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25 Celebrities Who Went Downhill After Fame

celebrities who went downhill after fame mariah carey in a aqua gown
Mariah Carey performs in 2019. Photo by Ralph_PH. Mariah Carey is known to have perfect pitch.

There’s no doubt that with all the glitz and glamour of fame, there is constant pressure knowing that you’re constantly in the public eye as fans want to know your every move. It’s something that’s not for the faint of heart, and sadly, there are many who seem to crack under the pressure. Then, there are some who simply make stupid choices or don’t think before they say things, which then causes their once loyal fans to turn against them. No matter the reason, it doesn’t take much for that high point to quickly tip and see things shatter for our favorite stars.  

Here are 25 celebrities who went downhill after fame. 

1. Amanda Bynes

celebrities who disappeared from the spotlight a young amanda bynes on the red carpet
Image from Shutterstock.

With starring roles in films such as What a Girl Wants, She’s the Man, and Easy A, Amanda Bynes was proving to be a force to be reckoned with as it seemed as though she had the world in the palm of her hand. Then, since suddenly announcing her indefinite hiatus from acting in 2010, she soon found herself in trouble with the law, shattering her “girl next door” image. Being charged with driving under the influence will do it every time. 

2. Lindsay Lohan

a young lindsey lohan after filming the parent trap in 1998
Image from Shutterstock.

Lindsay Lohan is the red-headed bombshell that graced the covers of several classics, from The Parent Trap to Freaky Friday and Mean Girls to Herbie: Fully Loaded. She was clearly shaping up to become one of the next sweethearts of Hollywood as she got closer and closer to adulthood.

Sadly, that all changed in 2007 when she was charged with a misdemeanor hit-and-run, a DUI, and the possession of cocaine following a car accident she was involved in. Since then, the trouble has seemed to keep following her, with several more similar charges in the following years. Like many on our list of celebrities who went downhill after fame, however, she is doing her best to make a comeback, most recently starring in Falling for Christmas (2022) on Netflix. 

Related: 21 Famous Singers Who Served Jail Time

3. Orlando Brown

orlando brown arriving at an event
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For us Disney Channel kids, Orlando Brown was the embodiment of the loveable Eddie Thomas, the best friend of Raven Baxter on the hit show That’s So Raven. Nowadays, he’s finding himself in one legal issue after another. It all began in 2007 when he was found in possession of marijuana during a routine traffic stop. Since he’s been busted for domestic battery, drug possession, resisting arrest, and more, while he eventually went into rehab following an intervention from family and friends, he found himself in trouble yet again in 2022 for domestic violence. 

4. Britney Spears

singers who were drug addicts Britney Spears on stage in a pink outfit performing
Image from Shutterstock.

Britney Spears was arguably the biggest pop star of the late 1990s and early 2000s, but then all came crashing down. From driving with her child on her lap, her messy divorce from Kevin Federline, and custody battles, what wasn’t going on with her over the years, and none of that even includes her erratic behavior episodes. “Each new disaster [was] stripping away any residual sexiness in her public image,” said Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic. 

Related: Britney Spears Biography

5. Whitney Houston

whitney houston
27FEB98: Singer WHITNEY HOUSTON at the Soul Train Awards where she was presented with the 1998 Quincy Jones Award for Career Achievement. Image fro Shutterstock.

Whitney Houston is one of the greatest singers of all time. Just try to change our minds. That won’t ever change despite her spot on our celebrities list, went downhill after the fame list. Sadly, her downfall came in the late 1990s and the early 2000s when her “good girl” image started to tarnish as she began showing up late, canceling shows, and reportedly showing erratic behavior, which included rumors of drug usage. After that all started, she had a hard time getting her reputation back, and then her tragic death came on February 9, 2012. The only consolation is her contributions to music remain what she’s most remembered for today. 

Related: Whitney Houston’s First TV Appearance Will Give You Chills

6. Amy Winehouse

amy winehouse on the red carpet in a black dress
Image from Shutterstock.

Amy Winehouse is yet another of our celebrities who went downhill after fame list that sadly let drugs and other problems ruin the critical and commercial success she achieved. The “Stronger Than Me” singer had many criticizing her but also many coming to her defense. British singer and songwriter Lily Allen was quoted by The Scotsman as saying, “I know Amy Winehouse very well. And she is very different to what people portray her as being. Yes, she does get out of her mind on drugs sometimes, but she is also a very clever, intelligent, witty, funny person who can hold it together.” 

Related: How Did Amy Winehouse Die?

7. Charlie Sheen

charlie sheen sitting and holding a microphone
Image from Shutterstock.

There may not be anyone alive who doesn’t know the debacle surrounding this Two and a Half Men star, as it’s probably one of the first names to pop into your mind when you think about celebrities who went downhill after fame. He had a plethora of reasons for his career going down the tubes, from drug problems to making anti-Semitic comments.

Then, he just seemed to go plain mad as he posted online videos of himself smoking while cursing out his employers and even saying he was “a rock star who came from Mars.” If that wasn’t enough, the world was given the final straw when they found out he knowingly slept with more than 200 people even though he had HIV. 

8. Chris Brown

chris brown facts. chris brown in a black jacket and hat on the red carpet
Image from Shutterstock.

Chris Brown is brilliant in the world of music and even dance, but he quickly fell from grace in 2009 after he assaulted his then-girlfriend, fellow singer Rihanna. The incident left her with facial injuries and him with a shattered reputation as radio stations swiftly pulled his music from airplay, and companies canceled various endorsement deals. Brown has only continued to go on a downward spiral, finding himself in more scandalous behavior, such as a public brawl and a stand-off with police.

Related: 15 Astounding Chris Brown Facts 

9. Katherine Heigl

katherine heigl arriving at an event in a black dress
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When Grey’s Anatomy premiered in 2005, Katherine Heigl won hearts as the loveable, perky, and kind Izzie Stevens. Sadly, she made the mistake of not appreciating the success that it brought to her career. Heigl made headlines when she refused to submit her name for Emmy consideration, criticizing the material her character was giving. Just one season later, she was written out of the show. If that weren’t enough, she has been described by various co-stars both in television and film as challenging to work with, and in recent years, she has undoubtedly been seen less and less. 

10. Demi Lovato

demi lovato in a black lacy top on the red carpet
Image from Shutterstock.

Fame isn’t for the faint of heart, which is sadly what leads to many child stars spiraling out of control. Demi Lovato is a perfect example of that. Pressures of the industry led her to engage in self-harm, suffering from bulimia, and beginning “self-medicating” with drugs and alcohol. To add gas to an already growing flame, she later suffered a nervous breakdown and was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Since then, she has continued to have troubles with drugs and alcohol, even overdosing in 2018. 

Related: Demi Lovato’s Net Worth

11. Mike Tyson

celebrities who went bankrupt mike tyson in a suit holding his fist up
Image from Shutterstock.

He’s “Iron Mike” and “Kid Dynamite,” and even “the Baddest Man on the Planet,” as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, but Mike Tyson is also the one who bit off the ear of Evander Holyfield in 1997. That was only the start of the crazy. In the mid-2000s, he found himself the subject of even more controversies with arrests for DUIs and felony drug possession, sexual assault allegations, and more. 

Related: 22 Celebrities Who Went Bankrupt

12. Nicholas Cage

nicolas cage on the red carpet in 2023
Image from Shutterstock.

Nicholas Cage was high on his career with starring roles in films like Wild at Heart, Con Air, the National Treasure film series, and the Ghost Rider films. Then the downhill spiral came after Kathleen Turner released her memoir in 2008 that claimed Cage stole a chihuahua and was arrested for driving drunk on two separate occasions. A lawsuit against her caused several financial issues for the disgraced actor. During that time, he still found himself struggling with arrests for suspected domestic battery. 

13. Jon Gosselin

jon gosselin on john and kate plus 8 on the red carpet at an event
Image from Shutterstock.

Jon & Kate Plus 8 was a hit show for both the Discovery Health Channel and TLC as it seemingly portrayed a pretty perfect family with a couple in love at its core. Then, the family patriarch, Jon Gosselin, found himself in affair rumors and a nasty divorce with his ex-wife, Kate. He later apologized, saying, “I regret my conduct since Kate and I separated. … I used poor judgment in publicly socializing with other women so soon.” Sadly, he’s never gotten his reputation back, particularly that of a present, loving father.  

14. Macaulay Culkin

macaulay culkin on the red carpet taking a selfie in a red suit
Image from Shutterstock.

With this entry on our celebrities who went downhill after fame, we have a child star who came to realize that success doesn’t always transfer into adulthood very smoothly. Macaulay Culkin charmed in several films, most notably the Home Alone franchise and Richie Rich. While he initially chose to walk away from acting, wanting a “normal life,” his return to the spotlight never really got back off the ground. Although he has seen some resurgence with American Horror Story, you hear the name Macaulay Culkin, and it’s that baby-faced boy that automatically comes to mind. 

15. Michael Jackson

michael jackson's net worth Michael Jackson getting out of a car in a red outfit.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – Exact date unknown – circa 1990 – Michael Jackson arriving at a celebrity event. Image from Shutterstock.

Michael Jackson was and remains no doubt the King of Pop, but there’s also no doubt that in his final years, things were declining and declining fast. From child sexual abuse allegations over the years, label disputes, and finally, financial problems, there was just as much trouble that followed the “Thriller” singer as there was success. 

Related: How Did Michael Jackson Die?

16. Wesley Snipes

actor wesley snipes attending an event
Image from Shutterstock.

Best known for his roles in the Blade trilogy, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, and White Man Can’t Jump, Wesley Snipes had a great career going for him. That is until he got nailed for not paying his taxes. Snipes was found guilty of willfully not paying his taxes for more than three years. As a result, he spent time in jail (a year for each year he didn’t pay) and was charged $17 million in taxes and penalties. Although he’s recently done a few projects, mainly through Netflix, it seems as though he’s done for good. 

17. Shia LeBeouf

shia lebeouf in a suit attending an event in germany
Image from Shutterstock.

Shia LeBeouf was the next big thing to come out of the Disney Channel, but once again, erratic behavior spoiled it all. Some of his most notable instances include organizing extreme live art exhibits and walking down the red carpet with a paper bag over his head. Then, there’s his public badmouthing of Hollywood. He is, however, one on our list of celebrities who went downhill after fame who has seemed to make a comeback. Even his recent portrayal of St. Padre Pio has led to him choosing to convert to the Catholic Church. Our advice: don’t get stranded in the woods with Shia LeBeouf.

18. Rob Lowe

rob lowe in a dark shirt giving an interview
Image from Shutterstock.

In the 1980s, there was no one quite as hunky as Rob Lowe, as the “Brat Pack” member starred in films like The OutsidersYoungbloods, and St. Elmo’s Fire. Then, it all seemed to go down following the Paul Reuben scandal, which revealed a sex tape that Lowe had made, becoming the first video that was copied and sold of celebrities engaging in intercourse. While Lowe has regularly had work over his career, it did dampen things for quite a while. Gracefully, he climbed back on the Hollywood ladder, though, with fantastic performances in “Wayne’s World” and “Tommy Boy.” 

19. Justin Bieber

justin bieber mugshot
Mugshot of Justin Bieber taken by Miami Beach Police in January, 2014. Image is in the Public Domain.

What teenage girl didn’t fall in love with Baby Bieber when he first came on the scene? In recent years, however, Justin Bieber has found himself in hot water that has majorly affected his career. In 2016, he was caught on videotape using racial slurs while telling a heckler to stop talking. The backlash wasn’t minor among fans as #ByeJustinBieber was quickly trending on Twitter as many called for him to return to Canada. 

Related: Fascinating Justin Bieber Facts

20. Megan Fox

MGK and megan fox on set walking hand in hand
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Megan Fox was the ultimate sex symbol for years in films like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers. Then, she made the mistake of badmouthing her boss, which pretty much saw the end of her mainstream roles. She stood up with her comments, calling herself “out in front of the #MeToo movement,” but she still has held fewer and fewer roles ever since. 

Related: 28 Celebrities Who Had Normal Jobs Before Fame

21. Mariah Carey

mariah carey performing
Mariah Carey performs in 2019. Photo by Ralph_PH

Mariah Carey may be a great talent, but her diva-like behavior is what lands her on her list of celebrities who went downhill after fame. From garnering a reputation for being late, even to her own shows, and her Watch What Happens Live co-star Cedric Yarbrough calling her “unprofessional and borderline abusive to our director,” it just goes to show that talent can only get you so far. It certainly doesn’t mean much when you start showing no consideration for others around you. 

Related: Mariah Carey’s Biography

22. Selena Gomez

selena gomez in a red dress on the red carpet
Image from Shutterstock.

Like her former buddy, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez’s status as one of the celebrities who went downhill after fame is due in large part to her struggle with bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression, which caused her to take a downward spiral into an almost complete mental breakdown. She chronicled her battle with it all in her AppleTV+ documentary special, Selena Gomez: My Mind & MeIn a happy twist, she has seemed to take control back over her life in recent years, and she seems to be doing much better, which we can’t help but smile over. 

RelatedSelena Gomez Facts

23. Johnny Depp

johnny depp in a white suit wearing glasses
Image from Shutterstock.

Johnny Depp has brought to life so many memorable characters over the years, from Captain Jack Sparrow to Sweeney Todd, Edward Scissorhands, and even the Mad Hatter. While his fame hasn’t suffered like most on our list of celebrities who went downhill after fame, it has been more about the legal in recent years when he found himself in a very public divorce and court hearing after being accused of domestic and alcohol abuse by his ex-wife Amber Heard.

That wasn’t the only legal battle he’d found himself in since that first came in 2016 (and only recently resolved). In 2017, he filed a lawsuit against his financial managers, who countersued him. He’s seemed to have fewer prime roles since all this began. Only time will tell if that changes now that all court proceedings have been resolved.

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24. J.K. Rowling

jk rowling arriving at an event in a green dress
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Where would our generation be (well, a few generations be) without the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? It’s the franchise that has shaped generations thanks to the series of novels by author J.K. Rowling that was made even more significant by the hit films.

Though she’s still one of the richest women in the world, her star has fallen in recent years. She has come under fire for expressing her views about the transgender issue, causing many people to voice their displeasure with her, though some do defend her positions.

25. Bill Cosby

bill cosby in a white shirt giving an interview
Image from Shutterstock.

This final entry on our celebrities who went downhill after fame list still makes us sick to even think about. Bill Cosby was “America’s Dad,” but that was all shattered in the mid-2010s when several women came forward with sexual assault allegations against him. Since then, more than 50 women have come forward, and he was convicted in 2018 and sentenced to up to 10 years in the state prison.

Although his conviction was later overturned, and he was released in October 2021, his attempts to try and redeem himself have failed, and for a good reason. It was only made worse when We Need to Talk About Cosby was released in 2022, which featured interviews with his alleged victims.

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Written by Anna Paulson


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