18 Celebrities Who Killed Their Careers with One Bad Move

by Sierra Burgos

18 Celebrities Who Killed Their Careers with One Bad Move

The lights. The cameras. The (seriously unfortunate) actions. These celebrities fought their way into the limelight, but all it took was one wrong move for their fame and fortune to come crashing down. How many of these names have you heard?


Ashlee Simpson



Who could forget the time Ashlee Simpson was caught lip syncing on Saturday Night Live? In 2004, the singer was set to promote her album Autobiography on SNL, but instead she went down in SNL history as a lip syncer who danced a bizarre jig and made a complete fool of herself. Many critics attribute this cringe-worthy fail as the beginning of Simpson’s decline.


Tiger Woods



Tiger Woods had broken a crazy number of golf records, from being the World Number One for the most consecutive weeks of any golfer (281 weeks, if you were wondering) to winning 79 PGA Tour events. In 2009, accusations surfaced that Woods was having extramarital affairs with several different women. By December of 2009, more than a dozen women had stepped forward claiming to have had affairs with the golfer. Several companies like Gatorade and Golf Digest cut ties with Woods following the controversy. He and his wife divorced in 2010, and since the incident, his golf stats have been substantially lower.


Billy Squier



A popular American rock artist in the ’80s, Billy Squier’s music video for his hit “Rock Me Tonite” was much anticipated by fans everywhere. The video even had a set date for its world premiere on MTV. Despite the song’s major success, the video is often attributed as the end of Squier’s career because of how incredibly terrible it was. It shows Squier flouncing around a softly colored room in a pink shirt, and don’t even get us started on the satin sheets. Audiences assumed that Squier was either gay or on drugs, and his rockstar image immediately suffered and never quite returned to what it was before.


Lance Armstrong



For years, former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong faced allegations of using banned performance-enhancing drugs in order to further himself in his sport. He denied these accusations for most of his career, in the meantime scooping up seven Tour de France titles. In 2012, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released their evidence against the bicyclist and officially charged Armstrong with doping. Their findings included testimonies from several of Armstrong’s former teammates who confirmed his drug usage. Two months later, Armstrong was banned from cycling for life and was stripped of all of his titles, including his Tour de France wins and his Olympic records. Armstrong was once a positive example—a hero, even—for children, but all he is now is a sad cautionary tale against cheating.


Paula Deen



Best known for her Southern cooking and comfort food recipes, Paula Deen has been a celebrity chef icon for the past decade. One year after moving forward from her diabetes controversy in 2012, Lisa Jackson filed a lawsuit against her, saying that she made derogatory statements about African-Americans and used the “N-word.” In response, Deen said, “I don’t – I don’t know… Things have changed since the ’60s in the south.” Two months following the allegations, a judge dismissed the lawsuit and both sides agreed to no charges. However, during this time, Deen had programs cancelled by numerous companies including Food Network, Walmart, Target, QVC, JCPenney, Kmart and her publisher at the time, Ballantine Books. Luckily for the self-proclaimed “Queen of Butter,” her cookbooks still fly off the shelves to this day.


Jennifer Grey



Remember “Baby” from Dirty Dancing? You know, the one who got to run and jump into Patrick Swayze’s arms? Well, if you saw photos of the actress now, you wouldn’t recognize her. She got plastic surgery that makes her look practically unrecognizable, even her fans didn’t realize who she was afterwards. Her career slowed way down following her surgeries, and she never quite held onto her fame from the ’80s.

Check out these 15 Celebrities Who Have Been Transformed by Plastic Surgery


Dixie Chicks



What ever happened to the Dixie Chicks? Well, many people attribute their downfall to the time in 2002 that they criticized President George W. Bush, announcing during a live concert, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.” They caught tons of backlash for their comments about the president, and they never fully regained their supporters. There was even an anti-Dixie Chicks protest where people brought their CD’s and crushed them with a bulldozer. Maybe their Beyoncé cover can bring them back into the spotlight?


Robin Thicke



Who doesn’t love a juicy celebrity breakup? Robin Thicke allegedly cheated on his wife and longtime-sweetheart Paula Patton, and they split up in 2014. Thicke’s real mistake came after their estrangement, when he named his latest album “Paula” after his ex-wife. To make things worse, he even went on an all out media campaign to win her back, which failed miserably. Cringe.


Winona Ryder



Winona Ryder was an iconic and successful actress in the ’90s, but her career seemed to come to a halt after she was caught stealing from a Saks Fifth Avenue department store and was arrested in 2001. Ryder had a hiatus after the incident, and wasn’t active for about four years. She has since had a few small parts in major films, but nothing as notable as her pre-Saks days.


Katherine Heigl



Katherine Heigl had a falling out with Grey’s Anatomy writers and publicly criticized the show’s writing staff for not giving her character, Izzie, strong enough material. She famously took her name out of consideration for an Emmy in 2008 because she didn’t think she had been provided good enough material for a nomination. Heigl asked writer/producer Shonda Rhimes to be let out of her contract early, and when Heigl later said she would like to return to the show to bring closure to her character, Rhimes immediately declined.

To this day, there is still tension between the two. Last year while praising the cast of her hit series Scandal, Rhimes said, “There are no Heigl’s in this situation [on the Scandal set]. I don’t put up with bulls–t or nasty people. I don’t have time for it.” And apparently, not many people do. Heigl’s latest onscreen conquests are commercials for kitty litter. Hopefully she avoided criticizing the writing.


Lindsay Lohan



Lindsay Lohan was an up-and-coming star, gaining popularity after the success of Mean Girls and Herbie Fully Loaded. That is, until she started getting arrested for reckless driving, DUI’s, drug charges, and even burglary. In 2006, studio executive James G. Robinson said Lohan was “irresponsible and unprofessional” as an actress. He mentioned “various late arrivals and absences from the set” and expressed his disappointment about her heavy partying. Lohan lost several roles because she couldn’t stay out of jail and had to go to rehab. But don’t worry, she recently revisited her Parent Trap days with a visit to Annie’s house—so we forgive her.


Axl Rose



Axl Rose led the band Guns N’ Roses to fame in the late ’80s and early ’90s. His success, however, gave him a diva reputation, he often quarreled with band members and was the reason that several of them decided to leave the band. Without consultation from his band mates, Rose decided not to renew the contract of their drummer, Gilby Clarke, and instead gave the spot to one of his childhood friends in 1994. Most of the original members decided to leave the already-crumbling band, leaving only Axl and Dizzy Reed as the remaining Guns N’ Roses. They never officially broke up, but were on hiatus until 2001. Guns N’ Roses has been unable to reclaim their earlier success.


Courtney Love



The singer-turned-actress, Courtney Love, received a Golden Globe nomination for playing Larry Flynt’s wife, Althea, in The People vs. Larry FlyntAlthea struggles with drug addiction, and Courtney Love’s troubled past helped her fully portray the character. Her spot-on performance was perhaps too method, however, because her real-life problems with addiction have caused her to lose work. With nobody interested in hiring her, she eventually declared herself an artist, staging one show in 2012 featuring bizarre works of art such as a wedding dress with words on it, written in blood. Art is art?


John Edwards



John Edwards is a former politician who served as a U.S. Senator from North Carolina. He was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004, and was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008. He was a nice-guy southerner type who seemed to be a popular pick on the political stage, with with his championing of universal healthcare and the plight of low-income families. In 2007, The National Enquirer brought up claims that Edwards had an affair with a woman who was working on his political campaign, and that they had a child together—while his wife lay dying of cancer. The allegations were initially denied by Edwards in an effort to save his political career, but he finally admitted to the affair in 2008 and to fathering the child in 2010.

Check out these Ten Political Sex Scandals We’re Likely Not to Forget.


Tonya Harding



Tonya Harding is a former figure skating champion and two-time Olympian. She was the first American woman to land a triple axel jump in competition. But in 1994, her impressive record was tainted forever when she was allegedly connected to a violent attack on her competition, Nancy Kerrigan. A hitman was hired to break Kerrigan’s right leg so that she would be unable to compete in the upcoming national championship, which Harding subsequently won. She pleaded guilty to avoid a jail sentence, receiving three years probation, 500 hours of community service, and a $160,000 fine. Harding was also forced to withdraw from the 1994 World Figure Skating Championships and was banned from the USFSA for life.


Charlie Sheen



The Two and a Half Men star was once the highest paid actor on television, however, Sheen’s decline began after he showed the world his crazy side. Reports of alcohol, drug abuse, marital problems and domestic violence made its way into the media and he was soon fired from Two and a Half Men. Sheen was interviewed by ABC News and caught media attention for his strange comments about how he was a “warlock” with “tiger blood.” He said, “I’m tired of pretending I’m not a total bitchin’ rock star from Mars.” Honestly, Charlie Sheen said what we’re all thinking.


Amanda Bynes



The Amanda Show will never get old, but apparently, Amanda Bynes’ career will. Lately, the actress’ public antics get more attention than anything having to do with her career. In 2012 and 2013, Bynes was charged with two hit and run accidents, arrested for possession of marijuana, tampering with evidence and reckless endangerment, and was hospitalized after setting a fire in someone’s driveway. After her hospitalization, she enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, and it seemed she was getting a hold on her life. But we spoke too soon. In 2014, Bynes was hospitalized once again, after claiming via twitter that her father sexually abused her. She later took back the accusations and blamed them on a microchip in her brain. What will Bynes do next?! (Hopefully bring out the dancing lobsters.)


Shia LaBeouf



The Transformers franchise could have lasted forever, with its endless sequels starring Shia LaBeouf. He could have continued down that path, as well as taking over the Indiana Jones franchise, and he’d be set for life. It couldn’t be that easy, could it? Since 2005, Labeouf has been getting into legal trouble and attracting controversy. He once showed up at a neighbor’s door waving a kitchen knife. Bar fights weren’t uncommon for the Holes actor. He went from strange to stranger when he began exhibiting art projects including one where he sat in a room with a paper bag over his head and let people do whatever they wanted to him. While he still acts in films, he has not regained his previous fame and hasn’t been a leading man, probably because directors don’t want to deal with his antics.