The 1990s provided the world with some great movies, TV shows and actors. But unfortunately, not all of the stars made it out of the decade unscathed. Substance abuse, legal troubles and more dogged these 40 headline-grabbing celebrities as they struggled to regain the footing they once had.
40. Dustin Diamond
Dustin Diamond was one of the lead actors in Saved by the Bell, but sadly it all went downhill from there. In 2006 he released a sex tape – though would later claim that a stunt double was used for it. Diamond then went further off the rails in 2014 when he was arrested for a bar fight in which one man was stabbed.
39. Jason Priestley
Jason Priestley was huge in the ‘90s. Not only was he in Beverly Hills, 90210 he showed up in several big-screen movies as well. But in 2000 he was sentenced to a five-day prison stint for driving under the influence, then two years later Priestley was in a near-deadly car crash. And these days, he keeps a much lower profile.
38. Ahmed Best
His face was never seen, but Ahmed Best was the person behind Jar Jar Binks in the massive blockbuster Star Wars Episode I. Yet the backlash to the character was so intense that he considered suicide – something he revealed on Twitter in 2018. Thankfully, the actor is in a much better place now, and he’s even back in the Star Wars franchise with the game show Jedi Temple Challenge.
37. Yasmine Bleeth
Baywatch star Yasmine Bleeth’s substance abuse issues worsened as her fame increased in the ‘90s. Indeed, she nearly died from an infection on one occasion. These days, Bleeth keeps herself away from the spotlight, and she looks so different most probably wouldn’t even recognize her.
36. Stacey Dash
Stacey Dash was once famous for playing Dionne in the 1990s classic Clueless, but now she’s arguably more well-known for her bad behavior. The actress has expressed bigotry, slammed other stars and in 2019 was arrested on a domestic battery charge. Later that year she wrote on Twitter, “Like normal married couples my husband and I had a marital dispute that escalated,” which didn’t help matters much.
35. David Faustino
Actor David Faustino was only 13 when he was first cast in the sitcom Married with Children. And the actor sadly had difficulties later on – like many people who find fame at a young age. In 2007 he was arrested for marijuana possession and disorderly intoxication, though the charges were later dropped.
34. Bug Hall
Bug Hall – real name Brandon “Bug” Hall-Barnett – was the kid who played Alfalfa in the 1994 Little Rascals movie. And 26 years later the actor was back in the news again. Police allegedly caught him huffing air duster, and he was arrested for “possession for use to inhale or ingest a volatile chemical.”
33. Andrew Keegan
You’ve got to have a pretty magnetic personality in order to become an actor. But 10 Things I Hate About You star Andrew Keegan ended up going one further and starting an alleged cult. The community is named Full Circle and it’s based in California. Furthermore, in 2015 it was raided by police for selling illegally labeled Kombucha, but that didn’t stop Keegan at all.
32. Brad Renfro
Sadly, substance abuse claimed the life of ‘90s star Brad Renfro. He became addicted to cocaine – ending up in such a state that it shocked his friends and co-workers. Renfro got arrested several times, and then in January 2008 he died of a heroin overdose. To make matters even sadder, the actor wasn’t included in the annual Oscars tribute of stars who had passed away.
31. Jodie Sweetin
Jodie Sweetin was the child star who played Stephanie Tanner in Full House, but she developed a methamphetamine addiction in later years. The actress wrote in her 2009 memoir Unsweetined that even as she tried to coach other people to stay off drugs, Sweetin was still taking them herself. However, the star is now sober and a mother of two.
30. Lark Voorhies
Lark Voorhies played Lisa Turtle on Saved by the Bell, but she was absent from the reboot when it came. So, what happened? The actress was apparently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which led to periods of strange behavior. In 2020 Voorhies told Dr. Oz on his show that she believed her illness made show producers not want to cast her, and the star confessed that she felt “slighted and hurt.”
29. Rebecca Gayheart
In 2001 Beverly Hills, 90210 star Rebecca Gayheart was in a motor accident that tragically left a nine-year-old boy dead. Unsurprisingly, she never recovered. In 2019 she told the podcast The Only One in the Room, “Everything changed from that, and I still have trouble talking about it.” The star also remarked spending “about a year just trying to kill myself,” but thankfully she did not.
28. Jake Lloyd
Jake Lloyd was the young star of Star Wars Episode I, and the actor was trashed by fans of the franchise even though he was only ten. Unfortunately, things didn’t much better for him afterwards. He began showing signs of schizophrenia as a teenager and was arrested for driving offences in 2015. To make matters worse, his sister died in 2018. Hopefully he can overcome what life has thrown at him.
27. Donna D’Errico
Donna D’Errico of Baywatch suffered some difficulties after the show finished. The actress married rocker Nikki Sixx, but after a costly divorce she filed for bankruptcy in 2014. Things between D’Errico and her ex never did seem to become amicable, though she’s still a very beautiful woman and men are practically queuing up to date her.
26. Matthew Perry
Friends star Matthew Perry doesn’t actually remember a lot of the show that made him famous. That’s because he was struggling with substance abuse issues at the time. Perry’s pancreas became inflamed and the actor later crashed his car into a house, but he still couldn’t stop. Eventually though, with the support of his co-stars, he was able to defeat his addiction.
25. Christian Slater
Christian Slater was a “bad boy” type of teen idol, but then things started to get a bit out of control. There were multiple arrests – including one in 1997 for allegedly hitting a woman and biting a man while drunk. Even by 2005 he hadn’t stopped getting into trouble, as that year he was arrested for harassment. However, thanks in part to the show Mr. Robot, his career seems to have improved now.
24. Mary-Kate Olsen
Mary-Kate and Ashley Oslen were mega-famous child stars in the 1990s, but it’s the former who seemed to find fame more difficult. When she was still a teenager, the actress went into rehab in 2004 for anorexia and an alleged cocaine addiction. Six years later Olsen tellingly told Marie Claire magazine, “I would never wish my upbringing on anyone.”
23. Jaimee Foxworth
Jaimee Foxworth learned about the harsh side of showbusiness far too early. She was a child star on Family Matters but was reportedly let go after asking for a raise. In 2017 Foxworth told website The Root, “They figured they could just throw me away – no explanation at all.” As she got older, the star took drugs and appeared in pornography, plus she did Celebrity Rehab in 2008. But now, Foxworth is sober and a mother.
22. River Phoenix
River Phoenix was a star and an Oscar nominee, but he hated the pressures of fame. And in October 1993 he sadly died at The Viper Room nightclub in California after overdosing on cocaine and heroin. His brother Joaquin – later a star himself – was the one who called the ambulance, and a recording of it was almost instantly leaked to the media.
21. Mischa Barton
Back in the ‘90s Mischa Barton was a child star – appearing in movies such as Lawn Dogs and The Sixth Sense. But her personal life took a downturn after she gained a starring role in TV show The O.C. She got a DUI in 2007 and was hospitalized two years later. It was a long struggle back to health, but hopefully the worst is over.
20. Jeremy Jackson
Jeremy Jackson started out as a fresh face on Baywatch, but then things went drastically downhill. He became addicted to drugs while on the show, and though he left the series the addiction continued. Arrests followed, and the final nail in the coffin came in 2015 when he was thrown off Celebrity Big Brother for pulling off a female contestant’s gown.
19. Matt LeBlanc
During the 1990s Friends was so massive that the actors who starred in it found the pressure difficult. Matt LeBlanc later revealed that he almost had a nervous breakdown and deliberately stayed away from the public eye. Elsewhere, his young daughter was later diagnosed with cortical dysplasia, but luckily she recovered and LeBlanc is now focused on being her dad.
18. Haley Joel Osment
Haley Joel Osment won rave reviews for his acting when he was a child. Now he’s an adult, and it’s been a bit of a rocky ride. When the star was 18 he flipped his car over while drunk-driving and faced the consequences: three years of probation, a fine and 60 hours of rehab. Luckily, he learned his lesson and has had no more public incidents since then.
17. John Stamos
John Stamos of Full House previously had a lot of problems with drugs, alcohol and the law, but now he credits his co-star Jodie Sweetin with helping him get sober. The star presented her with the Writers in Treatment’s Experience, Strength and Hope Award in 2019, and he thanked her for being “right by my side during some of the most difficult days of my life.”
16. Nicholas Brendon
Nicholas Brendon was a star of the smash hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but he probably won’t be invited back if there’s ever a reboot. After several years of substance abuse, the actor was arrested for grabbing his girlfriend by the hair and pulling her in 2017. And she alleged in court that Brendon’s abuse of her went further than even that.
15. David Duchovny
Paranormal TV show The X-Files made David Duchonvy famous, but he’s had problems in his personal life. Ever since 1997 there were rumors that he was a sex addict, but the actor denied them. Then in 2008 – the same year the second and hitherto most recent X-Files film came out – he went to rehab for that very condition.
14. Amanda Bynes
Poor Amanda Bynes had her struggles plastered across the whole internet. The young woman – once a Nickelodeon star – began exhibiting strange behavior in 2012 and things escalated from there. Eventually, after an arrest for marijuana she was sent to a psychiatric ward a year later. But in February 2020 she announced 12 months of sobriety and her engagement to a man she’d met in rehab.
13. Pamela Anderson
Pamela Anderson was a sex symbol of the ‘90s, but behind the glamor she had a difficult life. In 1995 she married rocker Tommy Lee, though later she would allege that he was abusive. Not only that, Anderson claimed that he had given her Hepatitis C via a tattoo needle – failing to disclose to her that he had the condition.
12. Macaulay Culkin
Former child star of the 1990s Macaulay Culkin had a very public battle with drugs as he grew older. In 2020 the Home Alone star told Esquire magazine, “I played with some fire, I guess is the best way to put it… I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t had drugs in my life at some point or another.” Luckily, he is sober now.
11. Brittany Murphy
Brittany Murphy’s career started off well, but then things took a turn for the worse. She was dropped from Happy Feet 2 after the media publicized her alleged drug use, which devastated her. The star also suffered constant jaw pain from a car accident in 1995. Then 14 years later Murphy died – apparently of pneumonia and intoxication from legal drugs. But her friends believe Hollywood chewed her up and spat her out.
10. Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen always led a turbulent life; even during the 1990s at the height of his fame there were high-profile arrests and rehab stays. Though he seems to be staying sober nowadays. In 2012 he said on the TV show Loose Women, “To this day, I’m not sure how I created such chaos and wound up in that head space.”
9. Edward Furlong
Edward Furlong – aka John Connor from Terminator 2 – has sadly had drug problems for most of his career. In October 2000 he went to rehab, but the issues persisted and nine years later he ended up in a psychiatric ward. His career never got back on track, however, and Furlong looks very different now to how he did at the height of his fame.
8. Mel Gibson
In the ‘90s actor Mel Gibson was the toast of Hollywood, though that later changed when anti-Semitic and racist alcohol-fueled rants from him were caught on camera. Furthermore, domestic violence allegations saw him sink even lower in people’s estimations. But he apparently celebrated ten years of sobriety in 2016 and is seeking to gain his Hollywood career back.
7. Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore first came to public attention in 1982 as a seven-year-old in the hit movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. However, the star’s teenage years saw her on a downward spiral as she dealt with fame over the following decade. Barrymore portrayed herself as a rebel, but behind the scenes she struggled with drugs. Luckily, she was able to fight her way back from it and is still a successful actress.
6. David Hasselhoff
David Hasselhoff was huge back in the ‘90s when he was the star of Baywatch, though he had a very public fall from grace. Alcohol consumed his life so much that in 2007 his daughter released a video of him lying drunk on the floor of a hotel room. Luckily, his life seems to have improved in recent years.
5. Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck’s career has lasted well past the ‘90s, but he’s spent a lot of his life trying to tackle his own tendency towards addiction. He tried to quit drinking in 1997 but went back to rehab in 2017 and the year after. Nevertheless, Affleck maintains a successful acting career to this day.
4. Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant came very close to throwing a glittering career away in 1995. That year – at the height of his fame – the star was caught in a car with a sex worker he’d paid for. Grant also happened to be in a highly publicized relationship with Liz Hurley at the time. In the end, his status as an actor lasted out the scandal, though the romance with Hurley did not.
3. Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp is a successful and beloved A-list star, but his life has also been marred by substance abuse. And details of the actor’s addictions became known to the public in 2020 during a much-publicized libel case involving domestic abuse allegations. Indeed, Depp revealed that he’d been taking drugs since the age of just 12.
2. Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan was a child star in the 1990s and was poised for big things, but addiction dragged her down. By 2007 she had been arrested and sent to rehab, but in the following years Lohan racked up an ever-growing list of arrests and allegations. Sadly, the actress was subsequently never able to bounce back.
1. Robert Downey Jr.
For a long time, Robert Downey Jr. was almost considered to be a lost cause. Despite a lot of success in the ‘90s, he had major issues with drink and drugs. It seemed there was a high chance that Downey Jr. could disappear from Hollywood altogether – or worse. But he kicked his addiction, won the role of Iron Man, and the rest is history. In fact, it’s a comeback story which could be a movie in itself.