Famous people who mysteriously disappeared

In Hollywood's media-obsessed culture, it's hard to imagine a celebrity successfully disappearing without a trace. And when you consider that it's almost imperative for stars to maintain multiple social media channels — not to mention personal brand-leveraging efforts with merchandise, sponsorships, and ad campaigns — there's even a negative professional component to going off the grid. 

Sure, some top talents have such megawatt power that they are able to micromanage their image in the press, right down to exerting almost full editorial control over major magazines, which means that if you don't hear from them for a while, they're probably just holed up somewhere, creating a secret, legendary project like Lemonade. But, clearly, not everyone is Beyoncé, and that goes particularly for the folks on this list. So, when they went incommunicado, people noticed. 

And, believe it or not, this has happened a lot. From A-List actors, to musical giants, to … well, reality star siblings, these celebrities just slipped away and fell under the radar — some just for a little while, and some forever.

Here are the real-life stories of some famous people who mysteriously disappeared.

Nick Stahl went M.I.A. on his wife

In May 2012, TMZ confirmed that In the Bedroom (2001) actor Nick Stahl had gone missing amid rumors that he'd been "frequenting the Skid Row area of Downtown Los Angeles." Shortly after word got out that he was missing, Stahl emailed his friends, claiming he was planning to go to rehab, and TMZ confirmed that he did turn up at a rehabilitation center.

Sadly, Stahl went missing again that June after checking out of rehab against his doctors' advice, according to TMZ. His wife, Rose Stahl, told the tabloid she would not actively search for her husband again. "I'm backing off" she said. "He knows exactly where home is. It's the loving thing to do for him, myself and our daughter." Nick eventually reappeared and reconciled with his family in July. Sources for TMZ claimed at the time that he was "in a good place" and going to Alcoholics Anonymous.

Things took a turn for the worse in 2013. In June of that year, the Terminator 3 (2003) star was placed on a 5150 psychiatric hold for unknown reasons, TMZ reported. That same month, he was arrested by cops who found him and three other people allegedly using meth in a motel.

Ozzy Osbourne ditched his marital home

According to The Sun, Black Sabbath rocker Ozzy Osbourne allegedly went missing after tabloids claimed his marriage to wife Sharon Osbourne was ending over his rumored infidelity … or, shall we say, one of many his rumored infidelities

The missing person's case didn't last long, though. About three hours after Page Six published the headline "Ozzy Osbourne Is Missing" in May 2016, the tabloid followed up with a report confirming he was well and fine in Los Angeles. Hooray for journalism!

E! News managed to get in contact with the artist and confirmed he was staying with a family member in the midst of his marital woes. 

Sharon addressed the downfall of her decades-long marriage on an episode of The Talk (via Entertainment Tonight). "I'm 63 years of age and I can't keep living like this," she said. Strangely enough, the pair were spotted looking pretty darn happy at a conference a few days later, sparking rumors that their split may have been just a publicity stunt.

Governor Mark Sanford was hiding out with his mistress

If you already thought politicians were wacky, just wait until you get a load of this story. In 2009, Mark Sanford, the then-governor of South Carolina, disappeared for about six days after telling people he was going on a hike on the Appalachian Trail, as reported by Business Insider. As it turned out, he was really going to Argentina to visit his mistress, who was later identified as María Belén Chapur. Sanford admitted to his secret liaison upon his return to the United States and begged for forgiveness.

Unsurprisingly, his marriage fell apart, and Sanford and Chapur later got engaged, though it would be short-lived.

Sanford announced that their engagement was off in a Facebook post in September 2014 (via The New York Times), and no one was more surprised than his then-fiancée. Though they mutually decided to put their relationship on ice after Sanford refused to set a wedding date, Chapur told The New York Times, "I learned [about our breakup] from the press today." Savage!

Randy Quaid fled to and from Canada

File this under "things we can't make up." Academy Award-nominee Randy Quaid and his wife, Evi Quaid, fled to Canada in 2010 in an attempt to seek asylum from a group they referred to as "Hollywood star whackers" allegedly out to kill them, according to CNN. Their escape to Canada followed a spree of illegal activities by the couple in the United States that included using fake credit cards to pay for hotel bills and squatting in one of their former homes. According to CNN, the couple was granted permission to stay in Canada in 2011. Evi managed to get Canadian citizenship because her father was born in Canada; Randy's request was denied in 2013, CNN reported.

Randy was detained by Canadian immigration officials in October 2015 and was set to be deported back to the United States later that month, according to TMZ. Bizarrely, he and Evi were arrested while trying to sneak back into the States through Vermont.

Huh. No wonder Cousin Eddie was such a wacko.

​Casey Kasem had major family drama

In May 2014, a judge ordered that the whereabouts of legendary radio host Casey Kasem be disclosed after Kasem's children claimed they could not find him. The order was made as Kasem's daughter, Kerri, was named Kasem's temporary conservator — a big win for Kasem's children in their long and painful battle with Kasem's wife, Jean. According to CNN, Kerri expressed fear that Jean had taken Kasem — who was revealed to be suffering from Lewy body disease — out of the country, or to an Indian reservation, in anticipation of the court's ruling on Kasem's conservatorship.

A missing person's report was filed with Santa Monica cops, and Kasem was reported to be found in the state of Washington shortly afterwards. He died about a month later at the age of 82.

The drama between Kasem's children and Jean continued long after his death and culminated with his remains being buried in Norway six months later.

Richard Stanley lived 'rough in the jungle'

A lot of wacky things happened on the set of the 1996 film The Island of Dr. Moreau, but top on the list is what happened after director Richard Stanley was fired just three days into production. According to The Telegraph, Stanley was supposed to be escorted onto a flight from the remote set in Australia to Los Angeles, but, when his plane arrived in LAX, Stanley was not on board. Some of the film's extras discovered him about a month later, "living rough in the jungle: he'd fled from the airport to a fruit plantation, where he'd been subsiding on yams, cassava and coconuts, along with his substantial personal stash of marijuana."

Even wackier: Stanley actually teamed up with the extras to concoct a way to get back onto the set by dressing up as a mutant dog and blending in with the background actors. Stanley did so because he was worried about his friends left behind on set who had only agreed to film the movie because he was directing it. "I did find it reassuring and psychologically helpful in the long term," Stanley told The Telegraph. "It made me realise the situation was even more shambolic without me." Fair enough — but couldn't he have just waited for the VHS?

​Andrew Koenig stopped taking his medication

The parents of Growing Pains (1985-1992) star Andrew Koenig reported their son missing on Feb. 14, 2010, after he failed to board a flight from Vancouver, Canada to Los Angeles, CNN reported. His body was later discovered by friends and his parents in a Vancouver-area park. Koenig reportedly committed suicide, according to his father, Star Trek actor Walter Koenig.

"He was obviously in a lot of pain," Walter said, according to CNN. Walter added that he and his wife had received a note from Koenig that had been written in a "despondent tone" about a week before his body was discovered. Koenig had also stopped taking his depression medication "about a year ago," according to CNN.

In the wake of the tragedy, Andrew's parents spoke openly to those contemplating suicide. "Before you make that final decision, check it out again, and talk to someone," said Walter. stressing that "there are people out there who really care." He urged families to be proactive about helping troubled loved ones. "Don't ignore it, don't rationalize it," he said.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Margot Kidder hid in the suburbs

It's a bird! It's a plane! Nope, it's just Superman (1978) star Margot Kidder hiding out in the bushes of a suburban California home. That's apparently where police discovered the former Lois Lane after she had gone missing for four days in April 1996. Found "dirty, frightened and paranoid" with bruises and scratches on her body, Kidder was taken to an area hospital for psychiatric evaluation, according to The Independent. "At the time of her discovery, she was wearing disheveled, cast-off clothing and apparently cut off her own hair with a razor blade in an attempt to alter her appearance," police said.

Kidder later revealed to People that she suffered from manic depression and was working hard to better manage her disease. "I'm not saying it's all over," she said in the 1996 interview. "I'm saying this is the pattern of my life … I just have to accept the fact that this is me, or I ain't gonna make it."

Sadly, Kidder passed away in May 2018 at age 69 "as a result of a self-inflicted drug and alcohol overdose."

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Kurt Cobain's final days were 'chaotic'

The final days of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain were described as "a crisis" and "chaotic" in a heartbreaking piece by Rolling Stone. The story detailed how Cobain entered a Los Angeles-based rehab center in April 1994. He reportedly told the staff he was stepping out for a smoke, but his widow, Courtney Love, said he "jumped over the fence" of the facility and went missing.

Cobain's mom, Wendy O'Connor, filed a missing person's report on April 4, 1994, saying she was afraid for her son's safety and telling police he might be suicidal. It was later discovered that Cobain had caught a flight from Los Angeles to Seattle, and police believed he "wandered around town with no clear agenda in his final days," according to the publication.

Rolling Stone claimed witnesses spotted the artist "looking ill and wearing an incongruously thick jacket" at a park, and, sometime on or before April 5, 1994, he "barricaded" himself in a greenhouse built above his garage, wrote a one-page suicide note, possibly used heroin, and took his own life with a shotgun at the age of 27.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Patrick McDermott vanished after financial problems

The disappearance of Patrick McDermott, the once-boyfriend of singer-actress Olivia Newton-John, has captivated the press since he went missing during a fishing trip in 2005. He was initially presumed to be dead.

However, he may have actually disappeared to escape debt and money owed in unpaid child support, and he has reportedly been spotted numerous times throughout the years, including in 2006 when the owners of a café told a private investigator hired by Extra (via TMZ) that McDermott visited their place of business with a mystery blonde.

Woman's Day (via Now to Love) alleged in March 2016 that not only was McDermott alive and well, but he was living in the remote village of Sayulita, Mexico with his German girlfriend. "Patrick's probably now working in 
the yachting industry for a high-profile family down there," a private investigator told the website.

Thankfully, Newton-John wasn't sitting around waiting for his return. She moved on and married John Easterling in 2008.

​Michael Cavallari's car was found abandoned

Michael Cavallari, the brother of reality TV star Kristin Cavallari, was reported missing after his car was found abandoned on a Utah highway on November 27, 2015. About two weeks after he went missing, Michael's body was located "three miles from where his car was wrecked in the high desert of Grand County, Utah," according to E! News. An autopsy report released in February 2016 confirmed that Michael accidentally died from "hypothermia from exposure to cold temperatures."

"My heart is in a million pieces," Kristin wrote on Instagram in December 2015. "Mikey, I could always count on you to make me laugh. You had such a good heart and you will be forever missed. I'm at a loss for words but I know u are in a better place and finally at peace. I love u so much RIP."

After he went missing, it was reported that Michael had been arrested on November 23, 2015, for allegedly standing outside of a woman's apartment with a shotgun following an argument, according to People magazine. He'd previously been arrested for petty theft and DUI.

Sinead O'Connor took a really long bike ride

Troubled Irish singer Sinead O'Connor was reported missing twice in 2016. The first incident occurred in May after O'Connor reportedly went for a bike ride in a Chicago suburb and never returned. According to TMZ, the "Nothing Compares 2 U" star was classified as "missing suicidal" by police before they found her safe at a hotel and transferred her to a hospital.

A little over a month later, Chicago police went searching for O'Connor again after Ireland authorities called to say she had reportedly threatened to jump off a bridge in the Chicago area. Shortly after the reports were published, O'Connor — who has openly battled mental-health issues for years — took to Facebook to deny rumors that she was suicidal.

"Oh and by the way it's bulls*** I jumped off a bridge," she wrote, according to Us Weekly. "Some stupid b***h up at Swords Garda station decided she'd like to throw a bit of false and malicious gossip about is all. AM FAR TOO F***ING HAPPY FOR THAT!!"

Jesse Camp learned 'it's not smart to sit underneath a coconut tree'

Jesse Camp made headlines when his twin sister, Marisha Camp, filed a missing person's report on July 19, 2018. Police told Entertainment Tonight that Marisha lost contact with her brother, who is best known for winning MTV's Wanna Be a VJ contest in 1998, earlier that month. She also added that Jesse "may have been depressed lately."

With rumors of a suspected drug addiction coming into play, Marisha sprung into action by pleading on her Instagram Story (via ET): "If anyone has seen or heard from my brother Jesse since Saturday, please, please, please reach out to me or ask him to call home!!!" 

He was finally located four days after he was reported missing, with the police announcing in a tweet that he was well and "not in need of any assistance." 

So, what happened? Well, we're still unsure. The eccentric rocker took to his Instagram in an attempt to explain his disappearance in the most hilarious way, writing, in part, "One lesson I definitely learned from all of this is that it is not smart to sit underneath a coconut tree if you are not wearing a helmet !!! I don't know how long I had been out for before I was awoken by a bearded elf named Gandolf Garcia … or Officer Garcia as he insisted upon being addressed as." 

All jokes aside, we're happy campers now that we know he's okay! 

Fan Bingbing got into major tax trouble

Fan Bingbing, one of China's highest-paid stars, was catapulted into the Western limelight when she starred in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past. And, before we knew it, the media was reporting she had suddenly disappeared without a trace (via CNN).

Rumors that the actress was using phony contracts to commit tax evasion began to swirl. The Global Times tabloid said Bingbing reported an income of $1.5 million in a small contract, and $7.5 million in a larger contract, which was illegally treated as tax-free income.

The Chinese announced the actress was placed in secret detention, but she was eventually released after she and her company agreed to pay $130 million in back taxes and fines, according to the Los Angeles Times. Upon her reemergence, she issued an apology on her Weibo social media account (via the Los Angeles Times), which read, in part, "I am deeply ashamed and guilty about what I have done. My sincere apologies to you." 

Richard Simmons was 'a little under the weather' ... for three years?!

There was once a time when the public couldn't escape Richard Simmons. He was everywhere, from television shows to the covers of magazines. As the fitness craze of the '80s died down, Simmons wasn't as prominently featured, but he would peek his head up from the sand from time to time.

Fans became increasingly worried about the fitness guru when his public appearances came to a screeching halt after he was last seen in February 2014. For three years, he simply vanished. It wasn't until March 2017 when the police conducted a welfare check and issued a statement through People magazine that we learned that Simmons was "perfectly fine" and "very happy."

The next month, however, Simmons was admitted into the hospital with "severe indigestion," as his rep told ABC News. Simmons released a statement of his own the following day via his Facebook account to address his disappearance. "Well by now you know that I'm not 'missing,' just a little under the weather. I'm sure I will be feeling good and back home in a couple of days," he wrote, in part.  

Whew! Crisis averted!

Where was J-Kwon?

Jerrell C. Jones — better known as J-Kwon — made a name for himself by rapping about everybody in the club gettin' tipsy. But before long, the nightlife-loving artist disappeared from the music charts and the public eye. His friend and manager Dorian Washington told VIBE in early March 2010"I had called him two weeks back because we had a promo tour. I emailed him, called him, text him, Twitter'd him… kept on calling. Last time I actually saw him was in August [2009]." 

His label issued a statement in March 2010, asking fans to help locate the rapper. They even set up a special, since-suspended Twitter account, @whereisjkwon, to bring more awareness to his disappearance. The following day, Washington revealed that the rapper had been located. "I am very happy to let everyone know that I personally spoke with J-Kwon today, and he is okay," he wrote in a statement obtained by VIBE. "He'd like to send a sincere apology to his friends and everyone who showed concern this week. He was taking some time to himself as he sometimes does, not realizing that people would start to worry after a while." 

J-Kwon's self-titled studio album was released that same month. So, naturally, many assumed his disappearance was nothing more than a publicity stunt. 

Scott Hutchison posted cryptic tweets before going missing

Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison used music to detail his suicidal thoughts. For instance, in the track "Floating in the Forth," he sings, "And fully clothed, I float away / Down the Forth, into the sea / I think I'll save suicide for another day."

Though his battle with depression was well known, fans were still puzzled when Hutchison sent out a series of cryptic tweets in May 2018. One read, "Be so good to everyone you love. It's not a given. I'm so annoyed that it's not. I didn't live by that standard and it kills me. Please, hug your loved ones." In a second and final tweet, he wrote, "I'm away now. Thanks."

The next day, his bandmates announced in a tweet that Hutchison had gone missing. "He may be in a fragile state and may not be making the best decisions for himself right now," the tweet read, in part.

The lead singer of the Scottish band was last seen leaving a hotel in South Queensferry, Scotland, and, on May 10, 2018, his body was found, according to The New York Times

Hutchinson's cause of death hasn't been released as of this writing, but his family issued a statement in the wake of his passing, saying they were "immensely proud of him for being so open with his struggles." 

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Dave Chappelle walked away from $50 million

The early 2000s brought us the sensational sketch comedy program Chappelle's Show. The program was headlined by comedian Dave Chappelle and with some help from series regulars Paul Mooney and the late Charlie Murphy, to name a few. The Emmy-nominated series was a habitual line stepper that tackled race-related issues and taboo music renditions. And by the close of Season 2, fans were feening for more sketches featuring crack addict Tyrone Biggums and Murphy's unfathomable Hollywood tales. 

By that point, Chappelle delivered an enormous wave of viewers to Comedy Central, and rival networks were eyeing him, too. His representatives went to work to negotiate the best contract for Season 3, according to Today. The New York Times reported Chappelle later "signed a new development deal with Comedy Central that could have yielded him as much as $50 million."

Suddenly, Chappelle went missing in action. No, he wasn't purifying himself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. He was in Durban, South Africa, according to the Times, to attend a spiritual retreat. During a later interview with David Letterman, Chappelle poked fun at his disappearance from the spotlight by saying, "Technically, I never quit. I'm seven years late for work."  

Of course, he realized the impact of walking away from his $50 million contract. Nevertheless, he bounced back and earned an estimated $60 million payday in 2016 with his three-part Netflix comedy special, according to Page Six

All's well that ends well!

Jason Mewes followed his drug addiction away from Hollywood

Jason Mewes came up as one of the world's most unlikely actors, catapulted to fame on the back of his character Jay — as in, Jay and Silent Bob. But Mewes' fortunes reversed as his relationship with drugs turned from a source of comedy to a seriously concerning addiction, specifically to opiates. 

While the late 90s and early 2000s were in some way the height of Mewes' career, filmmaker Kevin Smith — the Silent Bob to Mewes' Jay — later described the era on his blog as "the lowest point in [Mewes'] life." In a multi-part series called "Me and My Shadow," Smith recalled Mewes being intoxicated on set, stealing from friends, and facing legal consequences for heroin possession. As a result of his troubles, Smith declined to cast Mewes in Jersey Girl — a first for the lifelong collaborators. 

Mewes effectively paused his acting career in 2003 to make an effort at recovery, which fortunately took. Looking back on the experience, Mewes told Nicki Swift, "I think I just got so strung out that I fell off and disappeared [...] it wasn't necessarily that I stepped away on purpose, it's just that I had no reason to be in the area of Hollywood."

On top of returning to acting (and subsequently making his directorial debut), Mewes spent years traveling the country, and recording a podcast with Smith, Jay and Silent Bob Get Old, which helped him and many listeners through the process of recovery.