1. Nadya Suleman a.k.a Octomom
Six children sounds like a lot of kids for most mothers, but for single mom Nadya Suleman it wasn’t nearly enough. Using In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) she managed to more than double her family in one pregnancy. When the media found out about her birthing eight babies on January 26, 2009 the world came to know her as “Octomom.”
Octomom managed to baffle doctors as much as she attracted support and disdain from the public at large. Her life became exceedingly difficult when she was evicted by her landlord, then was forced to go on welfare because she couldn’t support her extremely large family alone.
2. Where she is now:
Octomom attempted to capitalize on her newfound fame only to land herself in hot water. She tried everything from reality TV, film (not the wholesome kind), and even tried her hand as a musician. All efforts failed. It wasn’t until she turned away from the cameras that she finished her degree and became an assistant family therapist.
Her octuplets, who will be 10-years-old as of January 2019, are doing well and prospering in school. She doesn’t like the “Octomom” name anymore, and later admitted that her actions were, “foolish, immature and selfish.” Against all odds though, she’s raising her kids in her home in California and can be followed on Instagram at Soloman Family (@natliesuleman).
3. Tonya Harding
Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were skating on the same ice on January 6, 1994, as they prepared for the Figure Skating National Championships and a chance to compete in the Olympics. When her rival and future teammate, Nancy Kerrigan, stepped off the ice, Tonya Harding’s bodyguard attacked Kerrigan’s right knee with a metal stick (remember, “Why me?!”).
With her main competition sidelined from her injury, the next day Harding won the National Championship. Harding has forever proclaimed that she had no involvement in the attack, but she was only allowed to skate for the US team in the Olympics because she threatened the Olympic Committee with a $25 million lawsuit.
4. Where she is now:
Kerrigan competed in the games and took Silver, while Harding made an embarrassing performance and finished eighth. Five months later, she was stripped of her National Championship and barred from skating competitively again. Since then, you’ve probably seen her on “Dancing with the Stars,” or even as a boxer who finished with a 2-4 record (not counting her TKO of Paula Jones on Celebrity Boxing, but who’s counting?)
As of 2018, Harding lives in Battle Ground, Washington, which is just a short car ride from her native Portland, Oregon. She changed her name to Tonya Price after marrying husband Joe, with whom she had a child. She’s 47 years old now, and still skates occasionally.
5. Bernard “Bernie” Madoff
Octomom and Tonya Harding attract both haters and fanfare, but the once NASDAQ chairman Bernie “The Ponz” Madoff only has haters (except maybe a few fans in prison). Madoff was the last person anyone expected to steal (or just make up) almost $65 billion in clients’ money, but a rigorous investigation revealed just that.
Of course, Madoff’s crimes weren’t revealed until he came clean. As the truth unfolded, Madoff’s life unraveled. On June 29, 2009, Madoff was found guilty of his crimes and started a 150-year prison sentence. Fifteen of his family members and closest associates were also given prison sentences.
6. Where he is now:
Madoff went to prison quietly while his family fell apart. He’s still in contact with his wife, but she wants nothing to do with him. That probably has to do with her newfound modest way of living in Old Greenwich, Connecticut (far from their former penthouse on E 64th St), and the fact that one of their sons committed suicide because of his father.
Madoff recently celebrated his 80th birthday during the 10th year of his sentence and had a “modest” celebration in a Federal Correctional Institution in North Carolina as Prisoner 61727-054. Payouts to victims of his crimes continue to this day and have totaled over $12 billion to date.
7. Kerri Strug
On July 23, 1996 (coincidentally, Monica Lewinsky’s 23rd birthday) American gymnast Kerri Strug stepped up to the vault and needed a decent score to prevent the Russian team from stealing victory. Though her ankle was severely injured on her previous vault, she gritted her teeth and made one of the most iconic landings in Olympic history.
Despite tearing two ligaments in her ankle, she stuck the landing. The “Magnificent Seven” American gymnastics team took home gold. It was an inspiring moment that led to her becoming a national hero. As a result, she landed (pun intended) the front of a Wheaties box, and a stint as host on “Saturday Night Live.”
8. Where she is now:
Strug got on with her life after the Olympics and earned a master’s degree in social psychology. After a brief stint as an elementary school teacher, she decided her work with children could be better accomplished in Washington DC, and she became a staffer for the Bush Administration.
She married a lawyer named Robert Fischer in 2009, and gave birth to their two children in 2012 and 2014. She now works at Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. “It was important for me to prove to myself and to others that I can be successful in other arenas as well,” she told Business Insider.
9. Elian Gonzalez
The five-year-old Cuban refugee that we couldn’t get enough of in 1999 was lucky to be alive — let alone the center of an international incident. On Thanksgiving Day of that year, Elian was found off the coast of Fort Lauderdale clinging to an inner tube after the boat he was on capsized and killed the 11 others on board, including his mother.
Over the course of the next few months, everyone from the Vice President and the Attorney General on down was weighing in on whether Elian Gonzalez should remain with his surviving family in Florida, or be returned to his father back in Cuba.
10. Where he is now:
The state of Florida and the Federal Government fought about his custody in the courts until April 22, 2000 when federal agents raided Elian’s family’s home and took him away. He was reunited with his father and the pair returned to Cuba later that year.
Since then, Elian has embraced his Cuban roots and became a member of the Young Communists Union. He works in Cuba as an engineer, and if you’ve been following the news, you’d probably know that in December he marked his 25th birthday by creating a Twitter account. His first tweet praised the President of Cuba.
11. O. J. Simpson
O. J. Simpson has been in and out of the limelight for so long it’s hard to keep up with him. The 1968 Heisman Trophy winner turned NFL star running back shocked the world when he was accused of killing his ex-wife and mother of his children, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her supposed lover Ron Goldman.
The ensuing trial was dubbed “the trial of the century,” and became America’s first reality TV show. Using ingenious courtroom tactics, and against all odds, his all-star defense team got him acquitted. But the charismatic showman would only escape prison for a short time.
12. Where he is now:
Simpson had to auction off most of his valuables to pay restitution to the Goldman family. On September 13, 2007 he committed armed robbery to get some of his sports memorabilia back. The move got him busted — and this time, prosecutors successfully sent him prison.
The 33-year prison sentence he received didn’t last. After nine years he was paroled on October 1, 2017. Now, the 71-year-old man is living the good life, or as good as he can expect. He lives in a Las Vegas mansion and drives a Bentley, all on loan from one of his best friends.
13. Monica Lewinsky
Monica Lewinksy has been has been chewed up, spit out…and somehow came out on top. Of course, her odyssey in the public spotlight began over 20 years ago when she was a young intern working for then President Bill Clinton.
The two engaged in what Clinton called an “inappropriate relationship” that landed both of them in hot water. At the young age of 25, Lewinsky was summoned to a grand jury in 1998 and had to give open testimony regarding the details of the affair. Even though he lied initially, Clinton escaped perjury charges and Lewinsky was largely shamed for her actions.
14. Where she is now:
Since she left the White House, Lewinsky has been in and out of the public eye, as she seemed to be unable to shake it. She left the country and got her master’s degree in psychology in 2014, then returned to the states where she lives today.
In October 2017, about a month after the first #MeToo began appearing on Twitter, Lewinsky followed suit and posted the hashtag. In light of how similar her case was to cases that emerged since #MeToo started, public perception around Lewinsky has changed a lot. She is now 45 years old and tours the nation giving candid, motivational speeches about her experiences.
15. Mike Tyson
It’s hard to say that Mike Tyson actually left the spotlight, but he’s been in and out so much it’s difficult to keep tabs on him. In June 1988 it took Tyson 91 seconds to become the Boxing Heavyweight Champion of the World, and successfully defended his title eight times.
Then things went bad for Tyson, as he lost his title to a 42-1 underdog in Buster Douglas, then was convicted of rape in 1992 and he spent three years in prison. In 1995 he successfully regained one of his championship belts, but lost it shortly after to Evander Holyfield. The rematch saw Tyson bite Holyfield’s ears off (really), and Tyson retired from boxing in 2006.
16. Where he is now:
Despite having earned some $300 million over his career Tyson declared bankruptcy in 2003. He got in trouble with the law again in 2007, but turned his life around when he teamed up with Director Spike Lee in 2012 to create his one man show, “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth.”
In December 2018, Tyson broke ground on his latest venture: a cannabis themed resort in California City, California. Closely, the 51 year old grows copious amounts of the devil’s lettuce on his 412-acre “Tyson Ranch” and will be hosting a music festival there in February of 2019. Oddly enough, the former hard-punching pugilist entitled the festival “Kind.”
17. Sarah Palin
In August 2008 the campaign for President of the United States was in full swing, as Democrat hopeful Barack Obama thundered his way toward election. His opponent, the Republican Senator John McCain felt he had to do something to stop Obama’s momentum, so he picked as his running-mate: a little known Governor from Alaska named Sarah Palin.
Palin gave the McCain campaign the energy boost it needed, then she promptly tanked it with some uninformed and ill-advised comments during an interview with NBCs Katie Couric. McCain probably would’ve lost anyway, but Palin conveniently became the scapegoat for Republicans, and the rest is history.
18. Where she is now:
Palin wrote a memoir called “Going Rogue,” which highlighted her going her own way during the McCain campaign. She sold 300,000 on the first day, and wrote another book the following year. She was an outspoken critic of President Obama and his policies, and popped into the public eye every now and again with some eye-catching comments.
As of September 2018 Palin and her longtime husband, Todd, were still living in the same town of Wasilla, Alaska. In an article published by The Hill, Palin said now that her kids were all adults it might be time for them to leave Alaska for good.
19. Lance Armstrong
In 1996 a young cyclist named Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to other vital parts of his body. He made an astonishing recovery, then went on to win seven Tour de France victories as part of the American Postal team from 1998-2005.
His achievement was one of the greatest in the history of sports, accompanied by perhaps the best comeback story. However, that all unraveled in 2012, when the US Anti-Doping Agency revealed that Armstrong not only used performance enhancing drugs, but also ran, “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program [cycling] has ever seen.”
20. Where he is now:
Lance Armstrong was stripped of all his cycling achievements and all of his endorsements, which ad netted him close to $20 million a year. In a subsequent interview, he admitted to most of the allegations, and chose not to appeal the decision to ban him for life from cycling.
His wife, musician Sheryl Crow, left him shortly after, and in a December 2018 interview, he said the years following the scandal were “terrible.” It wasn’t all bad though: He had two kids with his fiance, Anna Hansen. He operates his own investment company, which made a fortune off an early investment into ride sharing company Uber.
On May 6, 1997 the music world was rocked (for better or worse?) when the child pop group Hanson released their debut album “Middle of Nowhere.” Despite the fact that the three brothers, Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson, were aged 16, 14, and 11 respectively, they managed to sell 10 million records.
Their hit song still has us wondering how it topped the charts (okay, so there’s still plenty of Hanson fans out there) with the extremely articulate song “MMMBop.” With great success touring and releasing other albums in the ensuing years, it looked like Hanson was here to stay.
22. Where they are now:
Hanson’s popularity mostly faded by the turn of the century, but not because their talent ran dry, but because their record label folded. They toured on their own funds in the early 2000s and then released a record, called Underneath, under their own label in 2004.
Today you might find it hard to imagine the young trio drinking beer, but that’s exactly what they do. Aside from still touring (after selling 16 million albums), in 2014 Hanson founded their own beer-themed music festival in Normal, Illinois. They also opened a brewery, and their most famous beer is hilariously named, “MMMHops.”
23. Enron Scandal: Former CEO Jeffrey Skilling
In October 2001 it was revealed that a company that served as the model for what corporations were going to be was declaring bankruptcy, despite being valued at over $63 billion. That was thanks to an extremely complex web of lies and fraud conducted by Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling.
There were many other executives at Enron that received prison sentences for their crimes, but Skilling was the architect of the fraud, and thus received the lion-share of the blame. Quite skillfully, he maneuvered Enron into streaming services and other future technologies. The only problem was prospective technology doesn’t bring in any money until it takes off.
24. Where he is now:
Founder of the company, Kenneth Lay, didn’t even survive his trial. Skilling received a 24-year prison sentence plus a $45 million fine. Lay escaped his prison sentence, but Skilling started his on October 23, 2006 and spent the next few years fighting the verdict.
Skilling did eventually have some success in reducing his sentence and was released to a halfway house in August 2018. In February 2019, he will be released on probation, and you’ll likely hear a lot about it in the news when it happens. What’s interesting is that Skilling didn’t do anything that many other CEOs didn’t do to cause the 2008 Great Recession — but they never did any time. Talk about bad luck.
25. Jessica McClure a.k.a. “Baby Jessica”
Jessica McClure doesn’t remember any of her fame, but anyone who was alive in October 1987 will remember the girl the media dubbed “Baby Jessica” as perhaps the most famous person in the world. On October 14, the 18-month old baby fell 22 feet down a well in Midland, Texas — and spent the next 56 hours at the bottom.
The rescue turned into a giant media circus, and the ’round-the-clock media coverage helped give birth to the 24-hour news cycle. The photograph above taken by Scott Shaw captures the moment when rescuers pulled her out. It won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize.
26. Where she is now:
McClure had to have 15 surgeries after the event, including having a toe removed, but she did make a full recovery. Donations flooded in during the incident, which was built into a trust fund for when she became an adult. She was able to purchase her first home with these funds.
McClure had two children in 2007 and 2009, after marrying her husband in 2006. McClure, who is now 31 years old, still lives in Midland just two miles from the well, and works as an assistant to a special education teacher at an elementary school in the same town.
27. Patty Hearst
On April 15, 1974 something odd happened in San Francisco. A woman, who was kidnapped just two months prior from her home in Berkeley, California, was spotted on a bank surveillance camera during a robbery that featured her brandishing a powerful rifle. By then, she had been missing for over two months.
Her name was Patty Hearst, and she was the granddaughter of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. She was kidnapped by a terrorist group called the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLO). Her case was very bizarre and raised powerful questions about the human condition, as she ended up joining the group that kidnapped her in first place.
28. Where she is now:
The SLO largely died out after a shootout with police ended with several of them being killed. Hearst was then on the run until September 18, 1975 when she was arrested in San Francisco. Though she was convicted for her crimes, she made a very strong case that she had been brainwashed after intense physical and mental abuse.
Her 35-year prison sentence was commuted by President Carter in 1979, and later she received a full pardon from President Clinton in 2001. She’ll be 65 years old on February 20, 2019, and had two kids with her former bodyguard turned husband. Much like Monica Lewinsky, her case has come up in recent years as it rasises questions about power and manipulation.
29. Marcia Clark
Marcia Clark was certainly a capable prosecutor for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office in January 1995, but the Deputy District Attorney was decidedly outmatched when she took on the “Dream Team” in the O. J. Simpson murder trial, dubbed “the trial of the century.”
Despite having a mountain of evidence that should’ve convinced any jury that O. J. Simpson was guilty of the crimes, Clark and her team failed to convict the slippery former running back. Race certainly played a part in the outcome of the case, but Clark was largely blamed for what happened. She quit shortly after the trial.
30. Where she is now:
Twelve years after the trial’s boat-rocking end, O. J. Simpson was arrested in Las Vegas. In an odd twist of fate, Clark covered his arrest and the subsequent press conference as the legal correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight,” and “The Insider.”
Determined to not have the trial be her legacy, Clark took to writing, and over the past 20 years she has produced seven crime fiction novels, one of which was Amazon’s #1 bestseller for a period. Now, at age 65, she stars in Marcia Clark Investigates the First 48, and created her own television series, The Fix, which premiered on ABC in early 2019.