Celebrities, politicians, royalty: we love learning about their lives, and sometimes we place them on a pedestal. But that only makes their falls from grace even more shocking when they occur. We've all been shocked by politicians who fell from grace because of sex scandals or corruption charges. These huge falls from grace include Richard Nixon's resignation under the cloud of Watergate and Charles I of England, whose fall was so bad that he literally lost his head. And then there are the sports heroes and actors' falls from grace, from Bill Cosby and Mel Gibson to Lance Armstrong and O.J. Simpson.
Some of these famous downfalls were well deserved, like Harvey Weinstein and Joe Paterno, while others, like Anne Boleyn, are tragic. Here is the definitive list of the biggest falls from grace in history, all the way from the twelfth century to today. Now it's your turn to weigh in on which of history's falls from grace were the most shocking. When you're done, see how the 2017 celebrity falls from grace stack up against the all-time ranking.
Bill Cosby was once known as "America's Dad." His sweaters were famous. "The Cosby Show" was a huge hit in the 1980s. But in 2004, the first woman came forward to publicly accuse Cosby of sexual assault. The scandal didn't explode until 2014, when more than 60 women came forward to accuse Cosby of rape, drugging women, and sexual misconduct, dating all the way back to the 1960s. In 2015, court documents leaked that showed Cosby admitted to giving women Quaaludes without their consent in order to have sex. The scandal completely destroyed Cosby's reputation.
In April 2018, after being tried for the rape of Andrea Constand in 2004, Cosby was found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault. The comedian faces up to 10 years in prison.
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America
#53 on The Most Original Comedians
#51 on The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
O.J. Simpson was one of the most famous football players in the world and a movie star when a murder trial brought everything crashing down. Simpson was induced into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame two years later. But in 1994, O.J. was arrested for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The "Trial of the Century" may have ended with an acquittal, but O.J.'s reputation was permanently trashed.
Birthplace: California, United States of America
In October of 2017, more than 80 women accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, which included accusations of rape. Weinstein allegedly abused his position of power to coerce and assault actresses including Cara Delevingne, Rose McGowen, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Lupita Nyong’o. Weinstein was kicked off the board of the Weinstein Company, which he co-founded, and he was banned from the Producers Guild for life. As 2017 drew to a close, the police were pursuing criminal charges against the producer.
Birthplace: Flushing, New York City, New York, United States of America
She was married at age 14 in an arrangement that was meant to be politically advantageous for both France and Austria, but her reign and life ended in horror and tragedy. The extravagant queen Marie Antoinette famously disregarded the plight of the French people in what they described as self-absorbed. While flaunting her wealth the country was falling into political distress and she attempted to flee the country after the storming of the Bastille. The attempt to escape failed, and her husband King Louis XVI was arrested put on trial and executed. Antoinette's fate followed soon after; she was executed for allegations of treason and theft as well as a claim that she had assaulted her son. Their deaths kicked off the bloody Reign of Terror that killed thousands of French citizens before it ended.
Age: Died at 38 (1755-1793)
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria