Everyone makes mistakes. It’s just a fact of life, right? There’s not one adult on this planet that has gone through life without messing up at least once. Most of the time, it ends up being no big deal. But then every once in a while there are those moments where you know the decision you just made will affect future events in your life. And just like the rest of us, celebrities also have these moments. Most of the time, they are trivial mistakes such as mispronouncing a word (or name. I’m looking at you Mr. Travolta), or getting a little too tipsy while at an event and stumbling in front of the paparazzi. But sometimes, we learn of celebrity decisions that literally alter their career; Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst. Can’t think of any examples? Don’t worry, I’ve got a list of several for you.
12 Ben Affleck: Gigli
This one doesn’t really need a fancy title. Or even really an explanation. If you saw the movie, you know why. Ben Affleck first grabbed the attention of the industry’s finest after winning an Oscar for his work on the smart yet incredibly entertaining film, Good Will Hunting (along with childhood BFF, Matt Damon.) He then was cast in big blockbuster hits such as Armageddon and Pearl Harbor with romantic comedies, indies, and a few misses in between. He was on a pretty good role and definitely achieved talented heartthrob status. Then… Gigli hit theaters. And we were all confused. The storyline was…odd at best, the acting was not great, and the movie was immediately slammed by critics. Though Affleck did suffer some embarrassment, his career eventually started to bounce back after a few years. In 2012, Affleck once again proved his talent with Argo, and his career has continued to take off.
11 Katherine Heigl Talking Ish About Everyone
Sometimes, it’s what you do off the clock that affects your career. This is the case for Katherine Heigl. Best known for her role on the hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy, Heigl was able to make the tough leap from the small screen to the big screen successfully. She was often cast as the lead in romantic comedies and seemed to be doing well. Then, she must’ve seen a not so pretty side of the industry. She started talking about how she didn’t like how women were portrayed in film saying it often perpetuated negative female stereotypes. Now this in itself isn’t so bad... but here is where she made the mistake. She started talking about specific films she worked on. For example, she said, in a Vanity Fair article, that Knocked Up portrayed women as “humorless and uptight.” She continued to speak ill of a lot of the past work she had done. In 2008, she turned down the opportunity to submit her work on Grey’s Anatomy for an Emmy nomination because she did not feel the writing was good enough. So, in order to “maintain the integrity of the academy organization” she withdrew her name. Those she had worked with couldn’t have been happy about these statements and fans were confused. Why is she taking these roles if she thinks they are so crappy? She was once thought to be the next rom-com queen, but by bashing the work she had done in the past, she effectively killed her acting career. You can’t blame industry professionals for not wanting to work with her. Who wants to hire someone who will publicly talk trash about their own work and your work in the process?
10 Brian Dunkleman Could’ve Been on Ryan Seacrest’s Level
First, does anyone remember Brian Dunkleman? Let me refresh your memory. During the first season of American Idol, then radio DJs Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman were the hosts. The show took off…and so did Dunkleman. He left the show due to how the show and judges treated contestants; feeling they were unnecessarily cruel. While I respect Brian for doing what he felt was right and following his moral compass, I can’t help but wonder how he feels about the crazy success of his former partner. He must wonder where AI would have taken him if he had stuck with it.
9 Will Smith Chose Wild Wild West
Remember when Will Smith did that weird western movie Wild Wild West? Yeah, it was alright. But did you know Smith turned down the lead role (which later went to Keanu Reeves) in the Matrix to do that movie? Yep. While Wild Wild West did see success, it certainly did not become the pop culture classic the Matrix did.
8 Tom Cruise Hires His Sister
Tom Cruise. For you younger readers out there, there was a time when Cruise was simply thought of as a talented, good looking actor. There was no evidence of anything weird or crazy, and if there was, it wasn’t attached to his public image or persona. Then, Cruise decided it was time to fire his long time publicist Pat Kingsley and, instead, hires his own sister. This is around the time he started jumping on Oprah’s couch acting like a maniac. Since then, Tom’s public image has tanked. Stories ran with sensational headlines ranging from accusing him of being in and leading a cult (scientology) to stories of him “hiding” and controlling his own wife, Katie Holmes, and their daughter Suri. So…I guess his sister is doing a great job.
7 Shannen Doherty’s Attitude Problem
Shannen Doherty was once a teen drama It Girl. During her time on 90210 she played the smart, sassy brunette Brenda. Sure, rumors swirled about her not getting along with her co-stars, but this girl was talented and the camera loved her! So she continued to get roles. Her last memorable role was on the then WB hit drama Charmed. Again, rumors flew that she was difficult to work with, nasty to co-stars and crew, and that she had a diva attitude regularly. Only this time Doherty was not the only camera friendly, extreme talent on set. Alyssa Milano also starred in Charmed and not only had the talent but was also already a veteran in the industry with a strong fan base. It seems the eventually Doherty’s difficult ways began to overshadow her talent… and we haven’t seen much of her since.
6 Michelle Who?
In the 90’s, the Spice Girls made girl power and platform shoes trendy. These ladies were not only pop sensations, they earned their place in pop culture history. So who of the Spice Girls made this list? Michelle Stephenson. See, you may not have heard of her. She was one of the original five. She left to pursue other interests and was replaced by the Baby Spice we all know, Emma Bunton. I wonder how those “other interests” are going.
5 Mark Wahlberg Says Nope!
Mark Wahlberg was originally offered one of the lead roles in Brokeback Mountain. After reading part of the script, Wahlberg turned down the role, saying he was uncomfortable with the graphic homosexual scenes. I’m hesitant to call this decision a mistake since Mark was honest about his limitations as an actor.
4 Indiana Selleck
Indiana Jones is another one of those pop culture classics that continues to gain fans even today. It’s hard to imagine the series without the handsome Harrison Ford, but the truth is Tom Selleck was offered the part first. Selleck turned down the role due to scheduling conflicts with Magnum P.I.
3 Justin Bieber’s Bad Boy Image
Making the transition from a talented child star to a successful adult celebrity has always been a difficult venture for those in the limelight. Justin Bieber is no exception. Once the teen heartthrob started becoming a young man, he ventured into more adult activities: nights out with beautiful women, parties, and, even, physical altercations. This, however, seemed to backfire. Instead of seeming more “grown up,” many of his fans and the media saw these instances as a display of immaturity and, well, entitlement. Biebs seems to be on a better track now and no one can deny that he puts out hit songs like it's nothing. Hopefully this talented young man has navigated through that tough transition and is better for it.
Very few actors are lucky enough to say they have been on a long running T.V. series that has had a huge impact on pop culture. Friends is one of those shows. It’s impact was so big, that even though it’s been off the air for years, it is still referenced in movies and television shows today. There is one drawback to being on such a successful series: typecasting. Most actors tend to leap into challenging roles as soon as the series is over in order to show their range. But not Matt LeBlanc. He signed on for a spinoff series titled Joey, and continued to play one of the most loveable characters seen on Friends. You can’t really blame the guy for trying. If the spinoff would have taken off, he would have been set for life on one character. Viewers didn’t like seeing Joey with other “friends” and the show just couldn’t duplicate the magic of its mother series.
1 You Needed That Umbrella, Brit
Rihanna’s hit song “Umbrella,” was originally given to another female artist. Britney Spears. Spears and her producers turned down the song. Ok, so maybe it’s not the worst career move her camp has made, but it’s still hard to imagine anyone but Rihanna on that track now, isn’t it?!