The early 2000s saw the rises, arrests and falls of stars like Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan, and Britney Spears — some of whom have come back in a big way, others not so much. The 2010s were no less rife with celebrity drama, and often from unexpected parties. The scandals extended beyond the typical cheating, divorce, and feud allegations.
Thanks to the rapid proliferation of the #MeToo movement via not only social media, but also mainstream media coverage, the 2010s saw the downfall of some of Hollywood’s most powerful players, people who were once convinced they were untouchable. From accusations of abusing wealth and privilege, to abusing others (and often both), a handful of stars had their dark secrets exposed this decade. If there’s anything this decade proved, it’s that what goes around comes around and that a reckoning is always coming … even if it takes a few years to actually get there.
Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman starred in a new version of Varsity Blues
Lori Loughlin, her husband Mossimo Giannulli and Felicity Huffman were all charged in a nationwide college admissions scandal in March 2019. Loughlin and Giannulli were accused of paying scam mastermind William « Rick » Singer a cool $500,000 to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, into the University of Southern California as crew recruits, even though they weren’t rowers. Loughlin and Giannulli each pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial on the charges, which CNN reports include money laundering, fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering and fraud.
Huffman pleaded guilty to paying $15,000 for a test proctor to enable a third party to correct her daughter’s incorrect SAT answers. In a statement, she called her actions « misguided and profoundly wrong, » and claimed her daughter didn’t know about any of it. « This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life, » Huffman said, adding, « My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty. » The Desperate Housewives star’s bribe was reportedly one of the smallest in what was called the Operation Varsity Blues case. She was sentenced to 250 hours of community service, a $30,000 fine and 14 days in prison — and she only served 11 days before her release.
Charlie Sheen revealed he’s HIV positive
Charlie Sheen had a widely publicized meltdown in 2011 that he concealed with a public tour of hedonism and an insistence that he was « #WINNING. » In 2015, Sheen revealed he was HIV positive and that his self-destructive behavior was largely in response to his diagnosis. He explained on Today, « I was so depressed by the condition I was in, I was doing too many drugs, I was drinking too much. »
Sheen admitted on Good Morning America that he was suicidal following the news. « The day I was diagnosed, I immediately wanted to eat a bullet, but my mom was there, » he said. « I wouldn’t do that in front of her, or let her find me to clean up that mess. But then, something else came over me. They gave me a handful of pills and said, ‘You can go home now, and you’re going to live.’ If I was there with, you know, brain cancer or, or, a stomach thing, or some meningitis, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now. »
The Hot Shots star reportedly underwent somewhat questionable treatments for the disease and some of Sheen’s former partners (« goddess » and porn star Bree Olson and former fiancee Scottine Ross) accused him of hiding his HIV status from them. Sheen claimed he’d been extorted by previous partners for massive financial settlements that left him near broke despite at one point being the highest-paid actor on television.
Allison Mack allegedly recruited women for a sex cult
According to Deadline, former Smallville star Allison Mack was arrested and charged with « sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and forced labor conspiracy » in April 2018. Mack allegedly recruited women to join what was a sex cult posing as a mentorship group. The women were then essentially used as « slaves, » branded, and allegedly not allowed to leave.
According to assistant U.S. attorney Moira Penza, Mack « starved women until they fit [alleged cult leader Keith Raniere’s] sexual feminine ideal, » all under the pretense « of female empowerment » (via The Cut). In April 2019, Mack pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges, Page Six reported. Radar Online reports that Mack’s sentencing, originally slated for September 2019, has been postponed, but that she could face up to 40 years behind bars. Raniere was found guilty of seven charges, including possession of child pornography, sexual exploitation of a child, and sex trafficking. He faces up to life in prison and a minimum of 15 years.
Charlie Heaton has a love child
Stranger Things star Charlie Heaton was busted for alleged cocaine possession at LAX in October 2017, causing him to be temporarily detained and barred from entering the U.S. and to miss the premiere of Stranger Things season 2. Heaton apologized for the mishap, and his mother denied to the Daily Mail that he ever used drugs.
In March 2018, he recalled the incident in Flaunt magazine, explaining, « It was hard. Everything happened so fast, and I hadn’t come to terms with the fact that I was famous. When something steps in from the work you are doing and breaks into your personal life…you feel kind of vulnerable. All of a sudden it becomes a very big story and it gets really blown out of proportion. »
That wasn’t the only major Heaton revelation: In 2017, The Sun reported that Heaton has a secret love child with ex-girlfriend Akiko Matsuura. « Charlie became a dad when he was just 20. He met Akiko when he was just a teen and fell head over heels in love, » a source told the outlet. « They’re no longer together but they have an amicable relationship for the boy’s sake. » The source added that at the time Heaton, who’s currently dating Stranger Things co-star and onscreen love Natalia Dyer, was too busy with work to see his baby. « Right now Charlie’s career is his priority, » the insider said, « but he hopes to see more of his son once filming commitments calm down. »
Amanda Bynes had psychiatric issues
Amanda Bynes went from Nickelodeon royalty to child star cautionary tale this decade. The She’s The Man actress had several run-ins with the law, including a 2012 DUI and a 2013 arrest including drug charges. She was later hospitalized in 2013 on a 5150 psychiatric hold after setting a fire in a woman’s driveway, according to TMZ.
Unfortunately, Bynes’ problems continued with the actress taking to social media to allege that her father molested her (and later retracting her accusation entirely). She later revealed that she’d been diagnosed as bipolar and manic depressive, was receiving treatment, and was under a conservatorship (via E! News). By November 2018, Bynes appeared to be doing well, and expressed an interest in getting back into acting. Per Entertainment Tonight, 2019 was an even better year for Bynes, as she received her Associate’s of Art degree in Merchandise Product Development from LA’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, completed a stint at a sober living facility, and was exploring options for « [living] on her own. »
Ronnie Ortiz-Magro was in a toxic relationship — and rehab
Jersey Shore star Ronnie Ortiz-Magro revealed to Us Weekly in February 2019 that he spent time in rehab in West Palm Beach, Fla. « I decided to go to treatment because I wanted to be a better person, a better father for my daughter, » he said, adding that he checked in to cope with depression and alcohol abuse. « You stop and you start up again, and it’s worse than when you stopped. You’re just like, ‘Wow, I thought I had this under control,’ but at the end of the day, it has full control over you. »
It wasn’t just his addiction issues that got out of control. Ortiz-Magro and ex-girlfriend Jen Harley feuded for eons, making up and breaking up constantly, with each earning rap sheets for their alleged bad behavior in their disputes throughout their toxic relationship. Harley was busted in June 2018 for allegedly dragging Ortiz-Magro with her car. Ortiz-Magro was arrested in October 2019 for allegedly striking Harley and chasing her with a knife, Fox 11 Los Angeles reported. Page Six reported that he pleaded not guilty to seven misdemeanor charges in the case: domestic violence, child endangerment, brandishing a weapon, criminal threats, false imprisonment and two counts of resisting arrest.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall can’t stand each other
Sex and the City was plagued by rumors of catfighting among the cast, especially between Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall. For years, Parker denied any rumors of a rift on the HBO hit, telling Howard Stern in 2016, « [The feud rumors] used to really confound me and really upset me, because we were part of a family of Sopranos and nobody ever questioned the relationships of the men on that show. »
A year later, however, Cattrall told told Piers Morgan that they were never friends and alleged that Parker tried to give her a diva rap for turning down SATC 3, adding, « I just wish Sarah had been nicer. » When Parker attempted to be nicer, however, it backfired: Parker reached out to Cattrall after her Cattrall’s brother Christopher was found dead in February 2018, writing on Instagram (via Us Weekly), « Dearest Kim, my love and condolences to you and yours and Godspeed to your beloved brother. » Cattrall replied, « I don’t need your love or support at this tragic time @sarahjessicaparker, » adding, « Let me make this VERY clear. … You are not my family. You are not my friend. … Stop exploiting our tragedy in order to restore your ‘nice girl’ persona. »
Parker told People in February 2018 of Cattrall’s remark to Morgan, « There was no fight. It was completely fabricated, because I actually never responded. » Parker notably did not respond to Cattrall’s Instagram shade.
Johnny Depp’s decade was more dramatic than any of his movies
The last half of the decade was not kind to Johnny Depp. Once one of Hollywood’s most bankable heartthrobs, Depp’s crimonious divorce from Amber Heard — starting in May 2016 when she filed not just divorce papers, but also for a restraining order and finalized in December 2017 — revealed a much darker side than the world had ever seen of the Pirates of the Caribbean star. Heard accused Depp of domestic violence, including one incident in which she alleged he injured her eye with his iPhone, as well as psychological and emotional abuse. Depp denied the claims, and when the pair settled their divorce, they released a carefully worded joint statement saying (via TMZ), « Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gains. There was never an intent of physical or emotional harm. » Depp later sued Heard for $50 million for defamation, alleging that she abused him and that her claims against him were a hoax.
It was just the tip of the iceberg for Depp’s tough decade: Two former security guards sued Depp, as well as a crew member from the set of City of Lies who accused Depp of attacking him in April 2017. The crime thriller was later pulled from its scheduled release date in September 2018. In addition, his Depp’s exorbitant spending habits (and drying up work) have rendered him near broke.
Demi Moore revealed shocking details about her marriage to Ashton Kutcher and personal struggles
Demi Moore aired a load of her own dirty laundry in 2019 with the release of her memoir Inside Out. During her press tour for the book, Moore told Harper’s Bazaar that she saved her mother from an overdose when Moore was just « a child, » and that was just the beginning of the tragic revelations.
Moore revealed to The New York Times that she suffered a miscarriage early into her relationship with Ashton Kutcher. Moore, who’d been sober for years after battling addiction in her early days in Hollywood, blamed herself for the loss and spiraled downward into alcoholism and Vicodin abuse. Moore also alleged in Inside Out (via Radar Online) that Kutcher cheated on her multiple times during their marriage, and that he justified his infidelity by citing that they’d engaged in threesomes with other women. Adding insult to injury, Moore claims that one of the women Kutcher cheated with was someone he’d met while bowling with Moore’s daughter, Rumer Willis — and that another incident went down on Kutcher and Moore’s anniversary. Kutcher previously denied the allegations but hasn’t commented on the specific claims in Moore’s book.
The stress from her divorce from Kutcher, combined with Moore’s own struggles with aging in Hollywood, led her down a self-destructive path. She revealed in Inside Out (via Radar Online) that she overdosed in front of Willis after abusing nitrous oxide and synthetic marijuana at a party. It became her rock bottom and inspired her to get help.
Harvey Weinstein’s house of cards tumbled down
Harvey Weinstein had a reputation as a bully in Hollywood, but there was an even unimaginably darker side to the former film mogul that was exposed this decade. In October 2017, the disgraced Miramax and Weinstein Company head was accused of decades of sexual misconduct, ranging from harassment to rape, in a series of bombshell reports from The New York Times and The New Yorker that were effectively the first domino to fall in the #MeToo movement. His reported 87 accusers included Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lupita Nyong’o, Asia Argento, Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd, Paz de la Huerta, Léa Seydoux, Cara Delevingne, Kate Beckinsale, Heather Graham, Rosanna Arquette and Mira Sorvino, many of whom alleged that Weinstein threatened to sideline their careers for rebuffing his advances.
Since the reports emerged, he and then-wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman — whose gowns he reportedly pressured starlets like Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Chastain to wear on red carpets — have split, and TMZ reports that he’s been to rehab for sex addiction. Weinstein has only been criminally charged in one alleged case, which will reportedly go to trial in January 2020. In December 2019, The New York Times reported that he’d reached a tentative $25 million settlement with dozens of his accusers.
Weinstein has vehemently and repeatedly denied any and all claims of sexual assault, harassment, rape, and other alleged criminal behavior. His downfall is largely credited with survivors coming forward with allegations against Kevin Spacey, Mario Batali, James Toback and others.
Louis C.K. learned that sexual misconduct isn’t amusing
In November 2017, comedian Louis C.K. was accused of sexual misconduct in a bombshell New York Times report. Several women came forward alleging that C.K. exposed himself and performed sexual acts in front of them; one of the accusers was a colleague of C.K.’s on a TV pilot and another worked with him on The Chris Rock Show.
C.K. confessed that the allegations were true, saying in a statement, « The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly. I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. » He continued, « There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with….The hardest regret to live with is what you’ve done to hurt someone else. And I can hardly wrap my head around the scope of hurt I brought on them. »
C.K. has since returned to stand-up comedy and alluded to the scandal with mixed results.
Matt Lauer has no tomorrow at Today
NBC fired Matt Lauer from Today on Nov. 29, 2017, after they’d « received a detailed complaint from a colleague about [Lauer’s] inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace » (via CNBC). Variety later reported that multiple women accused Lauer of sexual misconduct and that the anchor was « known for making lewd comments verbally or over text messages » and that, for him, « work and sex were intertwined. » In one reported alleged incident, Lauer once revealed himself a female coworker, then « reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act. » On another occasion, Lauer allegedly sent a female colleague a sex toy with a note describing how he’d like to use it on her. The New York Times also reported that one woman had accused Lauer of sexually assaulting her in his office.
Lauer issued a partial apology, but added, « Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly. » He also denied any and all allegations of « coercive, aggressive or abusive actions » actions to the Washington Post. Variety later reported that former NBC employee Brooke Nevils accused Lauer of rape and sexual assault, which Lauer denied. Since the scandal broke, Lauer has laid relatively low…and divorced his wife, Annette Roque.
Bill Cosby landed behind bars
In September 2018, Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to ten years in prison for aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004. Constand was one of 60 women who accused Cosby of various types of sexual misconduct, many of whom alleged that he drugged and/or plied them with alcohol prior to sexually assaulting them. One of his other accusers was former supermodel Janice Dickinson, who testified against Coby in his trial .
Cosby was denied bail and ordered to pay for the cost of prosecution and a $25,000 fine. Page Six also reported that the judge in his case classified Cosby as a « sexually violent predator, » which means this disgraced comedian is required to register as a sex offender with the Pennsylvania state police and must receive mandatory monthly counseling for the rest of his life. Cosby has maintained his innocence and denied all allegations of impropriety and illegal activity, and his attorneys have attempted to spring him from prison and appeal the court’s decision — but so far, no dice, perhaps in part due to Cosby’s own flippant attitude towards the entire process.