Making it in Hollywood is no easy task, and many aspiring actors and actresses work years without ever getting a big break. Then there are those who still command attention after decades in the business, and their roles are regularly met with critical praise and box office success, but they are the lucky few who have been able to get famous and cling to it. For others, like Charlie Sheen and Katherine Heigl, they had a taste of fame, but they are no longer the highly-paid stars that they once were, and they have themselves to blame.
They are also not the only stars who have slowly (or in some cases quite abruptly) disappeared from the limelight, and below are several actors and actresses who were once big TV stars.
20 It’s Not All That Gleeful Working With Lea Michele, At Least, According To Her Former Co-Star
Lea Michele rose to fame thanks to her role on Glee, but she is no longer as big a star as she once was. This could have something to do with the fact that she is not easy to work with, at least, according to her former co-star, Naya Rivera.
Rivera spoke about Michele in her book, Sorry Not Sorry (via The Hollywood Gossip), and described her as someone who did not want to share the spotlight.
19 Shannen Doherty Earned Herself A Bit Of A Reputation For Being A Diva
Shannen Doherty was once the queen on the small screen, but there were reports that she was not exactly easy to work with.
According to CheatSheet, her co-stars on Beverly Hills, 90210 voted her off the show. The publication also notes that Jason Priestley discussed what it was like working with her in his memoir, and let’s just say he didn’t paint her in the best light.
18 Sarah Michelle Gellar Was A Vampire Before They Were Cool, But She’s Not Landing Roles Anymore
Before the vampire craze of Twilight and Vampire Diaries, there was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Sarah Michelle Gellar was the star! This was a role that she held from 1997 to 2003, and she was a very well-known actress at the time, but fast forward a few years, and now we never hear from her.
17 Amanda Bynes Was Once TV’s Sweetheart, But Hollywood Wants Nothing To Do With Her Now
Amanda Bynes started working as an actress from a young age, and her brand of comedy landed her in both films and TV shows. And then, she had a very public meltdown, which included her use of social media to make fun of other celebs, or simply share her bizarre opinions.
She has since disappeared from the limelight.
16 Katherine Heigl Is Known More For Being Difficult To Work With, Than She Is For Her Onscreen Roles
Katherine Heigl was loved by fans when she starred on Grey’s Anatomy, but it seems not everyone loved her because she earned herself a reputation for being difficult to work with. She has acknowledged what has been said about her dramatic exit from the show.
"The ungrateful thing bothers me the most. And that is my fault,” she told Entertainment Weekly (via Nicki Swift).
15 After ‘Lost,’ Matthew Fox Slowly Disappeared From The Limelight
Lost was an incredibly popular series that ran for six seasons, and Matthew Fox was one of the stars of the show. But Nicki Swift notes that in the years following the show, Fox has made some poor decisions both professionally and personally, and now, quality opportunities are no longer on the table.
14 Tom Welling Was Once Superman, But Now He’s A Nobody
Ah, Smallville! If you think back to the series that first aired in 2001, you will remember that Tom Welling was once Superman. You may think that the success of the show would have secured his place in Hollywood, but Looper notes that that didn’t happen, partly because he had no time to take on other roles when the show was filming, and because he needed a break after ten years of non-stop work.
13 Taylor Momsen Left ‘Gossip Girl’ For Different (But Not Greener) Pastures
Taylor Momsen was once Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl, and then she decided to leave the acting world behind her, change up her image (from girl-next-door to goth), and focus on being a musician. She’s not landing roles in Hollywood anymore, although she also has no intention of returning to the small screen.
12 Ah, Josh Hartnett, The ‘IT’ Boy From The Early ‘2000s Whose Since Disappeared From The Limelight
Josh Hartnett was a big star in the early ‘2000s, but fans seldom hear about him now. In fact, he has been the topic of several articles, questioning “Whatever Happened to Josh Hartnett?” Distractify attempts to answer that question for us, commenting on how it was actually Hartnett’s choice to leave Hollywood and move back to Minnesota.
11 The Drama Surrounding Charlie Sheen’s Exit From ‘Two And A Half Men’ Has Made Him Untouchable
Charlie Sheen had the role of a lifetime on Two and a Half Men, and not only did it earn him fame, but he was also making big money. But it’s hard to forget his very public outbursts, and according to CheatSheet, he became increasingly difficult to work with, missing rehearsals and focusing his anger on co-creator, Chuck Lorre.
10 Perhaps Alec Baldwin’s Hatred Of The Paparazzi Left Him Without Any New TV Contracts
Alec Baldwin has enjoyed success, but his outbursts and the actions he has taken against the paparazzi have shown a different, less appealing side to him. According to CheatSheet, he was also not easy to work with on 30 Rock, and is reported to have been late, and often yelled at the cast and crew.
9 ‘Desperate Housewives’ Star Teri Hatcher, Has Been Called ‘Mean’ By Her Former Co-Star
Teri Hatcher was one of the stars of Desperate Housewives, but not everyone enjoyed the experience of working with her. The show’s creator Marc Cherry testified in court (via E! News) about the feuds that took place on set between Hatcher and Nicollette Sheridan, and Sheridan is reported to have told him that her co-star was the "meanest woman in the world.”
8 Fans Loved Zooey Deschanel On ‘New Girl,’ But It Seems That Was The Beginning Of The End For Her
Zooey Deschanel was quirky and adorable as Jess Day on New Girl, but despite the success of the series, she hasn’t become the big star many people expected she would be. Looper notes that some of the reasons she’s not cast anymore is because her movies have flopped, she prefers indie movies and roles, and she’s a mama now (so she thinks of her kids first).
7 Poor Jerry Seinfeld Just Doesn’t Command The Attention He Used To
Jerry Seinfeld made it big with the TV series, Seinfeld, but you may have noticed that in the last few years, he just doesn’t command the same attention that he once did. Perhaps this because he has grown bored with the industry, or perhaps it’s because people want something else. If you glance at Seinfeld’s IMDB page, you’ll notice that things have definitely slowed down for him.
6 Taylor Lautner Rose To Fame Thanks To The ‘Twilight’ Saga, But That Was Really The Peak Of His Profession
The Twilight Saga was a massive success, but despite Taylor Lautner being one of the main characters (and breaking the hearts of millions of teenage girls who fell in love with him) he was not able to make it big. He has continued to work in the industry, including roles on the series, Scream Queens and Cuckoo, but he no longer the big star he was back in 2010.
5 You May Still Spot Jennifer Love Hewitt On The Small Screen From Time To Time, But Her Star Has Definitely Dimmed
It’s not that Jennifer Love Hewitt is said to be difficult to work with, or that she has had a public meltdown, in her case, it is simply that her time as one of Hollywood’s ‘IT’ girls may just be over. A look at her IMDB page shows that she still is landing roles, but she’s not as popular as she once was.
4 She’s Mrs. Timberlake Now, And It Seems Jessica Biel’s Focus Lies Elsewhere
Jessica Biel has been acting since she was a teen, and she has starred in many memorable roles, but in recent years, she seems to have taken a step away from Hollywood. Maybe that’s because she’s now Mrs. Timberlake, as well as a mama, or maybe it’s because the quality of the projects she was offered just didn’t seem worth her time.
3 Julia Stiles Made It Onto The Big Screen, And The Small Screen, But We Seldom Hear From Her Anymore
Julia Stiles has appeared in many memorable roles over the years, but Nicki Swift notes that she may no longer be cast in Hollywood because her previous roles have pigeon-holed her. She has also experienced poor box office ratings for several films she took on, she hasn’t managed to land another great TV role after Dexter, and she doesn’t remain current by sharing her life on social media.
2 A Few Bad Decisions Left Taylor Kitsch With Poor Box Office Ratings, And He Fell From Grace
Taylor Kitsch is a talented individual, and he has had some success, including his role on Friday Night Lights, but in recent years, it seems he has disappeared from the spotlight. TheTalko notes that this could have something to do with him taking too many “liberties in the type of work” he took on, including films with poor scripts and weak ratings.
1 Former Disney Channel Star Bella Thorne’s Castability Took A Knock After She Made A Film That Was A Gigantic Failure
Bella Thorne was a Disney star, but she has worked hard to shed that image with her personal antics, and the work she has gravitated towards. She’s become known as a social media influencer, and she’s still incredibly popular with her fans, but her choice of roles in recent years have been box office busts. In particular, Amityville: The Awakening.
Sources: The Hollywood Gossip, CheatSheet, Refinery29, NickiSwift, Distractify, E! News, IMDB, TheTalko, Rotten Tomatoes.