14 Famous People Who Ruined Their Careers Overnight

American actor and singer Ezra Miller attends a fan meeting event for the movie "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" in Beijing, China, 28 October 2018.

Image: ChinaImages via Depositphotos.com

Some of the famous people who ruined their careers were involved in crimes, while others simply acted like they were better than anyone else. There are many ways to blow up your career, but these famous actors, musicians, and entertainers took things to a whole new level.

Ashlee Simpson

While on Saturday Night Live, the then-superstar singer Ashlee Simpson started performing her second song for the night, “Autobiography.” But things went wrong, and “Pieces of Me” vocals began playing while the singer bowed her head down. Later, she said it was her band, then acid reflux, but her career never recovered. Almost two decades later, Jessica Simpson’s younger sister is still best known for her SNL mishap.

Sinead O’Connor

A late singer with an angelic voice also blew up her career on SNL. However, she did it to make a point, sort of. While performing, the Irish singer tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II. She told the audience, “Fight the real enemy.” Considering this all happened in 1992, the backlash was catastrophic. Prince’s song, “Nothing Compares 2 U,” remains Sinead’s legacy despite not being hers.

Isaiah Washington

In the early days of “Grey’s Anatomy,” everyone was either team Meredith and Derek or team Christina and Burke. Isaiah Washington’s portrayal of a superstar surgeon was praised, but things behind the scenes were less than ideal. Allegedly, in an argument with Patrick Dempsey (Derek, aka McDreamy), Washington used a gay slur while talking about T.R. Knight, who later came out. The Golden Globes incident followed, and Washington was nowhere to be seen for ages.

Shia LaBeouf

The American actor has been involved in a series of controversies. The final nail in LaBeouf’s career was in 2017 when he was arrested for DUI in Georgia. But things only got worse, and a couple of years later, British singer FKA Twigs, LaBeouf’s ex, accused him of abuse.

Will Smith

One of the biggest movie stars, unproblematic Will Smith, shocked everyone during the Academy Awards 2022. He slapped Chris Rock over a joke while Rock was on stage, prompting many to think it was staged. Smith got his first Oscar later than evening, but that, and all other moments, failed compared to the slap.

Ezra Miller

The young and promising star faced a number of allegations and arrests in 2022. In January 2023, Miller pleaded “guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unlawful trespass stemming from their Vermont burglary arrest.” He told the PEOPLE during the summer of 2023, “I am suffering complex mental health issues,” adding he was getting help.

O.J. Simpson

Despite being acquitted of murder charges, O.J. Simpson, a former football running back, actor, and broadcaster, never regained his fame. To this day, many think that Simpson got away with the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, and it did not help that he penned a book titled “If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer.”

Charlie Sheen

Though Sheen did not destroy his career overnight, in the eyes of the public, it appeared to be so. He went from earning two million per episode of “Two and a Half Men” to “Bi-winning” and “Tiger Blood.” Combined with his messy personal life, Sheen, one of the most promising actors of his generation and beyond, struggled with various issues, and in 2015, he shared he was diagnosed with HIV. Since then, he has been relatively quiet.

John Galliano

He gave a new look to Dior and was one of the most prominent fashion designers ever. But, the British designer John Galliano was fired over “odious behavior” after a clip came out where he said some rather offensive things. Later, Galliano was fined €6,000 by a Paris court for racist and antisemitic rants. He returned to fashion, but things have never been the same.

Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani was called America’s Mayor after the 9/11 tragedy. However, the former NYC Mayor, who championed the Organized Crime Act, faces 13 charges as part of the sweeping racketeering indictment in Georgia. Giuliani surrendered to Georgia authorities in August, and his trial is pending. The defamation trial against the former NYC Mayor should start before the end of the year.

Bill Cosby

American’s favorite dad, Bill Cosby, found himself in hot waters after numerous women came out and accused him of various heinous assaults. Despite conviction being thrown out, his reputation and body of work will likely never recover.

Harvey Weinstein

The former film producer became the face of the MeToo movement after a series of women accused him of assaults. After three decades and numerous settlements, the Hollywood mogul is behind bars.

George Michael

The late singer was one of the biggest stars in the 80s. He tried to take on Sony, but that did not do as much damage as did
an arrest for a lewd act in 1998. While the rest of the world continued listening to Micheal, he was canceled in the USA, and in the case of the British megastar, the main reason was homophobia. Talk about being at the wrong place at the wrong time…

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