It’s not uncommon for celebrities to hit a rough patch in their career. Possibly it’s because the novelty of their persona has worn off. Or maybe their actions behind the scenes poisoned their career. Then there are the actors who have been plagued with being a part of bad shows or movies.
Some of these celebrities have managed to make a comeback through an impressive performance or album. But there are many career killers who have yet to make a comeback. However, this isn’t for a lack of trying. These 25 celebrities have had a moment in their career that could have been a comeback but it was squandered.
So which celebrities have yet to make it back into the public’s good graces? Here are 15 celebrities who tried to make a comeback and failed.
1. Lindsay Lohan
The actress has certainly seen success in her from career, beginning when she was a child and into adulthood. Her last big movie to make money and not get panned by critics was probably Herbie Fully Loaded in 2005.
After that, her personal troubles pretty much took over her career. It all started in 2007 when she was arrested for driving under the influence and possessing cocaine. Then she continued having run-ins with the law for years. The quality of her performance on screen also started declining and she began releasing bombs like I Know Who Killed Me.
However, the one role that seemed to have the most pressure for her to make a comeback was The Canyons in 2013. This is because it was the first starring role in a movie that she’d scored in a while. Also, director Paul Schrader, of Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, was working on the film.
But the movie was torn to shreds, and there were many stories of Lohan being unprofessional on set, cementing the idea that she wasn’t coming back just yet.
2. Tara Reid
The actress used to star in major comedies like The Big Lebowski and American Pie. But her life was slowly on a decline due to her partying ways. Now it looks like she has been trying to make a comeback through reality television, with the show Marriage Boot Camp.
She also got lucky being in the campy television movie franchise, Sharknado. Although the series has been successful, it looks like makers no longer want the actress to be a part of it. They actually let fans vote whether her character lives or dies, which doesn’t bode well for the actress.
3. Ja Rule
The rapper had a good run in the 2000s by collaborating with artists like Jennifer Lopez, Ashanti, and more. But he has pretty much faded from the music scene. This isn’t for lack of him trying. He actually has a tour this year with Ashanti, which some believe is inspired by Beyoncé and Jay Z’s “On the Run” tour. However, it doesn’t have the same star power appeal ,and the two haven’t really made waves from their reunion.
4. Lil’ Kim
Many women have fallen out of the rap scene, including Lil’ Kim, but there was a window for her to come back. She had a rap beef with Nicki Minaj after she accused the newer rapper of stealing her sound and style. This led to Nicki Minaj coming out with a diss track, “Black Friday.” Lil’ Kim then responded with a mix tape titled with the same name. But it wasn’t strong enough for her to get back into the rap game.
5. Bill Cosby
The comedian probably never had to work again, yet he was inexplicably touring when many rape allegations against him were coming out in 2015. When he was performing in Ontario, Canada he had a heckler yell “You’re a rapist!” at him, according to TMZ. There were other reactions like this from people throughout his tour. Although there are still some Bill Cosby defenders, chances are there aren’t enough for him to really revive his career.
6. Alex Pettyfer
The handsome actor looked like he could make it big with movies like Wild Child, I Am Number Four, and Beastly. However, those films weren’t exactly big hits. It also didn’t help his career that he had reportedly gotten into conflicts with people behind the scenes.
The last vehicle that was probably meant for him to take off from was in Magic Mike. This movie was a huge hit thanks to its bigger stars like Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey. Sadly, Pettyfer admitted Tatum didn’t like him so he wasn’t asked to return for the sequel, and his career is still in questionable territory.
7. Shannen Doherty
The Beverly Hills 90210 actress became a household name from the ’90s drama series. That fame was hard to maintain after the show mostly because of her tense interactions with other actors behind the scenes. On Charmed, the conflict between Doherty and her costars was so bad she was written off the show.
After that, her bad reputation followed her such that she only had short stints on television shows and appearing in television movies. She has never been able to recapture the same amount of success.
8. Paris Hilton
The hotel heiress reached a crazy level of fame from starring in The Simple Life. After five seasons, she tried to find success on other reality shows like Paris Hilton’s My New BFF. However, they were much shorter lived. She also tried to become a movie star and singer but wasn’t able to make an impact.
The reality star still has a lot of star power overseas and many businesses so she’s hardly a failure financially, but she hasn’t ever been able to take her place back in American pop culture.
9. Mischa Barton
The O.C. star played Marissa Cooper for three years before leaving the show. Her next big opportunity seemed to be The Beautiful Life: TBL, but the series only lasted five episodes. Since then, Mischa Barton has appeared in smaller roles and has been making it in headlines for her troubled personal life.
10. Lisa Kudrow
Lisa Kudrow is arguably one of the best parts of Friends and is a comedic genius. Sadly, her career hasn’t been as solid after the hit show. She tried to return to television with The Comeback, where she plays an actress trying to boost her acting career. It was very on the nose, but didn’t help Kudrow make a comeback. She is still working on shows like Bojack Horseman, but she hasn’t reached the same following like she did earlier in her career.
11. Macaulay Culkin
The child actor had numerous hits when he was younger, but then had the challenge of figuring out what his career as an adult would look like. He did try to make that transition with Party Monster, but it wasn’t well-reviewed. After that, the actor started making headlines when he was arrested for drug possession.
The actor continued working in smaller parts on television on Robert Chicken and The Jim Gaffigan Show. But he hasn’t been able to reach the same level of success as his early days.
12. Katherine Heigl
The actress had several public stumbles in her career. The first was when she publicly refused to submit herself into the Emmy race for her work on Grey’s Anatomy because she didn’t think it was up to par. Not long after, she was written off the show. The second was when she accused a movie she starred in, Knocked Up, of being sexist, while promoting it.
This type of behavior made it riskier to hire her, so her career took a downturn. But she did try to come back to network television with State of Affairs. However, the show just didn’t cut it in the ratings and was swiftly canceled.
The rapper had a pretty steady career in the ’90s and then started transiting into acting a decade later. But his career lost its stride most likely due to his arrests and jail sentences for drug possession and animal cruelty. Then it looked like he was trying to make a comeback in 2012 by going back on tour.
Instead of the tour thrusting him back into the limelight, the rapper was slapped with a lawsuit by his booking agency for violating their agreement, according to TMZ. The good news for DMX is that it was later dismissed.
14. Ray J
The actor started off working with his sister, Brandy, on the show Moesha. He eventually made it into R&B and released multiple albums. His career took a hard turn when his sex tape with Kim Kardashian was released. Although it launched her career, he struggled to find the same amount of fame.
He tried to come back with singles like “Sexy Can I,” which actually did get a lot of play. But he still hasn’t made it back into the public eye as a serious singer or actor. Now you can catch him on reality television like Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood.
15. Limp Bizkit
The rap and metal band did have a following in the ’90s, but couldn’t quite make it past that. They did try to come back with their The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1) tour in 2005. But it didn’t work out, partially due to lack of promotion and advertising. There was never a sequel.