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These Celebrities Up And Disappeared Out Of Nowhere

Darren November 7, 2022

These days, there are a lot of people deemed a celebrity due to social media and there’s a massive turnover of famous people. With new ‘celebrities’ created seemingly every day, it’s easy to forget the stars we once knew and loved many years ago. Sometimes it’s jarring to watch an older TV show or movie and see a random actor that had huge fame at the time. It felt as though they’d be iconic forever but then they disappeared out of nowhere.

So today we’ll look at some of the most notable names who no longer dominate the public sphere. We’ve got everybody from multiple Academy Award winners to teen idols. Some of them left the celebrity life behind while others lost their career momentum. Find out what happened to them here.

Frankie Muniz

Muniz was one of the biggest TV stars of the 2000s but seemingly disappeared out of nowhere. He played the titular character in the hit sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, which had in millions of viewers across the world. Then he stepped into the big leagues in Hollywood, appearing in movies like Agent Cody Banks.


However, Muniz stepped away from acting for a while and entered the world of racecar driving. He suffered a near-fatal accident in 2009 as he competed in the Formula BMW Championship. But he recovered and continues to drive while dipping his toes back into the world of acting (via FOX News).

Jamie Lynn Spears

The younger sister of Britney Spears became famous in her own right during the 2000s. Remember that this was when the latter was a superstar who defined a generation. The younger Spears sister also made music and starred on Nickelodeon. However, a teenage pregnancy stalled her career and she disappeared out of nowhere.

Rolling Stone

It’s safe to say that Jamie Lynn doesn’t have the fame or celebrity of her iconic sibling but it may be better for her mental health. Meanwhile, she returned to acting after almost a decade away and starred in the Netflix series, Sweet Magnolias. It’s nice to see that she came back on her terms after so long out (via Metro).

Rupert Grint

Grint is one of the most famous people on this list but nobody knew where he was for almost a decade. He rose to prominence after starring as Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter franchise. This instantly brought him immense wealth and celebrity status but he disappeared out of nowhere after the final installment (via Nicki Swift).

Nicki Swift

Most critics considered him to be a more naturally gifted actor than his co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. But Grint opted to take a break from Hollywood and focus on theatre. This kept him away from mainstream audiences, but these days he’s dipping his toes into TV. Grint famously has a vintage ice cream van that he enjoys traveling in.

Andie McDowell

There are two ways that people identify with McDowell. First, some witnessed her rise to fame in movies like Sex, Lies, and Videotape as well as Groundhog Day. Then there is a younger generation who know her as the woman from the L’Oreal advertisements. But suddenly, after decades of success, McDowell seemingly disappeared out of nowhere.


This was mainly because she wanted to slow down and take a break from her work. She didn’t act for most of the 2010s but then she came back in 2021 with a Grammy-winning performance in Maids. Meanwhile, McDowell continues to represent L’Oreal and is winning plaudits for her natural grey hair (via Prevention).

Chuck Norris

These days, people speak about Norris as a superhuman who is capable of doing the impossible. For example, time waits for no man, except for Chuck Norris. However, he rose to prominence as a bankable martial arts actor in the ’80s. Then in the following decade, he starred in Walker, Texas Ranger (via Best Life).

Best Life

Norris has always had a cult of popularity but he stepped away from major acting roles in 2012. Occasionally he’ll make a cameo as himself in a series or on a talk show. But he’s more interested in writing and practicing his beloved martial arts. Norris even created a unique style that represents his value system.

Alicia Silverstone

Zendaya is the “It girl” of the moment, but Silverstone had this role in the ’90s. She rose to superstardom in the hit teen movie Clueless and instantly became famous. Silverstone was a regular feature on MTV and appeared on many magazine covers. Meanwhile, many people objectified her as one of the sex symbols of the decade.

The Guardian

But she disappeared out of nowhere after 1997’s Batman & Robin. The media body-shamed her for her appearance as Batgirl and the pressure of fame took its toll. In the end, she left Hollywood behind but came back to work on TV. Silverstone is also a committed vegan and even released a cookbook (via The List).

Kevin Jonas

The Jonas Brothers became one of the most popular groups of the 2010s with legions of dedicated fans. The Disney Channel trio played many concerts and released albums before they took a hiatus. Kevin is the oldest brother and lives the most obscure existence (via People).


While his younger siblings continue to pursue their solo musical careers, Kevin focuses on his business interests. He has a successful food app and is also raising his young family. The Jonas Brothers infrequently reunite because they can make millions from these ventures, but they’re more interested in their independent ventures overall.

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Hewitt is one of those stars that did everything with moderate levels of success. She appeared in Hollywood movies and starred in TV shows like Criminal Minds. Furthermore, she made music and released albums that her fans lapped up. The heartthrob was also a perennial feature on lists of the world’s sexiest women (via Trend-Chaser).

Us Weekly

Then she disappeared out of nowhere because fame exhausted her. Hewitt wanted to take a break from the relentless industry after years of dedicating herself to it. The endless grind made her step away and concentrate on raising a young family. There’s a similar story for many celebrities because the fame becomes too much.

Liv Tyler

Tyler played a key role in one of the most successful film franchises of all time. She starred as ‘Arwen’ in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and instantly captured the hearts of people around the world. However, Tyler didn’t worry about mainstream success after the final installment in 2003.


Instead, she decided to focus on indie movies and music as well as her modeling career. In short, she made enough cash that she was able to do what she wanted without worrying about taking the most lucrative job. It’s an enviable position that every major actor dreams of (via Grunge).

Hulk Hogan

The main reason why Hogan disappeared out of nowhere was because of his big mouth. He remains one of the most famous wrestlers on the planet and a generational icon. But his racism scandal rocked the WWE and the promotion suspended their association with him. It’s no surprise because this type of behavior is appalling for a brand.


However, the drama died off and the WWE decided that nobody cares anymore. Hogan is back in the public eye and occasionally appears at their biggest shows. The louder-than-life star continues to enjoy a massive fanbase despite his retirement. It’s safe to say that most of them have forgiven him (via Essentially Sports).

Phoebe Cates

Cates was a massive star in the 1980s thanks to her starring role in Fast Times in Ridgemont High. She continued working into the ’90s with a successful role in the Gremlins franchise. But she fell out of love with acting because of the pressure and stress of the industry. It’s the same story as a lot of people on this list.


In 2015, she lent her voice to a Lego video game and quit acting soon thereafter. It was time to focus on raising her family and her interests outside of celebrity. Cates loves fashion and even runs a luxury store in New York that sells her approved designs. This is her passion outside of the world of acting (via Distractify).

Josh Holloway

One of the Lost showrunners described Holloway as a future Hollywood superstar after his performances on the series. However, it’s safe to say that this didn’t happen for the bad-boy actor. He played Sawyer in one of the most popular shows of the 2000s but didn’t enjoy much success after this.

Hollywood Reporter

It’s surprising because he possesses immense charisma as well as charming good looks. Recently, he enjoyed a career renaissance in the hit TV series Yellowstone alongside Kevin Costner. This has been a long road back for Holloway after he disappeared from nowhere (via Entertainment Weekly).

Justin Long

Long was one of those actors that popped up in everything during the 2000s. He had supporting roles in the likes of Dodgeball and Jeepers Creepers. However, he disappeared out of nowhere after being a regular feature on the big screen. Many people wonder what happened to the Connecticut native.

Nicki Swift

In short, he decided to pursue his long-term interest in writing and directing. Long occasionally appears on TV but these days he’s more interested in the work behind the camera. This is a common path for many actors because they can still make a lot of money and enjoy more satisfaction (via The Playlist).

Lindsay Lohan

The Parent Trap actress became a megastar but descended into chaos. Everybody knows that Lohan suffered severe problems with substance abuse. She admits that she used cocaine a lot and drank heavily while spending a lot of time in rehab. It’s a shame because she possesses a lot of talent (via Huff Post).


But this story has a happy ending because Lohan cleaned up her act. After she disappeared out of nowhere she agreed to come back and work with Netflix. This means that she’ll appear on our TV screens again after years in the wilderness. It’s great that Lohan is no longer suffering from severe mental health problems.

The Olsen Twins

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen first appeared on TV screens as child stars in the 1990s. Then they became media darlings and teen idols to millions around the world. An entire generation followed their every move but they suddenly disappeared out of nowhere. But there’s a good reason why we don’t see them on TV anymore.

Vanity Fair

That’s because they retired from acting in 2012 and entered the fashion world. The identical twins created their fashion brand, The Row, and focused on their main passion. They know that their acting and TV appearances gave them a platform but they’re happy to step away from the small screen (via The Teal Mango).

Sam Neill

Neill was one of the most bankable stars of the ’90ss because he had a starring role in the Jurassic Park franchise. However, the veteran New Zealander prefers to avoid blockbusters these days and stays in the Southern hemisphere. Most of his recent work saw him appear in Australian indie cinema.

Hindustan Times

Occasionally, he makes an exception for projects and directors close to his heart like Taika Waititi. But Neill prefers to stay out of the limelight as much as possible and doesn’t chase fame. He loves acting but tries to work in roles that he finds interesting rather than offer the most money (via Stuff. NZ).

Cory Feldman

Feldman was one of the biggest teen idols of the 1980s but many people forgot that he exists. That’s because he disappeared out of nowhere and is no longer a major Hollywood star. He had a brilliant start to his career with big roles in The Goonies, Gremlins, and Stand By Me.

Rolling Stone

These days, Feldman is more interested in his music and spends a lot of time recording songs. He is also outspoken about sexual abuse due to his traumatic experiences as a child actor. It’s safe to say that most people wouldn’t have expected Feldman’s life to follow this path (via Best Life Online).

David Schwimmer

Sometimes it’s difficult for a famous actor to find another major role or meaning after playing the same character for a decade. Schwimmer starred as Ross from Friends in a career-defining role, but didn’t progress to the next level. However, he made a fortune from the all-time hit so it’s not that shocking really.

NBC News

But Schwimmer made a massive comeback in 2016 after years in the wilderness. He received an Emmy nomination after his outstanding performance in The People vs. O.J. Simpson. It’s good to see Schwimmer on the small screen again because he has a lot of talent and a lot to offer (via Us Magazine).

Geena Davis

It appeared as though Davis was on course to become one of the biggest stars of her generation. She made her name with memorable appearances in the iconic Thelma & Louise as well as The Accidental Tourist. The latter role landed her an Oscar win but then she disappeared out of nowhere (via Sofy).

The Guardian

That’s because Davis turned to activism after noticing Hollywood’s gender imbalance. These days her main passion is encouraging young girls and women to turn to act. Another issue that she cares about is the Hollywood gender pay gap that sees female leads earn less than their male equivalents.

Shia LeBeouf

LeBeouf is one of the more controversial figures on this list because of his erratic personality. That’s also why he disappeared out of nowhere after becoming a nightmare to work with. In 2022, his ex-girlfriend, FKA Twigs accused him of abuse throughout their relationship and LeBeouf went to rehab.

Page Six

Meanwhile, Harry Styles replaced him in a big movie role because the crew didn’t want to work with him. LeBeouf has a history of substance abuse and bizarre antics. It’s a shame because he has a lot of talent but fame doesn’t appear to sit well with him (via Entertainment Weekly).

Haley Joel Osment

The 1999 hit The Sixth Sense was one of the most disturbing and spine-chilling movies ever. Osment became an immediate child star and won multiple awards for his mature performance. He had a few bigger roles but less success as he aged and became a fully-grown adult. This is a tough cross for many former child stars to endure and understand.

Vanity Fair

Osment lent his voice to the Final Fantasy video game saga and appeared in random movies throughout the following decade. But it felt as though he disappeared out of nowhere because his youthful stardom didn’t translate into success as an adult. Now he regularly pops up on big TV shows with one-off appearances (via Distractify).

Meg Ryan

Ryan was a massive star in the ’80s and ’90s as she appeared in many big movies. Starring opposite Tom Cruise in Top Gun is a great way for anybody to kickstart their career. Then she stepped into the world of rom-com with great success but suddenly she disappeared out of nowhere.

NBC News

There were two main reasons why this happened. First, as she matured into a middle-aged woman she struggled to find decent roles. This is a problem that many female actresses endure and deal with. Meanwhile, she also developed an interest in directing and the other side of the camera (via Looper).

Jack Gleeson

Gleeson made a name for himself in Game of Thrones after he starred as Prince Joffrey. He convinced so many people of his evil nature and intentions that he even received hate mail. It appeared as though he would become a future superstar but Gleeson shocked the world with his next decision.


He decided to retire from acting and spend his life pursuing his other interests. Gleeson studied at Trinity College Dublin because he had a major interest in academia. In the end, after six years, he gave up on that plan and went back to acting. The fans win because he is a brilliant performer (via The Things).

Randy Quaid

It may feel like Quaid disappeared out of nowhere but that’s not the full story. However, it is accurate that he no longer receives the same roles that he enjoyed in the eighties or nineties. That’s when he was at the height of his career and received multiple Emmy nominations.


In recent years, Quaid had a bizarre Canadian immigration case that created severe legal issues for him. On the more positive side, he dipped his toes into the world of theater with success. Quaid’s younger brother, Dennis, is also an excellent actor and potentially more recognizable these days (via Freshers Live).

Mark Hamill

Everybody knows Hamill because he played Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy. This instantly made him a superstar even if he lacked the on-screen charisma of Harrison Ford. But the young Jedi knight had plenty of admirers in Hollywood. Surprisingly, Hamill disappeared out of nowhere and never made it as a leading man.


Directors typecast him and this felt frustrating so he preferred to pursue voice acting. It says a lot that his second-most famous role was The Joker in the animated Batman series. However, Hamill agreed to return and play an older version of Skywalker in the new Star Wars trilogy (via Screenrant).

Hayden Christensen

Christensen landed the role of a lifetime when George Lucas selected him to play Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels. However, critics panned him for his performances and described him as wooden. But Lucas’s horrible dialogue didn’t help matters and earned him a pass.

Tech Radar

Then Christensen disappeared out of nowhere and failed to maximize his sudden rise to fame. The series had massive stars like Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman who had brilliant careers. But Christensen took a step back before reappearing in the Star Wars universe in 2019 after focusing on his farm (via SCMP).

Emile Hirsch

Many people don’t follow celebrity gossip or scandals and miss the reasons why some of them fall off the radar. Hirsch disappeared out of nowhere after his career-defining performance in Into The Wild. This was a big surprise because everything was going very well for him (via Indiewire).

The Independent

But he assaulted a female executive after he went out with her one night. This made him a social pariah and kept him off of casting lists for a couple of years. Then he went to rehab because he wanted to straighten himself out. However, these days Hirsch is back in business with supporting roles.

Matthew Broderick

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was one of the most defining movies of the ’80s. It also made an instant star of Broderick who played the titular role with charismatic aplomb. He enjoyed a few good years in the spotlight before he fell out of favor. The main reason is that he drunkenly killed a woman in a car crash.


These days, Broderick prefers to focus on stage work and is a regular fixture on Broadway. But he also pops up on TV and in movies without starring as the lead. If Broderick made better decisions in his youth he might still be a Hollywood darling. Nonetheless, he’s enjoying a different type of success in the theater (via Looper).

Tara Reid

Reid is another major It girl who fell out of favor. She became a teen idol and a sex symbol thanks to her appearances in the American Pie franchise. It appeared as though she’d enjoy a spectacular Hollywood career after a minor role in The Big Lebowski. But then it went downhill for the New Jersey native because of some bad choices.

E Online

Fans wondered why she disappeared out of nowhere after her sudden rise to fame. The reason is unfortunate because she put her trust in a plastic surgeon. But the procedure went wrong and left her with deformities that affected her ability to claim decent roles. It’s a shame because she had so much more to give (via Your Tango).

Adrien Brody

Sometimes a film role takes its toll on an actor and that’s exactly what happened to Brody. He won an Oscar and global critical acclaim after his performance in The Pianist. But this movie affected him physically because he lost a lot of weight for the role. It also had a profound mental effect on the Hollywood star.


That’s why he abandoned Hollywood for almost a decade as he tried to find himself again. He popped up in some Wes Anderson movies but didn’t do anything too strenuous throughout this period. It was as though he disappeared out of nowhere because people expected him to be a major box-office star (via Goal Cast).

Freddie Prinze Jr.

It appeared as though Prinze had the world at his feet in 2002 after he starred as Fred in Scooby-Doo. The heartthrob had legions of female fans and most people expected him to be a box-office star. But nobody can take anything for granted in this world because that’s not what happened.


Prinze’s career fizzled to a standstill and he disappeared out of nowhere. It’s strange but his career lost momentum and he began taking voice roles. One of the most important of these roles was Kanan Jarrus in Star Wars: Rebels. This opened new doors for the former sitcom star (via 411 Mania).

Clive Owen

2006 was an incredible year for Owen because he had two brilliant performances. He starred in Inside Man opposite Denzel Washington in an excellent heist movie. Then he had the lead role in the magnificent dystopian thriller, Children of Men. Many people penned him as a future James Bond (via These Things).


However, Owen disappeared out of nowhere after making some poor career choices. The problem is that he’s an excellent actor but his films don’t make any money. Several movies failed to recoup their budgets and this affected his prospects. Sadly, he pops up in forgettable Netflix fare these days.

Sarah Michelle Gellar

Gellar was a major start in the ’90s thanks to her iconic role as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She also featured in Cruel Intentions and the Scooby Doo movies during her heyday. Meanwhile, teenage boys fantasized about her while girls wanted to be her. But suddenly she disappeared out of nowhere (via The Print).


She says that Robin Williams’ death had a profound effect on her. This tragedy made her realize how important it is to spend time with one’s family. Occasionally, Gellar appears on TV but she refuses to commit to major TV projects or films. It’s not surprising that she avoids the media after a decade on the front pages.

Mira Sorvino

Many people think that it’s bizarre that Sorvino is in the wilderness after an award-winning career. After all, she has an Oscar to her name after her stellar performance in Mighty Aphrodite. But she found herself on the wrong side of Harvey Weinstein after she rejected his unwanted and disgusting advances.

Us Weekly

The notorious producer blacklisted her and put the word out to other major studios. This left Sorvino scrambling for work and it’s also why her later filmography is so bleak. Sorvino is open about the misery she endured and is an inspiration to many women in Hollywood (via Stack).

Macaulay Culkin

Nobody should expose a child to the levels of fame that Culkin received in the 1990s. It’s no wonder that he struggled with mental health problems as a young adult. He rose to superstardom thanks to his performances in the Home Alone movies as well as Richie Rich (via We Got This Covered).

Entertainment Weekly

But Culkin took a lengthy hiatus from acting in 1994 that lasted for almost 10 years. He had a well-publicized feud with his father over the custody of his earnings. These days, Culkin does whatever he wants and enjoys working with avant-garde filmmakers. Now he’s a big part of the American Horror Story franchise.

Kim Basinger

It’s easy to forget that actors are human beings too. Basinger was one of the biggest sex symbols of her day and was even a Bond girl. But she quit acting because of her agoraphobia and anxiety. These conditions affected her intensely and she decided that she had enough of being in the public eye.

The Press-Enterprise

Yes, she made a lot of money but it didn’t improve her quality of life or mental health. Now the Academy Award winner lives by the beach in California with her family. She loves nature and animals so this is the perfect setting for her. It appears as though she’s living the dream (via Suggest).

Stuart Townsend

Sometimes a director’s decision can shift the momentum of an actor’s career. Adrien Brody discovered this after Terence Mallick cut him as the main character in The Thin Red Line. But luckily he bounced back and won an Academy Award for The Pianist. But Townsend didn’t enjoy this good fortune after Peter Jackson cut him from The Lord of the Rings.

TV Fanatic

Townsend was one of the most exciting young actors in the world when Jackson hired him to play Aragorn. But then the director realized Townsend’s youth was an issue. He recast Viggo Mortensen in the role and the rest is history. Meanwhile, Townsend spent most of his career in indie movies (via The Movie Database).

Daniel Day-Lewis

There probably isn’t anybody on this list with a more celebrated career than Day-Lewis. The brilliant thespian won four Academy Awards for Best Actor after appearing in some of the best movies of the past 50 years. However, he disappeared out of nowhere after he claimed his final Oscar for Phantom Thread.

Vanity Fair

Then Day-Lewis announced his sudden retirement with immediate effect and appears to be sticking by it. This was a shame because he is one of the most talented actors of his generation alongside Gary Oldman. Nonetheless, Day-Lewis has achieved everything possible in the world of acting (via Variety).

Seann William Scott

Steve Stifler remains one of the most iconic and notorious teen movie characters. Scott played the loudmouthed, party-loving bully and immortalized him forever. He made millions from the American Pie franchise and won acclaim for his charisma. But Scott enjoyed a more subdued subsequent success (via Best Life Online).

Celebrity Net Worth

He lent his voice to the Ice Age saga and appeared in random low-budget movies or TV shows. Nobody can say that Scott’s career is unsuccessful. However, it’s safe to say that he didn’t reach the levels of fame that people may have expected. Scott may prefer this because too much celebrity is a nightmare to live with.

Jessica Alba

Alba became a megastar in the 2000s after she broke through with Dark Angel. She appeared in everything from Sin City to The Love Guru and amassed a huge following. Meanwhile, most people regarded her as one of the world’s most beautiful women but suddenly she disappeared out of nowhere.


This was a significant surprise because she could have done whatever she wanted. But Alba became tired of the constant paparazzi attention and refused to play the game. These days she’s raising her family and focusing on her painting. She still has a massive Instagram fanbase and her artwork is available for sale (via Looper).