Why you never hear from Tara Reid anymore

Tara Reid was a Hollywood It Girl in the late '90s and early 2000s. She had her big breakout role in 1999's American Pie and, at the time, it seemed like every girl wanted to be her and every guy wanted to date her. Jump to the mid-2000s and early 2010s, however, and Reid seemed to have all but disappeared from the spotlight. When she did make headlines, it was often for all the wrong reasons, as she transformed from sweet girl next door to party animal.

But then something amazing happened when she found an unexpected niche and started acting regularly again. That is, if by "something amazing," you mean "stumbling into an inexplicably popular TV movie franchise about the most ridiculous natural disaster imaginable." But it worked! And these days, Tara Reid has an estimated net worth of about $2 million (which is nothing to scoff at). She's also working hard to shed all of the drama of her personal life, and step out of the shadows. Here's why you never hear from Tara Reid anymore — and why that might change real soon.

Tara Reid launched her career playing the girl next door

Tara Reid got her acting start on the small screen with a one-off appearance on Saved by the Bell: The New Class, which she followed up with a recurring role on the long-running soap, Days of Our Lives. Her first part in a major movie came when she played Bunny Lebowski in 1998's The Big Lebowski. She kept auditioning for the big screen, and snagged some other minor appearances in films like Cruel Intentions and Urban Legend before having her breakout moment playing Victoria "Vicky" Lathum in 1999's American Pie. 

The flick was a smash hit, thanks in part to a number of boundary-pushing scenes, which were wildly hilarious yet inappropriate. It brought in over $102 million at the US box office and over $235 million worldwide, making a then-23-year-old Reid a household name overnight. Two successful sequels followed — 2001's American Pie 2 and 2003's American Wedding — as well as a disappointing fourth installment, 2012's American Reunion, which only earned $57 million at the US box office — and perhaps even more dismally, only earned Reid a reported $250,000 for the role. But as Reid hung on to Vicky throughout the entire franchise, that made breaking away from her image as the hot blonde next door all the more difficult.

The girl next door turned into a straight-up party girl

Tara Reid's first film after American Pie was a major flop called Body Shots. Released in 1999, the movie starts with a group of young adults going bar hopping but quickly turns dark when the character played by Jerry O'Connell is accused of raping the character played by Reid. While the subject of consent is a delicate but important matter that should be addressed, the film lacked the finesse required to handle it properly — which is probably why it ended up with a mere 11 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As critic Robert Ebert pointed out, the movie "suffers from a fatal misapprehension. It thinks it is about date rape, when actually it is about alcoholism." He continued, "That's why the ending is inconclusive and unsatisfactory; not only does it fail to find answers — but they would be to the wrong questions."

Reid followed Body Shots with a small role in 2000's Dr. T & the Women, then starred in 2001's Josie and the Pussycats with Rosario Dawson and Rachel Leigh Cook. Somewhere along the way, she went from playing the girl next door to being typecast as the hot party girl. In many of her films that followed, from 2002's Van Wilder: Party Liaison to 2003's My Boss's Daughter, Reid appeared to be playing the same character over and over again. She was unable to shake the persona and, as it turns out, art may have been imitating life.

And the Razzie goes to... Tara Reid

Reid's struggle to be taken seriously as an actress was made harder by the fact that the roles she did land garnered her a number of Worst Actress nominations. While some actors can simply laugh off a bad acting award and move on with their careers, others are haunted by it. Unfortunately, that was the case for Reid.

After her American Pie success began to dwindle, Reid was nominated for several Razzie Awards. The Razzies, or Golden Raspberry Awards, are parody awards handed out to actors and films for their failures and shortcomings. Reid's first two nominations were for Worst Supporting Actress and Worst Screen Couple for her role in 2003's My Boss's Daughter.

She was later nominated for Worst Actress again, this time for 2005's Alone in the Dark, which was her first foray into the horror genre. The movie, which was based on a video game, completely bombed, receiving a shockingly low 1 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The flick also won her a Stinker Award for Worst Actress, which is actually the only award she has ever won, aside from one Young Hollywood Award for Best Ensemble Cast for American Pie.

'Taradise' was 'the stupidest thing' she ever did

While her acting career was failing to take off, Tara Reid did get a lot of recognition for a whole other reason in the mid-2000s: getting turnt. In 2005, she was hired as the new host of E!'s Wild On... travel show, taking her party antics on the road, from England to Croatia. After filming was done, the name of the show actually had to be changed from Wild On... to Taradise, likely due to the fact that her partying turned the series into something too far estranged from the cultural travel vlog it was meant to be.

The show didn't pan out as the network had expected and it was canceled after just one season. As E! Networks President Ted Harbert explained to Broadcasting & Cable, "Tara was involved in every minute, and it was an exhausting production." Reid didn't take the cancellation lightly, telling US Weekly (via CBS News) that it was "probably the stupidest thing I ever did... I didn't know it was going to ruin my career."

Even so, Reid didn't stop partying. In 2007, TMZ posted photos of a heavily intoxicated Reid in Las Vegas, which it captioned, "TRAIN WRECK on the party train!" In 2015, Reid met DJ Crichy Crich on a flight and, according to TMZ, the pair had quite a bit to drink. So much so that, upon landing, they headed to a tattoo shop where the DJ got Reid's name tattooed on him. Yikes.

Tara Reid tried some questionable PR stunts

In what was thought to be a failed publicity stunt, Tara Reid said "I do" to Zack Kehayov just hours after getting engaged. The pair were vacationing in Greece in 2011 when Reid tweeted the happy news. At 11:58am on August 13, she announced, "I just got engaged!" Just hours later, at 1:37am on August 14, she wrote, "Just got married in Greece. I love being a wife!"

According to People, Reid had previously been engaged to entrepreneur Michael Axtmann in 2010, but just four months after their engagement and one month before their wedding, the actress called off the nuptials without any explanation. Turns out, her 'marriage' to Kehayov wasn't meant to be either... because it never actually happened. When TMZ caught her acting "totally out of it" at LAX in October 2011, Reid admitted that she and Kehayov were "never really married."

Jump to 2016 and Reid seemed to fake yet another relationship in an attempt to give her career a boost. Reid appeared on Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars with "boyfriend" Dean May (above) but didn't do a very good job of acting the part, as she accidentally revealed they weren't really a couple. Reid admitted [via People], "Part of the reason we did the show is because [May] owes money and taxes and he could use the money and he wouldn't mind the fame... so I wanted to do the show for him." Oops.

Diddy's 35th party was a bad night for Tara Reid

In 2004, Tara Reid had what the New York Post dubbed one of the "most infamous wardrobe malfunctions" of all time while attending Diddy's 35th birthday party in New York City. On the red carpet, Reid's dress slid off her shoulder, fully revealing her breast. Her delayed response gave photographers ample time to capture the moment on film. Not only was she fully exposed, but the incident also sparked plastic surgery rumors, as critics spotted what they believed to be plastic surgery scars.

Reid later admitted that she did indeed have breast augmentation surgery, liposuction, and body contouring — a decision she would come to regret. While her breast implants left her with unsightly scars, the body contouring left her looking (and feeling) far worse. "There's not a day that goes by that my stomach doesn't bother me," she admitted to People.

Speaking with CBS News, Reid blamed her dwindling career on the failed surgeries. "My stomach became the most ripply, bulgy thing," she said. "I had a hernia, this huge bump next to my belly button. As a result, I couldn't wear a bikini. I lost a lot of work."

Reid eventually went back under the knife to correct the work, but the emotional scars remain. In 2008, she told People, "The comments [about my unflattering photos] hurt me. People wrote, 'Look at that flabby old actress,' 'She used to be so hot,' 'She's gross.' It's like, gosh, come on. I'm not fat."

Tara Reid checked into rehab, but fell off the wagon

In 2008, Tara Reid tried to shed her party girl image and get healthy by checking into Promises. The Malibu rehab center is the same facility where numerous other celebrities, from Lindsay Lohan to Britney Spears, have gone to seek treatment. Originally, there were rumors that the actress was given a free stay at the rehab center as a paid promotional deal, but Fox discovered that was simply not true.

After emerging from her 60-day detox program, Reid appeared to be a new woman. Speaking with In Touch, she revealed, "I didn't like the person I was. I was sad and conflicted." Noting that "some people get forced to be in rehab," she was adamant that was not the case with her. "I went there by myself," she continued. "I put myself there. It was the greatest decision I ever made." Revealing that the hardest hurdle was her own denial, she added, "Rehab saved my life."

Sadly, her sobriety didn't last. In 2013, TMZ filmed a clearly intoxicated Reid leaving a club. In 2014, the Daily Mail shared photos of her falling outside a party in Los Angeles. In 2016, she was spotted drinking at an airport bar while her flight took off without her. By December 2018, however, Reid was working hard to overcome her demons again. As her 5th Borough co-star, Steve Stanulis, told Radar Online, "She is doing really well [...] she is in a good place." 

Tara Reid's public feuds with other celebs were a bad look

It seems that whenever Tara Reid does make it into the news, it's always because of something negative. In 2006, she went down in pop culture history for being snubbed by Paris Hilton (who she was friends with at the time) and a then-unknown Kim Kardashian. The incident took place when Reid was denied access to Hyde Lounge as Hilton and Kardashian walked right past her and went inside. The moment became so iconic, HuffPost actually celebrated its 10-year anniversary.

In 2013, Reid brought the negative headlines on herself when she talked smack about Lindsay Lohan. "We don't really like each other that much," she told TMZ. "If I get drunk, I'm a happy drunk. When she gets drunk, she's just mean." She later apologized, tweeting, "@lindsaylohan I truly do wish you the best of luck. There is no war here."

Even so, nothing was as cringe-worthy as her 2016 exchange with Jenny McCarthy. Reid appeared on McCarthy's radio show to promote the latest Sharknado, but McCarthy kept trying to tackle off-limit topics, like her botched plastic surgery. "It was really nice talking to you and really good luck with your show," Reid said while starting her exit. As McCarthy tried to get in one more jab, Reid lost her cool, slamming, "I hope your t**s get even nicer, because they're amazing. The same guy who did mine, right? ... I'll always use your advice. You're the best. Bye."

No one predicted Tara Reid's unusual career comeback

In an unexpected twist of events, Tara Reid found success and a whole new acting niche when she starred in 2013's Sharknado. When Reid first signed on, she was paid just $50,000 for the lead role and the script was reportedly the worst she had ever read. She needed the cash, though, and was sure no one would see it. Lo and behold, the made-for-TV, ultra-B-movie took everyone by surprise when it sparked a "social media feeding frenzy" (per Deadline) that gave way to "5,000 tweets a minute at its peak." That translated into an average 1.369 million viewers for Syfy and a 78% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sharknado's surprise success lead to four sequels (Sharknado 2 actually set a ratings record for any Syfy original movie when it pulled in 3.9 million viewers). While doing press for Sharknado 5, Reid admitted, "It's gotten me so much more exposure. It's like I'm getting a whole new career."

During the press tour for the sixth and final installment, The Last Sharknado: It's About Time, in 2018, she admitted to The Hollywood Reporter that "the first time I [read the script], I just thought it was the most ridiculous, silly movie I ever had read in my life. It still blows my mind away," she admitted, adding, "I think that's why the fans like it so much, because they see that it's outrageous. They see that it takes you out of your everyday life."

Can Tara Reid break out beyond B-movies?

As the Sharknado franchise came to a close, Reid ended her run on a sour note when, in December 2018, she filed a $100 million lawsuit against Sharknado producers SYFY Media Productions and Asylum Entertainment. Reid claimed that they had violated her contract and used her likeness to sell Sharknado beer and slot machines without her permission. In April 2019, however, she abruptly dropped the case and has since been focusing on her acting.

Deciding to ride the B-movie train for all its worth, Reid had 16 confirmed roles in pre- and post-production as of March 2020. Among them were horror-thriller Cranial Sacral, family film Baby Bulldog, and comedy-horror El Chapo and the Curse of the Pirate Zombies in which "a sexy soap opera actress, a Hollywood movie star/wannabe journalist and a Mexican drug lord fight zombie pirates."

But while she may be embracing the cheesiness, it's not what she dreams of doing forever. Speaking with TIME in 2104, Reid admitted she'd love a serious role. "There's a whole side of me that no one gets," she told the outlet, adding, "Nobody wants to know that side of me. Even if they do know about it, no one wants to write about it. So I'm lucky that I'm doing Sharknado right now." She continued, "Do I know I have the capacity of doing more? Of course. But will I get the chance? It's not up to me. It's someone that's gonna believe in me and say yes."