13 Celebrities Who Ruined Their Careers
The world is full of famous people who have had tremendous success in their chosen fields. From actors and actresses to sports stars and musicians, celebrities at the top of the tree are treated like royalty and live a life most of us will never experience. While fame does bring with it many perks it also has its downside.
Constantly being in the public spotlight means all celebrities have their every move monitored. Everything they say or do is captured and there is no hiding from comments they may have tweeted before they were famous. The invention of camera phones also means celebrities are often unknowingly filmed doing things they shouldn’t be. This isn’t an excuse for poor behavior, but it’s undoubtedly part of why many celebrities who ruined their careers never recovered.
That’s not to say every mistake results in the end of someone’s career, but with the advent of cancel culture and people being less forgiving these days, there are many celebrities who squandered their opportunity at fame. These unfortunate individuals had the world at their feet but messed it up and are now faded B-listers that fans no longer want anything to do with.
From Arnie Hammer’s weird sexual cannibal fetish to Kevin Spacey’s sexual assault cases, here are some of the biggest celebrities who ruined their careers through their own actions.
13 Celebrities Who Ruined Their Careers
1. Armie Hammer
The fall from grace of Armie Hammer has to be one of the wildest stories in recent Hollywood history. Breaking out in David Fincher’s The Social Network, Hammer quickly became a leading man with star turns in indie favorite Call Me By Your Name, spy thriller The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and drama On the Basis of Sex.
Then it all went downhill in 2020 when an anonymous Instagram account released alleged text messages sent by Hammer, who was married at the time, to various women about his sexual fantasies, which included rape and cannibalism. Hammer denied these texts were his, but it didn’t take long for the story to blow up, with several more women coming forward with horror stories about Hammer and his abuse towards them.
The controversy led to Hammer dropping out of several high-profile projects and going to ground. Although a police investigation into Hammer went nowhere, he has pretty much been blacklisted from Hollywood and was last seen selling timeshares in the Cayman Islands.
2. Chris Brown
Chris Brown is a great example of someone who did a horrible thing that should have ruined his career but has managed to remain successful thanks to his adoring fanbase. While he has been caught up in several notable controversies, including punching Frank Ocean and being accused of rape (the case never went to trial), Brown will always be remembered for beating on Rihanna.
The two were in a relationship for several years until they got into an argument on February 8, 2009. Brown assaulted Riri, was arrested, and pleaded guilty, getting five years probation. Although the incident caused an uproar at the time, Brown’s popularity never suffered as it should have and he has slowly been able to rebuild his career and reputation over the years to where he is now regarded as one of the greatest R&B artists of all time.
3. Mel Gibson
Aussie actor Mel Gibson is doing all he can to kick-start his career again without much luck. At one time making close to $25 million per picture, the star of Mad Max, Braveheart, and Lethal Weapon is now relegated to B-grade direct-to-video movies after making several offensive statements throughout the early to mid-00s.
Gibson’s first misdemeanor came in 1991 when he made some homophobic remarks to a Spanish newspaper. He then went on an anti-Semitic tirade when arrested for drunk driving in 2006, which really rocked his career. While he apologized, just four years later he was again in the headlines after video recordings of him using the n-word surfaced. Topping things off, Winona Ryder accused Gibson of making homophobic and anti-Semitic jokes around her in the 90s.
The past decade has been fairly quiet for Gibson since all these incidents made the tabloids, with the actor having stayed out of the public spotlight as much as possible. You can read all about Gibson’s timeline of controversy here.
4. Johnny Depp
People were captivated by the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial in 2022. Both alleged they were abused physically, emotionally, and mentally by the other in a court case that revealed such tidbits as Heard shitting on Depp’s bed and the Pirates of the Caribbean actor admitting to being a drunk and a drug addict. It unfolded as a Hollywood blockbuster people could enjoy from the comfort of their homes and was lapped up by the media.
Neither has come out of the trial in good shape. While most people surprisingly sided with Depp, this hasn’t translated to career success. He was dropped from many high-profile advertising campaigns, was axed as Captain Jack Sparrow by Disney, and replaced in the Harry Potter spin-off movie series Fantastic Beasts. He only has one movie scheduled for release, and that’s a French film called La Favorite, another sign Hollywood isn’t ready to forgive him just yet.
5. Amber Heard
Johnny Depp’s ex Amber Heard hasn’t fared much better. The public turned on her during the trial and there was a petition to get her fired from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Thankfully smarter heads prevailed and her role wasn’t compromised. Forced to pay Depp $10 million, Heard settled out of court for a much lower amount that prevented her from going broke.
Whether Heard deserves the hate coming her way is debatable, as it was brave for her to speak up about Depp, but as the court case demonstrated, she was also responsible for doing and saying some nasty stuff and is now suffering the consequences of speaking her truth.
6. Roseanne Barr
Comedian Roseanne Barr’s career has had its ups and downs, but it seemed like she was finally back in the good graces of fans with the revival of her 90s smash sitcom Roseanne. But as she has done throughout her career, Barr sabotaged her success after making a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, who was a senior advisor to former President Barrack Obama.
While she apologized and blamed the tweet on medication, the event happened in 2018, just as cancel culture was taken off. Not wanting to be seen as weak, ABC canceled Roseanne and then rebooted it as The Connors, featuring the original cast of Roseanne besides Barr.
Barr is believed to have a new show debuting in 2023 on the Fox Network, but she is still seen as a racist by many and far from as popular as she once was.
7. Ezra Miller
The former Flash actor has gone off the reservation in recent years, sending their career down the toilet. Touted as one of the next big things after getting rave reviews in We Need To Talk To Kevin, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and the Fantastic Beasts franchise, Miller was cast as the Flash and life seemed good.
But in 2019 Miller’s parents divorced and his life started to fall apart. He began wearing a bulletproof vest, convinced the KKK was after him, while also being arrested several times for being drunk and disorderly in public and assault. Then there was his weird relationship with 18-year-old activist Tokata Iron Eyes (Miller was 29 at the time) and the incident at Vermont Farm which is absolutely bonkers
While The Flash is still scheduled for release in 2023, Miller’s career is at a crossroads, with the actor apparently attending a psychiatric facility to get help.
8. Gina Carano
Former MMA fighter Gina Carano got in trouble in 2021 after posting a photo to social media comparing being a Republican to the atrocities suffered by Jewish people during the Holocaust. As you can imagine, this didn’t go down well.
This wasn’t the first time Carano had expressed her right-wing views, and it led to the actress being fired from the hit Disney show The Mandalorian. She also canceled a planned film called White Knuckle after not wanting to adhere to Hollywood rules regarding masks and COVID-19. Whatever promising career she once had as an actress is no more, with Carano relegated to horrible direct-to-DVD flicks.
9. Jennifer Grey
Off the back of Dirty Dancing and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Jennifer Grey was another young actress touted as the next big thing. While she was loved by fans and movie insiders, Grey didn’t love herself, afraid her large nose would ruin her chances of success in the film industry, despite already proving her credentials.
So Grey had two reconstructive surgeries to fix her nose, but they didn’t exactly go to plan, with the results leaving Hollywood unimpressed and Grey almost unrecognizable. Although she has managed to eke out a living in the movie industry, Grey never reached the heights many thought she would before the surgery. She deserves her flowers.
10. Shia LaBeouf
It’s hard to say where Shia LaBeouf is at with his career. The star of Transformers, The Peanut Butter Falcon, Fury, Lawless, and Honey Boy has been plagued by controversy throughout his career, of his own making we might add. His most recent actions have been the most troubling, with LaBeoud’s former partner FKA Twigs suing him for sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress.
LaBeouf has owned up to these accusations on fellow actor and friend Jon Bernthal’s podcast Real Ones, but that doesn’t mean he can get away with what he has done. Strangely it doesn’t seem to have ruined his career, with LaBeouf currently filming Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis. But if FKA Twigs wins her court case against LaBeouf, it could finally see the curtain brought down on his career.
11. Kanye West
After years of flirting with his career, Kanye West finally seems to have torpedoed himself into oblivion. West has never been one to back down from speaking his mind, but after making anti-Semitic comments at the end of 2022 and doubling down on them, it seems as if he’s finally facing the consequences.
Several big brands dropped him, including adidas, Gap, and Foot Locker, while many of his peers have spoken out against him and distanced themselves from West. Even his ex-wife Kim Kardashian is doing her best to stay clear of West. The rapper and producer has been laying low since the shit hit the fan and it’s unsure if he will recover from this latest incident.
12. R Kelly
Few people have kissed their careers goodbye in such spectacular fashion. Once the biggest R&B artist in the world, R Kelly’s career and life began to disintegrate in 2019 when authorities began investing Kelly for sexual assault and other related crimes after the release of the documentary Surviving R. Kelly.
Arrested and put on trial, it was discovered that Kelly had been keeping a harem of women as sex slaves while indulging in nefarious behavior with them. Kelly was found guilty of three child pornography charges and three charges of enticing a minor by a Chicago court in 2022 and sentenced to 30 years in jail, effectively killing his career.
13. Hartley Sawyer
Getting his start on the soap opera The Young and the Restless, Hartley Sawyer landed a big gig as part of The Flash cast until old racist, misogynistic, and homophobic tweets surfaced. He was immediately fired and took to Instagram to apologize, releasing a lengthy statement.
While sincere in his apology, it hasn’t helped Sawyer with his career, with the actor seemingly done with acting, having not starred in anything since 2020.
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