Celebs Who Destroyed Their Careers This Past Decade

In Hollywood, things change in the blink of an eye. Let a decade pass, and you either become celeb royalty or just another piece of Tinseltown nostalgia. While Paris Hilton, for example, dominated the tabs as the "It" girl of the aughts, she's since faded from her spotlight as the socialite du jour, letting her former closet organizer take the reigns. That's right, Kim Kardashian learned everything she could from her reality TV teacher, and in turn, parlayed her own infamous sex tape into a lasting career.

While some celebs have either stepped away from the limelight or quietly taken behind-the-camera-reigns, others have become total comeback kids — such as Winona Ryder. From the height of popularity in the late '90s, her career was seemingly left for dead after she was arrested on charges of shoplifting and drug possession. After taking years away from Hollywood, the Beetlejuice actress suddenly came back with a vengeance on one of the most iconic Netflix shows to date.

The age-old saying of "all press is good press" need not apply here, as not everyone was as lucky as Kardashian or Ryder. While some comebacks are fun to relive, we're here to do the opposite. Let's look at the celebs who have absolutely destroyed their careers in the past decade.

Amber Portwood's alleged machete-wielding incident

Teen Mom OG star Amber Portwood has certainly had her fair share of publicity throughout the years — ever since she gave birth on MTV's 16 and Pregnant back in 2009. Unfortunately, in recent years, the press hasn't been all that positive. In July 2019, Radar Online reported that the reality TV starlet, who was previously diagnosed with bipolar and borderline personality disorder, had been arrested and taken into custody on felony domestic battery charges. It wasn't the first time the celeb had been in prison, either, as in 2012, she served 16 months for drug charges.

Suddenly, things got worse for Portwood. Per TMZ, prosecutors charged the television personality with domestic battery of her partner, Andrew Glennon, criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon (allegedly a machete of all things), and domestic battery in the presence of a child — their then-1-year-old son, James. While Glennon later filed documents seeking custody of their toddler, Portwood denied his claims.

By the end of October, Portwood received a plea deal, and according to a source, "will receive one felony charge for the incident and she will also be on probation for one year" (via Us Weekly). Since then, Portwood has kept a low profile, announcing on Instagram that she would be taking a break from social media. It might be for the best.

Johnny Manziel went from the NFL to auto insurance

Johnny Manziel was once destined to become one of the greatest quarterbacks in football history, having been the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy and leaving Texas A&M University to enter into the 2014 NFL Draft. It was also no secret, however, that Manziel's life was littered with problems, too. As NFL.com wrote that same year, the player carried "a sense of entitlement and prima-donna arrogance seeking out the bright lights of Hollywood." Nevertheless, the Cleveland Browns took him on — to their misfortune.

In August 2014, problems arose when Manziel was fined $12,000 for making an obscene gesture at the Washington Redskins' bench. By February 2015, he'd entered rehab. According to WEWS NewsChannel 5 that same year, Manziel was "pulled over [by the police] after a domestic argument" between himself and his then-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley (via SBNation). A month later, after social media posts caught him allegedly partying and lying about it, the Browns benched Manziel, eventually waiving him by March 2016.

So, what's he been up to these days? Speaking to ABC News (via Good Morning America), Manziel revealed, "I am watching all the other guys doing what I want to be doing, and I am sitting on a couch being a loser." Coupled with his wife leaving him after 379 days of marriage in 2019, and the only work he seems to be getting in an auto insurance ad, Manziel's admitted "huge downfall" is totally cringe-worthy.

The cameras exposed a bit too much of Farrah Abraham

Farrah Abraham of Teen Mom OG fame has been one of the show's most high-profile celebs, ever since her debut on 16 and Pregnant. However, once she decided she wanted to be an adult film star, she was able to kiss her MTV career goodbye.

It's not like the show's producers didn't warn her — it was even a plotline during Teen Mom OG's seventh season. Of course, the dramatic starlet didn't back down, and after she was sacked, took to Facebook to vent her frustrations (via the Daily Mail). Abraham then dropped $5 million on a lawsuit against MTV and its parent company, Viacom. Per E! News, the reality TV alum claimed "she was 'sex shamed' for her porn career." The lawsuit was settled in April 2018, but times were still rough for Abraham, seeing as she had to sell both her Austin and Hollywood Hills homes below their asking prices.

By 2019, it looked like Abraham's finances were still in rough shape, as she was sued for allegedly "breaking a couple of leases and skipping out on more than $100k in rent" for her now-defunct boutiques (via TMZ). According to Radar Online, the TV star was also hit with a $12,000 lawsuit for ditching a celeb boxing match. Yikes. In a sad case of things going full circle, by February of that year, Abraham was living in her parents' home, and at the time of this writing, is still allegedly dodging her lawsuits.

Charlie Sheen is finally winning ... silently

Charlie Sheen was once at the top of his game. A Hollywood heavyweight known for his high-profile flicks such as Wall Street, Sheen then settled for a regular stint on CBS' Two and a Half Men — making him "the highest-paid actor on US television," as per BBC News. Suddenly, in 2011, Sheen was fired from the series due to a life-threatening drug addiction and very bizarre online rants.

Sheen's spiral was a highly-publicized, disturbing one. Only years later, in 2015, was it revealed that a severe issue was plaguing the actor the whole time — he'd been diagnosed with HIV. Finally announcing his health to the masses on Today (via USA Today), Sheen revealed, "I think I released myself from this prison today."

Nowadays, Sheen prefers to fly under the radar. In an interview with the British morning talk show, Loose Women, in 2019, the actor explained that he'd been sober for over a year, with a strict rule in place where he won't have more than five houseguests over at one time. Although he had no movies to promote, he said he appeared on the show to promote his "sanity," adding, "I'm promoting a sense of nobility and a return to a more innocent place." Here's hoping for that proper comeback, Charlie.

Ja Rule's Fyrey career disaster

Ja Rule committed career suicide by unknowingly getting involved in the biggest scam in recent years: Fyre Festival. According to Billboard's timeline, the Bahamas-based music fest was organized by Bill McFarland and backed by Ja Rule in early 2016. Although the island had an inadequate transportation system, as well as a lack of potable water and sewage lines, the two still pushed forward, creating a marketing campaign and reaching out to musicians and influencers. By January 2017, the now-infamous Fyre teaser was released, featuring numerous top models promoting it. With more acts joining the lineup and countless A-listers advertising the event on social media with discount codes, it would be the most buzzworthy festival to date.

Upon arriving, guests who paid upwards to $12,000 a ticket arrived to "disaster-relief-like tents, aggressive security, [and] scant electricity and water" (via the New York Post). Needless to say, the festival was canceled. Ja Rule took to Twitter to deny knowingly taking part in the scam, but naturally, fans were enraged. Even worse? Class-action lawsuits just kept plaguing the two founders.

In January 2019, after two documentaries were made about the festival's disaster, Ja Rule decided to speak out, claiming that he too was a victim of McFarland's scam. Although he got off the hook for the $100 million lawsuit, his reputation in the music industry has seen better days after this highly-publicized disaster.

Will Lindsay Lohan ever be a comeback kid?

Lindsay Lohan's downward spiral has been no secret. However, it was her failed attempt at rebranding herself that seemed to be the nail in the coffin of her career. In 2013, the notorious party animal decided to change her ways — by seeking help from Oprah Winfrey. LiLo would be followed by Winfrey's cameras for a docuseries that showcased the actress regaining her career and sobriety. It was a total bust. The New York Daily News reports that the show was canceled since ratings were a "disaster" and Winfrey was left "livid" at Lohan's "trashy" tabloid stories and inability to stay sober.

Finally disappearing from the limelight, LiLo resurfaced in an interview with The New York Times in 2018. As the author noted, Lohan divided her time between Dubai and Mykonos, where she opened up her own bar, Lohan's Beach House. The Mean Girls starlet even got back into the TV world with Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club. That, too, was canceled, mainly for not having "enough drama." To make matters worse, Lohan lost the actual beach club itself, with TMZ reporting it looked like a ghost town.

Lohan's antics in more recent years haven't helped her case, either, such as her bizarre Instagram meltdown in 2018, which saw her following a family in Moscow and accusing them of trafficking their children. The result? A swift punch in the face.

Bill O'Reilly misses his fans ... although we're not sure they miss him

After 21 years of hosting his own show, The O'Reilly Factor, on Fox News, Bill O'Reilly was fired in 2017. According to a report released by The New York Times on April 1st of that year, the shamed news anchor was ousted when it was revealed that either he or parent company 21st Century Fox gave payouts to five different women in exchange for agreeing not to "pursue litigation or speak about" the sexual harassment or "inappropriate behavior" to which they were subjected. The agreements "totaled about $13 million."

According to Variety, the women accused O'Reilly of "verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if Mr. O'Reilly was masturbating." As a result, advertisers began pulling their support from The O'Reilly Factor, including BMW, Mitsubishi, Mercedes Benz, and Hyundai. By April 11th, O'Reilly gave his last broadcast.

On April 24th, the disgraced anchor returned to work on his podcast, No Spin News. "Hey, I missed you guys," O'Reilly said (via NBC News). "I am sad that I'm not on television anymore. I was very surprised how it all turned out ... But I can tell you that I'm very confident the truth will come out." At the time of this writing, no sort of "truth" has helped O'Reilly regain his career.

Louis C.K. knows he abused his celebrity power

Louis C.K.'s massive fall from grace in 2017 was one that came as a shock to the masses. On Nov. 9, 2017, The New York Times published a report of accounts made by five women who accused the comedian of sexual misconduct. Two of the women, Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, were an up-and-coming comedy duo who accepted C.K.'s offer to come back to his hotel room for a drink after one of their shows. As Goodman revealed, "He proceeded to take all of his clothes off, and get completely naked, and started masturbating."

In light of the shocking article, C.K.'s New York premiere of his movie, I Love You, Daddy, was canceled. Only then did the comedian decide to fess up. "These stories are true," C.K. said in a statement (via Deadline). "The power I had over these women is that they admired me ... There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am." 

Just like that, he seemingly disappeared from the spotlight – but in November 2019, it was announced C.K. would be embarking on a world tour. As CNBC wrote, it wasn't his first performance since the sexual misconduct scandal — but it was undoubtedly his biggest. At the time of this writing, it isn't certain if C.K.'s tour will be a success, but we have a feeling his past won't be completely forgotten.

Paula Deen's cooking wasn't foul, but what she confessed to certainly was

Celeb chef Paula Deen was fired from her job on the Food Network after some disturbing allegations were revealed to the masses in 2013. According to Fox News, Lisa Jackson, who managed a Georgia restaurant run by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, filed a $1.2 million lawsuit, alleging that Deen had "used the N-word at the restaurant and that Hiers sexually harassed her." Things got even worse when it was reported that, "in the deposition, Deen replied 'Yes, of course,' when asked if she used the N-word.'" She then recalled using it when she was robbed at gunpoint, along with other times (although she didn't specify when).

Naturally, after the report surfaced, the Food Network dropped both of her shows. To make matters worse, Deen was a no-show for her Today interview that same day. She then proceeded to make her rounds apologizing, in particular, by posting an apology video. "I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I've done," a teary Deen announced. "I want to learn and grow from this ... Inappropriate and hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable."

It looks like years later, people haven't forgotten Deen's wrongdoings, as her restaurants around America were still closing down in 2019.

The tragic demise of Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez was yet another football star with a promising career that was completely destroyed. Per Sports Illustrated, in 2010, the tight end skipped his senior year at the University of Florida to enter the NFL draft, getting picked up by the New England Patriots in the fourth round. In 2012, Hernandez signed a whopping $40 million, five-year contract with the team — cementing his status as a top-tier NFL heavyweight.

Suddenly, on June 26, 2013, Hernandez was arrested in connection with the killing of Odin Lloyd. According to USA Today, he was charged with the murder that same day. As district attorney William McCauley chillingly told the courtroom, Hernandez "drove the victim to that remote spot, and then he orchestrated the execution" of Lloyd — a 27-year-old fellow (albeit semi-pro) football player.

Of course, the Patriots released the player less than two hours after he was led from his North Attleborough, Mass. home in handcuffs. Years later, in April 2017, Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell after hanging himself "with a bedsheet attached to a window in his cell" (via CNN).

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

A child star's devastating spiral

Amanda Bynes was once a teen "It" girl, starting her career at the tender age of ten and quickly poising to become an A-lister in Hollywood. But in 2010, the All That alum abruptly announced her retirement on Twitter. "I don't love acting anymore so I stopped doing it," she wrote (via The Wrap), adding, "I know 24 is a young age to retire but you heard it here first."

By 2012, things got serious — alarmingly fast. First arrested for an alleged DUI that April, the troubled actress was left out of control of her finances the following year, with her mother granted temporary conservatorship. As noted by CBS News, after "displaying increasingly erratic and bizarre behavior" in 2014, Bynes was hospitalized under psychiatric hold.

Bynes has been open about her struggles with mental health, resurfacing again in an interview with Paper in 2018. Opening up about her battles with her self-esteem, the former child star noted it was during the premiere of her last movie, Easy A, that things really started to turn sour: "I don't know if it was a drug-induced psychosis or what, but it affected my brain in a different way than it affects other people." Although the promising interview saw the public hoping for a comeback, Bynes unfortunately relapsed in October 2019 and began living in a sober living home. We here at Nicki Swift hope she'll come out stronger than ever.

Azealia Banks just couldn't stop with the online wars

Azealia Banks should have probably paid a bit more attention to the age-old saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Rising to fame in 2011 with her radio banger, "212," the rapper then decided to pick too many fights with her industry peers. Taking to social media, Banks scrapped with Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Rihanna, Lana Del Rey, and more. The list was so long, in fact, that Billboard created a comprehensive list of her "most publicized feuds."

It was 2016 that saw Banks make her most controversial tirade — one that seemed to be a total nail in the coffin for her budding career. The celeb attacked Zayn Malik in a homophobic and racist rant, writing among other things in a series of since-deleted tweets (per WSBT), "@zaynmalik dude, I make better music than you. Simmer down with that fake white boy rebellion and that wannabe Bieber swag." Banks lost several fans and had to issue a full apology to the former One Direction member. It was too late, however, as her Twitter account was suspended and she was fully dropped from a UK festival line-up.

By the end of the decade, the musician's career still hasn't really recovered. In a now-deleted Instagram post in 2019 (via W magazine), Banks declared she's "not ever going to release music again."