The Hunger Games: Celebs Who Went From Star Status To Starving Artist

March 8, 2013  |  
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The rise to fame is exhilarating. Stars are bombarded by fans, photographed by paparazzi, and suited and booted to be red-carpet ready, which all come with the territory of being a celeb. And so does the millions of dollars rolling in for starring in a new blockbuster film or creating a sultry new song. But it’s maintaining fame that proves to be quite difficult for some stars. Ironically, many wash-uped celebrities find their way to quirky reality TV shows that exploit them just to make a quick buck. To you we say, give it a rest. Embrace your has-been, or in some cases, never-should-have-been status. These are the people we’re talking to.


Arsenio Hall is known for his roles in Coming to America and Harlem Nights, but he also had a talk show  that was axed in 1994 after five years. Arsenio made a recent cameo appearance on the Dave Chappell show in March 2004, but he also recently filed for bankruptcy, listing $765 in assets and debts in excess of $190,000. That joker-grin and signature finger-wagging can only get you so far.

Source: WENN

Songbird Toni Braxton earned a grammy for her song “Unbreak My Heart,” but she had the misfortune of filing for bankruptcy twice — once in 1998 and again in the year 2012. Per Braxton’s rep, she will continue to perform despite being in financial ruin, charging between $150 and $250 thousand per gig. If only Braxton could get her pocketbook together, because sister-girl has pipes.


Kevin Federline made his claim to fame through former wife, Britney Spears. As her former back-up dancer, he pop-locked his way into her heart. He has added actor, rapper and fashion model to his list of accomplishments, earning the high price of $300,000 per performance. Now that his relationship with Britney has come to an end, so has his career.


Bobby Brown’s prerogative caused him to lead a crazy life of drugs and alcohol. Brown has had more than his fair share of run-ins with the police too. Known for his fly moves and 1980’s swag, he was recently arrested for driving under the influence. Brown had all the ladies swooning at one time. Now he’s just a hot, ashy mess viewers cluck their tongue at and shake their heads.


Lindsay Lohan needs to bring a sleeping bag to the courthouse she’s there so much. Lohan grew up on TV as the freckle-faced, red-head with a raspy voice. She starred on Another World, followed by a string of Disney films. Lohan grew up too fast though, and a life of partying and drinking has hit the celeb full on in the face and wallet, leaving other celebs like Charlie Sheen to pick up her bills.

Tara Reid’s presence on the big screen includes American Pie and the TV series Scrubs. But the celeb will always be known for her dress malfunction, falling to reveal her left breast at P. Diddy’s 35th birthday party, and Paparazzi relentlessly capturing her in a drunken state.

Michael Wright/

Kate Gosslelin made her claim to fame with her hit reality series, Jon and Kate Plus 8. The show chronicled the day to day hectic life of a super-huge family. All was good until Kate’s marriage dissolved, and along with it, eventually, the show. Recently, she appeared on Celebrity Wife Swap. Tsk. Tsk. Still trying to make a come back – give it a rest and focus on family now.

Source: WENN

As the ever-annoying nerd with huge glasses, pants hiked up to his neck, and signature suspenders, Jaleel White wowed viewers with his knee-slapping funny one-liners. He was the hit of the 1990’s series, Family Matters. And as an adult, White has acted in a handful of movies, but none too significant to recollect. Unfortunately, he’s been typecast as Urkel and it seems he will always be that brainiac dweeb.


Robin Givens is most famous for her rocky relationship with Mike Tyson, her role in Head of the Class, and posing for playboy. As of late, she’s been focused on her Christianity, penning a book on her faith. And though she recently landed a small part in Tyler Perry’s “A Family That Preys,” not many are checking for her in the spotlight these days. But that might not be a bad thing considering her beginnig days in the industry alongside Mike Tyson.



Todd Bridges is best known for his big brother role in A Different Strokes. He was pulled into a life of drugs and crime and was no stranger to jail. He has since shook those demons, and has appeared on a couple of reality TV shows such as Fear Factor and Skating with the Stars. He also books public speaking appearances, teaching kids about the dangers of drugs.

Source: WENN


It was all about fly hammer pants and super fast flying feet when M.C. Hammer came out. His iconic pop rapping style landed him many record deals. Unfortunately, he spent up all his money, winding up totally broke. He filed for bankruptcy in 1996 and appeared on “The Surreal Life” in 2003. Now, Hammer is a self-professed techie, working on a new search engine called WireDoo.

Flava Flav wore signature clock chains and rapped with group Public Enemy in the 90s. Today, he’s known for his over-the-top reality show, Flava of Love, where we watched, horrified, as he swapped spit with some suspect looking women. He is definitely not the flava of the month.

Credit: Ken McCoy / WENN


Lil Kim resembles a twisted, life-size barbie doll, she’s has so much work done. Gifted with lyrical lingo, Lil Kim rapped with the best of them, including Biggie Smalls. She recently started some beef with Nicki Minaj over who rocked the mike best and the green-eyed monster has certainly come out on this one. Kim, let’s keep it real, your rap game flow has dried up.



227’s Jackee Harry kept us in stitches with her witty one liners and stylish swag. She has played in a string of movies and sitcoms, including The Women of Brewster’s Place, and the mom of twin daughters on Sister, Sister. Recently, she joined a crew on the reality show, Celebrity Ghost Stories.


Carmen Electra signed a contract with Prince’s company, Paisley Park Records, in 1994. She’s also known for posing nude in Playboy Magazine. In 2000, she appeared in a spoof of Scary Movie. Fast forward to 2011, and the highlight of her career is undergoing plastic surgery for a bigger pair of boobs.


Best known for her movies, Two Can Play That Game and Kill Bill, Vivica A. Fox played her roles well. The events of her life though, not so much. We all raised an eyebrow with her rumored engagement to rapper 50 cents. Ok, we’ve heard opposites attract, but that? Nahh. Next, she was caught driving drunk and smacked with a DUI. In 2008, she hosted her own reality TV show called Glam God, which lasted no more than a hot second. And now she simply needs to stay away from plastic surgeons. Period.

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  • dialogue1

    This is why it’s good to be humble throughout it all as you can be up today and down tomorrow. Regular folks too can experience the loss of a good job and find ourselves having to downgrade.

  • shellie

    lil kim is a business woman doing it independently. No she is No Longer selling out big venues and tons of records. let’s Not forget that Nikki Minaj definately followed in LIL Kim’s footsteps….i love kim

    but she is out here hustlin hard on the independent mix tape & touring grind. since she is independent she has more control and able to keep money in her pocket and not having to pay it to those over her because there is NO one over her.

    think about it and stop being so caught up in these lights and cameras.

    kim still got money how else could she travel to paris for all the fashion weeks!

  • toni

    Calling Bobby Brown ashy was so not necessary!!

  • Guest

    Toni Braxton does not have “pipes”. She mumbles like Janet Jackson

  • hanalei

    Takes sooooo long to get through the list, stopped, sorry for some, others not so much. I really don’t want anyone to hurt, but sometimes you gotta plan.

  • Lakeside

    Jaleel White has a college degree. I call that on-going success.

  • NSimonefan

    Kelly, you were wrong for putting Jackee Harry in this article.

  • rdw

    Ummm, Kelly I think you need to take Aresno Hall off this list, he’s show is coming back to late night this fall (September 2013) on CBS.

  • nikki

    Todd Bridges was on everybody hates chris a few times.

  • marcia milbanks

    ?! Robin Givens didn’t just have a “relationship” with Mike Tyson. They were MARRIED! Who’s writing this stuff?!

  • Nazghul

    Tara Reid looks like a prayin mantis….. Very scary

    • emc8

      She should never been seen in public half dressed. Makes me want to throw up in my mouth!

  • Guest

    Toni Braxton has an excuse. One of my old high school classmates had Lupus. The medical bills for that and an autistic child (Toni) is no joke. Your celebrity status may get you a free meal or two but two to three visits to the hospital a week @about $2500 a pop, you are coming out of the pocket and that was just for her alone. My classmate unfortunately lost the battle about 2yrs ago, but if she were here today, I’m sure she would be happy to inform people that no debt can equal the amount life that you have and to wake up everyday is a blessing

  • Guess

    Kinda surprised at MN – this article was not well researched & very disingenuous. Mostly all of these people are well off financially & aren’t making any headlines as far as social issues or drugs. Karmen E has been in a srs relation with Simon Cowell of AI for some time; Ms. Viv is definitely paid as is MC Hammer as a result of his Web business – & at 50ish years old, he can still dance his ash off. Leave it to Black folks to try to denigrate their own instead of choosing to uplift… SMH

  • middge24

    Stars are fleeting, save your money. But a lot of these people are still making money off their old projects and shows in syndication.

  • yo

    What these ‘reality people’ don’t realize is that you are NOT famous….the viewing audiance has a fleeting fascination with some aspect of your life…being drunk, stupid,loose,rich for no reason, big booty etc. and in your case a mutant reproductive system.

    • Guess

      However (with all due respect) these people are not reality stars. Many of them have some serious accomplishments under their belts & established themselves in their chosen genres. True, they’ve become tabloid fodder for whatever reason, but there are celebs & actual reality “stars” who haven’t worked hard or accomplished a dayum thing who get more respect from Black folk & others. The self-loathing & hatred in our community has to stop… This is so very sad.

    • lateshia

      That I have to agree on with your statement.

  • yo

    Tara Reid looks like an insect on the attack..

  • Taj

    There’s no doubt that some of these people belong on the list. However, just because someone is no longer in the spotlight, does not mean that they are a starving artist. If that was the case, this list would be much longer.

    • Guess

      Agreed! I’d also like to add that just because they’re not putting on a dog & pony show for dollars doesn’t mean they’re not successful or happy.

  • Janay

    50 cent tarnished vivica fox’s image.

  • Gingerbread31

    I stopped reading this article at Arsenio Hall. “That joker-grin and signature finger-wagging can only get you so far.” Are you serious? Mr. Hall wanted to have Louis Farakhan on his show and the network told him that if he did this, he would no longer be on the air. Well, Aresnio had Louis as a guest and like that he vanished.
    This man stood up for what he believed and I am glad that he will be returning to late night. He is by far a person of color who did not allow himself to be conformed into “their” image.

  • sammi_lu

    Yesss Vivica needs to stop with the cosmetic surgery..I don’t understand why oh why she or Lil Kim chose to get a lip augmentation!

    • Gingerbread31

      You are right! They were so naturally beautiful. It’s funny how we look at people and they seem perfect to us, but ugly to themselves.

  • KJ23

    This kind of depressed me when I read this…

  • CoCo Lee

    Well Atleast Vivica still has a job… she the host 4 Lifetimes “Prank My Mom/Kid”

    • Guess

      Viv not only has a “job” but she is a well-paid successful movie producer. Thing is, she’s chosen fortune over fame by securing her ow distribution deals & endorsements. While most of her endorsements ,& products aren’t mainstream, she has made a fortune off her movies, Hair sales & hair care products. The funny thing is that while some moderately successful stars are paid a flat rate for an ad campaign, she has long-term, open-ended signature products. While I do hate the plastic surgery & sometimes mediocre movies, Ms. Viv was a pioneer in striking out on her own with Two Can Play That Game, Trois I, II, etc. Can we see an article on something like that or is MN just hum PING for hits like the rest.of the Black go sip sites??

      • CoCo Lee

        Exactly!! smh

      • Gidget Hrobowski

        And, she has her on wig and extensions business. I love her and I hate to hear people talking about her and other actor and actresses. Man, people just love to talk about people when they are perceived to be down…

  • bigdede

    Even though Jaleel White isn’t really working alot, that man is racking in money with that syndication money. But most importantly, how you going have a picture of Todd Bridges with darn Stoney Jackson and only mention Todd Bridges!!!!????? Where is Stoney!

    • Stoney is that irrelevant he doesn’t even make the has-been list. LOL that is just low.

      • Guess

        Why attack Stony tho? Or even Todd for that matter?

    • Ebby

      Jaleel white is working a lot. He was on dances with stars then after that total darkness. He’s doing good.

      • Joe Smith

        Did I do that?!?