When somebody is at the top of their game, it is hard to picture them heading back into obscurity one day. We’re surprised every time a former star seems to disappear after a short-lived time in the spotlight, and yet it happens all the time. Teen idols who seem to have the world’s masses nibbling from their hand-held spoons are usually amongst the first celebs to have a less-than-exciting adult life. They experience so much before they’re legally old enough to have a shot that there’s only one way to go once they finally hit a certain age, and that’s back down towards normality. We also see this all the time with stars of hit TV shows, who become so well-known for portraying a certain character that, bless them, they’re never going to be able to hold down anything else. Here are 15 celebs you haven't heard from in ages!
15 Taylor Lautner
Taylor Lautner has a few roles under his belt, but he will forever be known as Jacob Black in the Twilight series. Even if you’re not a fan of the vampire-packed fantasy, you can’t have missed Taylor’s shirtless scenes in the films. Luckily for us, his character lost his clothes every time he transformed from human to wolf! And perhaps because Taylor’s role as the hot, toned and sweaty Jacob was so memorable, people will only see that when he’s cast, and so he’s not really cast anymore? Don’t get us wrong—he has done a few things! He did the action film Tracers in 2015, about a guy who gets lost in the world of parkour as he’s chased by the Chinese Mafia. He’s also done a drama called Run the Tide, about a boy who kidnaps his brother to escape their substance-abusing mother. And now you ca find him on TV in Scream Queens. But he’s not in the headlines like he once was!
14 Hilary Duff
If you had told ten-year-old us that Hilary Duff wouldn’t be the biggest act on the planet one day, we wouldn’t have believed you! Hils captured our hearts by playing Lizzie McGuire and then transformed from teen actress to teen superstar once she did The Lizzie McGuire Movie and released a string of hot singles. Remember "So Yesterday" and "Why Not?" Good times! She went on a tour of the world, stayed away from the bad influence kids in Hollywood and was doing movie after movie after Lizzie finished. So what happened?! These days she’s a mom to son Luca, and other than when she releases an album here and there, we don’t really hear from her. She did have a guest-starring role on Gossip Girl back in the day, and we’d love to see her doing more projects like that. Sure, she stars on the amazing show Younger, but we totally think that she needs her own TV show. It is possible she’s just focusing on being a mom, which we have to respect!
13 Ashley Greene
Uh-oh—another Twilight star who’s strayed from the spotlight! The curse of playing such a popular and iconic character seemed to come for Ashley Greene in the same way that it came for Taylor Lautner, as her career post-Twilight hasn’t been nearly as action-packed. She has done multiple projects, but they generally haven’t been too successful! She starred in 2012’s The Apparition, which didn’t even earn a third of its budget at the box office. The critics had a lot to say about it too, mind you! She’s also done the TV show Pan Am, which only survived on the air for one season, and the film CBGB in 2013, which shockingly only made $4,000 on its opening weekend, after close to $5 million was spent making it. She did a few more films in 2016, including Shangri-La Suite in which she played Priscilla Presley, and In Dubious Battle where she starred alongside Selena Gomez, but nothing huge.
12 Lily Allen
There was a time when Lily Allen’s music was all anybody was talking about. That’s what happens when you have a unique vocal tone, controversial and catchy music, and a witty, outspoken attitude. Lily was the perfect celeb! Some of her most talked-about songs include "It’s Not Fair", about men who leave women quite literally unsatisfied,"F*** You", a song aimed at former President George W. Bush, and "The Fear", a brutally honest account of celebrity lifestyles. She also has a song called "Everyone’s At It" which explores the secret habits of just about everyone, as Lily puts it. After her musical hiatus, Lily released another album in 2014 called Sheezus, which featured the pro-women single "Hard Out Here." Even though she has been keeping busy in her career and her personal life (she’s a married mom of two now!), Lily just isn’t in your face like she used to be.
11 The Whole Cast Of 'The O.C.'
The O.C. was just about the most popular TV show ever when it aired back in 2003. We all had school and our own lives and families, but we only cared about what stupid mistake Marissa was going to make next and who Ryan would have to beat up for her. We lived for Seth Cohen’s wit and Summer’s character growth! But like anything that popular, we knew that as soon as the show was over, things would be different. Like clockwork, as soon as the show ended, the whole cast began their descent away from the spotlight. That’s not to say that they’ve done nothing since then. Ben McKenzie went on to star in Gotham as James Gordon and Rachel Bilson took the leading role of Dr. Zoe Hart in Hart of Dixie. And Adam Brody married Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester, which is still the best thing we’ve ever heard!
10 Christina Milian
Singer Christina Milian’s future was looking pretty promising back in the early 2000s. She had a few huge hits, including everybody’s preferred throwback club track "AM to PM", and "When You Look at Me". She had another hit in 2004 with "Dip it Low", but hasn’t really made any musical waves since then. We really don’t get it, because Christina is super-talented and super-beautiful; what else does it freaking take? She also has a reality TV show called Christina Milian Turned Up, and will also pop up on The Voice from time to time, but does nothing to draw attention from a wider audience. Milian was also eventually signed to Young Money and began dating CEO Lil Wayne in 2015. She is also a mom to Violet, her daughter with The-Dream, and released a few singles between 2015 and 2016, but there’s been nothing groundbreaking yet. We hope she can work it out!
Cassie is another star who seems to have all the right ingredients and somehow still isn’t as huge as you’d think. She’s got a nice voice, had a few hit songs including "Me & U" in 2006, hooked up with the right people (i.e. Diddy), and let’s face it, is as gorgeous as they come. So what’s up?! She’s even had a few movie roles! Even though Cassie has recently featured on some big tracks with artists like Nicki Minaj and still attends red carpets, but she just isn’t as famous as she could be. This could all possibly be due to the fact that she had a pretty shocking performance on BET, where her mic was just about off and the dancing was nowhere as good as usual. But other stars have disastrous performances and recover from them all the time. Remember Lana Del Rey in the early days? Needless to say, we’re confused!
8 Oliver James
Be honest: this guy was all over your wall around 2004. Oliver James was the ultimate teen heartthrob after starring as the hot, streaky-haired love interest for two of the biggest stars at the time, Amanda Bynes and Hilary Duff. He first played Amanda’s beau Ian Wallace in What A Girl Wants, and then proceeded to play Hilary’s man Jay in Raise Your Voice the following year. So the future was looking pretty damn bright for Oliver. But then what? Oliver hasn’t done a whole lot of acting since then, although he did star in a TV movie called Roadkill in 2011 and another called Black Forest in 2012. He’s also had a few guest roles on the TV shows Dark Matters: Twisted But True and Innocent, but there hasn’t been any "biggest movie of the year" kind of action since 2004. He was such a good actor and so cute, though!
7 Ashlee Simpson
Ashlee Simpson might never have been as well-known as her older sister Jessica, but we still knew who she was! She released a song called "Shadow" where she expressed her resentment at having such a famous big sister, but to be honest, the two had totally different styles and Ashlee didn’t need to feel competitive. Jessica was the blonde country singer with a reality TV show, and Ashlee was into the punk side of things. She did make a few mistakes which may be the reason that her career hasn’t fared so well since about 2006, including getting caught lip-synching on live TV. She also appeared on the cover of Marie Claire with the message that women should embrace their flaws, and then was revealed to have gotten a nose job the same week. Yikes! She is now a mother to two children, so it’s likely she’s just focusing on that!
6 Chad Michael Murray
Here’s another teen heartthrob who we also predicted would be huge! Chad Michael Murray played the love interest of Lindsay Lohan (well, Lindsay Lohan in Jamie Lee Curtis’s body) in Freaky Friday back in 2003, and at that point, we thought he couldn’t get any hotter. He was like the bad boy with the long hair barely contained beneath his motorbike helmet, and we were all over it! But then he showed up next to Hilary Duff in A Cinderella Story in 2004 and bang, he had gotten even hotter! He was now a short-haired jock who secretly had a passion for poetry and wanted to go to Princeton. Chad also had a role on One Tree Hill until 2012, and even though he’s done a number of films since then, he still isn’t as famous as we envisioned he would be when we met him. He’s still attractive, though, if you don’t mind our saying!
5 Rita Ora
Rita Ora is another star who has kind of fizzled out in recent years. Things were looking extremely promising for her back in 2008 when she was one of the first artists signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. By 2012 she had a few number-one hits, including "R.I.P" and "How We Do (Party)", and in 2013 she played the Glastonbury stage with the promise of a new album on the way. She released the single "I Will Never Let You Down", which received positive responses and made us super excited for the rest of her new material. But then nothing! Things allegedly got nasty between Rita and ex Calvin Harris who was said to have produced a few songs on the album for her. Things also got a little awkward between Rita and the people at Roc after she sued them in 2015 for not doing a good enough job with her career.
4 The Whole 'Friends' Cast Except Jen
Friends is arguably the most iconic TV show of all time (or at least the most iconic sitcom), and at the height of their success, the six main actors were receiving huge salaries per episode. It would seem that doing a show like that would actually launch the actors and actresses to perpetual fame, and while we’ll never forget who any of the main six are, they haven’t really done anything too noteworthy since. Well, except Jennifer Aniston, who was turned into a global movie superstar after her time on the show and her marriage to Brad Pitt. Other than Jen though, the other five haven’t done anything of the same caliber. Courtney Cox did Cougar Town, Matt LeBlanc did the spin-off, Joey, Lisa Kudrow starred in P.S. I Love You, David Schwimmer appeared in Madagascar, and Matthew Perry did 17 Again, but none of them could make us see them as anything other than Monica, Joey, Phoebe, Ross, and Chandler.
3 Mandy Moore
Mandy Moore is another actress who was a huge teen sensation and looked like she was shaping up to have a long, successful music career. She had a number of Billboard hits and her first album So Real went platinum! She also bridged over into acting and landed a role in the huge movie The Princess Diaries. Even though she’s sold millions of records and has a recognizable name, we haven't heard from her in ages when it comes to her music! Sure, she's starring on the amazing drama This Is Us and we love it, but we do miss her singing voice. She took on the role of Beauty Editor for Byrdie for a while and voiced Rapunzel in Disney’s Tangled. She’s also got some new movie roles lined up, and word is she’s been working on some new music and is set to make a musical comeback. We hope that is 100% true! Who doesn’t love a bit of Mandy Moore?
2 The Whole 'Gossip Girl' Cast Except Blake Lively
It happened with most of the other major TV shows, so why wouldn’t it happen with Gossip Girl too! Though the cast from the Upper East Side were the most envied young people ever during their prime, most of them are yet to rise to the same level of success with other projects. Blake Lively is the exception (there’s one in every cast!) and has done a couple of huge movies including Age of Adeline. She’s also part of one of the most talked-about power couples in the world, and anything that she and Ryan Reynolds do as a duo garners international attention. The others don’t appear in the headlines nearly as much—Ed Westwick, Leighton Meester, Chace Crawford, and Penn Badgley have been doing well for themselves, but we just don’t hear about it that much. We would totally be up for a GG reunion, though, especially if Leighton brings Adam Brody along!
1 Paris Hilton
She was the ultimate it-girl who was famous for being famous, but now Paris Hilton doesn’t find herself plastered on the front of newspapers half as much as she used to. Paris has tried to carve out a career as a DJ, as well as trying her hand at acting and singing, but so far none of those efforts have been majorly successful. We feel like we know what happened here, and her name is Kim Kardashian! Kim basically took over Paris’ role as Hollywood it-girl and turned herself into a brand extending to all corners of the world. From what we can tell, things haven’t been too friendly between the former BFFEs, and it’s hard to recall that Kim actually started off as Paris’ assistant. But we’re sure Paris still has quite a sizeable bank account and she will never be completely anonymous, so things aren’t too difficult for her!