For every celebrity buried under a plethora of success and mainstream notoriety, there’s an equally successful celebrity who has seemingly disappeared into the ether of normalcy. Or, as you’ll come to find out, they strayed so far into the bizarre that their careers ultimately suffered for it.
From Brendan Fraser’s retreat into suburbia to Randy Quaid’s turn to the crazy side, these are the A-listers who have completely fallen off our radar. And for more celebrities who favored the quiet life, check out these 20 Celebrities Who Shunned Hollywood for Small Town Life.
Kevin Jonas, one-third of the former boy band sensation, the Jonas Brothers, has been taking it easy since his days in the limelight. In fact, so easy that it seems like he fell off the face of the planet completely.
Since the band called it quits in 2013, Kevin has been staying busy while under the radar. In 2013, he founded the construction company, JonasWerner, and became the co-CEO of the Blu Market Company, which works closely with social media influencers. Additionally, in 2015, he created the food app called Yood, and in 2016 he staked a partnership in the video-sharing app called We Heart It. And for more celebrity side-hustles, check out these 30 Celebrities Who Are Amazing Artists on the Side.
This actor has appeared in over 90 films—though none noteworthy in the past decade. You might recognize him from his roles in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or A Streetcar Named Desire. This prolific actor’s career became a thing of the past when Quaid and his wife, Evi, began getting in trouble with the law. Through a number of bizarre burglaries and attempts to leave the United States (he feared for his life here), it seems like the two have finally settled down in Vermont.
Once upon a time, starlet Amanda Bynes inspired young girls everywhere to be their weird, funny selves as the lead in The Amanda Show. After the show wrapped, Bynes starred in a few A-list roles on Hairspray and She’s the Man—though the positive press only seemed to last a few years before her career imploded entirely. The legal trouble began in 2012 and hasn’t seen an end yet.
Through a number of DUI and drug arrests, very strange behavior (she enjoyed starting fires in the driveways of strangers in California), along with a 72-hour mental health evaluation hold in a hospital, it’s safe to say we won’t be hearing from Bynes for a while. And for more bizarre celebrity antics, check out these 50 Crazy Celebrity Facts You Won’t Believe Are True.
Sean Connery, the original James Bond, has been missing from the silver screen since starring in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003. While he hasn’t disappeared completely (he still produces occasionally), the 87-year-old announced his retirement after receiving the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in the summer of 2006. Even though his absence is felt by many in Hollywood and beyond, Connery seems completely happy in his new role. When asked how he was enjoying retirement, Connery responded that it was “just too [expletive] fun.”
Jamie Lynn Spears
The younger sibling of Britney Spears didn’t hide long in her sister’s shadow before entering the limelight. Though Spears made a few appearances in film and television as a child (most notably in Crossroads as the younger version of Britney’s character, Lucy Wagner), she didn’t receive star status until landing the lead role as Zoey Brooks on the Nickelodeon show Zoey 101.
After three years on the very popular show, the 16-year-old announced that she was pregnant—effectively ending her role on the show and putting her acting career on hiatus. Though she has tried to break through as a country star, Jamie Lynn has not been successful at rehabilitating her career since.
The Lord of the Rings star (and arguably the most attractive elf ever portrayed on camera) hasn’t seen much success as of late. Though Tyler has appeared on a few shows like Gunpowder and Harlots, we haven’t seen her shine on screen in quite a while.
Actress-turned-professional-party-girl Tara Reid can blame a few botched plastic surgeries for her steady decline in Hollywood. Well, you might also be able to blame the career slump on her reality show Taradise, which basically gave witness to Reid’s excessive partying. Though Reid has presumably called it quits with her acting career, a few small business ventures have kept Reid afloat in the last decade.
Freddie Prinze Jr.
Quintessential ’90s heartthrob, Freddie Prinze Jr., seemed to disappear completely after his role on Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. As it turns out, the actor did not completely vanish—he just shifted his talents to more behind-the-scenes action. Since marrying his wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Prinze Jr. has become a voice actor and dad to two children.
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Arguably one of the most recognizable faces from the ’90s and early ’00s, the “show me the money!” actor has seemingly moved on from his Oscar buzz. Gooding Jr.’s most recent role was in an online video game called The Quest for the Code, which focuses on juvenile asthma management.
Like many celebrities before him, The Mummy star just wanted to go back to leading a semi-normal life of mediocrity. After he was unable to pay alimony and child support debts totaling over $900,000, Fraser sold most of his possessions and moved to Bedford, New York to live a less star-studded life.
One might describe Mira Sorvino as a one-hit wonder: that one-hit wonder role being a happy-go-lucky woman in the Woody Allen film Mighty Aphrodite. (And it’s a terrible shame, because by all accounts it was due to the fact that she rebuffed serial abuser Harvey Weinstein’s advances, and she suffered, career-wise, as a result.) Sorvino’s role garnered much critical acclaim and earned her an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Since the film wrapped in 1995, Sorvino has only landed minor roles in indie films like Reservation Road.
Model and actress Kim Basinger achieved great success in her early career, though these achievements quickly waned in light of financial troubles after purchasing land in Braselton, Georgia to use for tourism and film festivals—events that never panned out and cost the actress millions of dollars. Since her role in 8 Mile in 2002, Basinger claims that her agoraphobia has kept her out of the spotlight.
Geena Davis, one of the Thelma & Louise duo, has seen little of the silver screen. In more recent years, Davis has been committed to gender representation in cinema with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which aims to increase the presence of female characters in media aimed at children. Further, in 2015, Davis launched an annual film festival in Bentonville, Arkansas, which showcases films produced, directed, and starring minorities and women.
Once the love interest of every male lead in the ’90s, MacDowell has now mostly disappeared from the mainstream and delved into more subpar material on the Hallmark Channel. While this can sometimes be typical of aging stars, we expected more out of the Groundhog Day lead.
During the ’80s, Emilio Estevez was made famous for being a member of the brat pack. Since his days as a teen heartthrob, Estevez has become a prolific director—his 1986 film Wisdom setting the record for the youngest person to ever direct and star in a feature film. He was 16.
If ’90s culture could be captured in any film, it would most likely be a snapshot of Alicia Silverstone’s hilarious and compelling character, Cher, in Clueless. But whatever happened to the ’90s cinema darling? As it turns out, Silverstone preferred the theater over the big screen, and, though still picking up a few small movie roles here and there, she mostly steered clear of film.
Though Demi Moore has appeared in a few minor roles recently (most notably in a recurring role on Empire), they pale in comparison to the fame and notoriety that Moore earned during the ’80s and ’90s. Along with starring in the award-winning film Ghost, alongside Patrick Swayze, Moore also became the posed for several photo shoots (one completely nude) that turned her into an instant sex symbol. Since then, Moore has only appeared in small roles, as she’s been busy raising a family.
Meg Ryan is yet another movie icon who has shied away from the spotlight in favor of normalcy. While Ryan has been a part of a few successful film ventures like In the Land of Women, she has strayed far from her typical role as complicated love interest and into content with more depth. Unfortunately, most of the films Ryan has been a part of more recently have not been received well by critics.
Action star Mel Gibson has made waves in recent decades with his rampant alcohol abuse, to say nothing of his anti-Semitic rant to a police officer. His blacklisting resulted in a 10-year hiatus that ended in 2016 with his film Hacksaw Ridge, which garnered two Academy Award nominations.
Comedian and actor Mike Myers hasn’t inspired any laughs in the recent decade, as he seems to have completely vanished from film altogether. These days, you can find Dr. Evil sitting in the director’s chair.
Master martial artist Chuck Norris hasn’t graced our television screens since 2005—aside from a small appearance in The Expendables 2. Instead, he’s been focusing on his family and faith—and of course, kicking butt.
This Avatar actor was only a household name for a very brief period of time—and then he disappeared completely. Since critics hailed him as one of the greatest actors of the 2000s, Sam Worthington has only gone on to star in small, less-memorable roles.
While it’s true that Jessica Alba hasn’t starred in any truly groundbreaking roles throughout her career, the actress did gain a considerable amount of attention for her good looks, appearing in multiple “hot” lists by Maxim, People, and other publications from 2001-2014. Now, Alba is a successful businesswoman as the creator of The Honest Company, a venture providing safe and environmentally-friendly household cleaning products.
Sometimes lovingly referred to as the “Chanel muse,” French actress Audrey Tautou had a number of iconic roles in the early 2000s that cemented her as a fashion icon and international star. However, since starring in the French romantic comedy Delicacy, Tautou has only been seen attending the occasional fashion show.
BFF to Leonardo DiCaprio, actor Tobey Maguire has seen much less success than his audition buddy. Since the days of Spiderman, Maguire has done very little acting on the big screen—instead opting to pursue voice acting.
Television medical drama Grey’s Anatomy catapulted Katherine Heigl into the limelight. After further success with movies like Knocked Up and The Ugly Truth, Heigl decided to leave Grey’s Anatomy in 2010 to focus on her film career. Unfortunately, this would prove to be a catastrophic decision as nearly every film she appeared in after the fact landed her a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress. Now, it appears that Heigl has given up her career completely—much to the chagrin of many critics.
Emile Hirsch was once great at playing gritty, real characters on film. Since his breakout role in Wild Iris in 2001, Hirsch has gone on to portray many real people, often to overwhelmingly positive reviews. Since starring as Christopher McCandless in Into the Wild, Hirsch’s roles have still been as raw and real as ever—just less successful.
Often playing the awkward, bumbling teen, Justin Long achieved great success with early roles in Jeepers Creepers, Dodgeball, and Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Now, he’s managed to vanish completely from our radar.
Perhaps best known for his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker in multiple Star Wars films, Hayden Christensen would rather spend time on his farm in Ontario than actively seek leading roles. Lately, his roles have only been minor supporting parts—and these are more than fine with Christensen.
Chad Michael Murray
In terms of television heartthrobs of the 21st century, One Tree Hill Chad Michael Murray would definitely take the cake. Though, unfortunately for Murray, after the show wrapped in 2009, he was only able to find a few serious non-heartthrob roles (one of which he found in Fruitvale Station). And for more celebrity fails, check out these 15 Times Actors Turned Down Hugely Iconic Roles.
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