In the mid-’00s, Paris Hilton was the queen of “famous for being famous” in America. Then Kim Kardashian came along, and, just by virtue of being not overtly a terrible person like Hilton was, she stole the world’s attention. Now people barely remember the hateful hotel heiress, while Kardashian’s still the most famous person in the world.
With remarkable speed and ferocity, Lindsay Lohan went from show business’s newest It girl circa 2004 to Hollywood wild child. It wasn’t long before constant headlines about her substance abuse and legal woes vastly overshadowed her acting career. Then, one day, we all looked around and realized we couldn’t remember the last time we’d heard anything new about her.
You couldn’t turn on your TV in the ‘00s without seeing this guy and his stupid trucker hats. He was on two mega-popular TV series, starred in a handful of moderately successful movies, and May-December married absolute kween Demi Moore. But, eventually, the teenage girls who made him famous grew up, Moore dumped him, and his star finally faded.
Sarah Michelle Gellar was the star and titular hero of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a TV show that achieved both mainstream popularity and a long-lasting cult fandom. But it’s hard for teen stars to keep fame in their grasp. You just don’t hear that much from SMG these days.
In 2009, a dowdy, middle-aged woman named Susan Boyle went on a TV talent show and blew everyone away by singing a song really, really well. “But she’s so old and ugly!” the world said. “How could she also be talented?” Based on that sentiment, Boyle became an international star for a few months, but now you’ve forgotten about her. Your aunt owns her latest album, maybe.
Taylor Lautner became famous for playing the second-most-liked guy in the Twilight movies. In those movies, the heroine chooses the first-most-liked guy over Taylor Lautner. And sometimes life imitates art, because America made the same choice.
Adam Lambert is one of the most talented and popular singers to emerge from the American Idol machine. A few years ago, Lambert dared to take Freddie Mercury’s place as the new lead singer of Queen, which made everyone low-key hate his guts. He’s still around, but not making headlines like he used to.
The lead singer of ‘80s hair metal band Poison disappeared into obscurity right along with that rock subgenre. It should’ve been the end of his story, but, impossibly, Michaels reemerged in the ‘00s as the subject of a skanky VH1 dating show. His second act lasted way longer than it should’ve before he more or less disappeared again.
Back in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, Helen Hunt appeared in approximately 40 movies every year. She was one of Hollywood’s most likable and reliable stars. Then Hollywood seemed to lose interest in her. But we never did. Think about how glad it would make you to see Helen Hunt in a thing right now. See what we mean?
Transformers! The world couldn’t get enough of Michael Bay’s explody, computer-generated car robots in the late ‘00s. It also couldn’t get enough of the film series’ aloof, exotically beautiful star, Megan Fox. Eventually, Fox married Beverly Hills 90210 also-ran Brian Austin Green, and quickly was sucked into his vortex of being barely remembered.
Would it surprise you if we told you one-great actor Nicolas Cage has appeared in four movies in 2017? Their titles are Arsenal, Vengeance, Inconceivable and Mom and Dad. We had to look those up, though. We’d never heard of any of them before either.
In 2006, a made-for-Disney Channel kids’ movie called High School Musical became the most popular thing in America. Its two leads, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, were poised to become huge stars. Eleven years later, Zac Efron is a star, and Vanessa Hudgens is a name that kind of rings a bell if you watch So You Think You Can Dance.
When The O.C. became an instant hit in 2003, so did series star Mischa Barton. Then she seemed to fade away after the show’s 2007 cancellation, notwithstanding the occasional item in entertainment news about her legal or troubles.
This guy became famous for being a jackass, literally. America loved him and his friends because they hit each other in the nards with baseball bats. It all suddenly seemed a lot less funny when one of the friends got blackout drunk and drove his Porsche into a tree at 120 miles an hour. We haven’t really heard much from Bam or his buddies since then.