If you think life is hard now, try being a celebrity. Every move they make is scrutinized and when they muster up the courage to finally make a comeback and step into the spotlight once again, they know that if they fail they will never live it down. Every person that steps on TV because they're an actress or singer has the potential to become someone's celebrity crush, and now with the addition of the internet and social media, things that weren't around in the 1990s, there is no nowhere for these celebrities to hide when they have failed.
While there are a number of celebrities who were successful a few decades ago, it seems that it's much harder to remain successful than it is to become successful to begin with. It then becomes even harder to find a way back into the public eye after you've disappeared from view. Society is always changing, which means that something that worked in the 1990s won't work 10 years later, which could explain why many of the following list of celebrities failed when they tried to make a comeback a number of years after their initial success.
The following list looks at 15 childhood crushes from the 1990s and early 2000s who have tried to make a comeback after dropping out of the public eye. It seems that even after all the planning to put together what they considered to be a decent comeback, it was deemed to be a complete failure.
15 Katherine Heigl
Katherine Heigl first made waves for her role as Izzy Stevens in Grey's Anatomy from 2005 until 2010, but Heigl had already been around the acting world for more than a decade at this point. Heigl made her film debut back in 1992 when she was just 14 years old and has since grown up in the spotlight.
Heigl has been the crush of many teenage boys over the past few years, mostly because she became well-known for her roles in chick flicks. Heigl has made a number of mistakes over the past few years, though. She judged her own performance on Grey's Anatomy to be "below par" and she later accused the makers of the movie Knocked Up of being sexist while promoting it. Heigl found it hard get work after this and her career took a downturn before she made her comeback in State of Affairs back in 2014, but the show wasn't a hit and was cancelled after just 13 episodes.
14 Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan is a prime example of a child star who found it hard to cope with the fame and fortune she was given at such a young age. Lohan became well-known for her roles in The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, Herbie Fully Loaded and Mean Girls before her personal problems became public knowledge and her career went on a decline.
Lohan wasn't able to be part of any major roles for a number of years after this but it seems that her big comeback was built up around the release of The Canyons back in 2013. This was Lohan's first big movie role for quite a few years and was her chance to prove her critics wrong. Sadly, the movie was torn to shreds by reviewers and stories of Lohan's unprofessional conduct on set began being leaked as it was made obvious that Lohan's big comeback wouldn't be happening just yet.
13 Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera has grown up in the spotlight and was not only one of the biggest male crushes of the 1990s, but she was also the envy of many women who were growing up at that time. Aguilera got her start when she was just a child in the Mickie Mouse Club before moving on to sign a record deal of her own and become a worldwide star.
Christina hasn't always had things quite so easy, though. Her 2010 album Bionic was considered a flop followed by a less than successful movie called Burlesque. A comeback was something that many thought that Christina would be able to pull off, and in the years that followed she managed to remain in the spotlight as a judge on The Voice. After the success of "Moves Like Jagger" later that year, she produced a fantastic line-up of collaborations for her new album entitled Lotus, but in the first week, it sold just a mere 73,000 copies, leaving Christina in an unfamiliar position when it came to her next move.
12 Tara Reid
Tara Reid became well-known for her roles in The Big Lebowski and the American Pie series and seemed to be doing quite well when it came to her career. In reality, her life off camera was in decline because of her partying ways.
Reid was able to salvage her career when she starred in Marriage Boot Camp before she landed the role in the widely successful Sharknado franchise. Despite the success of the films over the past few years, it seems that producers have made the decision that Tara's character has come to the end of the line since they recently decided to ask fans to vote on whether or not her character should die. It's a unique way of deciding whether someone should keep their job, but it seems that it makes the end of an attempted comeback for the former comedy queen.
11 Sharon Stone
Sharon Stone will always be remembered for that scene in Basic Instinct, but it seems that this was the film that both made and then ruined Sharon's career. She peaked following her part in the 1992 thriller and was never able to recreate the success that she had following this film because of bad choices in movies.
After a number of bad reviews and even worse choices, Sharon decided to go back to what she knew best in Basic Instinct 2 back in 2006, but this just came across as a desperate attempt to recreate something from almost 15 years before. She then tried to make a comeback with films like Cold Creek Manor and Catwoman, but both movies were considered to be flops, which summed up her career following the release of her most successful outing almost three decades ago. She's decided to stay away from the acting business over the past few years and hasn't been part of a film now since 2013.
10 Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise has seemingly been around the acting world forever, and his portrayal of Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible series catapulted him to stardom on a level that even Top Gun didn't seem to manage all those years before. Top Gun made him a heartthrob to many young girls all around the world, but recently it seems that Cruise hasn't been working nearly as much as he once did.
Cruise was lost in the wilderness for a number of years before he returned to screens back in 2010 with Knight and Day alongside Cameron Diaz. The film was supposed to be Cruise's big-budget return and his triumphant comeback to the big screen, but with a box office of just $40 million worldwide, it seems that the film was considered a flop and Cruise failed to make the huge comeback that he had spent the past few months preparing for.
9 Ashlee Simpson
The younger sister of icon Jessica Simpson made quite the career for herself following her debut single release back in 2004. "Pieces of Me" became a top five hit in the United States and it seemed to open the doors for Ashlee into the world of being a celebrity since she was also part of The Ashlee Simpson Show at the time, and this was considered a rating's hit.
Sadly, Ashlee was never able to recreate the success that she had with her first single, but it wasn't through lack of trying. Her last album released back in 2008 called Bittersweet World didn't have fans queuing up to buy a copy and there was talk that she was going to release a fourth album following this, but after she released the single "Bat For A Heart" back in 2012 and it failed to have any success, she obviously scrapped the idea and has recently remained out of the spotlight.
8 Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton is a hotel heiress who was pushed into the spotlight when she starred in The Simple Life. The show became popular and managed to branch out into five seasons before it came to an end and Paris was forced to go on to other projects like Paris Hilton's My New BFF which didn't attract the same kind of audience numbers as her debut show.
Paris then decided to try her hand at acting in movies like House of Wax back in 2005 but this didn't work out so well, so she released her own single and that was also not considered to be a success. While Paris will never be in a position where she isn't financially stable, it seems that she has tried her hand at everything over the past few years, even a comeback, and now she has realized that sometimes it's better to keep to what you're good at.
7 Ryan Phillippe
Ryan Phillippe developed quite the female following his role in Cruel Intentions before he later married co-star Reese Witherspoon. Phillippe was considered to have had quite a successful career in the 1990s and early 2000s, but then disappeared for a while until 2015 when it was revealed that he was making a comeback in the series Secrets & Lies.
The show was billed as his big comeback, but it seems that when the pressure is piled on, things don't usually work out well. The show wasn't a hit and even though it made it to the second season, it was swiftly cancelled. Ryan didn't even make an appearance in the second season, though, since the producers decided to create a whole new cast, which could have been the main reason why it was axed. He has since been reduced to cameos in movies and TV shows over the past few years.
6 Mischa Barton
Mischa Barton became one of the most envied women in the world when she was cast as pampered princess Marissa Cooper on The O.C., a show that she later decided to quit. After Mischa's character was killed off the popular show, her next big break didn't come until she was cast in The Beautiful Life: TBL more than three years later.
It was thought that this was Mischa's chance to pick up another lengthy role that she could find success in when actual fact the show became a flop and only lasted for five episodes. Over the past few years, Mischa has made cameo and small appearances in many other movies and films, while her problems in her personal life have been the only reason she has been making the headlines. It seems that the former "it girl" has now just become another star who peaked when she was much younger.
5 Shannen Doherty
Shannen Doherty starred as Prue Halliwell in successful TV series Charmed, which followed the lives of three sisters who were dealing with the fact that they were witches. She was on the show for a number of seasons until conflicts with her co-stars reached such a level that they were forced to write her off the show. Shannon became well-known after her role in Beverly Hills 90210 in the 1990s, but her problems with other actors behind the scenes became one of her biggest downfalls.
Shannen tried to come back to the acting world a number of times but her reputation hasn't helped her over the past few years and she has now been reduced to smaller roles in TV series instead of the main ones she once held. Shannen is a prime example of a star whose attitude killed her career before it was really able to start.
4 Nadine Coyle
Nadine Coyle became a worldwide star as one of the five women in British girl group Girls Aloud. She also later became a s*x symbol for many of the group's male fans. Nadine auditioned to be in the group along with all four other women, but former members Cheryl Cole and Sarah Harding have become quite successful following the group's original split back in 2009.
Nadine decided to launch her big comeback as a solo star earlier this year when she released her first single "Go To Work." Nadine herself said she had no expectations for the song when it was released back in September and it's probably good that she didn't since the song failed to chart and it sold just 1,616 copies. Streaming figures doubled this total, but it still means that Nadine's first attempt to start a solo career almost a decade after the group's initial split is now considered a complete flop.
3 John Travolta
There were women all over the world who were attracted to John Travolta after he starred in the worldwide hit Grease as Danny Zuko and for his part in Saturday Night Fever. Despite being catapulted into stardom through two of the most successful films of all time, it seems that Travolta has never quite been able to stay on top.
He has made numerous comebacks over the years, including his roles in the Look Who's Talking series and then Pulp Fiction, but he was never able to emulate the success that his career began with. Travolta's career has been in a tailspin over the past few decades as comeback after comeback has seemingly taken it out of him. The 2017 film Gotti is Travolta's latest attempt at a comeback, so it will be interesting to see if this comeback follows the same blueprint as all of his previous ones.
2 Alex Pettyfer
Alex Pettyfer burst onto the scene as the star of Stormbreaker back in 2006, and in turn created a huge teenage fan following off the back of this that obviously allowed him to be cast in teen films Wild Child, I Am Number Four and Beastly in the years that followed. Despite being aimed at the audience that Pettyfer had created over the years, these films were not considered to be huge hits at the box office.
Pettyfer became known for conflicts with other actors behind the scenes throughout his career but he was given a shot at a comeback when he was cast in Magic Mike back in 2012. The movie was a huge success and opened Pettyfer up to another market of fans, but sadly, star Channing Tatum allegedly did not like the youngster so he wasn't asked back for the sequel, which has left his career in a strange place over the past few years.
1 Macaulay Culkin
Macaulay Culkin will always be remembered for his role as Kevin McCallister in the Home Alone franchise back in the 1990s. The movie was the biggest success of his career and catapulted him to stardom.
Like many child stars, Culkin found it hard to make the transition into becoming an adult star and a number of problems in his personal life meant that he wasn't able to do anything of importance in more than a decade until 2016. It was announced that his part in Aladdin would be his big comeback, but the movie itself wasn't as successful as many thought it was going to be and it turned out that Culkin's big comeback wasn't what he had expected either, although he did manage to become part of the Compare The Meerkat adverts for a while. It seems that he has now disappeared from sight once again, as his fans wait for news on his next big comeback.