12 Forgotten Reality TV Stars: Where Are They Now?

  
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Landing a spot on a reality show has led to fame and fortune for more than a few lucky folks, but that can’t be said of everyone who put themselves out there on-screen for everyone to see. And if you thought that appearing on more than one show – maybe three, four, or even five – might increase your chances, try telling that to the former almost-celebrities on this list. For better or worse, it’s not only the meek or unremarkable reality stars that have faded away, some of the most wild, crazy, trouble-making reality stars shone bright and then apparently supernova’d themselves right out of the public eye. Here are 12 forgotten reality stars and where they are now.

12. Justin Guarini

Appeared on: American Idol

When American Idol hit television screens, it was an immediate hit and looked to make the performers on the show instant stars. First place winner Kelly Clarkson has gone on to an enduring career releasing multiple albums and staying just as beloved in the public eye. Runner-up Justin Guarini may have lost the big competition, but he still managed to win the hearts of audiences everywhere, which is why he went on to star alongside Kelly in the not-so-popular movie From Justin to Kelly. But his initial disappointments continued when he struggled to keep his career afloat in the following years. Stepping onto the Broadway stage, he’s appeared in productions of American Idiot (the Green Day album based musical), Romeo and Juliet starring Orlando Bloom, and mostly recently a stint in Wicked. He’s also made bit appearances in television shows and movies, but in 2013 a blog post written by Justin claimed that there were times when he had skipped meals in order to make sure his wife and children were fed. He later said that the post had been misunderstood and he and his family were in fact doing fine. Let’s hope that’s true.

 Gregorio T. Binuya/Everett Collection

Gregorio T. Binuya/Everett Collection

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11. Clay Aiken

Appeared on: American Idol

Clay Aiken was another American Idol contestant who didn’t quite nab first place, but still made his mark when he was runner-up to winner Ruben Studdard. Clay released his first album “Measure of a Man” and it hit #1 in 2003. He followed it up with a super successful Christmas album and a memoir Learning to Sing: Hearing Music in Your Life. From there, he hit Broadway to appear in Spamalot and at this time also took full charge of his personal life, revealing that he was gay as well as welcoming a baby into his life. Things started to get rocky professionally for Clay, but he kept in the public eye by appearing on Celebrity Apprentice where he again was the final runner-up. What was next for Aiken? More music? More reality television appearances? More Broadway musicals? Nope! Clay was ready for politics next and ran for a Congressional seat as a Democrat in North Carolina. Not spoiling his runner-up streak, he lost the race, but ended up signing a deal with Esquire Network to create a documentary series out of the footage that was taken during his run for office. He may not be as visible these days outside of his home state, but you never know what Clay will get up to next.

Dee Cercone/Everett Collection

Dee Cercone/Everett Collection

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