Jennifer Love Hewitt: Hollywood Outcast
Jennifer Love Hewitt was one of the biggest Hollywood stars in the 1990s and had millions of fans, but where is she now? Why did her career crash and burn so quickly? Is it true that she's never had a role in a successful movie? And what does she have in common with Anne Hathaway? In this article, we’re going to tell you the truth as to why Jennifer Love Hewitt got blacklisted by Hollywood.
Little Jennifer's Big Dreams
Even though neither of Hewitt’s parents worked in the entertainment industry, Jennifer realized that she wanted to pursue a career in show business very early. When she went out on the stage of a livestock show to sing "The Greatest Love of All", the girl was ONLY 3 years old!
The following year, Jen performed at a restaurant-dance hall and when she was 5, she had already added ballet and tap dancing to her portfolio! At age ten, she won the title of "Texas Our Little Miss Talent Winner" and the talent scouts suggested her mother move the family to Los Angeles to let Jennifer pursue a career in singing and acting.
As busy as she was in Texas… in California, the young lady was even busier! Immediately, she started taking singing classes, appearing in talent shows, participating in beauty pageants, and taking up roles in commercials. No wonder such a pretty and talented girl got noticed so quickly!
Jen was chosen as a regular on the successful Disney Channel show Kids Incorporated in 1989. It was her first big breakthrough as a child actress. But initially, acting wasn’t Hewitt’s main goal - she wanted to become a singer. And she pursued that dream for a while by recording an album called Love Songs at age 12.
Interestingly, the album received the most success…in Japan, where she became a pop star! Soon music had to take a back seat in Jen’s career because she started getting more roles. But she didn’t say farewell to singing forever! Keep watching and you’ll find out why.
Becoming a Teen Icon
In 1995 Jen got the role that skyrocketed her popularity. It was as Sarah Reeves Merrin in a popular Fox TV series Party of Five. Jennifer played the sensitive on-and-off girlfriend of the main character for four years and became as famous as Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alicia Silverstone, and the likes.
The actress took on the same role in Party of Five’s spin-off Time of Your Life, but that show was canceled even before the first season ended. Was it the first-ever failure for Love Hewitt? Probably, but it didn’t knock her off-balance! After playing the lead role in I Know What You Did Last Summer, Jennifer became a film star.
The movie was a box-office success and viewers loved Jennifer’s performance, with Entertainment Weekly writing that she could “scream with soul”! Wanting to continue the success of the film, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer came to the big screens just a year later.
Even though it wasn’t nearly as good as the first movie and received really bad reviews, it didn’t stop Jen from moving forward. After starring in Can’t Hardly Wait and The Audrey Hepburn Story, Hewitt was called the "most popular actress on television". As a result of this glorious title, Nokia chose Jennifer as their spokesperson. She seemed to be at the peak of her career… but then something went wrong.
From Success to Box-Office Bombs
A string of failures followed after 2000 and it seemed that Jennifer just couldn’t shake them off. Heartbreakers, The Tuxedo, Garfield… All the movies Hewitt starred in during that period received negative reviews for a poor script and mediocre acting. As if all this wasn’t enough, the actress also met a stalker on her way!
In 2002, a woman named Diana Napolis, who was a conspiracy theorist, verbally confronted the actress while she was entering the Grammy Awards show and later emailed her death threats. Apart from Hewitt, Napolis also spoke against Steven Spielberg, accusing him and Hewitt of satanic conspiracy and manipulation of viewers.
Napolis was soon apprehended and later she pleaded guilty in court. She received five years’ probation in addition to counseling and was banned from contacting Spielberg, Hewitt, and their families in any way. Gee, that WAS a difficult period for Hewitt!
It was probably a good decision for Jennifer at that unfortunate time to go back to her roots and take on small-screen roles again. After all, she liked being on TV!
She once shared: “Television, for me, is great because I love to act, every day. I love to learn, and I love to be able to just do what I love. It's when I'm at my best. So, I love TV for that reason because it's every day.”
The actress returned to television with a series Ghost Whisperer that lasted for five seasons before it got canceled. Meanwhile, Hewitt also maintained her career as a singer for a while by releasing a few singles. One of them, titled “BareNaked”, was even featured in two episodes of Ghost Whisperer.
But now, Jennifer remains mostly inactive in the music and film industry. The last movie she starred in was released in 2012 and it wasn’t good… again. What happened to this talented actress? Did all her failures happen because she couldn’t choose decent roles to play? Or is there another reason why we don’t see her anymore?
Falling-Out with Hollywood
Jennifer made a lot of failed attempts to get back on track, but nothing worked. In 2016, she was even called the worst-reviewed actress in Hollywood based on her Metacritic score. It must be very hard to receive this kind of title, especially when the previous one was “the most popular TV actress.”
Rotten Tomatoes isn’t kind to the actress either. Her latest film, Jewtopia, was called an offense to everyone, “including people who like to laugh at something because it's funny.” What’s more – and this fact is going to surprise you – Jen has NEVER starred in a movie that was certified “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes!
Her average rating on the review aggregator is less than 19 percent! Even I Know What You Did Last Summer, the movie that was so successful among the viewers, was deemed rotten by the critics! Her failure to choose good roles in good movies led to two Razzie Award nominations for her performances in The Tuxedo and Garfield.
Another reason why Hollywood won’t cast Hewitt anymore is that, according to the directors she worked with, she’s kind of a diva. When the actress was on The Client List, she got pregnant. But her pregnancy wasn’t a problem at all because her character on the show was expecting a baby, too. The problem was Jennifer wanting Brian Hallisay, her co-star, real-life husband, and baby’s daddy, to be the father of her child on the show.
Producers had another plan in mind and wanted another character to be the father. Hewitt refused to give in and this disagreement became the main reason for the show’s cancellation after the second season. What else made movie makers refuse to work with her? It’s something you probably won't expect…It turns out that Love Hewitt has a very long list of phobias and she’s pretty paranoid about many things! As mentioned on Zimbio, the actress once confessed:
“The trouble is that many of the Hollywood meetings I have to attend take place at the top of tall buildings – and I simply cannot set foot in a lift if there are too many people in it.”
And even Jennifer herself understands that she drives others crazy with her phobias, but can’t help it. “I am a terrible hypochondriac,” she once said. “I have every illness known to man, and I am pretty sure I have had the bird flu four of five times.”
Being Compared to Anne Hathaway
We wonder how she feels these days, considering the current situation in the world… Is she hiding in a bunker or something? As if all these things weren’t enough to undermine Hewitt’s career, she also fell out of favor with her fans. It all started in 2008 when a paparazzi posted an unflattering photo of the actress wearing a bikini.
We have to give her credit for responding to it by posting in her blog: “Like all women out there should, I love my body […] To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini – put it on and stay strong.”
This statement was applauded by everyone, especially Jen’s female fans and it seemed that people fell in love with her more than ever… until ten weeks later, when the actress dropped 18 pounds and showed off her new body in a magazine photoshoot. So, a natural question appeared: if she loved her body, why did she decide to change it so quickly?
This incident made a lot of people think that Jennifer is a lot like Anne Hathaway. In words, she’s all about girl power, but her actions speak differently. But despite all this backlash the actress faces from both viewers and critics, we have to admit that Hewitt handles her failures very well.
She once stated: “Sometimes I feel like the best role models and the people you should look up to most are the people who make mistakes because they show you how to overcome them and walk through that mistake with integrity and grace.”
Wow, that’s wise! So is she ever going to show us how she overcame her mistakes and learned from them by performing in a critically-acclaimed role?
Seeing the Silver Lining
Anyway, Jennifer’s life isn’t that bad, after all! Her net worth is 18 million dollars and she recently wrote a book on dating titled The Day I Shot Cupid. Besides, she’s happily married and has two children.
It seems that she enjoys her new life as a wife and mother. She’s constantly posting pics of her kids, but, as we already know, she’s very superstitious, so she only posts photos that show their backs or hands. And we can’t blame her for wanting a little bit of privacy. Being famous from an early age isn’t easy, after all.
Besides, it seems that Jennifer might be on her way to break the spell of bad reviews. She’s featured in the second season of the Fox drama series 9-1-1 and this season has a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes! So who knows – maybe in a few years, we’ll be writing an article about Jennifer Love Hewitt’s glorious comeback to success!