Some celebrities have successfully made the transition from singer to actor or reality star to clothing designer, but not all stars have been able to start new careers. For these stars, what might have initially seemed like a good side job ended up being a major career fail. For some, it nearly ended their careers.
Check out the career opportunities these stars should not have taken advantage of, and the celebrities who lost it all and who bounced back.
In July 2016, former “Bachelor” Ben Higgins decided to run as a Republican for a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives. However, just two days after the news broke, he withdrew his candidacy. “Due to unforeseen circumstances, I will not be able to move forward as a candidate,” he said in a statement obtained by People.
In October 2016, Higgins said he had not given up his political career ambitions, and told Entertainment Tonight he was “excited to pursue that in the future” — though he has not announced any official plans to run for office.
Higgins is now the co-founder of Generous Coffee in Denver and sits on the board of Humanity and Hope United, a nonprofit that aims to serve underprivileged villages in Honduras. He also co-hosts “The Ben & Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast” with fellow “Bachelor” alum Ashley Iaconetti.
It seems hard to believe that Beyoncé ever took a misstep in her career, but even Queen Bey sometimes makes mistakes. In 2004, Beyoncé and her mom Tina Knowles launched House of Deréon, a junior’s clothing line “where entertainment and fashion merge seamlessly,” according to the brand’s Facebook page. Despite its star backing, the fashion brand folded in 2012.
The failure of her fashion design career did not hurt Beyoncé’s career overall, and she’s since even found success in fashion despite her rocky start in the industry. The megastar launched her Ivy Park activewear line in March 2016, and it’s currently sold in stores across the world.
Although Gwyneth Paltrow has been able to turn her Goop lifestyle website into an empire of its own, Blake Lively was not as fortunate when she made her own foray into the lifestyle space with her short-lived site Preserve. Lively launched Preserve in 2014 as a digital monthly magazine/e-commerce site/video blog with a focus on handmade artisan crafts.
“People want to get back to the magic of smaller, special and handmade,” she told Vogue in 2014 about why she had created the site. “People want things with meaning. I know that because I want that. This space doesn’t exist, so I’m creating it.” But in 2015, she announced that the site was shutting down, telling Vogue that “it never caught up to its original mission: It’s not making a difference in people’s lives, whether superficially or in a meaningful way.”
Even though Lively failed to launch the next Goop, she’s doing just fine. When not raising her children with superstar husband Ryan Reynolds, the former “Gossip Girl” star is continuing to make movies and is currently filming “A Simple Favor,” co-starring Anna Kendrick.
Some singers have successfully transitioned into the acting world — including Jennifer Hudson, Justin Timberlake and Mandy Moore — but Britney Spears is not one of them. Spears’ 2002 cheesy road trip movie “Crossroads” was panned by critics, and currently has an abysmal 14 percent rating on movie review site Rotten Tomatoes. “Britney Spears’ feature debut is curiously low-key and even sad,” Roger Ebert wrote in his review for The Chicago Sun-Times.
Spears never returned to acting, but she went on to release seven more albums after the movie tanked. She’s currently performing in Las Vegas, though her residency will end in December.
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Eleven years after he appeared as a contestant on “American Idol,” Clay Aiken attempted to make a transition into politics as a Congressional candidate for North Carolina. Aiken ran as a Democrat in a district that tends to vote Republican, so his loss was not unsurprising. Seemingly undeterred by his loss, Aiken told Time in 2015 that he would consider running for office again. “It’s not something I’m ruling out,” he said. “I think it’ll happen.”
Aiken is currently the co-host of “Bold TV” on the Bold digital news network.
Before she was a major film and television star, Emma Roberts was a teen actress on the Nickelodeon show “Unfabulous.” Roberts played a singer on the show and decided to take her own chance at being a singer in real life when she recorded an album in 2005. However, Roberts’ musical career was short-lived. She only put out the one album and said during a 2009 interview with Parade that she would not be returning to singing.
“My musical career is indefinitely on hold,” she said. “I don’t like people who become like ‘actor slash singer.’ I think people should be one or the other because usually, you’re not going to be great at both.”
Her decision to focus solely on acting seems to have paid off, as she’s become a household name as an actress. Roberts starred in “Scream Queens” and “American Horror Story,” and is slated to appear in several upcoming films.
Several successful country stars have transitioned into other genres of music — Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift are both veritable pop stars — but Garth Brooks was not as successful when he tried to change not only genres, but also identities with the introduction of his Aussie rock star alter ego Chris Gaines. Brooks only released one album as Gaines, but it is considered one of the biggest album flops of all time. Entertainment Weekly said the album’s debut in 1999 “pretty much ended the career of one of music’s top-selling acts.”
And that’s true to some extent. After releasing “The Scarecrow” in 2001, Brooks didn’t release a new album again until 2013. However, his career is on the upswing again: Brooks is currently on tour, and received the Entertainer of the Year Award at the 2016 CMAs.
“The Hills” star Heidi Montag has tried to extend her 15 minutes of reality fame into other careers but has been unsuccessful. In 2007, she launched her Heidiwood clothing line, but it was discontinued just a year later. Montag abandoned her fashion designer career and instead focused her efforts on becoming a pop star. In 2010, she released her album “Superficial,” the product of three years of work and nearly $2 million of her own money. Although Montag was confident that the album would be successful — so confident that she went broke making it — it sold less than 1,000 copies.
Hulk Hogan attempted to make the transition from WWE star to restaurateur with the opening of Pastamania at Minneapolis’ Mall of America in 1995. However, not enough people wanted to eat “Hulk-Us” or “Hulk-a-Roos” — the pasta eatery closed less than a year after it opened. The former pro wrestler currently owns two locations of Hogan’s Beach Shop, which sells all sorts of “Hulkabilia.”
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Jennifer Love Hewitt
Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt has had success on both the big and small screen as the star of “I Know What You Did Last Summer” (1997), “Can’t Hardly Wait” (1998), “Ghost Whisperer” (2005-2010), “Criminal Minds” (2014-2015) and more, but her attempt to make it as a singer never quite took off. Hewitt has released four studio albums — “Let’s Go Bang” (1995), “Jennifer Love Hewitt” (1996), “Love Songs” (1998) and “BareNaked” (2002) — but none have placed on the U.S. Billboard charts. Her single “How Do I Deal” is her only charting release, peaking at No. 57 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart in 1999.
After “Criminal Minds” wrapped, Hewitt decided to step away from her Hollywood life to focus on her family. She has two children with her husband Brian Hallisay.
Kim Kardashian West
Business mogul and superstar Kim Kardashian West has used her reality fame to launch several successful businesses including a makeup line and a gaming app, but even she agrees that she should never have tried to make it as a singer. In 2011, Kardashian West released the single “Jam (Turn It Up),” which was criticized for being “generic” and overusing auto-tune. Her single sold only 14,000 downloads in its first five days of sales, which wasn’t enough for it to crack the Billboard Digital Songs chart.
Even though Kardashian West has since married successful rapper Kanye West, she has not tried to release any more music. During a 2014 interview with Andy Cohen, the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” star admitted she probably shouldn’t have released the one song she did.
“It’s definitely a memory and it was a fun experience,” she said on “Watch What Happens Live.” “We gave the proceeds to a cancer organization. But if there’s one thing in life that I wish I didn’t do … I don’t like it when people kind of dabble into things they shouldn’t be. And that I don’t think I should have. Like, what gave me the right to think I could be a singer? I don’t have a good voice.”
After achieving astronomical success as a member of the boy band ‘NSYNC, Lance Bass decided he wanted to actually become an astronaut. In 2002, Bass underwent training to become the youngest person in space. He was slated to spend a week aboard the International Space Station as a guest of Russia, but his plans never actually took off. A month before the space flight was leaving, the Russian Space Agency announced that Bass would not be on the flight, as he had failed to raise the $20 million fare.
Even though Bass hasn’t yet made it to space, the singer told Business Insider in December 2016 that he hasn’t given up on his dreams to travel to the final frontier. “There’s no specific date, but there are plans for me to go,” he said.
Bass is currently the host of MTV2’s “90’s House” competition show.
Mandy Moore first gained fame as a singer, then successfully transitioned into the world of acting, but not all of her career endeavors have been successful. Moore launched a contemporary clothing line called Mblem in 2005, and in 2009, she shut it down.
“I love the fashion world. I’m fascinated by it. I’m humbled by it,” she told WWD at the time. “If I were to dip my toe back in there, it would have to be the right situation: a great partnership that could represent a true reflection of me and my ideas, and that wasn’t happening. So next go round, that needs to be top of the list.”
Even though she failed as a designer, Moore has still achieved plenty of success. She currently stars on “This Is Us,” and earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role.
Michael Jordan is the No. 1 basketball player of all time, according to ESPN, but his athleticism hasn’t translated to other sports. In February 1994, Jordan signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox; his batting average with the team was .202. After one season, he moved to the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League, where his batting average was .252. According to Sports Illustrated, he called himself the team’s “worst player,” and returned to the NBA in March 1995.
Fortunately for him, Jordan’s brief stint as a pro baseball player did not ruin his career in basketball. He went on to be named MVP two more times, in 1996 and 1998. Although Jordan retired in 2003, he continued to make millions from endorsement deals. He currently has a 90 percent stake in the Charlotte Hornets, and owns several restaurants and a car dealership.
Steven Spielberg is the highest-grossing movie director of all time, with his films earning a lifetime gross of $4.5 billion, according to Box Office Mojo. But Spielberg’s directorial eye couldn’t save his themed restaurants from sinking. In the mid-1990s, the director partnered with Dreamworks CEO Jeff Katzenberg to open two locations of Dive!, a submarine-themed restaurant that specialized in sub sandwiches — the restaurant even had a deep sea dive simulation every 30 minutes. Although Dive! originally had lines out the door, it was panned by critics for having mediocre, overpriced food. In 1999, both the Los Angeles and Las Vegas locations closed.
Despite his failed foray into the restaurant business, Spielberg continues to achieve big screen success. His movie “The Post” is due out later this year, and “Ready Player One” is due out in 2018. He will also be directing the fifth “Indiana Jones” movie, due out in 2020.
About the Author
Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert.