Robert De Niro and Christian Bale were widely praised for gaining and losing disgusting amounts of weight for roles. These seven celebrities have undergone equally terrifying changes to their appearance, only without anyone paying them to do it.
In 1986, everything was right with the Jacksons: Michael was a year away from releasing Bad and sister Janet had just released the album Control. She also happened to be incredibly good looking, and with song titles such as "The Pleasure Principle," "Control" and "Nasty," the album seemed to suggest Janet was some kind of child-prodigy dominatrix. She insisted we call her Ms. Jackson, and as a nation we said, "Yes, ma'am ... you're over 18, right?"
In 1993, Janet peaked when she appeared topless on the cover of Rolling Stone, looking phenomenal.
In 2000, the photo was named the "Most Popular Cover Ever," proving the theory that breasts are something of a crowd pleaser. And, just in case anyone hadn't seen her sweater puppies the first time around, Janet would give America another opportunity in 2004, this time in full-color.
Keep in mind she was close to 40 during that infamous Super Bowl performance. No matter how old you are, when you're getting to second base on national TV with hands that will soon squeeze the chestaloupes of Scarlett Johannson, Cameron Diaz and Jessica Biel, you are hot. But a mere two years after that Super Bowl performance, Janet Jackson looked like she'd be making her next Super Bowl appearance as an offensive lineman.
Of course, our real reason for tracking these changes is to make us feel better about ourselves, since Janet seemed determined to assume the shape of the average Cracked staffer. But when it came time to do a movie (Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?), she snapped her fingers and magically looked like this again.
How do they do that?
If you're an American male, you either know who Jenna Jameson is or you're a fucking liar. Sure, everyone's a "star" in porn, but she was a star with a capital T-I-T-S. She is arguably the most popular porn actress, ever, and since 1996 she has appeared in more dorm rooms than math. That might be because she looked like this:
As recently as 2006, Jameson was still plenty attractive to continue winning awards for her, ahem, acting. But, despite her unprecedented longevity and entrepreneurial success, you don't have to be Larry Flynt to know that 10 years of pornographic success is unheard of, and there's a reason for that. It was only a matter of time before the industry took a toll on Jenna, and from the look of things that toll was taken with a two-by-four:
Someone could have made a lot of money betting that one day photos of Jenna Jameson could be used to prevent masturbation. We suppose we should have seen it coming; after all, she works in the only industry where you run the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome in your jaw. We can't help but feel bad for her; she's fallen so far she now looks like a girl who would actually talk to us.
Please, don't pretend you wouldn't jump at the opportunity, guys. Every time you're out with the guys it'd be, "Yeah, I'm dating this girl. Maybe you know her. She's Jenna Jameson." The last two words would be spoken loud enough to be heard from a quarter mile away. That's where the fun would end, however, because you'll be coming home to a leathery woman who will not, under any circumstances, be impressed by your penis.
Watching the fluctuations in Vince Vaughn's sex appeal is like being a toddler watching the tides. You watch an entire ocean grow before your eyes and then watch all that water magically disappear! Where did it go??? And, here it comes again! After a while you realize it happens twice a day, shrug, and just take it for granted.
In 1996, Swingers introduced Vaughn as the smooth, fast-talking "T," who inspired a nation of assholes to tell each other, "You're so fucking money and you don't even know it."
Now, here he is four years later, looking like the Greek God of Hangovers.
Tabloids reacted with shock at first, but no matter how bloated and rundown he looked off set, he always managed to look decent enough by the time the cameras started rolling. For instance �
Vince, looking good again in 2001 ...
Vince in 2005 ...
Vince that same year ...
And then last year ...
And, so on. It's impressive if you think about it: He may never regain the aerodynamic physique he had in Swingers, but in a single year Vaughn can go from being handsome enough to make the cover of Men's Journal to looking like someone wrapped a dress shirt around a water bed, and back again.
In Sep 2003, Rolling Stone featured a cover story on the Olsen Twins, calling them "America's Favorite Fantasy." This was the cover shot:
While somewhat true, the full title should have been "America's Favorite Fantasy Even Though We Get Kinda Uncomfortable if We Think About It for Too Long." Remember, enjoying an Olsen Twin fantasy required one to simultaneously ignore the fact that they were a) seventeen, and b) sisters. (We usually managed by setting the scene in a utopian future with advanced cloning techniques and laissez faire attitudes towards the age of consent.)
Taboos aside, most American men were looking forward to June 13, 2004, the twins' 18th birthday, to be celebrated with hours of dirty jokes involving the Olsens and Doublemint Gum. The Olsen twins were always thin, but over the next several months Mary-Kate developed a hollow appearance as she struggled with an eating disorder and Ashley was attending NYU, where an upper-class liberal arts education left her with a vacant, waxy expression on her face.
America's Favorite pair of chopsticks. What makes it worse is that it's constantly forcing us into this awkward conversation:
"Man, look at the Olsen Twins now!"
"I know! Anorexia strikes again!"
"Yeah! They were so much hotter when..."
"When... you know."
"When they were children?"
"What? No! Not at all!
"Why don't you have a seat over here."
Anna Nicole Smith became such a circus in her last few years that people forget the good parts. For instance, when Anna Nicole Smith was hot, she was HOT. She was on the cover of Playboy twice, followed Claudia Schiffer as the spokesmodel for Guess? Jeans and was compared to Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. (If you don't know who Jayne Mansfield is, ask your dad, but not in front of your mom.) This is what Smith looked like at her prime in 1994:
She succeeded in a world of rail-thin models, saying once that her diet was "Fried Chicken." Imagine coming home to a woman like that lying next to a bucket of the Colonel's extra crispy. There are men who would give millions of dollars and the last few years of their life for that sort of thing. Fortunately for Anna Nicole, she met one of those men at a Houston strip club: billionaire J. Howard Marshall, when he was a vigorous 86 years young.
Now, what happens when you take someone who really likes fried chicken and remove their desire to work? Anyone? C'mon, Missouri, think! You know this!
That's right. They tend to let themselves go a bit. Here's Anna in 1996:
That's what happens when a Playmate decided, "Hell, yeah, I'm RICH! I'm going to Applebee's!"
She followed this up with an equally scary weight loss using what were almost certainly unhealthy means:
We all know how Anna Nicole's story tragically ends. It really is too bad; as a sex symbol who's not afraid to eat, she could have almost been a role model for young girls, if we lived in some alternate universe where things don't always turn out terrible.
Tara Reid's first entrance into pop culture was The Big Lebowski, in which her first line was, "Blow," shortly followed by, "I'll suck your cock for a thousand dollars." When it comes to being hot, that's a Rookie of the Year performance, followed up by commendable sexiness in American Pie and American Pie 2.
While her choice of roles after that was questionable (Josie and the Pussycats, Dr. T and the Women) Reid stayed in the public eye through her reputation as a party girl, because it turns out that men have a soft spot for women who drink a lot. We enjoy the same activities, and impaired judgment is the Trojan Horse most of us need to have a chance with a girl who looks like this:
That was Tara in a 2004 issue of Stuff, right around the time she started making appearances on E's "Wild On..." essentially making her a professional drinker. Soon:
There's something bad in every pixel of that picture. If you're wondering what's wrong with her stomach, it's not a trick of the light:
Celebrity websites speculate she had some bad liposuction. We're speculating that it's a scar from when her liver tried to make a run for it.
Everyone knows that Britney Spears has fallen a long way from her heyday, when she served as the best argument for making Catholic School mandatory. But what you might not realize is just how recently she was still a knockout. This photo was in the May, 2005 issue of Elle Girl UK:
When that photo was published, she had already been married twice and was probably pregnant. MILF! Yet a mere two years later, she was the poor man's Sigourney Weaver.
In Britney's defense, a shaved head only requires a momentary lapse in judgment. For someone whose impulses had previously led to a 24-hour marriage, being bald was a significant improvement as far as long-term consequences go. Unfortunately, there was more: for all the "bad" things American men wanted to do to her body, Britney had done much much worse to it...
She went from the hottest girl on the planet to looking like the rest of us. Though, if you think about it, if instead of a former pop goddess this was just the girl who worked in the cubicle next to yours, tell us you wouldn't be hitting on her.
It's all about context, really.