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The wheel of fortune turns for us all, but nowhere is it more fickle than in the dazzling yet unforgiving world of celebrity. Once basking in the glow of the limelight, certain stars have experienced a dramatic fall from grace, a plummet precipitated by their actions.

From scandalous behavior and ill-advised comments to career-ending roles and personal missteps, the reasons for their downfalls are as varied as they are compelling.

Bill Cosby

13 Once Popular Figures Who Absolutely Murdered Their Own Careers
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Once celebrated as “America’s Dad,” Bill Cosby’s legacy crumbled under the weight of numerous sexu@l assault allegations, leading to a highly publicized criminal trial and conviction.

His rapid fall from grace shifted the cultural narrative from a beloved comedian to a figure emblematic of the #MeToo movement’s reckoning with sexu@l abuse.

Paula Deen

13 Once Popular Figures Who Absolutely Murdered Their Own Careers
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Southern cooking queen Paula Deen saw her empire crumble when she admitted to using racial slurs during a legal deposition. This led to the swift cancellation of her shows on the Food Network in 2013. The backlash was swift, with sponsors and networks severing ties.

In time, Deen has worked to rebuild her brand, launching a new show, “Positively Paula,” and opening a new restaurant, indicating a slow but steady return.

Lance Armstrong

13 Once Popular Figures Who Absolutely Murdered Their Own Careers
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Once hailed as the pinnacle of cycling excellence, Lance Armstrong’s legacy crumbled under the weight of the truth surrounding his use of performance-enhancing substances. Following years of staunch denial, Armstrong finally came clean during a televised conversation with Oprah Winfrey. He admitted to a litany of infractions, including the use of EPO, human growth hormone, diuretics, blood doping, and the falsification of documents to deceive drug tests.

Consequently, his seven Tour de France victories were revoked, and he faced a lifetime ban from the sport. In recent years, he has focused on philanthropy efforts and admitted to the mistakes he made in the past.

Tiger Woods

13 Once Popular Figures Who Absolutely Murdered Their Own Careers
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Golfing’s golden boy, Tiger Woods, garnered international acclaim for his unprecedented talent, but his image was irreparably damaged following a much-publicized 2009 scandal involving extramarital affairs reported by Us Weekly. Sponsors fled, and his previously pristine media profile turned sharply negative.

However, Woods battled back with a remarkable win at the 2019 Masters, reminding fans of his extraordinary talents and resilience.

Amanda Bynes

13 Once Popular Figures Who Absolutely Murdered Their Own Careers
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A promising actress and comedian, Amanda Bynes made a sharp and public descent into personal turmoil, marked by legal issues, erratic behaviour, and substance abuse. Her fall from the light-hearted star of hit shows like “The Amanda Show” and “What I Like About You” to a tabloid fixture was swift and concerning.

In 2013, she announced her retirement from acting and has since stayed out of the spotlight, focusing on her well-being.

Chris Brown

13 Once Popular Figures Who Absolutely Murdered Their Own Careers
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The R&B heartthrob saw his star tarnished following a physical altercation with then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009. The incident not only resulted in legal consequences but also garnered widespread public condemnation and a dip in his commercial appeal.

Despite ongoing controversies, Brown continues to release music and tour, but his reputation has never fully recovered.

Mel Gibson

13 Once Popular Figures Who Absolutely Murdered Their Own Careers
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Mel Gibson, once a Hollywood A-lister known for his acting and directing, faced a near-unrecoverable blow to his career after a series of anti-Semitic and racist comments and a high-profile drunk-driving arrest in 2006. These incidents revealed a dark and destructive side to his public persona.

Despite facing repercussions and a decline in his career, Gibson has since returned with praised performances in movies such as “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Daddy’s Home 2.” While some have forgiven him, others still criticize him for his past actions.

Roseanne Barr

13 Once Popular Figures Who Absolutely Murdered Their Own Careers
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The comedian’s revival of her eponymous show in 2018 was abruptly ended after a single season due to tweets widely considered racist. The tweets included a comment referring to former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett as the offspring of the “Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes.”

Barr’s quick ousting and the reimagining of the show without her serve as a lesson in the social media era’s swiftness in holding celebrities accountable for their public statements. She has since attempted a comeback, but it has been met with mixed reactions from the public.

Kevin Spacey

13 Once Popular Figures Who Absolutely Murdered Their Own Careers
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Kevin Spacey’s career was thriving, with two Academy Awards and numerous acclaimed roles under his belt. However, allegations of sexu@l misconduct, beginning with actor Anthony Rapp’s allegations in 2017 and assault against minors, led to a rapid downfall of his career. His removal from the hit show “House of Cards” and numerous project cancellations signalled a swift condemnation from the industry.

Despite his lack of significant resurgence, Spacey is slated to play a morally corrupt assassin in the thriller “Peter Five Eight,” marking his first leading role since a major career setback.

Rose McGowan

13 Once Popular Figures Who Absolutely Murdered Their Own Careers
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The actress and activist’s involvement in the #MeToo movement was pivotal in her career trajectory. While her advocacy has been lauded, her confrontational style and controversial elements in her activism led to a fracture in her public reception, illustrating how complex and, at times, divided the public response to once-popular figures can be.

Gilbert Gottfried

13 Once Popular Figures Who Absolutely Murdered Their Own Careers
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The comedian’s lewd and inappropriate joke tweets in the wake of the 2011 Japanese tsunami led to his firing as the voice of the Aflac duck, a role he had held for over a decade. Gottfried’s rapid dismissal underscored the commercial ramifications of audacious and ill-timed humor.

Mike Tyson

13 Once Popular Figures Who Absolutely Murdered Their Own Careers
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World champion boxer Mike Tyson’s career suffered due to his sexu@l assault conviction, biting an opponent’s ear during a match, and several other legal issues. Defeated by personal and financial troubles, Tyson retreated from the ring. However, in recent years, he has dabbled in entertainment and launched a successful podcast.

Tyson has also returned to boxing for exhibition matches, displaying a newfound humility and surprising fans with his tenacity.

Sean Penn

13 Once Popular Figures Who Absolutely Murdered Their Own Careers
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The actor’s career features numerous brush-ins with the law, including a high-profile misdemeanor domestic charge in 1987 against ex-wife Madonna. Despite his controversial persona, Penn has achieved critical acclaim for his acting and directing skills.

In 2008, he won an Oscar for his role in “Milk,” along with several other accolades throughout his career. However, his off-screen antics have often overshadowed his talent and led to public backlash.

In conclusion, the stories of these 13 once-popular figures remind us that no one, no matter how famous or wealthy, is immune to the consequences of their actions. They show that public figures, in the crucible of relentless media attention and social accountability, can rise, shine, and tragically fall. The aftermath of such declines, as we see illustrated in these cases, is complex and varied and often speaks volumes about our culture’s values and the evolution of societal expectations. Whether viewed as cautionary tales, assertions of justice, or growth opportunities, these narratives form part of the collective story of our modern era, offering up appendices that are, for better or worse, etched into the annals of popular culture.

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