to star in movies that became the biggest box office failures of that year. The Rock basically walked right into Fraser’s place in Hollywood and became an A-list movie star because Fraser made a dumb decision. The lesson here, kids? Always stick with your franchise.
9. Kevin Spacey And The Rumors That Came Home To Roost
Rumors about Kevin Spacey‘s behavior and sexual orientation have been swirling around him for a long time now, but it didn’t do much to mess with his career at all. However, all of that changed when some unsavory rumors were confirmed a few months ago. Anthony Rapp of Star Trek and RENT fame accused Kevin Spacey of making advances on him when he was fourteen years old and Spacey was 26 in the midst of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, which is still unfolding. Spacey tried to mitigate the scandal by finally coming out as gay, but it looks like the chicken has finally come home to roost and these accusations are going to torpedo his career. He lost his starring role on House of Cards and it was revealed on December 5th, 2017 that The Usual Suspects had to delay filming because of the accusations. “I mean, he was kind of a joke in that people would say, ‘That’s Kevin,’ but nobody really understood the depth of his predations,” actor Gabriel Byrne said. “It was only years later that we began to understand that [filming] was closed down for a particular reason and that was because of inappropriate sexual behavior by Spacey.”
8. Jennifer Grey And “The Nose Job From Hell”
Jennifer Grey is kind of a legend for being a meteoric star on the rise who ruined it by getting some tasteful plastic surgery done. If you don’t remember her, know that she’s one of the major movie stars of the 1980s. There’s no way you’d know she’s the same person as the star of Dirty Dancing, though. When her career got just a little slower in the early 1990s, she got a nose job. Her new nose was a little smaller and definitely not the worst nose in the world, and by all accounts, it was good plastic surgery. The problem was that the surgery left her so unrecognizable that she basically seemed like a brand new actress to every casting agent after that. Grey once said, “It was the nose job from hell. I’ll always be this once-famous actress nobody recognizes because of a nose job.”
7. Mel Gibson, The Worst Person To Share The Back Of A Police Car With
Mel Gibson basically committed professional suicide in the mid-2000s, and while he’s still directing movies, the world hasn’t really forgiven him. He got busted for a DUI and put in the back of a police car, and what was recorded back there has haunted his career ever since. He threatened the cop, said a lot of racist things, and was generally awful and showed the world who he really is. Instead of apologizing, Gibson doubled down on what he said and went away for a while before going back to directing. He’s probably never going to act again, but he’s still a respected director. He got nominated for an Oscar for directing Hacksaw Ridge, a movie that got a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival that lasted for ten full minutes.
6. Tila Tequila, The Nazi Sympathizer
Tila Tequila is kind of a hot mess, but she was always a hot mess. She was one of the first hot mess reality stars to really make it big in the 200os, with her bisexual dating show and her music career. However, things started to go a little nutty after she posted an article on her website entitled Why I Sympathize With Hitler. Everyone was outraged over it and for good reason. On top of that, she went and posed as a scantily clad Nazi at Auschwitz. She tried making a comeback in 2015 when she went on the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother, but that ended quickly once the rest of the housemates found out she’s a Nazi sympathizer. She’s still at it, too: last year she attacked conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro for being Jewish.
5. Mark Salling, The Worst Thing To Come Out Of Glee
Mark Salling rose to fame in his role as Noah Puckerman on Glee. Full disclosure: I used to be obsessed with this show and I know a guy who got a mohawk because this guy had one on the show. Mark Salling was a really big deal for a while. However, his career is essentially over thanks to his arrest for possession of thousands of inappropriate pictures of minors. He got dropped from his post-Glee projects like a hat, and he’s currently in jail serving his sentence for this. We can be pretty sure that even when he gets out, no one will forget any of this and his acting and singing careers are basically over. There are a lot of things that the world can forgive, but this is not one of them.
4. Rip Torn, The Victim Of False Rumors
Rip Torn is one of the best character actors of the twentieth century, but his career took a sharp dive in 1967. That was when he went to a dinner with Peter Fonda, Terry Southern, and Dennis Hopper. Things were going fine until Torn and Hopper started fighting and Hopper pulled a knife on him. This is still being debated: Peter Fonda alleged that both of these guys were essentially trying to sword fight with butter knives. Torn didn’t get the job he was interviewing for and the part in Easy Rider went to Jack Nicholson, who became a superstar. Hopper told everyone Torn pulled a knife on him, and just like that Torn’s career was derailed. Hopper tried this again when Torn’s career took off again, but Torn learned from the first time and sued him for defamation. He won nearly $500,000 thirty years later, but he never achieved the same fame as Nicholson.
3. Paz de la Huerta, The Party Girl Who Put All Others To Shame
Paz De La Huerta was about to become the next big thing with her role on Boardwalk Empire and her willingness to partake in nudity for a part. Unfortunately, she gained a reputation as a party girl and things went downhill fast. She got so drunk at a Golden Globes ceremony that she fell down, not noticing that she’d popped out of her dress. She then got into a fight with a reality star and got arrested for assault. Lindsay Lohan was also at that party and was the one trying to help the poor girl get the glass shards out of her leg. This means that Paz De La Huerta, for one brief shining moment, was more of a hot mess than Lindsay Lohan at a Hollywood party. That’s saying something. She did things like this so many times that Boardwalk Empire let her go and she didn’t do much after that.
2. Randy Quaid And The Unpaid Hotel Bill That Ruined Everything
For those who don’t remember Randy Quaid, he’s a pretty solid actor with some interesting acting work under his belt. He’s also an Oscar nominee! Unfortunately, things went wrong for him back in September 2009, when he and his wife got arrested for not paying a hotel bill to the tune of $10,000. They got arrested again after that for squatting in a house that they used to have, so they just left for Canada. Canada is where things got really weird, by the way. People thought because they unceremoniously moved to Canada, they were on the run from the law. Back in February 2017, he put up a video on YouTube of him being really weird, so not much has changed for him.
1. Ingrid Bergman, The Divorcée Who Really Didn’t Do Anything Wrong
Poor Ingrid Bergman. Out of everyone on this list, she alone didn’t deserve any of this. She wasn’t a party girl or into drugs or anything illegal, she was just a woman who dared to have an affair and get divorced in the time of black and white films. She’s the star of such classic films as Casablanca and Gaslight, but her career basically was irreparably damaged thanks to her affair with Roberto Rossellini. She got pregnant with his child and left her husband and their kid together to start a family with the Italian director. This was unheard of at this time, and people were so horrified at this behavior that Senator Edwin C. Johnson proposed a bill that would require that the only movies that could get made were the ones with good moral content and good moral moviemakers, including actors. Bergman acted outside of America, but her career never recovered.
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