17 Celebrities Who Experienced a Rapid and Damaging Downward Spiral

Celebrities are everywhere! It’s amazing how they can capture our attention and become the center of our pop culture universe.

One minute, they’re regular people, and the next, boom! They’re catapulted into the limelight, living the high life and being adored by fans all over the world. But fame comes with its fair share of downfalls.

One Redditor asked, “Which celebrity went on the fastest, hardest, and most destructive downward spiral from their peak?”

Here are some of the best ones. 

Shane Dawson

Shane Dawson at in-store appearance for Shane Dawson Booksigning for I HATE MYSELFIE, Barnes and Noble Book Store on Union Square, New York, NY March 13, 2015. Photo By: Derek Storm/Everett Collection.
Image Credit: everett225 via DepositPhotos.com.

Back in the day, Shane Dawson was known for his controversial humor. He had a knack for pushing boundaries and creating content that grabbed people’s attention. His videos had a certain rawness, and he wasn’t afraid to tackle sensitive topics!

A Redditor said, “In short, he has s**ualised minors, s**ually harassed minors, had his 12yo cousin simulate an act, had her perform a lapdance, talked incredibly inappropriately to her while she was clearly uncomfortable, k***ed 2 minors, stated he’d like to assault his fans, shoved his face into a 13yo girls chest, commented he’d like to have s** with the guy who played Fred and was 15 at the time, messed with another kids underwear and simulated an act on them, and numerous inappropriate remarks about an underaged Rebecca Black, and simulating ja***ng off to an 11yo Willow Smith, he was also just a mean to Garret. On top of that, there was the multiple blackface and racially stereotyped character of Shanaynay.”

Another added, “Fun fact (not fun at all), Lucas Cruikshank, the guy who played Fred, said Shane tried to invite him over multiple times when he was a minor.”

Whitney Houston

Rome, Italy - April, 23 2020, Whitney CD cover, the second album of the American singer Whitney Houston, released on June 29, 1987.
Image Credit: Stefano Chiacchiarini ’74/Shutterstock.

Someone wrote, “I would have to say Whitney Houston. I suspect many people here were either not alive or too young to remember how insanely big Houston was. She was literally the biggest female artist in the world and one of the biggest artists, and this was before social media.

She holds the record for having 7 consecutive number-one singles on the Billboard Top 100, record sales of over 200 million, and a host of awards, including 28 Guinness World Records. The only other artist that could stand shoulder to shoulder with Whitney in regard to success would be Michael Jackson.

However, between 2000 – 2005 her entire career and life completely disintegrated. Her marriage to Bobby Brown, her addiction to crack, and the car crash that was her own reality TV show utterly destroyed her career.

She attempted a comeback in 2009/10 by doing a world tour, but it was painful to watch, to say the least. She was unable to hit high notes; she no longer had the range she had, and many performances were canceled. I think it was one in Australia, which was an utter car crash. She made the audience wait for hours and when she did appear she simply couldn’t sing. Pretty much everyone booed her, and she left in a very short time. The general consensus was her tour was a major flop.

She tried to come back a couple of times afterward, but she never got even close to her former glory. I have never seen somebody who arguably was the world’s biggest artist fall so hard and fast as Whitney Houston.”

Another responded, “In one of the documentaries, it was stated that she suffered some serious trauma and abuse as a child with a family member. Also, she was in a romantic relationship for many years with her best friend, Robyn Crawford. She just couldn’t live her truth because she was a public figure, and were different times. In my opinion, the relationship with Bobby was very toxic and codependent.”

Unfortunately, Whitney’s personal life was not without its struggles. Like many celebrities, she faced her fair share of demons. Her battle with substance abuse was well-documented, and seeing such an incredible talent affected by these issues is a tragedy.

Conor McGregor

DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 2017: UFC and MMA fighter, Conor "The Notorious" McGregor at the Irish premiere of the documentary about his rise within the ranks of MMA fighting.
Image Credit: G Holland/Shutterstock.

A person commented, “I know it’s a bit of a niche, but… Conor McGregor. He got humiliated badly, and everything went wild. Cocaine. S**ual assa*lt scandals, whether true or not. Alcohol. He started his own whiskey brand. Apparently, it’s garbage, but don’t take it from me. Take it from the old man he sucker punched in a bar for refusing to drink it.”

Another replied, “What a wild ride. I’ve never been a big MMA guy, but I used to hear about Conor McGregor all of the time when I read about Sports news. I knew he was a bit of a trash talker, but I didn’t know how bad he’d spiraled.”

Despite the controversies, Conor’s impact on the sport was undeniable. He helped bring MMA into the mainstream, attracting a new audience to the sport. He’s had some epic battles with some of the biggest names in the industry, and win or lose, he always brought excitement!

Aaron Hernandez

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOV 22: New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez (81) runs with the ball against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on November 22, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Image Credit: Debby Wong/Shutterstock.

Hernandez gained recognition as a tight end for the New England Patriots in the NFL. At one point, it seemed like he had it all—a promising career, fame, and financial success.

Someone said, “Aaron Hernandez. Played tight end for the New England Patriots. Fresh off a new contract. Killed his friend, found guilty, then took his own life during the appeal.”

Another said, “Yeah but he killed people before that too. He killed people while he was in College too.”

Wallace Reid

Wallace Reid and Gloria Swanson in Don't Tell Everything (1921).
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

A user wrote, “The Hollywood of yesteryear had more than its fair share of career implosions such as Fatty Arbuckle and Harry Langdon but few can match Wallace Reid. Described as “the screen’s most perfect lover”, he was an all-round athlete and musician who wanted to move from theatre to film. He approached Vitagraph Studios with a story hoping he could direct it but the studio jumped on the opportunity to cast the 6-foot blue-eyed Reid as a matinee idol.

By 1922, he had appeared in nearly 200 pictures and even tried out for the Indy 500. Reid was hiding a secret, however. In 1919, he had been involved in a train wreck and was prescribed morphine for his injuries.

As the pressure of stardom grew, he rapidly became addicted, regularly spending 1,000 dollars on morphine but audiences noticed his rapid weight loss and gaunt features. He collapsed on set in October 1922 and was sent to a sanatorium where he was locked in a padded cell as he tried to detox. He died of influenza on January 19th, 1923 and his death was a huge shock to the public, the first celebrity drug death.”

Another commented, “He also had to pay hush money to keep his addiction out of the gossip columns and avoid ending his career.”

Despite his short life, Wallace Reid surely left a lasting impact on the silent film era.

John Belushi

Los Angeles - November 24, 2021: John Belushi's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Image Credit: Elliott Cowand Jr/Shutterstock.

A person said, “John Belushi. In a brief period in the 1970’s starred in SNL, Animal House, and The Blues Brothers but died in 1982 from a heroin overdose.”

When you think of John Belushi, you think of his infectious laughter, boundless energy, and how he made us forget our worries. He was a true comedic legend; his legacy lives on through his phenomenal performances.

Jared Fogle

LOS ANGELES - MAR 11: Jared Fogle at the "Muppets Most Wanted" - Los Angeles Premiere at the El Capitan Theater on March 11, 2014 in Los Angeles, CA.
Image Credit: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.

At one point, Jared Fogle was seen as an inspiration to many struggling with weight issues. His story was widely publicized, and he even appeared in numerous Subway commercials!

A Redditor shared, “Jared Fogle (the Subway guy). The things discovered about him are quite disturbing. Prison is an appropriate place for him.”

Another added, “If I remember correctly, the person who got the authorities involved was some woman working on set who Jared just casually revealed his predilections to. It’s like he thought his Subway fame would shield him from the law.”

Jan-Michael Vincent

LOS ANGELES - circa 1991: Actor Jan Michael Vincent leaves the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
Image Credit: Bart Sherkow/Shutterstock.

Someone said, “Jan-Michael Vincent of Airwolf fame. His alcohol and drug abuse ruined a promising career and turned him into a walking mummy towards the end.”

Another user replied, “Although I don’t think he is the celebrity with the fastest downward spiral, he was actually the first person I had to think about, perhaps because of his potential. He was a good and very handsome actor, and, in a different timeline, I could have easily seen him have a decades-long and successful career while keeping those handsome looks. Basically a path parallel to Tom Cruise.

He had three car accidents as well. It’s just such a pity. Of course first and most of all for him personally, but I also think the world missed out on some great things.”

As the years passed, Jan-Michael Vincent’s star power faded, and he gradually stepped away from the spotlight. It’s a reminder that the entertainment industry can be a double-edged sword! Do you agree?

TJ Miller

San Francisco, California / United States - June 21 2019 - Comedian T.J. Miller performs at Clusterfest.
Image Credit: Nounpusher Photography/Shutterstock.

Someone said, “TJ Miller. Called a bomb threat on a train he was on when he was rejected by someone he was trying to flirt with.”

Someone else reported, “TJ Miller has some wild issues stemming from some neurological problems. He has a brain condition that affects his frontal lobe and had a 6-month-long brain hemorrhage that caused seizures that nearly killed him. So he was and still is prone to episodes of mania. I hope he’s doing better now.”

While his career has had its ups and downs, there’s no denying that TJ Miller has left his mark with his humor and style.

Katherine Heigl

Katherine Heigl at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Unforgettable' held at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, USA on April 18, 2017.
Image Credit: Tinseltown/Shutterstock.

Love her or have mixed feelings about her, Katherine Heigl has undeniably been a huge success in the entertainment industry.

A user shared, “This description reminds me of Katherine Heigl. Rising star on a popular TV show, starting to break into movies, hot an ego & thought she was better than what made her famous, and she disappeared. Last I heard, she did a commercial for cat litter.”

Another wrote, “Oh my God yeah, what happened to her? She was huge for 2 years or so, then nothing.”

Mason Greenwood

Mason greenwood #26 player of manchester united.
Image Credit: daykung/Shutterstock.

Mason Greenwood, the rising star of Manchester United!

Someone said, “Mason Greenwood. Went from being effectively the top young prospect at Man United to never touching a professional football field again. Forget him.

Edit: for those who don’t know, Mason Greenwood was a young homegrown prospect for one of the biggest football teams in the world, being heralded as the next great for the team. That is until one night, his girlfriend came out with dozens of pictures, videos, texts, and audio files of Mason being an abusive monster. He’s done.”

Another added, “Wow TIL what a sc**bag, +“The posts included images and video of apparent injuries, as well as audio where a woman tells a man whom she called Mason: “I don’t want to have s**”, to which the man replies that he “doesn’t care” and when told to stop again, he replied: “I asked you politely, and you wouldn’t do it, so what else do you want me to do?” The man later says: “Push me again one more time and watch what happens to you.”*”

Prince Andrew

YORK RACECOURSE, NTH YORKSHIRE, UK : 13 JULY 2019 : HRH The Duke Of York KG assists in the burying of a Time Capsule to mark the Diamond Jubilee of the John Smiths Cup at York Racecourse.
Image Credit: Mick Atkins/Shutterstock.

A Redditor said, “Someone who was born into one of the most famous families in the world so would have anything he wanted. What he wanted was just that little bit too far. No sweating it. Come on down.”

Someone else wrote, “rich sc**bag who cruised through life in easy mode, still doing it. Sure, his public reputation is in tatters, but most people always thought he was a jerk even before the allegations about him. A lot of royals have a pretty bad reputation for being stuck-up jerks.

Amongst the rich elite inbred types he’s always been around they all probably did the same stuff and don’t care behind closed doors.”

While he may be a member of the royal family, Prince Andrew’s actions and the allegations against him have undeniably tarnished his image!

O.J. Simpson

Los Angeles - circa 1993: O.J. Simpson and his girlfriend Paula Barbieri leave Chasen's restaurant.
Image Credit: Bart Sherkow/Shutterstock.

OJ Simpson, now that’s a name that instantly brings to mind one of the most famous trials in American history. The guy went from being a beloved football star to the center of a scandal!

A user commented, “My fiancé is almost seven years older than I am, and he remembers the OJ Simpson drama and trial well. I’m pretty certain his teachers also tuned in during school to watch/listen to the trial. No one was gonna tell a 5-year-old me what had happened because It was a murder (a topic that even Mr. Rogers would have to say no to explaining to kids like me).”

They further shared, “I found out about the whole OJ Simpson murder when I was 11 or so (in 2000), when, reading my math book for a lesson, I found an old OJ Simpson Hertz ad for a word problem and some other kid had written next to the printed OJ Simpson “killed his wife” like it was some elementary punk graffiti to write in the math book. I didn’t know what it meant and was kind of shocked to even see the phrase “killed his wife” in a book at school, that I called my teacher over, and he kinda nervously said, “We don’t need to see that” as he erased it from the page….”

Mark Salling

LOS ANGELES - DEC 05: MARK SALLING arriving to "New Year's Eve" World Premiere on December 5, 2011 in Hollywood, CA.
Image Credit: DFree/Shutterstock.

Someone wrote, “Mark Salling. The guy who played Puck in Glee. Maybe not the BIGGEST star. But he was a fan favorite on a huge show. Got caught with Child P***ography, Pleaded Guilty, then Hung himself. That’s a pretty hard downward spiral.”

Another added, “his crimes even retroactively ruined his character on glee; they made a lot of jokes about puck being creepy, which … aged well.”

The story of Mark Salling is a reminder that fame can sometimes mask deeper issues and darkness.

John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth (1838-1865) led a conspiracy the kidnap Abraham Lincoln that evolved into an assassination plan. Booth shot the President on April 14, 1865 at Ford's Theater.
Image Credit: Everett Collection/Shutterstock.

Now, this celebrity is known for one thing, and one thing only: assassinating President Abraham Lincoln! Talk about a shocking event.

A person shared, “This has got to be the top. No other actor has fallen so much after they literally KILLED the president and became the most wanted man in the country.”

Another one responded, “He was a famous enough actor he could send a note to the Vice President and expect a reply. He was a famous enough actor to be in the photograph of the opening of the new Capitol building just a row or two behind Lincoln. His whole family was a big deal, and he was definitely a celebrity.”

Chris Farley

Los Angeles, CA, USA - April 17, 2023: Chris Farley star on Hollywood Walk of Fame..
Image Credit: Andy Chinn/Shutterstock.

Someone said, “I think of Chris Farley. His SNL career started in 92(?), and his real break came with Tommy Boy in ’94. Dead by ’98 at 33 years old. Horribly addicted to drugs, alcohol, food, and other impulse-related stuff, probably. Probably gained 100 lbs in his 6-year run. OD’d on a “speedball” (as everyone seems to). Everybody of that era claims he was the funniest guy they’ve ever known, and most of em talk about being frustrated both by his lack of any self-worth (despite how beloved he was), and a feeling of “inevitability” about his early demise.

Obviously, Chris wasn’t destructive like some of the other sc**bags mentioned on this thing. He was simply self-destructive. People like to compare him to John Belushi. They had pretty much the same self-destructive trajectories, both fat dudes, both highly energetic performers. But as people, I think they were very different.

I think he’s more comparable to Robin Williams. They both had this like insatiable need to make people laugh, and they both had this super-human energy. By all accounts, Chris, like Robin, was an incredibly sweet and sensitive person in his private life. Apparently, had spent a lot of time volunteering at children’s hospitals in Madison, Wisconsin, and he didn’t even talk about it. I’ve heard a million takes on Farley, and it’s always heartbreaking (and telling that 25 years later, people still talk about it and can’t get over it).”

It’s heartbreaking to think that someone who brought so much joy to others was fighting his own inner battles.

 Allison Mack

Actress ALLISON MACK at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Ant Bully." July 23, 2006 Los Angeles, CA 2006 Paul Smith / Featureflash.
Image Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock.

A user shared, “Oh yeah, the other day I was talking to a friend about Smallville for whatever reason. We googled her to find out why we really hadn’t seen her around and oh boooooy. For those who don’t know, she was part of a s** slave cult. Also fun fact, a bunch of Mexican politicians were also involved in that same cult.”

Another added, “Not just a s** slave cult – one where they branded the women like cattle with the guru’s initials on their pelvis.”

When the news broke about Mack’s involvement, it left many people scratching their heads in disbelief. It was like a plot twist right out of a crazy movie. People couldn’t believe that the same actress they had seen on TV was now caught up in such a dark and disturbing organization!

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