Fame is the ultimate double-edged sword. When you do your job well or use your fame to advance a noble cause or call attention to an injustice, you can be the recipient of public accolades awards in fat paychecks but if you deviate from the script and have a public meltdown or say the wrong thing to the wrong person your audience can be absolutely merciless.
These are celebrities who once rode the wave of public goodwill until that wave came crashing down on top of their heads in one way or another.
Each one of them destroyed their own careers in mere seconds.
10) Michael Richards
As one of the four main cast members on the iconic nandi sitcom Seinfeld Michael Richards was once one of the highest-paid actors on television. His portrayal of Cosmo Kramer took the wacky neighbor trope to a completely new level and with his formidable comedic chops he could sometimes even outshine co-stars Jerry Seinfeld Jason, Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. All of whom are uniformly hilarious. When the show ended in 1998, Richards decided to transition back to his stand-up comedy roots which seemed like a great idea until one fateful show in November 2006. During which Richards birthed the public's perception of him to the ground along with what remained of his career. Richards lost his cool after being repeatedly heckled by an audience member who happened to be black patrons jaws hit the floor when Richards suggested that the man would have been dealt with violently fifty years ago before hurling racial epithets at him as he got up to leave. Richards old pal Jerry Seinfeld was a guest several days later on The Tonight Show with David Letterman and at his request Richards appeared via satellite to offer a humble apology but the damage had been done in the public was not in a forgiving mood. He's made only a few small appearances on mostly forgettable TV shows in the year since and it doesn't look like his career will make a recovery anytime soon.
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9) Thomas CallowayThomas Calloway professionally known as Cello Green. First made a name for himself in the mid 90's as a member of Atlanta rap group goody mob contemporaries of Outlast whose label envisioned them as the second coming of Public Enemy. When the mob failed to become raps next big thing, Green transition to a career as a singer and television personality scoring Smash Hits with his group Gnarls Barkley and as a solo artist and landing a judging spot on NBC's hit singing competition The Voice. Everything was going great until August of 2014, when green took to Twitter to express some extremely irresponsible opinions that left fans wondering if he should have his head examined. Green had recently resolved a court case in which he was accused of drugging the drink of a female acquaintance, receiving 360 hours of community service already on thin ice with the public and his fans he made the situation infinitely worse with a tweet which implied that a woman can't be sexually assaulted if she's passed out saying people who have been raped really remember despite going on the requisite apology tour admitting his mistake and asking that he be given a measure of human margin for error his public image has simply not been the same since. His 2014 TBS reality series "The Good Life with Cee Lo Green" was canceled and his 2015 album "Heart" launch flopped.
|Image Source: Twitter "Ceelo Green"|
8) Troy Duffy
For a brief moment in time it seemed that writer director Troy Duffy maybe the next Hollywood outer in the Quentin Tarantino Mould. His story is legend in between shifts as a bouncer in a seedy bar he wrote the screenplay for "The Boon-dock Saints" selling it to Harvey Weinstein's Mira-max Pictures for a whopping four hundred fifty thousand dollars. In addition he was given a half million to picture deal at Paramount and to top it all off his rock band "The Brood" were offered a major label recording contract. Everything was clicking right along for Duffy and it probably would have continued to do so if he had just kept his mouth shut while casting his film Duffy trash-talked half the actors in Hollywood telling his casting directors that Keanu Reeves was a punk and Ethan Hawke was a fool but it was his meeting with Ewan McGregor that really sent things south in a hurry. The two got into a heated argument about the death penalty of all things. McGregor stormed out and it wasn't long before the word all over Hollywood was that Troy Duffy was not the nicest man and would likely be impossible to work with. Mira-max dropped his film, which was eventually green lighted by small independent studio franchise pictures for a fraction of the budget Mira-max would have provided while The Boon-dock Saints released in 1999 did quite well in the home video market. It's 2009 sequel flopped spectacularly and the only album ever released by Duffy's band who changed their name to the boon-dock saints of course sold the pathetic 690 copies.
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7) Britney Spears
In the late 90's and early 2000's Britney Spears was one of the biggest pop stars in the world. The media was obsessed with her every move and perhaps the first sign of trouble was her 2004 marriage to Kevin Federline. A man who seemed to be on a mission to become synonymous with the word d-bag and whose ridiculously amateurish rap styling made him an immediate public laughing stock but in February 2007, Britney's troubles began in when she walked into a Tarzana California hair salon and made one of the worst decisions of her life. Photos immediately flooded the internet of the 25 year old songstress taking a pair of clippers to her own head shaving herself completely bald and apparently having a great time doing it. Fans promptly began questioning her mental state and she didn't help matters by attacking a paparazzi's car with an umbrella days later. An off kilter bleary performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in September seemed to confirm everyone's worst fears and Britney was hospitalized on an involuntary psychiatric hold in January 2008. Fortunately she has managed to make a comeback both personally and professionally. She's had a successful residency at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Her 2016 album glory has been called her best in years and she's engaged to hunky fitness model Sam as Gauri but her icon card still seems to be on probationary status after having been revoked for years and all it took was one really bad haircut.
|Image Source: Facebook "Britney Spears"|
6) Shia LaBeouf
After a successful career as a child actor the "Transformers" movies made Shia LaBeouf an international star as an adult but it was his own transformation from likable kid to unpredictable unhinged wild man that turned off the actors fans. Today LaBeouf admits that the majority of his problems stemmed from his alcohol abuse. The trouble began when LaBeouf's 2013 short film Howard cancer.com came under fire for bearing a strong resemblance to the work of comic book author and Ghost World creator "Dan Close". LaBeouf issued a public apology on Twitter claiming that he had gotten lost in the creative process and then promptly drew criticism for the apology which sharp-eyed internet commenters noted also appeared to have been plagiarized from a Yahoo Answers post. The incident seemed to have made something snap in LaBeouf's head and early the next year he began tweeting the phrase I am NOT famous anymore in all caps every day for weeks. His February 2014 appearance at a Berlin Film Festival wearing a paper bag over his head with that same phrase written on an a black marker made it quite clear that something was wrong, the work dried up not long after and in recent years LaBeouf has gained less attention for his film work in bizarre performance art than he has for public intoxication arrests. He's appeared in only a handful of smaller films since 2014 but has recently stated that he's quit drinking and is ready to make a comeback.
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For a brief time Ashley Simpson, the sister of Jessica was poised to dominate pop music. She leveraged her high public profile from her famous sisters reality show success into a recording contract and she was marketed by her label as a more rock in less glitzy alternative to the likes of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Her debut 2004 album "Autobiography" sold over 2 million copies but one ill-fated live television performance was all it took to stop her burgeoning career in its tracks. Ashley appeared on the October 23rd 2004 of Saturday Night Live performing two songs from Autobiography, her first performance of lead single pieces of me went off without a hitch but the follow-up performance of her album's title track veered quickly into disaster as her band began to play autobiography the vocal track for pieces of me suddenly intruded on the proceedings. It was a pre-recorded track revealing to the studio audience and the millions of people watching live that Ashley had been lip-synching. The mortified singer did a brief jig before mercifully departing the stage and she didn't help matters when she blamed the incident on her band while signing off at the show's end. She would later relate to MTV news that she had made a complete fool of herself and unfortunately she has never lived the incident down. She's only released two albums in the ten years since neither of which came within shouting distance of her debut success and she is largely disappeared from the public eye.
|Image Source: Twitter "Ashley Simpson"|
4) Sinead O'Connor
Few pop stars have ever cared less about their public image than Irish songstress Sinead O'Connor. The famously bald-headed singer stormed onto the pop scene with her 1987 debut album "The lion and the Cobra" and she reached her career Zenith with the 1990 smash hit nothing compares to you which was written by music legend "Prince" but long before Ashley Simpson had her career-ending accident on Saturday Night Live O'Connor used her October 1992 appearance on the show to drop an even bigger bomb on her own career only it was no accident. O'Connor sang a powerful acapella version of Bob Marley song "War" and throughout the performance she seemed to become increasingly agitated at the songs end the audience found out why, as O'Conner held up a picture of currently reigning Pope "John Paul the second". While singing the word evil no less then tore the picture to pieces shouted fight the real enemy and threw the pieces toward the camera. The stunned crowd fell completely silent. Producer "Lorne Michael's" said that the air went out of the studio and by the next day O'Connor found herself in the middle of an international firestorm. Tough Gai actor "Joe Pesci" famously told the press that he would have gave her such a smack and the response from virtually every celebrity politician in pundit was the same. O'Connor's career went down in flames and to this day she is far better remembered for her career killing out burst than for her music.
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3) Paul Reuben's
Pee-wee's Playhouse was one of the most popular shows for children not to mention adults of a certain mindset in the 1980's. It's star "Paul Reubens aka pee-wee Herman" was a hilariously obnoxious man child who entertained kids while putting across sound moral messages and the character was also a hit with film audiences, appearing in 1985's pee-wee's big adventure. An early effort from future a-list director "Tim Burton" and 1988's big top peewee, Reubens rarely appeared out of character making it tough for the public to separate the man from the man child which is perhaps why his 1991 arrest for lewd behavior inside a porno theater was so shocking. Reubens was observed by an undercover detective masturbating during a pornographic film being shown at a seedy Theater in Sarasota Florida and a sting which also netted three additional arrests. His door mugshot which was quickly made public stood in stark contrast to the image of his beloved character and amorta fide Reubens pled no contest to public obscenity charges. After the incident Reubens understandably disappeared from the public eye but unlike most celebrities caught engaging in bad behavior the public's affection for peewee has allowed him to come back from the brink beginning with a strong supporting performance in the 2001 drama blow. Reubens has managed to land steady work in the years since and his most beloved character even got to make a comeback of his own in the 2016 Netflix film "Pee-wee's Big Holiday".
|Image Source: Facebook"Pee-Wee Herman"|
2) Ray Rice
Ray Rice might have been known as one of the greatest NFL running backs of all time. In seven seasons with the Baltimore Ravens he made all-pro twice, was selected to the Pro Bowl three times and during the 2012 season helped the Ravens to their second Super Bowl victory but in February 2014 rice torpedoed his career by appearing in a viral video of the most undesirable kind. He was caught by an elevator security camera at Atlantic City's revel casino in a physical altercation with his then fiance "Janay Palmer". Rice could be seen cold-cocking Palmer punching her twice in the face with a closed fist in knocking her out before physically dragging her out of the elevator the incendiary footage was quickly plastered all over the Internet and the fact that Palmer married Rice six weeks after the incident not to mention the fact that the Ravens initially kept him on their roster only added to the public out cry. Rice was finally cut from the team in September 2014 and even though he has vowed to donate an entire year's salary to domestic violence charities should any team choose to sign him. There have so far been no takers.
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1) Robert Blake
Robert Blake's acting career began as a child in the 1930's and spans several decades. He's probably best known for his role in The Truman Capote adaptation in cold blood and for his portrayal of particular detective in the 1970's cop drama "Baretta" or at least he was before the cold-blooded murder of his wife "Bonnie Bagley" in 2001. Rumors of Beckley's infidelities began at virtually the same time her relationship with Blake did and some even implied that she had trapped him by becoming pregnant with her daughter Rosie who was only proven to be Blake's after a paternity test. The pair were married in November 2000 and it was only five months later that back was shot to death while waiting in a car for Blake outside a Studio City restaurant. Authorities strongly suspected that Blake had arranged the murder and after a lengthy investigation he was put on trial in December 2004 ultimately the prosecution was unable to prove its case and Blake was acquitted by a jury but not by the public his image remains irreparably tarnished and much like fellow actor "OJ Simpson" who was also acquitted of the high-profile murder of his wife Blake was found liable for back Lee's death at his civil trial in order to pay thirty million dollars to her relatives. Blake hasn't appeared in a movie since 1997 and at 84 years old it seems like the disappearing act from the public eye will be permanent.
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