Hollywood is the epitome of fickle. Though an actor may be a hot commodity today, there is no telling what tomorrow will bring. No matter how many awards they win or box office records they break, there is absolutely no guarantee that they will be able to maintain career momentum. Even if they manage to stay in peak physical condition, the odds are never in their favor. Just ask the actors on this list.
Though looks will get you far in the industry, only a handful of sexy stars have secured A-List tenure. The reasons their phones stopped ringing are varied, but not always due to self-destruction or a box office stinker. Sometimes, it’s just that the industry has collectively decided they are no longer a “draw” or they’ve found an up-and-comer who embodies all the same qualities but is much cheaper to hire.
On the other hand, sometimes it is the actors who have unwittingly hit the self-destruct button on their careers. Some slept with the wrong person. Others pissed off one too many employers and colleagues with their entitlement. Movies are expensive and arduous. The last thing a filmmaker needs on set is a liability.
Whatever the case may be, though they’ve kept it tight, these 16 beautiful and once-beloved mega-stars have seen their careers fall straight into the toilet.
16 Halle Berry
Though Berry’s ethereal beauty seems eternal, her star has fallen nonetheless. It’s not a question of talent. She won an Emmy for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and was the first woman of color to win an Oscar in a major category for Monster’s Ball. But then she signed on as a Bond girl in Die Another Day, one of the more tepid installments of the franchise. From there, she plummeted into B-Movie territory with the ham-fisted supernatural thriller, Gothika and Catwoman, a film so objectively awful that Berry collected her Razzie in person. Also, the X-Men films increasingly sidelined Storm’s storyline with each installment. 2012’s Dark Tide has a staggering 0% Rotten Tomatoes rating and 2017’s Kidnap was a complete flop. Hopefully she’ll get back into award territory later this year in Kings, a drama set just before the Rodney King verdict.
15 Pierce Brosnan
The Irish actor first turned heads in Mrs. Doubtfire and, 2 years later, he nabbed the James Bond franchise. After that, he was turning up everywhere, with roles like the handsome professor in Mars Attacks!, the handsome volcano doctor in Dante’s Peak, and the handsome playboy thief in The Thomas Crown Affair. Though 2008’s ensemble musical Mamma Mia! was a hit, Brosnan hardly worked from 2006 to 2013. He currently has several films in post-production, but apart from Mamma Mia! 2, they aren't particularly high profile or anticipated. He also isn’t doing much to shed his image of being a relic. When casting rumors circulated for the next James Bond, Brosnan “helpfully” weighed in on his perceived limitations of the role: “James Bond is a guy, he’s all male… He’ll be male and he’ll be white.” OK, Grandpa.
14 Cameron Diaz
In the late 1990s, Diaz effortlessly bandied between supermodel-next-door roles in comedies like My Best Friend’s Wedding and There’s Something About Mary, and edgier indies like Being John Malkovich, and Vanilla Sky. On top of that, she helped reinvent Charlie’s Angels and landed the Shrek franchise. Her work in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York earned her a Golden Globe nod. Diaz seemed unsinkable until 2011’s, Bad Teacher, a comedic letdown that tarnished her bankability. Disenchantment continued in profitable but subpar titles like Sex Tape, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and Annie (2014). Appearance-wise, Diaz is practically untouched by time, but it seems Hollywood took note of the dip in professional quality. Diaz isn’t hurting for money, biding her time with a series of best selling books about body positivity. However, her undeniable talent has become a puzzlingly underused resource in Hollywood.
13 Taylor Lautner
Lautner hit it big as a beefcake werewolf in the Twilight series. Sadly, the job was both a blessing and a curse. Despite earning money and adoration from millions of teenagers, he was never able to move past the role. He blew his chance to break out with 2011’s box office bomb, Abduction. There are also rumors that his rates are astronomical and unwavering. Reportedly demanding $7 million to star in Stretch Armstrong and $10 million to star in David and Goliath, he failed to land either role. He also has trouble keeping his romantic and professional lives separate. Of course, he’s still got his youth and good looks. His foray into comedy on season 2 of Scream Queens went well, so, perhaps if he sticks with lighter material and keeps more realistic salary expectations, there’s hope for the young wolf yet.
12 Kristen Stewart
Stewart’s post Twilight career has also been rife with stumbling blocks. She maintained her crush-worthy status in Adventureland and The Runaways, but her tumultuous experience on Snow White and the Huntsman stalled job offers. She was upstaged by Charlize Theron and tarnished her reputation by cheating on then boyfriend, Robert Pattinson, with her married director. Criticized for her cold demeanor and resting grump face, Stewart’s been busting her butt to get back in Hollywood’s good graces. She was well received in Personal Shopper and Café Society and she’s also the first American actress to receive the César Award (a French Oscar) for her role in 2014’s Clouds of Sils Maria. Despite those roles, she doesn’t have much on the docket other than a Lizzie Borden retelling and the submarine-set thriller, Underwater.
11 Eva Mendes
Mendes smoldered in the aughts in blockbusters like Training Day, Hitch, and 2 Fast 2 Furious. She proved she was more than just a pretty face with her hilarious turn in Ghost Rider and some dramatic heavy lifting in Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and The Place Beyond the Pines. However, despite obvious talent and unequivocal beauty, Mendes has all but disappeared. Her last role was in Lost River, an experimental drama, written and directed by partner Ryan Gosling, which was met with abysmal reviews and poor returns. Mendes has utilized the break to focus on raising her two children with Gosling, and seems content on letting him be the breadwinner, at least for now. She says she hasn’t given up on acting, but has expressed a desire for meatier, less glamorous roles that Hollywood just isn’t offering.
10 Cuba Gooding Jr.
Gooding’s breakout role was in Boyz in the Hood, but it was four little words in Jerry Maguire that made him a household name. Hollywood showed him the money and an Oscar for his trouble. Though he tried to stay on the award track, 1998’s afterlife twaddle, What Dreams May Come, set the tone for the next 15 years. His stock continued sinking with lowbrow comedies like, Snow Dogs, Daddy Day Camp, Norbit, and Boat Trip. But it was 2003’s Radio, his attempt to cash in on the trope of a mentally challenged person overcoming adversity, which really sunk his battleship. The industry decided he was no longer a “serious” actor. Ryan Murphy has taken a recent shine to Gooding, casting him in the American anthology, but it has yet to truly resuscitate his career. Gooding is currently making his own work, writing, directing, and starring in the upcoming Louisiana Caviar.
9 Freddie Prinze Jr.
Prinze hit the big time in the early 2000s, helming hits like, I Know What You did Last Summer, She’s All That, and Scooby Doo. His next round of films, including Wing Commander and Down to You, underwhelmed critics. In 2005, he landed Freddie, a semi-autobiographical sitcom, which the San Francisco Chronicle called "stupid" and "annoying." A series of straight up flops followed, including Delgo, which broke the record for lowest box office earnings for an animated film, losing nearly its entire $40 million budget. By then, Prinze was aging out of his youth marketability and hadn’t done anything to prove his range. He’s since transitioned into voiceover work, playing Karan Jarrus in Star Wars Rebels. He’s used his downtime to focus on family, as he’s going on 15 years with wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar – an eternity by Hollywood standards – and he’s a devoted DILF to their 2 young children.
8 Jessica Biel
Coming off an early career high on the teen CW drama, 7th Heaven, Biel tried to shed her squeaky-clean image in more adult fare like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Elizabethtown. But I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, earned her a pair of Razzie noms. To add injury to insult, she lost two major roles to Anne Hathaway: Catwoman and Fantine in Les Misérables. When she did land mainstream films, like Total Recall and The A-Team, they didn’t draw an audience. Some speculate that her attractiveness is actually a hindrance to her career, making her less relatable. While awaiting job offers, she leads a blissful family life with husband Justin Timberlake and their adorable toddler, Silas. She also runs L.A.’s Au Fudge, a Paltrow-esque upscale family restaurant. Biel’s recent turn on the USA drama, The Sinner has met with praise so maybe this will be the project to get her back on the casting radar.
7 Hugh Grant
For nearly a decade, Grant embodied bumbling British charm, stammering his way into audience’s hearts in Four Weddings and Funeral, Nine Months, and Sense and Sensibility. He even managed to overcome a disgrace that would have ended a lesser talent’s career: his arrest for soliciting a prostitute. It helps that he was mortified and remorseful from minute one, delivering heartfelt apologies on a talk show repentance tour. Post scandal, he continued banging out hits like Bridget Jones’ Diary, Notting Hill, Love, Actually, and About a Boy. But since 2009, he’s met with critical and financial failure. Did You Hear About the Morgans? lost half of its $58 million at the box office. Sadly, Cloud Atlas and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. didn’t fare much better. The sole exception is 2016’s critical darling, Florence Foster Jenkins. Going forward, he doesn’t have anything on the docket apart from the Paddington sequel. Though he still looks fantastic, it would seem his charm has worn off.
6 Tobey Maguire
His boyish appeal brought Maguire into A-List territory in award fodder like, Wonder Boys, Sea Biscuit, and The Cider House Rules. He also pioneered the Spider-Man franchise, web slinging through three films before retiring his Spidey suit. Many blame his campy emo strut in Spider-Man 3 for the career stall. Sony nixed a 4th film, electing for a reboot. Perhaps the perpetually pubescent voice and puppy-dog eyes that served him well in his youth aren’t as effectual from a man in his 40s. Maguire’s last live action role was former child chess prodigy, Bobby Fisher, in 2014’s self-produced Pawn King. Then, it was crickets until landing narrator duties in 2017’s Boss Baby. Maguire has all but hung up his acting shoes, staying behind the camera with his production company, Material Pictures. A known gambling addict, he has used his time out of the spotlight to focus on recovery and parenting his two children.
5 Seann William Scott
Scott found fame in 1999’s American Pie as Stifler, the tainted-beer swilling jokester with a hot mom. Despite subsequently landing roles in profitable films like Final Destination and Dude, Where’s My Car?, Scott couldn’t quite reach full-fledged star status. To throw him further off course, he entered rehab just after starring in 2011’s successful hockey comedy, Goon. He’s been earning a steady paycheck as the voice of Crash in the eternal Ice Age film franchise and has joined every American Pie sequel, but Goon 2 disappointed fans and critics alike. He may also be shooting himself in the foot by shying away from the limelight between promoting projects. Though he wears middle-age extremely well, rocking a salt-and-pepper beard and tattoo sleeves, he’s aged out of his wheelhouse. Casting directors can’t seem to look past the goofy party guy image he cultivated early in his career.
4 Ryan Phillippe
Phillippe’s stalled career is one of the bigger mysteries on this list. He sizzled on screen as one of the most striking young actors of the late 90s in I Know What You Did Last Summer and Cruel Intentions. His boyish good looks made way for a rugged handsomeness that should have cemented him as a premiere action star. Though he proved his acting chops in several dramatic roles including Stop-Loss and The Lincoln Lawyer, his career has devolved into a string of misses. He may have also self-sabotaged by cheating on one of America’s most beloved leading ladies, ex-wife Reese Witherspoon. He also has a history of depression, a stigmatic disease, which often prevents sufferers from reaching their full potential. A part-time single father, Phillippe has been using his downtime to aid non-profits for disadvantaged children and falsely accused prisoners. Shooter, a USA series that he produces and stars in, has a small audience and has yet to be renewed for season 3.
3 Eddie Murphy
Murphy was a 20th century comedy god with his groundbreaking stand-up and instant classics like Coming to America, Trading Places, and the Beverly Hills Cop series. Nearly every comedian working today cites him as an influence. Even his broader multi-role turns in Dr. Doolittle and The Nutty Professor filled theaters and paved the way for Tyler Perry’s oeuvre. But after Murphy’s involvement as the back-talking Donkey in the Shrek films, things took a downturn. Murphy began racking up the Razzies in drivel like The Adventures of Pluto Nash, The Haunted Mansion, and Norbit. All this failure overshadowed something that would normally reinvigorate an actors’ career - his Oscar nod for Dreamgirls. Though time has been kind to Murphy’s appearance, public demand for his brand of antics has certainly waned. Perhaps Beverly Hills Cop 4 will reinvigorate his career.
2 Katherine Heigl
Heigl’s fall from grace is no mystery. The blonde beauty has a long-cultivated reputation as being “difficult”. In 2005, Heigl rose to fame as Izzie on the hit medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy, earning her a 2007 Emmy. But then Heigl made a series of diplomatic blunders from which she has never recovered. In 2008, she withdrew from Emmy competition, claiming subpar writing for her Grey’s character. The staff responded by writing her off the show. Then she publicly bashed her Apatow star vehicle, Knocked Up, calling the film “sexist” and her character “shrewish.” In 2016, Heigl backpedaled on her Grey’s complaints, insisting she was referring to her performance, rather than the writing. But the damage was done. Heigl still works occasionally, like 2015’s political drama, State of Affairs, and 2017’s home wrecker thriller, Unforgettable. But her resume remains spotty. She will likely never reach the Rom Com stardom that once seemed inevitable.
1 Hayden Christensen
You probably already know what marred handsome Hayden’s career. To his credit, George Lucas didn’t give him much to work with in the Star Wars prequels. Hayden also claims that Lucas chose the campiest takes for the final cut. Regardless, fans blamed Hayden for helping tarnish the world’s most beloved film franchise. Instead of being flooded with offers, work slowed to a trickle. The few projects he landed were panned or ignored completely. He was close to throwing in the towel, buying a farm in Canada to prepare for a life of seclusion. While he hasn’t bailed on the Biz entirely, his prospects are bleak. 2017’s First Kill logs an abysmal 9% on Rotten Tomatoes and it’s not looking good for next year’s Little Italy (Romeo and Juliet set in warring pizza restaurants). Fortunately, things are harmonious on the family front, with wife Rachel Bilson, and their 3-year-old daughter, Briar Rose.
Can you think of any other sexy stars that have disappeared from screens? Let us know in the comments!
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