Becoming rich and famous is every aspiring superstar’s dream, but not everyone can stay at the top. While some celebrities remain successful and relevant for their entire careers, some quietly fade into obscurity and retire with what they earned during their 15 minutes of fame. And then there are the ones who somehow manage to hit rock bottom after achieving it all. Nobody plans or thinks they would find themselves in that kind of situation but, unfortunately, it happens.
Being famous isn’t easy. Not everyone can deal with the huge amount of pressure they’re under or with the media and general public analyzing their every single move. Some turn to alcohol and/or drugs, some develop serious mental health issues, some end up losing all their money, and some have run-ins with the law. And then there are some superstars who somehow manage to do all of the above during their fall from grace!
Although there are plenty of celebrities such as Robert Downey Jr, Drew Barrymore, Kate Moss, Eminem, and Britney Spears that have managed to bounce back from their troubles, not everyone has been so lucky. Without further ado, let’s take a look at 15 Hollywood stars who are currently scraping dirt at rock bottom.
15 Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf got into stand-up comedy as a coping mechanism for the abuse he suffered from his father. He was a regular on Nickelodeon as a teen and became a box-office superstar by starring in the Transformers movie franchise. Sadly, it seems that his unhappy childhood has left him with unresolved trauma which has led to substance abuse, rage issues, and run-ins with the law. At 19 he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon after driving into his neighbor’s car that was blocking his driveway. He was arrested again in 2007 and 2008, but 2017 saw his worst arrest yet – not only was he drunk and disorderly, he was racist to one of the arresting officers! Ever since being accused of plagiarism in 2013, he’s been inactive, remaining in the public eye thanks to various memes.
14 Edward Furlong
The Terminator movies are iconic, with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character uttering the now-immortal line: ‘’I’ll be back!’’, and Linda Hamilton’s character of Sarah Connor setting an example for all future female characters in action movies. The second instalment, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, focused heavily on Sarah’s son, John Connor. Every child star wanted the role, but it was won by Edward Furlong, launching him to super-stardom at the age of 13. All that fame was too much for Furlong and he also, like many child actors, struggled to transition into adult roles. With offers drying up, Furlong turned to various substances, and these issues further killed his career and led to many legal problems. He’s been arrested for domestic violence more than once and avoided jail in 2013 by agreeing to complete 90 days in rehab.
13 Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen comes from a Hollywood family, his father being actor Martin Sheen. Charlie got his big break in 1987’s Wall Street and went on to have a successful movie career in the 1990s, but his drug offenses and cocaine overdose in 1998 put a stop to that. Sheen managed to bounce back and starred in the successful sitcom Two and A Half Men from 2004 to 2011. He was the highest-paid TV actor, making nearly $2 million per episode. Unfortunately, he was fired in 2011 after drug and alcohol problems, domestic violence accusations, and insulting showrunner Chuck Lorre in an interview. He’s been in and out of rehab, starred in another TV show Anger Management which failed due to similar behavior, and has since revealed that he’s HIV-positive. Looks like he’s not winning!
12 Aaron Carter
Aaron Carter is the younger brother of Nick Carter, member of the Backstreet Boys, one of the most successful boy-bands of the 1990s. Aaron decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps and released his first album in 1997 at the age of 10. His first single went gold in Canada, Spain, Germany, Denmark, and Norway, and he toured with his brother’s band. His audience consisted of teens and pre-teens, meaning he had a squeaky clean image. This image was shattered in 2008 when during his arresting police discovered he had a significant amount of marijuana on him. He, later on, developed a Xanax addiction, for which he went to rehab. 2013 saw him filing for bankruptcy. In 2017 he revealed his mental health struggles, mainly an eating disorder, and he checked into rehab once more, only to checked out days later.
11 Macaulay Culkin
When people think of Christmas movies, the Home Alone franchise almost instantly comes to everyone’s minds. While some of the later installments were B-list disasters with various child actors who never really made it, the first two movies were holiday blockbusters starring the then-adorable Macaulay Culkin. Culkin became the first child actor to earn $1 million for a movie. Unfortunately, the world was soon to discover his many struggles. First, he sued his parents for mismanaging his money and became emancipated as a teen, then he got charged with drug possession in 2004, and that wasn’t his last charge. People were at one point seriously worried that he was going to end up as dead as his movie career thanks to his substance abuse, heavy partying, and overall terrible lifestyle.
10 Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan was a child star with her first major role being in the remake of Disney’s The Parent Trap way back in 1998 when she was just 12 years old. After that, she starred in several more Disney movies, but in 2004 the movies Freaky Friday and Mean Girls made her a huge star. She even had a music career, with albums released in 2004 and 2005. Unfortunately, Lindsay started hanging out with notorious party girls Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, and things got out of control, leading to multiple DUI arrests from 2007 onwards and unprofessional behavior on set. She’s been in and out of rehab since then and has even faced prison time! While she’s finally sobered up, she’s burned too many bridges to revive her movie career.
9 Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage is the nephew of director Francis-Ford Coppola, but he refused to use his uncle’s connections to make it in Hollywood, instead auditioning relentlessly for suitable roles. His career took off in the 1980s with movies such as Raising Arizona. In 1995, he won an Oscar for his role in Leaving Las Vegas, and he went on to star in many box office successes up until 2009. So how did one of the most highly-paid actors end up in serious debt? Well, the IRS claimed he owed $6 million in taxes! Cage then sued his manager for $20 million dollars, claiming negligence and fraud. His manager counter-sued, claiming that Cage ignored all of his financial advice in favor of over-spending. Add on a string of box-office flops and you get a star still in debt.
8 Boy George
Boy George rose to fame in the 1980s as part of the New Wave band Culture Club. They achieved success on both sides of the Atlantic with hits such as Karma Chameleon and Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, with Boy George’s androgynous and flamboyant image attracting a lot of attention. However, he struggled with fame and turned to drugs to cope. He was also romantically involved with bandmate Jon Moss. Their breakup created tension within the band and George developed a full-blown heroin addiction. After the band broke up, George embarked upon a solo career, but he could never quite achieve his previous success nor kick his drug habit. He was arrested in 2005 for cocaine possession and spent 4 months in prison for assaulting a male escort in 2009.
7 Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby was one of the most beloved family-oriented comedians. After a decades-long career in stand-up comedy, Cosby created and starred in The Cosby Show, a sitcom about an affluent African-American family which ran from 1984 to 1992. It was hugely popular as it was possibly the first sitcom to portray African-Americans as anything other than the help. Thanks to endless re-runs, many generations saw Cosby as somewhat of a father figure, even grandfather figure. Naturally, everyone was shocked to learn that Cosby’s been plagued with sexual assault allegations throughout his entire career! Comedian Hannibal Buress brought attention to old allegations during his stand-up routine in 2014, causing dozens of women to come forward and accuse Cosby of sexually assaulting them. This caused many organizations to sever ties with him, and he is facing a re-trial for these allegations in 2018.
6 Harvey Weinstein
One of Hollywood’s biggest scandals ever is currently unfolding thanks to the countless allegations against Harvey Weinstein. One of the most successful producers modern Hollywood has ever seen, Weinstein was co-founder of Miramax, producing countless successful movies during the 1990s such as Pulp Fiction and Shakespeare in Love, with plenty of Oscar nominations and/or wins. He went on to be co-chairman of The Weinstein Company with similar success. He has been mentioned in Oscar acceptance speeches more times than God! However, in October 2017 The New York Times and The New Yorker reported that more than a dozen women had accused him of sexual harassment, assault or worse, and many high-profile actresses then came forward to confirm this. He’s been fired from his company, his wife has left him, and Hollywood now hates him, so there’s no coming back.
5 Wesley Snipes
Wesley Snipes was one of the biggest movie stars in the 1990s. He starred in the movies New Jack City, White Men Can’t Jump, and the Blade trilogy, one of the first blockbuster movies based on a Marvel comics character. Things were going so well that he even formed two production companies, “Amen-Ra Films” and “Black Dot Media”. Unfortunately, that all changed, and he went from being a movie star to a criminal with no hope of ever making a comeback. It was discovered in the 2000s that he hadn’t been filing his taxes for over a decade. He was eventually sentenced in 2008 to 3 years in prison. However, Snipes argued in court that he was being targeted due to his fame and fortune! The court didn’t care and he had to serve time.
4 Courtney Love
Courtney Love was considered grunge royalty in the early 1990s. She was the lead singer of the band Hole and was married to Kurt Cobain from the band Nirvana. Though their drug use was well-known to the public, she made the most of it due to the heroin chic trend. But when Kurt took his own life in 1994, things went downhill for Courtney. A lot of Nirvana fans turned against her because they felt she played the grieving widow card too often, and she fought dirty against the surviving Nirvana bandmates for the rights to Kurt’s music. Hole eventually disbanded, her solo career never took off, she never managed to stay off heroin, and she was publicly estranged from her daughter Frances Bean Cobain. The public hates her now so she’ll probably never make a comeback.
3 Robin Thicke
Robin Thicke is the son of the famous and well-beloved Canadian actor and TV host Alan Thicke, who recently passed away. Robin debuted on the music scene in 1999 with singles such as When I Get You Alone, but could never quite reach A-list status. In 2013 he released the mega-hit Blurred Lines and became a superstar. However, the song was controversial for two reasons: one, its misogynistic lyrics, and two, its unauthorized sampling of Marvin Gaye’s Got to Give It Up. Thicke was even sued by the Marvin Gaye Estate and he lost, having to pay a substantial fee. His next album was called Paula after his now ex-wife who he was attempting to win back after cheating rumors. But not only did the album flop, his wife didn’t take him back.
2 David Cassidy
David Cassidy rose to fame in the 1970s on the musical sitcom The Partridge Family. He portrayed the character of Keith Partridge, the son of Shirley Partridge, who was played by his real-life stepmother Shirley Jones. The role made him a teen heartthrob and paved the way for his music career. Unfortunately for Cassidy, he was later unable to hold onto this level of fame, with his career crumbling and Cassidy fading from the spotlight. He made headlines decades later, but for all the wrong reasons. Cassidy showed the world in 2008 that teen fame had messed with his head and he admitted to having an alcohol problem. Two years later he was arrested for a DUI in 2010. He was arrested for drunk driving twice more, in 2013 in 2014.
1 O.J. Simpson
O.J. Simpson was a huge NFL star who then managed to become a successful movie star, with many roles under his belt such as starring in The Naked Gun franchise. O.J. had it all in the 1980s – a beautiful wife, loads of money from his movie roles and Monday Night Football commentator gig, and lots of friends in high places. But all of that came crashing down in the 1990s. His ex-wife Nicole was found murdered and O.J. was the main suspect! Everyone watched him being chased by the police on TV, and although he was eventually acquitted of all criminal charges (thanks to close friend Robert Kardashian being his lawyer), he lost the civil case against Nicole’s family. He also ended up in prison years later for armed robbery.