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80s Superstars: Where Are They Now?

80s Superstars: Where Are They Now?

Ahhh, the 80s. Big hair, fluorescent apparel. See before and after photos of some of the decade’s biggest stars and find out what they’ve been up to since hanging up the spandex!

Ally Sheedy

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Then: Another brat pack princess and the enigmatic “freak” of the Breakfast Club bunch, Ally could often be found next to her peers in various John Hughes films throughout the decade.

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Now: In 1992, Sheedy married actor David Lansbury, the nephew of actress Angela Lansbury and son of Edgar Lansbury, the producer of the original production of Godspell. The couple have a daughter, Rebecca, born in 1994. In May 2008, it was announced thatSheedy had filed for divorce.

Andrew McCarthy

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Then: Andrew McCarthy’s famous Brat Pack roles included Class, St. Elmo’s Fire and Pretty in Pink, but Andrew also found success in other classic ’80s movies like Mannequin and Weekend at Bernie’s.


Now: Today, Andrew is still acting in film and television and has appeared in a number of on- and off-Broadway productions including The Boys of Winter and Side Man. Andrew is divorced and has two children.

Annie Lennox

Annie Lennox

Then: After achieving minor success in the late 1970s as part of the new wave band The Tourists, she and fellow musician David A. Stewart went on to achieve major international success in the 1980s as Eurythmics. Lennox is the most recognised female artist at the Brit Awards, winning a total of eight awards. She has also been named the “Brits Champion of Champions”

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Now: Lennox embarked on a solo career in the 1990s with her debut album, Diva (1992), which produced several hit singles including “Why” and “Walking on Broken Glass”. To date, she has released five solo studio albums and a compilation album, The Annie Lennox Collection (2009). She is the recipient of eight Brit Awards, four Grammy Awards and an MTV Video Music Award. In 2002, Lennox received a Billboard Century Award; the highest accolade from Billboard Magazine.In 2004, she won both the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Into the West”, written for the soundtrack to the feature film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Anthony Michael Hall

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Then: Anthony Michael Hall (whose name is actually Michael Anthony Hall) was the loveable geek, struggling with his own high expectations in The Breakfast Club.  Hall got his start in 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation, as Chevy Chase’s son.  He really established himself as an (always geeky) actor, when he starred in the John Hughes film Sixteen Candles in 1984, before starring in both The Breakfast Club and Weird Science in 1985.  After these films Hall was stereotyped as a geek (which probably wasn’t helped by his, well, geeky looks).  He joined the cast of Saturday Night Live for one year in 1985, and is the youngest cast member of SNL to this day.

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Now: After his 1988 film Johnny Be Good flopped, Hall took a two years off acting due to a drinking problem, before returning in Edward Scissorhands, this time as a villain.  He then starred as billionaire Bill Gates in 1999’s Pirates of Silicon Valley.  From 2002-2007 he starred in the hugely successful television series Dead Zone, based on the novel by Stephen King.  His most recent film role was as a reporter in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.



Then: Rooted in New Wave and 1960s rock and roll, the group later covered many genres ranging from post-punk to pop rock.

The B-52's Perform On NBC's "Today" Show

Now: After rising to superstar status with 1989’s Cosmic Thing, the album that included mega hit Love Shack, and releasing Good Stuff, the B52s spent the next 16 years on hiatus and writing their 2008 album Funplex. They have also announced a 2013 summer tour with the Go-Go’s.

The Bangles


Then: Everyone fell in love with brown-eyed girl Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles in the eighties. Except for the other members of the band, who resented her for constantly being in the limelight. Their most famous records, Manic Monday from 1985 and EternalFlame from 1989, marked them out as one of the key girlbands of the period.


Now: Despite all the fame the band argued constantly and split in the late eighties. Hoffs began a solo career while sisters Debbie and Vicki Peterson also embarked on new ventures. A decade later they reformed for an Austin Powers movie soundtrack. An album and tour followed and the girls have been working together ever since. They are currently in the studio working on a new album.

Belinda Carlisle

Belinda Carlisle

Then: Belinda Carlisle gained worldwide fame as the lead vocalist of the Go-Go’s, one of the most successful all-female bands and the first such group whose members wrote their own songs and played their own instruments. She and later went on to a successful solo career with hits Mad About You, and Heaven Is a Place on Earth.

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Now: Her autobiography, Lips Unsealed, published in June 2010, reached No. 27 on the The New York Times Best Seller list and received favorable reviews.On August 11, 2011, she received, as a member of the Go-Go’s, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Go-Go’s have also reunited and will be embarking on a summer tour with the B-52’s.

Billy Idol

Billy Idol

Then: A member of the Bromley Contingent of Sex Pistols fans, Idol first achieved fame in the punk rock era as a member of the band Generation X. He then embarked on a successful solo career, aided by a series of stylish music videos, making him one of the first MTV stars.

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Now: Idol continues to tour with guitarist Steve Stevens and has a worldwide fan base.

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi

Then: Big hair, big sound and big sellout arenas. Bon Jovi represented the essence of the 80s rock band. The band rode the wave of its success all throughout the 1980s, but members pursued their own individual interests in the 1990s following a grueling schedule on the road.

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Now: Since then, the band – with its core members along with newer ones — continued to release albums with material reflecting their roots and venturing into other genres, including country music. Bon Jovi band was nominated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

Boy George


Then: To the public, “Culture Club” was, to all intents and purposes, Boy George, and his appetite for publicity and clever manipulation of the media seemed effortless. His barely concealed homosexuality, though no problem to his many fans, caused considerable comment in the tabloid press.

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Now: George went on to become a successful club DJ in the 1990s and his autobiography “Take It Like A Man” was published in 1995 which detailed his secret relationship with Jon Moss, the Culture Club drummer. In the late 1990s, Culture Club re-united toperform a number of live shows and in 1998 had a top ten hit with the single “I Just Wanna Be Loved”. George has since had many legal woes.

Chaka Kahn

Chaka Khan

Then: Chaka Khan, frequently known as the “Queen of Funk”, is a 10-time Grammy Award winning American singer-songwriter who gained fame  as the frontwoman and focal point of the funk band Rufus.

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Now: On September 27, 2011, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame committee announced that Khan and her former band Rufus were jointly nominated for induction to the hall. It was the collective’s first nomination 13 years after they were first eligible. The groupwere nominated partly due to Khan’s own storied reputation, including her own solo career in conjunction with her years with Rufus.

Cindy Crawford

Cindy Crawford

Then: Known for her trademark mole just above her lip, Crawford has adorned hundreds of magazine covers throughout her career. Her success at modeling made her a celebrity that has led to roles in television and film, and to work as a spokesperson.

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Now: Crawford quit modeling in 2000; however, she still appears from time to time in (and on the covers of) fashion magazines in new shoots. She continues to provide celebrity endorsement for a variety of projects. In 2005, Crawford created a line of beauty products with Dr. Jean-Louis Sebagh called Meaningful Beauty for Guthy-Renker. Crawford has admitted to regularly receiving certain cosmetic procedures, including Botox and vitamin injections. She first saw a plastic surgeon at the age of 29.

Corey Feldman

Corey Feldman

Then: Feldman started his career at the age of three, appearing in a McDonald’s commercial. In his youth he appeared in over 100 television commercials and on 50 television shows. Film credits include Lost Boys, Goonies and Gremlins.

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Now: Determined to rebuild his life—and pay his $200,000 legal and tax bills—he worked on movies like Meatballs 4 and Bordello of Blood, which flopped, and two TV series that never took off. In debt and depressed, Feldman, a self-taught musician, poured his emotions into a self-financed, largely autobiographical 1999 album, Still Searching for Soul, with the band Truth Movement. Says his friend, Def Leppard lead singer Joe Elliott: “It was more of a statement than an attempt to crack the charts.”

Debbie Gibson

Debbie Gibson

Then: In 1988 Debbie Gibson was pronounced the youngest artist to write, produce, and perform a No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, with her song “Foolish Beat” and she remains the youngest female to write, record, and perform a No. 1 single to date.

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Now: The March 2005 issue of Playboy featured a nude pictorial of Gibson, coinciding with the release of her single, “Naked”. She has said that the magazine had asked her five times to pose for them since she turned 18.She agreed to pose in an effort to revamp her image, describing how one casting call called her agent, not realizing that Gibson had long since outgrown her teenage image.The single peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard “Hot single sales” chart in March 2005.

Deborah Harry

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Then: With her two-tone bleached-blonde hair, Harry quickly became a punk icon. Her look was further popularized by the band’s early presence in the music video revolution of the era. She was a regular at Studio 54.

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Now: In June 2008, Blondie commenced a world tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Parallel Lines with a concert at Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore, Maryland. The tour covered some Eastern and Midwestern US cities throughout the month of June. In July, the tour took the band overseas to Israel, the UK, Russia, Europe and Scandinavia, wrapping up on August 2, 2008 at Rockefeller in Oslo, Norway.

Depeche Mode

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Then: Depeche Mode have had 48 songs in the UK Singles Chart and twelve top 10 albums in the UK charts, two of which debuted at #1. According to EMI, Depeche Mode have sold over 100 million albums and singles worldwide, making them the most successful electronic band in music history.

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The band continues to enjoy an incredible career and has just released their 13th studio album Delta Machine.

Dire Straits

Dire straits

Then: The groundbreaking video for Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing is easily one of the most memorable videos form the decade.

John Illsley

Now: In October 2008, John Illsley told the BBC that he wanted Knopfler to agree to reform Dire Straits for a comeback tour. Knopfler declined, saying that in the past he was often reluctant to reform the group and insisting that he “isn’t even a fan of Dire Straits’ early hits”.

Duran Duran


Then: Duran Duran was one of the most successful bands of the 1980s and a leading band in the MTV-driven “Second British Invasion” of the United States. Since the 1980s, they have placed 14 singles in the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart and 21 in the Billboard Hot 100 and have, according to the Sunday Mercury, sold more than 100 million records.

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Now: In November 2010, Duran Duran announced the worldwide release of their 13th studio album, entitled All You Need Is Now.

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark


Then: She gained fame on Los Angeles television station KHJ wearing a black, gothic, cleavage-enhancing gown as host of Movie Macabre, a weekly horror movie presentation.

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Now: In September 2010 Elvira’s Movie Macabre returned to television syndication in the United States, this time with public domain films.

Emilio Estvez

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Then: The eldest child of actor Martin Sheen, Estevez got his first big break in cult-classic Repo Man.  He then starred in The Breakfast Club and 80s Brat Pack vehicle St. Elmo’s Fire, establishing his celebrity.

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Now: He has since gone on to direct the films Men at Work (1990, a comedy about two garbage truck drivers), The War at Home (1996, a drama about post-traumatic stress disorder), and Bobby (2007, a character-driven story that takes place the morning of Robert F Kennedy’s assassination in 1968).  His next film, The Way, stars father Martin Sheen as an American man who must travel to France to collect the body of his dead son.

George Michael

George Michael

Then: Michael rose to fame in the 1980s when he formed the pop duo Wham! with his school friend, Andrew Ridgeley. His first solo single, “Careless Whisper”, was released when he was still in the duo and sold about six million copies worldwide.

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Now: As one of the world’s best-selling music artists, Michael has sold more than 100 million records worldwide as of 2010. His 1987 debut solo album, Faith, has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide and made several records and achievements in the United States.


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Then: In the early 1980s, INXS first charted in their native Australia with their debut self-titled album, but later garnered moderate success elsewhere with Shabooh Shoobah and a single, “The One Thing”. Though The Swing brought more success from aroundthe world, its single “Original Sin” was even greater commercially, becoming their first number-one single.


Now: In November 1997, lead singer Michael Hutchence was found dead in his Sydney Ritz-Carlton hotel room. INXS returned to the news in 2004, when it was announced that a new reality television program titled Rock Star: INXS would feature a contest to find a new lead vocalist for the band.

Joan Jett

Joan Jett

Then: Joan Jett is best known for her work with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts including their hit cover I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll, which was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 from March 20 to May 1, 1982, as well as for their other popular recordings including Crimson and Clover, I Hate Myself for Loving You, Do You Want to Touch Me, Light of Day, Love Is All Around, Bad Reputation.

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Now: In June 2010, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts opened for Green Day on their UK tour alongside acts such as Frank Turner and Paramore. The group was the opening act for Aerosmith’s September 2010 Canadian tour.

Kylie Minogue

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Then: She got her break in show business as a child actress in Australia, and rose to prominence in the late 1980s through her role on the hugely popular soap opera, “Neighbors.” She left the show when her career as a pop artist took off. Her iconic 80s hits include Locomotion and I Should Be So Lucky.

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Now: In 2001, she released “Can’t Get You Out of My Head.” It became her first top-selling single in the United States in more than a decade. She is also a breast cancer survivor.

Matthew Broderick


Then: Best known for his role as Ferris Bueller, Matthew Broderick was the king of the 80s teen movie.

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Now: Matthew has worked steadily since the 80s, though no roles have been as memorable as Ferris’. Did you know he was the voice of adult Simba in The Lion King? Also, bet you didn’t know that he is married to Sarah Jessica-Parker!

Mia Sara

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Then: As Ferris Bueller’s beautiful girlfriend Sloane Peterson, Mia Sara captured the imagination of all Ferris wannabes back in the day.

Mia Sara

Now: Sara enjoys flying and holds a private pilot license. In March 1996, Sara was married to Jason Connery, the son of Sean Connery, with whom she performed in Bullet to Beijing. In June 1997, they had a son, Dashiell Quinn Connery. The couple divorced in 2002.She is in a relationship with Brian Henson, son of Muppet creator Jim Henson, with whom she has a daughter.

Molly Ringwald

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Then: She was the red-headed queen of the 80s teen movie, starring in The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles.

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Now: After the late 80s, the movie roles dried up for Ringwald and most of her Bratpack peers. She is currently married to a Greek author and resides in France.



Then: Morrissey rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the alternative rock band The Smiths. The band was highly successful in the United Kingdom but broke up in 1987, and Morrissey began a solo career, making the top ten of the UK Singles Chart on ten occasions. Widely regarded as an important innovator in indie music, Morrissey has been described by music magazine NME as “one of the most influential artists ever.”

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Now: In June and July 2011 Morrissey played a UK tour, mainly consisting of small venues in the North of Britain; played Glastonbury Festival; and headlined the Hop Farm Festival.In July and August he toured touring venues in Europe and played two festival dates, Hultsfred Festival in Sweden and the Lokeren Festival in Belgium. During his performance at Glastonbury Morrissey criticised the UK Prime Minister David Cameron for attempting to stop the ban on wild animals performing in circuses, calling him a “silly twit.”

New Order

New Order

Then: Few bands survive the death of their lead singer. When Ian Curtis killed himself in 1980, Joy Division became New Order and a long string of hits followed such as Blue Monday and Regret.

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Now: Falling silent in the 1990s, New Order came screaming back with 2001’s single Crystal and released Waiting for the Siren’s Call in 2005.

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

Then: During the 1980s, Benatar had two RIAA-certified Multi-Platinum albums, five RIAA-certified Platinum albums, three RIAA-certified Gold albums and 19 Top 40 singles, including Love Is A Battlefield, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, and We Belong. Benatarwas one of the most heavily played artists in the early days of MTV.

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Now: Pat Benatar has toured every year since 1996. In 2009, Benatar teamed up with Blondie for the “Call Me Invincible” tour, which also features The Donnas.

Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys

Then: Very much a household name, the Pet Shop Boys are one of the world’s best-selling artists, having sold well over 100 million albums world-wide.

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In September 2011, the Pet Shop Boys announced that they had written 16 songs for their next studio album, and they expected to start recording the new songs in November 2011 for release in 2012 Autumn. In the meantime, Format, an album of the duo’s B-sides from 1996 to 2009 will be released in 6th February 2012 as a sequel to their earlier release, Alternative.

Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel started out as the lead singer of Genesis and then released several solo hits in the 80s such as Big Time and Sledgehammer.

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Peter Gabriel released his ninth studio album New Blood, reaching number 30 in the US.

Phoebe Cates


Then: The girl with the Bikini bod in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, all the teens in the 80s either wanted her or wanted to be her.

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Now: In 2005, Cates opened her own boutique called Blue Tree on New York’s Madison Avenue.



Then: Probably the most prolific and influential artist of the 80s, Prince had dozens of hits including Purple Rain, Let’s Go Crazy and When Doves Cry.

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Now: Prince’s 2004 release Musicology has been certified platinum and both of the subsequent albums 3121 and Lotusflow3r / MPLSound have been certified gold.



The Athens, Georgia-born alternative band defined the genre, setting the stage for subsequent acts such as Nirvana.


After three decades together, REM announced their break up in 2011.

Richard Marx

Richard MArx

Then: Like many other singers who’ve made it big, Marx got his start as a background singer. Then he struck out on his own, creating a string of hits in the 80s such as Endless Summer Nights and Right Here Waiting.

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Now: Marx released Sundown in 2008, which failed to place on the charts.

Rick Astley

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Then: Rick Astley was the smooth-singing, British sensation who took both sides of the Atlantic by storm with 1980s hits like “Car Jam,” “Together Forever,” and “Never Gonna Give You Up,” the latter of which became the biggest selling single of 1987 and propelled the singer to his more than 40 million records sold worldwide over his career.

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Now: Astley made a comeback in 2007 when he became an Internet phenomenon as his video for “Never Gonna Give You Up” became part of a popular Internet fad known as “Rickrolling.” Astley was voted “Best Act Ever” by Internet users at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2008 and, today, continues to tour and work in radio, most recently as a DJ for London’s Magic FM radio station.

Robert Palmer

Robert Palmer

Then: His videos are among the most memorable of the decade, particularly Simply Irresistible and Addicted to Love.

FILE PHOTO Robert Palmer Dies At 54

Sadly, Robert Palmer died of a heart attack in Paris in 2003. He was a heavy smoker.

Salt N Pepa

Salt N Pepa

Then: Salt-N-Pepa sold over 15 million records in a phenomenal career, peaking between 1988 & 1993. Their seminal hit Push It gave them a global voice and from there they launched other massive songs into the public’s Walkmans.

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Now: After officially disbanding in 2002, more than five years after their last release, Salt N Pepa reformed in 2007.

Simple Minds

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Then: Everyone knows the Simple Minds the most for one thing: Their song Don’t You Forget About Me which was the title theme for 1986’s The Breakfast Club.

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Now: Simple Minds released Graffiti Soul in 2009 and On 22 November 2011, they announced an exclusive 16-date European tour entitled “5X5 Live” to begin in Portugal on 14 February and to end in Ireland on 4 March 2012.

Taylor Dane

Taylor Dane

Then: The blonde with the powerful voice often sat second seat to Whitney and Madonna, but she has some undeniable hits like Tell it to My Heart and Love Will Lead You Back.

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Now: After a long hiatus, Taylor Dayne released her fifth studio album Satisfied in 2008.

Tears for Fears

Tears for Fears

Then: Tears For Fears hit the music scene hard in the ’80s with hits like Shout, Everybody Wants To Rule The World, and Head Over Heels.

Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal

Now: The duo has reunited after a 12-year breakup, and their latest album Everybody Loves A Happy Ending is making its mark around the world.

The Cure


Then: The Cure were one of the first alternative bands to have chart and commercial success in an era before alternative rock had broken into the mainstream.

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Now: Their latest studio album, 4:13 Dream was released in 2008, reaching number 33 on the UK charts.



Then: The red-haired girl and her hit single I Think We’re Alone Now.

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Now: Leaving her teen pop days well and truly behind, Tiffany appeared nude, but ‘enhanced’ on the cover of Playboy in 2002. After an attempt at a country music career, she returned to her pop roots and released The Colour Of Science to rave reviews but public indifference.

Val Kilmer

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Then: He was in tons of movies in the 80s. Top Gun, Willow, Batman.

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Now: Through the mid-’90s, he remained an above-the-title star, with roles in “Batman Forever,” “Heat,” and “The Ghost and the Darkness.”

But then the rains came. Kilmer, whether justly or not, earned a reputation as being difficult. The roles got less glamorous. He provided the voice for “K.I.T.T.” in the updated “Knight Rider” series (now canceled) and played the villain in the “SNL”-inspired comedy “MacGruber.”


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