#1. Ashlee Simpson
Oh, Ashlee Simpson. It’s not like we really forgot about her… we more-so intentionally removed her from the spotlight and told her to sit out for a while.
Ashlee is the younger sister of Jessica Simpson, who was also more of a big deal in the 2000s but has managed to be occasionally relevant most of her career. Envious of her big sister’s fame, Ashlee managed to finagle a career in music with her premiere single “Pieces of Me.” From there, she got some more success in the forms of a musical album, her own television show, and even on London’s West End theatre district. However, her moment in the spotlight ended abruptly after her Saturday Night Live appearance where she was caught in the act of lip-syncing live from New York. Ouch. These days, she’s officially retired from acting (though few of us knew she actually tried it) and releases a new album every few years between divorces and having kids.
#2. Willa Ford
By name, you probably don’t remember her at all. Her birth name is Amanda Lee Williford, but that apparently wasn’t a striking enough name for a hot young celebrity (you can see how creative she was in the selection of her stage name). She tried her damnedest to make her mark on Hollywood, but nothing she ever did really stuck. Her hottest single, “I Wanna Be Bad,” was sort of popular back in 2001.
When her music career didn’t really take off, she tried to garner attention by leeching off of other celebrities and shows, like Uncle Kracker and Park Ji-Yoon (a Korean pop star). When that didn’t work, she was a guest Pussycat Doll in Vegas and even got her own spread in Playboy (wow, dream big). But we’d already lost interest. By the time she was in the remake of Friday the 13th, she was already old news.
#3. Shane West
Maybe you don’t remember Shane West by his photo- he does kind of have that generic “2000s-douchebag” look going on. Shane was a popular actor in the 2000s best known for his heartthrob, bad-boy turned lover-boy role in A Walk to Remember. The movie, which was Nicholas Sparks’ first novel-turned-movie, was about a teenage girl who is able to soften the tough heart of a juvenile delinquent as they fall in love before tragedy strikes the young girl down.
It’s a cute story, but one we all know even if we have no interest. Shane’s career actually took off after the 2002 romance; he went on to have breakout roles in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and ER, and even managed to survive into the twenty-teens with a recurring role in Nikita, but his career has certainly petered out. He’s a lead on the show Salem, but who actually watches that?
#4. t. A. T. u.
t.A.T.u. was one of the coolest, punkest groups of the 2000s. The singing duo, composed of the Russian duo Julia Volkova and Lena Katina, released some amazing music with pointed messages back in the 2000s including the songs “All the Things She Said,” “Not Gonna Get Us,” and “All About Us.” Despite popular belief, Julia and Lena were never dating but they did promote the values in support of LGBT rights back in a time and place where such things were not discussed, let alone advocated for. They were exceptionally brave and bold young women- so what ever happened to them?
They’re actually still kind of active, despite the duo announcing their split in 2014. They performed at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and just last year released a remix of the original Russian version of “All the Things She Said.” Who knows if they’ll make a return to the public eye?
If you thought you’ve heard anything out of Shaggy recently, you’re probably wrong: it wasn’t him. Shaggy was one of the most popular Jamaican infused rap and R&B artists in the United States at the time (maybe ever). Some of his top hits and still played singles are “It Wasn’t Me,” “Angel,” and “Boombastic.”
He was crazy popular back in the early 2000s; he’s been featured on albums that have won Grammys and has performed with celebrities like Cyndi Lauper, Natalia, and Fay-Ann Lyons. Though a true American (he was even a Marine!), his Jamaican roots are strong and the country loves him just as much as he loves it. He still produces music, though not nearly at the rigorous and popular rate that he used to. You might not have noticed that one of his most popular recent songs, “I Need Your Love,” was even his since there were so many guest artists on the track! Watch for his name because he’s definitely still trying to stay relevant.