Famous Celebrity Scandals You Probably Forgot About

These scandals may seem like child's play today, but at the time, the following mishaps were considered so huge, they were thought to be career-enders for the stars involved. From leaked sex tapes to feuds with President George W. Bush, relive major celebrity scandals the public was obsessed with in the moment, then forgot about over time.

Dixie Chicks

If you think our country is divided today, you might want to take a trip back to 2003 when a heated debate was brewing over whether or not U.S. armed forces should invade Iraq.

Country music trio the Dixie Chicks landed in the crosshairs of that debate when lead singer Natalie Maines told a crowd in London that the group was "ashamed" that sitting president George W. Bush was from their home state of Texas. That statement attracted an immediate backlash from the country music industry. Radio stations banned their songs, fans drove tractors over their CDs, and people booed them at concerts. Suddenly, the most popular group in country music had become its sworn enemy.

Of course, as with most things in life, time heals all wounds. In a 2016 interview with The New York Times, even the Chicks admitted the controversy feels like ancient history. It "feels like another lifetime to me," said band member Emily Strayer. "It doesn't even feel real—our country's changed, we've changed, the fans definitely have." Maybe so, but at the time of this writing, 10 years had passed since their last album, so we're guessing the group hasn't completely forgotten about its battle.

Hugh Grant

Although he's best remembered today for his starring roles in romantic comedies such as Notting Hill and Bridget Jones's Diary, there was a time in Hugh Grant's career when he risked being known solely as That Dude Who Dated Elizabeth Hurley But Hooked Up With a Prostitute Anyway.

The scandal we're referring to went down in 1995 after police caught Grant soliciting a prostitute in Hollywood. His arrest was devoured by the media, particularly in the States and England, and threatened to derail his career entirely.

Grant survived the debacle by going on an apology tour of sorts, which the Independent would later refer to as "one of the great PR saves of all time." His most famous apology occurred on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno after the late night host asked the question on everyone's mind: "What the hell were you thinking?" Grant responded with a bumbling, yet sincere admission—"I did a bad thing"—after which everyone was like "Okay, fine" and moved on.

Well, except for Hurley. She split from Grant shortly thereafter.

Robert Downey Jr.

Much like Hugh Grant, actor Robert Downey Jr. managed to turn a whole lot of bad press into a whole lot of money, although, in Downey's case, it took a bit longer to recoup his reputation. The troubled actor spent much of the '90s and '00s in and out of prison on a whole bunch of drug-related charges. Things eventually got so bad that most people in Hollywood had written him off altogether.

Crazy as it may be to believe now, Downey was even considered a risk when director Jon Favreau wanted to hire him to play the lead role in Iron Man around 2008. The studio actually turned down the casting idea multiple times. Of course, billions of dollars later, the gamble obviously paid off, but if you had asked someone in 2003 if they thought this guy would one day be worth $220 million, they probably would have laughed in your face.

Matthew Broderick

In today's world, it may be hard to imagine that Sarah Jessica Parker's husband would ever be accused of a crime, but yes, that did indeed happen.

In 1987, a car that Matthew Broderick was driving in Ireland crashed head-on with another car, killing two people: Anna Gallagher, 30; and her mother, Margaret Doherty, 63. According to the Los Angeles Times, Broderick—who spent about a month in the hospital for various injuries—walked away from the crash with a $175 fee after his charge of reckless driving was reduced to careless driving.

The scandal drifted out of public consciousness as the years went on, but Broderick carried the weight of the victims' families for years. In 2002, he agreed to meet with the surviving family members in a "dramatic bid to ease his longtime pain and guilt," reported the New York Post.

Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher and his wife, Mila Kunis, are now parents—which is crazy to think about, considering just a few years prior, Kutcher was caught cheating on then-wife Demi Moore with two girls in a hot tub. The 2011 affair was a nightmare for Moore, who eventually wound up in the hospital for a reported health crisis.

Kutcher, meanwhile, weathered the storm just fine. He not only replaced Charlie Sheen on the hit TV series Two and a Half Men for a boatload of money, but he also went on to star in his own successful Netflix series called The Ranch.

There's a whole lot of frustrating gender politics to be dissected there, but...yeah. We'll save that for another article.

Rob Lowe

In 1988, a leaked sex tape featuring Rob Lowe and two women, one of whom was 16, threatened to destroy his career once and for all.

Although it took some time, Lowe has since weathered the storm pretty well. (Come on, who didn't love him on Parks and Recreation?) Even Lowe looks back on the experience positively. "It [ended] up being the greatest thing that ever happened to me," he told Oprah Winfrey in 2011. "Because what it ends up doing is accelerating sort of my alcohol stuff to where I finally get sober and have been able to have the rest of my life that I'm so blessed with, which is now 20 years of sobriety." He added, "I don't think any of it happens without [the video]."

(Sigh) If only Kim Kardashian's sex tape had led to world peace.

Vanessa Williams

In the '80s, the Miss America pageant was a very big deal. Vanessa Williams learned that the hard way when, months after becoming the first African American woman to win the crown, she was forced to resign after the adoring public caught wind of nude photos that were published in Penthouse without her consent.

Williams went on to have an insanely successful career that spanned movies, music, and television. Sadly, it took more than 30 years for her to make peace with the pageant. That finally happened in 2015 when she agreed to be the head judge for that year's competition. During the telecast, the executive chairman of the pageant publicly apologized to Williams, a gesture she called "so unexpected but so beautiful."

Talk about saving the best for last (Groan).