Everybody wants to know about the stars who burned out, long before their true potential was reached. We all want to see why they failed and how far they fell. We want to see how awful they look now and if they got fat, ugly, or both.
Why are articles about “washed up” celebrities so popular? Well, it may just be good old jealousy. The vast majority of us aren’t making millions of dollars, although we wish we could. So maybe, it’s like a confidence boost to see other people reach the top and then drop. We also imagine that if one of us, “normal people,” got famous, we would be far too wise to let our spotlight dim.
However, the truth is, most of the “washed up” stars are doing well financially and are also still very active in show business. They work on projects that aren’t quite as popular as their glory days but are still popular enough to earn tons of cash. These are the 15 celebrities that aren’t as “washed up” as everybody says. It’s time to dispel the myths.
15 Jessica Biel
For some reason, many fans think that this gorgeous woman hasn’t acted in a while. They say that she is a has-been who can’t land a job because she can’t act and that Hollywood directors have written her off. All of this is not true. The reality is that Biel is still getting tons of work. She was recently the star of the show The Sinner. The eight-episode thriller had the History of Violence premise. Jessica’s character was a happy suburban mom with a violent criminal past, which she could not forget. Jessica also appeared in Shock and Awe. This film was directed by Rob Reiner and starred A-listers like Woody Harrelson and Tommy Lee Jones. The political movie detailed President Bush’s invasion of Iraq back in 2003, an attack which was based on false claims of weapons of mass destruction.
14 Jim Carrey
We must admit that Jim Carrey has fallen on hard times but only compared to a pinnacle of success, which many A-List actors never even get close to reaching. Three huge blockbuster comedies sent Jim Carrey’s stock through the roof. He did The Mask, Pet Detective, and Dumb and Dumber, all within a couple of years, and was the highest paid actor on the planet. But just because he’s not reeling in record-breaking numbers anymore does not mean that he’s done forever. Netflix recently released a documentary called Jim and Andy, which is about Jim’s behind-the-scenes work during Man on the Moon. Jim was totally obsessed with the late shock-comic Andy Kaufman, and he totally embodied the guy. He stayed in character at all times and was seriously creeping out his co-stars. Jim is also due out with a Showtime television series in 2018 called Kidding.
13 Mel Gibson
It is amazing how awful this man is behind the scenes and how his career came back after such controversy. At one point, Mel Gibson was thought to be blacklisted forever. He was pulled over, drunk, and has harassed every cop that approached him. He spat s*xist slurs and was racist and hateful towards just about every single ethnicity on the planet. But he’s back, folks. There’s no doubt about it. Sadly, Mel’s recovery makes you wonder what will happen to all of the Hollywood scum who were lately exposed by the “Silence Breakers.” Will we welcome those jerks back into our movies in a few years too? Who knows? Mel got an Academy Award nomination for directing Hacksaw Ridge, post-scandal. And he is currently starring in the blockbuster comedy, Daddy’s Home 2. This slimy dude has four huge projects due out in 2018, including Boss Level, The Professor and the Madman, and Dragged Across Concrete.
12 Katherine Heigl
This beautiful blonde stunner went off the charts after her role on Grey’s Anatomy. Then something bad happened. She wanted back on the show, then she wanted back off. Rumors spread that she was bossy, pretentious, and a demon to work with; and then her career wound up in the toilet. Well, actually, that’s all just a bunch of mumbo jumbo. Katherine Heigl is doing just fine and dandy. She had three huge projects this year, more than a lot of Hollywood A-listers can say. Heigl starred as the lead in Unforgettable along with Rosario Dawson. Then she appeared as the lead in the television show Doubt. She also scored some animation work with the voice of Andie in The Nut Job 2. None of these projects were an overwhelming success, but who cares? Girl got paid. Katherine just had one of the best years of her career.
11 Katie Holmes
Aw, poor old sweetie pie Katie Holmes. She never should have gotten married to Tom Cruise. She was almost taken captive by the Scientology cult, had to sneak out of her house in the middle of the night, and swear a pact of secrecy that she would never expose any religious secrets. Just messing with you. That’s just another set of rumors that has been getting passed around Hollywood. The fact is, Katie is doing fine. She has a wonderful daughter, Suri, with Tom, so why would she regret marrying him? And everybody loves to bag on Scientology, and it is weird but is it really that bad? Not really. Also, for the record, Katie is killing it lately. She had a breakout year, starting out with playing Jackie Kennedy in the Kennedy’s mini-series. Then she starred in Logan Lucky. She has three major projects coming out soon, including Dear Dictator and the star-studded Ocean’s Eight.
10 Macaulay Culkin
This guy is constantly slammed for falling short of his potential, but it’s really a bunch of crap. The dude is doing just fine. Sure, he did get caught in a bit of a trap. After all, how can you compete with the success of your child self when the success was astronomically big? Mac fell into the similar arc of Jim Carrey, where he got too big too fast. Add to that the whole child stigma, the Michael Jackson past, having to divorce your parents, and yeah, it sounds hard to recover. But Mac is doing fine, seriously. He is dating total hottie Brenda Song, for one thing. How’d he meet her? Well, they co-starred in Changeland, the drama/comedy film due out next year, which was written and directed by Seth Green. This may just mark the dawn of a major Mac comeback.
9 Taylor Lautner
There are rumors that the entire cast of the Twilight films are cursed. Poor Rob Pattinson hasn’t had a big hit since. Kristen Stewart’s career has been grossly overshadowed by the rumors about her personal life. And then there’s Taylor. What has he been doing? Nothing. Well, actually, that’s not the case. All of these stars are still doing tons of work, and Taylor is no exception. He starred in multiple episodes of Scream Queens just last year, and he has remained in the public eye. Recently, he was prank-called on a radio show by Paris Jackson. Sure, he sounded like a dope on the soundbite, but there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Lautner has also been spotted dating the lovely and talented Olivia Holt whose career couldn’t be any hotter.
8 Danielle Fishel
We all remember Topanga from the Boy Meets World days. We grew up watching her and seeing Cory bumble his way into her heart. Then she disappeared for a while. She made the news every now and then. She dated Lance Bass before he came out. Some people think they got married, but that was a rumor. She did face some drunk driving charges back in 2007, which did not look good. But don’t worry, we assure you that Danielle Fishel has made a full recovery. Since then, she starred in Boiling Pot and the TV series Gravity Falls. She even starred in the Boy Meets World reboot, called Girl Meets World. The show was a huge success on the Disney Channel and launched the careers of kid stars Rowan Blanchard and Sabrina Carpenter. Sure, reviving your own classic character is pretty weak on the acting front, but you do what you gotta do. Last we checked, she was still worth about 8 million.
7 Julia Stiles
Here’s one of the most lied-about celebrities on the list. For some reason, tons of people think that Julia Stiles is stuck somewhere in the upside-down dimension. She had some huge hits in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, with 10 Things I Hate About You and Save the Last Dance. Then, she totally disappeared! No, that’s not true. Julia Stiles has been in the Hollywood game way before those movies and long after. She has one of the longest resumes in the business. What about all the Bourne movies? And don’t forget major films like Mona Lisa Smile, The Omen, and Silver Linings Playbook. Just because she’s not playing the lead in teen rom-coms anymore doesn’t mean she ceased to exist. Let’s also mention a ton of TV shows she’s done, including Dexter, The Mindy Project, and most recently, Riviera, which was done just this year.
We’re not sure where all of this nonsense begins. It’s like a rumor starts out as a joke, then dumb people believe it. All of the sudden, it spreads like wildfire and then even normal people start to think it’s true. There are actually rumors online (many of them, in fact) that Shakira is dead. Talk about the “washed up” angle taken to the way-too-extreme. The rumors are simply not true. Don’t you remember The Voice when she starred as a coach? What about the soundtrack for Zootopia, which happens to be one of the biggest animated film successes ever? And don’t even think about looking up all of her Spanish-language projects. Shakira dominates Hispanic television shows. She stars in them and writes the soundtrack too.
5 Frankie Muniz
Remember Malcolm in the Middle? The zany comedy about the four brothers and their insane parents was a major hit. Of course, Bryan Cranston, who played the dad, went on to score major A-List status after starring in Breaking Bad. Frankie, who played Malcolm, the title character, was a great actor too. He spoke to the camera in a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off type of style, and audiences could easily relate to him. Then, what happened? The dude wanted to get out of Hollywood in a hurry. Like other TV actors, including Patrick Dempsey and Jason Priestley, Muniz got bit by the car-racing bug. But that doesn’t mean he left Hollywood forever. Frankie still appears in lots of projects. He acted in Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23. He also appeared in the Sharknado series. He has a couple more films due out soon, including Hot Bath an' a Stiff Drink 2 and Another Day in Paradise.
4 Freddie Prinze, Jr.
We all recognize Freddie Prinze, Jr. The dude was an icon of the late 1990’s. He was in the I Know What You Did Last Summer films and rom-coms like She’s All That. He followed up shortly after with the Scooby Doo movies playing Fred, alongside his wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar, as Daphne. And then the guy was swept up into the air by a tornado and was never seen again. That’s false. Just another “washed up” theory that is not true. Freddie still gets plenty of work in Hollywood. People just don’t realize it because most of it is voice work. The actor does a ton of voices for Star Wars Rebels. He also voices the video games. And besides voices, he has acted on Bones and 24, long after his 90’s days. We have to give him more credit.
3 Jonathan Taylor Thomas
It’s always tougher for the kid stars to make a comeback. After all, their entire look changes. It’s like making a career for yourself twice, with two different identities, which is not easy. Sure, he was cute in the beginning, but then his voice changed, a beard started growing in, and then he just looked weird. Jonathan Taylor Thomas is no different. He took some hits. But the good news is he’s still alive, and he didn’t get arrested a hundred times. And Jonathan has managed to land some jobs too. He has actually appeared in a lot more stuff than you thought. Over the years, Thomas acted on big hits like Smallville, Veronica Mars, and 8 Simple Rules. These shows all took place way after Home Improvement. But Jonathan still has ties with his old TV dad, Tim Allen. JTT’s most recent credit is several appearances on Allen’s latest sitcom, Last Man Standing.
2 Calista Flockhart
Here’s a star that came out of nowhere with a huge hit called Ally McBeal. At one point around 1998, the legal drama/comedy/romance had the whole nation transfixed for some reason. The show launched actresses like Lucy Liu, Portia de Rossi, and Jane Krakowski. The show creator, David E Kelley, was declared a genius, and Flockhart won a Golden Globe. And then the actress crawled into a cave on the north pole and has never been seen since. Okay, that’s not true either. Calista has kept herself very busy. Aside from her personal life (marrying Harrison Ford in 2010), Calista has also enjoyed a successful career. She has acted on many shows after Ally, including Brothers and Sister, Web Therapy, and Full Circle. And let’s not forget her latest role on Supergirl.
1 Haley Joel Osment
One line made this kid famous, “I see dead people.” That was it. The Sixth Sense was a huge hit and Haley Joel Osment was launched into film lore. He was an overnight “where did this kid come from?!” type of success story. He was the biggest child star since Macaulay Culkin. Then the dude changed his name, had extreme face surgery, and entered the witness protection program. That last sentence was a lie. In fact, of all the so-called “washed up” stars, HJO is the busiest. You may not recognize him now because he grew an enormous hipster beard, but that’s still Haley Jo, and he is doing well. While he was going through that awkward teen phase, he did tons of voice work, mostly video games, which was a pretty smart move. After that, he starred in tons of stuff. There’s a long list of shows, including Silicon Valley, Comedy Bang! Bang!, and The Spoils Before Dying. The guy has much more on the way, including a writer/director film called Clara’s Ghost, due out this winter.
Sources: IMDb, Wikipedia, HuffPo