Every celebrity relishes that "made it" moment, but what happens after their 15 minutes of fame has come and gone? Wonderwall.com is taking a look at a few stars who struggled to find success or took a break (intentionally or not) after starring on a hit TV show, starting with Shannen Doherty. The Memphis native starred on two hugely popular shows in the '90s — FOX's "Beverly Hills, 90210″ and The WB's"Charmed." She seemed poised for superstardom heading into the new millennium, but things didn't turn out as planned. Keep reading to see what Shannen is up to today!
After being fired from "Charmed" for difficult behavior, Shannen Doherty struggled to find her footing. She starred on several shows that ran for one season or less, such as "North Shore," "Love, Inc." and the failed reality shows "Breaking Up with Shannen Doherty" and "Shannen Says." In the late 2000s, she achieved some renewed popularity after guest starring on the "Beverly Hills, 90210" spin-off "90210" and competing on "Dancing With the Stars," but her luck didn't last. In November 2016, it was announced that Shannen had joined the cast of a television adaptation of "Heathers," but Paramount Network pulled the show in 2018 in the wake of the tragic Parkland, Florida, school shooting. Shannen's personal life has been more successful: She's been happily married to photographer Kurt Iswarienko since 2011 and is a breast cancer survivor.
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Columbus Short starred as Harrison Wright on the hit Shonda Rhimes show "Scandal" until he was fired in 2014 due to his erratic behavior, drug abuse and domestic violence allegations.
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Columbus Short has had his share of difficulties since exiting "Scandal." The dancer-turned-actor has appeared in a few low-budget movies such as "Lucky Girl," "True to the Game" and "American Violence" but has mostly been in the headlines for his run-ins with the law. Columbus pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence in 2014 after being arrested during an altercation with his now ex-wife, Tanee McCall. The father of two opened up about his struggles in 2015. "I'll be candid. I was struggling with drugs," Columbus told "Access Hollywood." "I had a lot on my plate, and you know, I was using unhealthy ways to kind of self-medicate and deal with a lot of heavy-duty stuff in my life."
Alfonso Ribeiro starred as nerdy cousin Carlton Banks on the acclaimed sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" from 1990 to 1996.
Alfonso Ribeiro has been steadily working since his time as Carlton but never reached the levels of fame he had in the '90s. The actor appeared on a number of reality TV shows over the years — he won "Dancing With the Stars" Season 19 in 2014 — and is best known today as a game-show host. Alfonso hosted GSN's "Catch 21," ABC Family's "Spell-Mageddon" and is currently the host of "America's Funniest Home Videos." He is married to writer Angela Unkrich and a father to two sons and one daughter.
Katherine Heigl gained worldwide recognition when she starred as Dr. Izzie Stevens on "Grey's Anatomy." She famously left the show after five years amid rumors of discord on set and a "diva" attitude. Katherine even said publicly that she'd opted out of the Emmy race in 2008 because she felt the material she'd received didn't warrant Emmy consideration. Yikes.
Sadly, Katherine Heigl's career never rebounded from her messy ending on "Grey's Anatomy." The star appeared in several movies that flopped at the box office, including "The Big Wedding," "Jackie & Ryan" and "Home Sweet Hell," and two shows that were canceled within one season, "State of Affairs" and "Doubt." Katherine, who's said that she regrets leaving "Grey's," joined the cast of "Suits" in 2018. "You miss it. I miss my friends. It was a great work environment … and it becomes a family," she's said of "Grey's." "I spent six years together with these people every day … you grow up together, in a way … I always felt that if they wanted me to come back and sort of wrap up that storyline … I want them to know that I'm down with it if they want me to, but I completely understand if it doesn't necessarily work … They've got a lot of story lines going on there." Katherine is happily married to singer Josh Kelley, with whom she shares three children.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas starred as Randy Taylor on "Home Improvement," one of the most watched sitcoms of the '90s.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas decided to leave the teen heartthrob life behind and instead focus on his education. He attended Harvard University, where he studied philosophy and history, and spent his third year abroad at St. Andrews University in Scotland. In 2010, he graduated from Columbia University's School of General Studies. Jonathan did make a few brief returns to the entertainment industry, however. He guest starred on and directed a few episodes of "Last Man Standing" — reuniting him with his "Home Improvement" dad Tim Allen — between 2013 and 2016.
Dana Plato played Kimberly Drummond on the super-popular sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" from 1978 to 1986.
Sadly, Dana Plato was never able to bounce back after "Diff'rent Strokes" ended in the '80s. She attempted to establish herself as a serious, dramatic actress but failed to get the recognition she was working for. The actress appeared in a number of made-for-TV movies and independent films and did voice-over work, but after a bitter divorce and the death of her mother, Dana signed over power of attorney to an accountant who disappeared with most of her money. Struggling with poverty and drug abuse, the former star lost custody of her son, Tyler Lambert, and had several run-ins with the law — including an arrest for robbery. In 1999, she committed suicide by overdosing on prescription drugs. Almost exactly 11 years to the day after Dana's death, her son Tyler also took his own life on May 6, 2010.
Nate Richert found stardom playing Harvey Kinkle, Sabrina's on-again, off-again boyfriend, on "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch."
Nate Richert largely disappeared from Hollywood after "Sabrina" ended in 2003. The actor, who refers to himself as a triple threat on his website, acted in a few TV movies before turning his attention to music. His latest song, "Let Me Be Your Fool," and other country-tinged tracks are available on Spotify.
Nicollette Sheridan made waves when she starred as Edie Britt on the ABC hit "Desperate Housewives." Her exit from the show proved to be a messy one, however, with allegations of abuse, unlawful termination and a $20 million lawsuit against "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry and ABC Television.
Nicollette Sheridan has faced a tough road since exiting "Desperate Housewives." Her lawsuit against the network resulted in a mistrial then later got tossed entirely. Her CBS comedy pilot was not picked up. And her only significant roles since have been in Hallmark TV movies. Luckily, it seems like things might be turning around for Nicollette. In 2017, she was cast in The CW's "Dynasty" revival as Alexis Carrington, a role played by Joan Collins on the original series.
Karyn Parsons was one of the It girls of the '90s while starring as cousin Hilary Banks on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."
Karyn Parsons is still a working actress but doesn't enjoy the fame she once had. She appeared on a few short-lived shows after "Fresh Prince" wrapped, including "Lush Life," which she co-created and co-wrote, and the critically acclaimed series "The Job." Besides TV, Karyn appeared in a number of comedy films such as "Major Payne" and "The Ladies Man." She returned to the medium that made her famous in 2018, landing a role on the TV series "Fly." Karyn has a daughter, Lana, and a son, Nico, with director husband Alexandre Rockwell.
Dennis Franz was an almost 30-year veteran of Hollywood when he was cast on "NYPD Blue" in 1993. He continued to star on the hit show until 2005.
Dennis Franz took a well-deserved break from the industry after "NYPD Blue" wrapped. The actor, who won four Emmys and a Golden Globe, hasn't taken an acting job since 2005. "I needed a break — I was just tired," he told the New York Post in 2015. "I told my agents I needed a year off, and that year went by in about 10 minutes… I just wanted to live an enjoyable, irresponsible, spend-time-with-my-family kind of life. I haven't regretted one minute of it. I'm pretty good at doing nothing." Dennis, who's been married to Joanie Zeck since 1995, made a rare public appearance at the 2016 Emmy Awards.
T.R. Knight became a household name after snagging the role of Dr. George O'Malley on "Grey's Anatomy." He left the show in 2009, sharing that he chose to exit due to a "breakdown in communication" with executive producer Shonda Rhimes, his character's lack of screen time and his decision to live his life as an openly gay man.
T.R. Knight has maintained a low profile following his departure from "Grey's." The actor has starred in several off-Broadway and Broadway plays including "Parade" and "A Life in Theater." He's also taken on small roles in a number of shows and movies such as "42," "Hello Again," "The Good Wife" and "Genius." T.R. has achieved a major success in his personal life since departing Shondaland: In 2013, he married his longtime partner, Patrick B. Leahy.