Tinseltown is a fickle place where, for the most part, dreams come to die. Compared to the number of actors, writers, directors, and producers who arrive in Hollywood hoping to make it big, the number who arrive and end up struggle through life working menial jobs as their hope fads into disappointment is exponentially bigger.
But for the lucky few who do make it to superstardom and become mainstays of Hollywood culture for years, the money and recognition also come with the knowledge that countless others desperately hope to take over the throne once the royalty begins to show any signs of weakness. Becoming a star isn't the same job as staying a star, though, and sometimes, even the biggest names can't hack it.
Keep scrolling for 20 of the hugest names from as recently as the 2000s that have seen their stars fall from grace by 2019.
20 Shia LaBeouf
The 2000s were a great decade for Shia LaBeouf. He went from child acting on Even Stevens and Holes to all-out stardom in the Transformers series. LaBeouf seemed like he might be the next big thing, thanks to his frantic yet endearing acting style. But he's since gone off the deep end in a big way, and has become famous for his controversial performance art.
19 Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey truly rose to fame in the 1990s, but he remained one of Hollywood's most bankable stars throughout the 2000s, as well. Notable roles for the Canadian funnyman included titular characters like The Grinch and Bruce Almighty, as well as performances in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Yes Man. But now, Carrey can barely hold down a TV show, unfortunately.
18 Hilary Swank
Hilary Swank's first huge role, which would earn her an Oscar, was in 1999's Boys Don't Cry. But throughout the 2000s, she kept her public profile high thanks to movies like Million Dollar Baby (for which she won a second Oscar), The Core, and Freedom Writers. Her career has definitely slowed down lately, and it's safe to say her days as a leading lady might be through.
17 Meg Ryan
Meg Ryan was still a huge star in the 2000s, even if she spent the decade mostly trying to redefine herself after becoming such a household name over the course of the 1990s. Hollywood might have wanted her but she didn't want to pursue big blockbusters anymore, so small indie projects became her thing. She has only been in two movies since 2009, and she directed and produced one of those herself.
16 Steve Martin
Steve Martin pivoted from standup comedy straight into a gigantic film career, with hits including The Jerk, Father of the Bride, and Sgt. Bilko leading up to a huge first decade of the 21st century. He had a huge few years in the early-2000s, then tried a comeback in the late-2000s, and has pretty much burnt himself out on the Hollywood docket since then.
15 Renee Zellweger
Renée Zellweger cruised into the 2000s with a heap of star power on her side. In 2001, she played Bridget Jones, then in 2002 she starred in Chicago, following those two hits up with dramatic turns in Cold Mountain and Cinderella Man. She took many years off from the scene, but she might be attempting a career reboot through a Netflix show and a stab at portraying Judy Garland.
14 Drew Barrymore
After the likes of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Drew Barrymore probably thought she could take on the world. To be fair, by the 2000s, she was a legit superstar, landing roles in Charlie's Angels, 50 First Dates, and Fever Pitch. However, her career has definitely slowed down and recently, her cannibalistic show Santa Clarita Diet was canceled after three seasons.
13 Jason Segel
Whatever happened to Jason Segel? The multitalented man had a huge few years at the tail end of the 2000s, with roles in Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and I Love You, Man. Next, he wrote and starred in The Muppets, but he's totally slowed down since then. Maybe that intro scene in Forgetting Sarah Marshall just makes big Hollywood producers feel a little bit of anxiety.
12 John Cusack
It's hard to believe that a name as big as John Cusack's could be hitting a dry spell, but the facts are clear. The star of countless films throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Cusack has since fallen pretty far from the limelight, with seven of his last 12 movies going straight to video-on-demand and another only released in China.
11 Owen Wilson
Owen Wilson is another huge star from the 2000s who fell from grace in a big way. He opened the 21st century with Shanghai Noon and Meet the Parents, then followed those hits up with The Royal Tennenbaums, Behind Enemy Lines, Wedding Crashers, and more. By now, though, it's hard to think of anything he's been in that's nearly as big, as Hollywood cowardly shrinks away from supporting him after some mental health issues.
10 Ashton Kutcher
It's hard to believe that something as dated as That '70s Show ran from 1998 to 2006, but it's true. Of the show's stars, Ashton Kutcher arguably enjoyed the best transition to Hollywood stardom, landing roles in Dude, Where's My Car? in 2000, The Butterfly Effect in 2004, and What Happens in Vegas in 2008. But since starring as Steve Jobs in a 2013 biopic, he's mostly famous for being married to Mila Kunis.
9 Michelle Pfeiffer
Michelle Pfeiffer's career has been full of ups and downs, though the highs have included roles in movies like Scarface, Batman Returns, and The Age of Innocence. By the 2000s, she was an established name. However, she struggled with being labeled as difficult—most notably by Chinatown writer Robert Towne—and even a few recent roles might not quite spark a comeback thanks to Hollywood rumor mill.
8 Jeremy Piven
Jeremy Piven rose to superstardom thanks to his fire-tongued portrayal of Ari Gold, Vincent Chase's quintessential Hollywood agent on Entourage. But his star has faded of late, especially amidst the #MeToo movement, which Piven expressed hesitations about amid accusations of misconduct from multiple women.
7 Amanda Peet
Amanda Peet had a huge few years after the turn of the 21st century, following her role in 2000's The Whole Nine Yards. She also landed appearances in Something's Gotta Give, Syriana, and 2009's disaster flick 2012, though she has not appeared in a film since 2015 and is mostly known now for being married to Game of Thrones co-creator David Benioff.
6 Freddie Prinze Jr
Freddie Prinze Jr might have seemed like a lock to remain a star for most of the 2000s after his late-90s appearances in the likes of I Know What You Did Last Summer and She's All That, but he seemed to peak playing Fred in 2002's Scooby-Doo and its 2004 sequel. Recently, Prinze Jr was cast as Nancy Drew's father in the CW TV show, but he was dropped from the role quickly. Ouch.
5 Seann William Scott
Seann William Scott was one of the many actors who became an instant star after appearing in the American Pie franchise. Arguably, though, he had the best few years afterward, landing roles like in Dude, Where's My Car, Old School, and The Rundown. Lately, though, he's mostly stuck to voice acting in Ice Age and trying to revive the Lethal Weapon TV show.
4 Brendan Fraser
In the early years of the 21st century, Brendan Fraser was as big a star as anyone. His roles in The Mummy, Blast from the Past, George of the Jungle, and Crash were massive. But then, he disappeared from view (GQ reported seven years in and out of the hospital thanks to injuries sustained filming action movies), though his recent attempts at a career revival might just come through.
3 Billy Crudup
Billy Crudup opened the new century with a role in 2000's Almost Famous, and everything was looking up. Over the next few years came Big Fish, Mission Impossible III, The Good Shephard, and Public Enemies. But his career never quite reached the potential suggested by the early sparkle, and he's mostly down to bit roles by now.
2 Matthew Lillard
Matthew Lillard is a name most people probably don't even remember, though his famous frown-smile has appeared in a ton of films. By the 2000s, he probably thought he was in solid shape thanks to appearances in Hackers, Scream, Scooby-Doo, and Without a Paddle. But more recently, after being annoying in The Descendants, his biggest role was being annoying in Twin Peaks: The Return.
1 Adrien Grenier
Adrien Grenier has earned himself a huge chip on his shoulder: after starring as Vincent Chase on HBO's Entourage, then reprising the role in a film adaptation, his career has essentially been nonexistent. The real question is whether he was even allowed to audition for the role of Aquaman in the recent DC film.
Sources: IMDb, GQ, and Wikipedia.