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12 Actors Who Ruined Their Career Because of Drugs

October 21, 2017
10 min read

Drugs have a tendency to destroy homes. And the members of the Hollywood fraternity have always been notorious for their substance abuse and subsequent personal life problems. Of course, one can say no one has any right to interfere in their lives. But in my opinion, they have a wider reach when it comes to the society. If they have die-hard fans falling over each other to get their one glimpse, they also have a duty to act as a role model for them. When promising talents such as River Phoenix, Carrie Fischer, and Britney Spears turn their talent to ashes just because of a drug or alcohol addiction, it is saddening not only for their loved ones but also for the entire society. With a heavy heart, here is the list of 12 actors who ruined their career because of drugs.

12. Courtney Love

The former wife of Nirvana legend Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Her first and second album gave her critical acclaim and multi-platinum sales respectively. Along with releasing music albums she also appeared in big-budget movies like Man on the Moon (1999) and Trapped (2002). After few years however her drug addiction and problems with substance abuse came out, which resulted in legal troubles and a mandatory rehabilitation sentence in 2005. She even accepted that she was taking drugs when she was pregnant; an incident she wishes never happened. After the rehab, she became straight but her movie and music career suffered equally.

11. Nick Stahl

You might go ‘Who’s that guy?’ with Nick. It might also be quite justified. Starring in movies like The Man Without A Face, Terminator 3, and Carnivale, Nick Stahl had a mildly successful career with similar roles in various other movies. Recently he did lesser-known films like Mirrors 2 and Afghan Luke, but that’s pretty much it. Headed straight for a bright career in Hollywood the hindrances started around 2011 for Nick. After separation from his wife, he fell into despair, and things spiraled down from there. He was reported missing for five days by his wife in 2012, shortly after which he was arrested for disorderly conduct. He accepted he had a severe drug abuse problem and went into rehab many times.

10. Daniel Baldwin

No, don’t get confused. This is the other Baldwin. The younger brother of famous actor Alec Baldwin, Daniel is an actor, director, and writer who has appeared in over 70 films including ‘Paparazzi,’ ‘John Carpenter’s Vampires,’ ‘Mulholland Falls’ and ‘Trees Lounge.’ According to tabloids, he began using cocaine as soon as he landed his first acting job. Daniel has had atleast ten drug rehabs, each one having lesser and lesser impact. In an interview with Primetime, he accepted that he is a coke head and loves abusing cocaine. On the path of recovery, this American actor is trying to be more like his elder brother, while trying to juggle many acting jobs.

9. Britney Spears

The sexy diva Britney Spears rose to fame with her first two solo albums ‘Baby One More Time’ (1999) and ‘Oops! I Did It Again’ (2000). Overnight she became the most famous teen celebrity in the continental US and an obvious candidate for Hollywood. She even starred in a handful of movies around 2001 and 2004 including ‘Longshot’ and ‘Crossroads.’ It turns out ‘Toxic’ was not only the name of one of her songs. The public fiascos and courtroom battles for this one have been quite open, which ultimately led to a Hollywood as well as music career going down the drain. Britney had the potential to use the teen pop culture she revived, to gain popularity in the movie space too. Instead, her struggle with drug abuse and various personal problems led to her own fans turning against her. Since then the soprano singer has gone to rehab and supposedly cleaned herself. She has also released several musical albums in the past few years to return to the scheme of things. Unfortunately, every one of her tries has been unsuccessful as the public can’t evidently erase the ugly image she has created in their minds.

8. River Phoenix

The eldest brother of Joaquin Phoenix and other Phoenix siblings, River Phoenix began his career with TV commercials at the age of 10. He made a name for himself through ‘Running on Empty’ (1988) for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. As people newly introduced to fame do -especially the young ones- he started using drugs and alcohol, perhaps to fit in the crowd. One night at ‘The Viper Room’ where Johnny Depp and his band was performing for the crowd, River Phoenix with his friends took an extra amount of cocaine while he was already on morphine. Soon after he started having seizures and collapsed on the sidewalk outside. An ambulance was rushed to their aid, with his brother Joaquin and sister Rain trying to revive him. Sadly it was too late, and a beautiful talent called River Phoenix left the world on October 31, 1993 due to multiple drug intoxication.

7. Carrie Fischer

Daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds, Carrie was a multitalented woman. She was a writer, actor, and a humorist, best known for playing Princess Leia in the world famous Star Wars movie franchise. Her other achievements include a Primetime Emmy and BAFTA Nomination, along with roles in movies like Shampoo (1975), The Blues Brothers (1980), and Hannah and Her Sisters (1986). What more could one want? Apparently a lot. She has famously agreed and propagated her problems with substance abuse and bipolar disorder. When faced with mania, she said she would use drugs as self-medication to dial down the dark aspects of her personality. This led to an ugly addiction which ultimately took her life in December 2016. When she died, she had cocaine and heroin traces in her system. Carrie had the red carpet ready to take her to the stars, but her refusal to accept her fate led to vanquishing of those dreams.

6. David Hasselhoff

The star Mitch Buchanan of Baywatch is one of the best-known characters of David Hasselhoff. He has starred in renowned TV Series of the 90s like The Young and The Restless, Knight Rider, and of course Baywatch. He has also been in movies like Click, Dodgeball, and Hop. David’s alcohol abuse problem has been quite widespread in the tinsel town, but it was not officially recognized until a video of him drunk was shot by his own daughter. Following that he lost visitation rights to both his daughters, and was branded an addict by the press. Currently he is recovering from his past problems but sadly his career has never been the same.

5. Amanda Bynes

A fashion model and actress, Amanda Bynes started her career with commercials and plays. Soon after that, she rose to limelight with TV Series like ‘All That’ and ‘The Amanda Show.’ She also appeared in movies, mainly chick flicks like What a Girl Wants (2003), She’s the Man (2006), Hairspray (2007), and Easy A (2010). Alas, this promising diva too succumbed to the dark corners of glamour and stardom. She became a drug addict after 2011 and was hospitalized several times for fear of her mental condition. It was thought by people very close to her, that she be might a danger to her and anyone else around her. Amanda also posted some lewd and inappropriate comments on rapper Drake’s Twitter account. She has since then made a comeback, and we hope this time it is for good.

4. Mel Gibson

This one needs no introduction. Receiving two Oscars for his movie Braveheart, Mel Gibson is a name taken with respect when it comes to the Hollywood elite. Having become a sensation at a young age, Mel is someone who can still produce great movies like Hacksaw Ridge. But a basket full of talent can be shadowed behind even one sliver of fault in the personality. Due to his alcohol abuse and continuous complaints of domestic violence, a restraining order was issued against him. He was not allowed to come anywhere near his wife or daughter for fear he might hurt them. He has also been charged with threatening and assaulting many people. In the recent years, he has shown signs that he is starting afresh and focusing on his career. We hope he can do what he does best and revive from these problems.

3. Lindsay Lohan

An American actress and singer Lindsay Lohan became a teen sensation through movies like The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, and Mean Girls. Having gained a global celebrity status at a very young age perhaps she couldn’t handle all the pressure to perform every day of her life, and fell through the cracks. Lindsay became a compulsive alcoholic and a drug addict in years leading up to 2007 with several driving under influence and possession charges filed against her. Instead of turning her life around with the rehabs she went through, she could be seen loitering at the same nightclubs every time she came back. Being both a good singer and an attractive actress she had a very successful career lying in wait. But all to no avail.

2. Charlie Sheen

Once the highest paid actor on television, Charlie Sheen is a name known throughout American households for all the right and wrong reasons. He started as a promising talent with unique acting skills and played lead roles in blockbuster movies like Platoon (1986), Wall Street (1987), Eight Men Out (1988), and Major League (1989). Inspite of his expertise in movies he is more famous for TV Series like Two and a Half Men, Spin City and Anger Management, which set him up as an overall superstar. Somewhere around 2011, the problems started when his contract for those same TV Series got suspended. Gradually the dark side of his life –the late night rave parties, endless prostitutes and over 5000 sexual partners in a span of four years- came out. In 2015 he publicly acknowledged that he was diagnosed with AIDS four years earlier and had taken no step to inform his sexual partners. The same road he took to stardom left him desolate and criticized at the bottom.

1. Shia LaBeouf

Known for movies like Disturbia, Surf’s Up, and of course Transformers, Shia LaBeouf is an actor -or shall I say was- with a promising future lying ahead. His effortless acting and quirky delivery were widely appreciated, especially after the worldwide success of the Transformers series. He was set to be the star of the future until his fall started in 2005. He was charged and arrested for assault with one of his neighbors. Apparently, he lost his cool with one of them and dashed his car somewhere close to living beings. Not only that. Thanks to his alcohol and drug abuse he ‘lost his cool’ many times after that year up to the present year. He has been arrested several times and held for more than one night, including charges for a spat against an African-American policeman commenting “He’s going to hell because he is black.” His behavior continued deteriorating after the Transformer series dropped him, and has been declining ever since. It is sad to see such a promising talent lose his way and that too because of something so materialistic and trivial.

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