Jennifer Love Hewitt Once Looked Set For A-List Stardom – But Now She’s Faded From The Spotlight

Best known for her roles in Party of Five and the I Know What You Did Last Summer films, Jennifer Love Hewitt was hailed as Hollywood’s next big thing in the 1990s. However, the actress struggled to sustain her early success into the 21st century; in fact, she hasn’t appeared on the big screen since 2012. Here’s a look at why the star has seemingly disappeared from view.

Born in the Texan city of Waco in 1979, Hewitt began performing aged just three. Then, after relocating to LA to follow her showbiz dreams, the future actress booked over 20 TV commercials and became a regular on Disney Channel series Kids Incorporated. And Hewitt also went on to land roles in Shaky Ground, The Byrds of Paradise and McKenna – although none of these series would ultimately receive second seasons.

Hewitt’s big break arrived in 1995, however, when she was cast as Sarah Reeves Merrin in Fox family drama Party of Five. She then enjoyed four years on the Golden Globe-winning series and also appeared in its spin-off series, Time of Your Life. And by the time Hewitt left the show in 1999, she looked set to become a bona fide movie star.

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Indeed, Hewitt was already somewhat renowned as a scream queen, having starred in 1997 smash I Know What You Did Last Summer and its 1998 sequel. The star had previously kicked off her film career in 1992 indie Munchie before taking the lead in Little Miss Millions a year later. Box-office successes Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit and Can’t Hardly Wait also featured on her resume.

And after leaving Party of Five, Hewitt continued to shine through her portrayal of Audrey Hepburn in a 2000 TV movie. She also starred in several negatively recieved but commercially successful films such as Heartbreakers, The Tuxedo and Garfield. Then, in 2005 the actress returned to the small screen to play the leading role in CBS supernatural drama Ghost Whisperer.

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Hewitt even received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in Lifetime movie The Client List, which was later adapted into a series that she executive produced. But while her TV career flourished, her movie career floundered. 2008’s Delgo failed at the box office, while 2010’s Café bypassed theaters altogether. Furthermore, 2012’s Jewtopia was critically savaged – leading to it receiving a Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 10 percent.

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Hewitt’s sideline as a recording artist had also fizzled out by this point. The star had been a Japanese sensation as a teen thanks to 1992 pop debut Love Songs. But her first two U.S. albums weren’t hits, and even if her 2002 fourth studio effort reached number 37 on the Billboard 200, it appears to have been her swansong.

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Then, in 2014 Hewitt was cast as Agent Kate Callahan in the long-running police procedural Criminal Minds. And while this role may have eventually returned the star to household-name status, she was ultimately forced to give up the part at the end of her first season when she fell pregnant. Hewitt gave birth to her second child, Atticus, in June 2015 – 18 months after having welcomed daughter Autumn into the world.

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The father of Hewitt’s two children is her former The Client List castmate Brian Hallisay. The pair got engaged in the summer of 2013 before walking down the aisle just a few months later. Hewitt’s previous boyfriends have included actors Ross McCall and Jamie Kennedy and LFO singer Rich Cronin.

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But although Hewitt returned to work soon after the birth of her first child, she’s been somewhat missing in action since the birth of her second. Indeed, she appears to have become something of a recluse in the four years since son Atticus was born. So what could have caused the once-prolific actress to shy away from the spotlight?

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Well, perhaps Hewitt has been burned by the scathing critical response to several of her films. Indeed, in 2016 she was labeled Hollywood’s worst-reviewed actress in a poll based on her Metacritic score. And she doesn’t fare any better on Rotten Tomatoes either; every single one of her 16 movies rated on the site has been declared “Rotten.”

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There are also rumors that Hewitt possesses diva tendencies, and this speculation may in turn have deterred casting directors. In 2013, for instance, she reportedly clashed with producers over the third season of The Client List. Hewitt had allegedly requested that her future husband and co-star Brian Hallisay play the father of her character’s child. The show’s producers apparently weren’t convinced, though, and after a lengthy stalemate the show was canceled altogether.

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Hewitt’s admission that she is a hypochondriac may also have made some producers think twice about working with her. The star once told The Times of India, “I am a terrible hypochondriac. I have every illness known to man. And I am pretty sure I have had the bird flu four or five times. I know I drive people mad with my phobias.”

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Meanwhile, in 2008 Hewitt was reportedly seen as hypocritical for her mixed messages on body image. The star was initially praised for her response to a less-than-flattering paparazzi shot; she said at the time, “To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini. Put it on and stay strong.” However, later that year, Hewitt also celebrated losing 18 pounds in just over two months by taking part in a magazine shoot.

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Stunts like that perhaps explain why Hewitt isn’t arguably deemed as the most likeable of actresses by female cinema-goers. Certainly, it appears that she has her fair share of critics; she once announced that she was quitting Twitter due to the overwhelmingly negative responses she had to deal with on the social media platform. And given that propensity for divisiveness, Hollywood may well have seen casting Hewitt as a major risk.

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What’s more, Hewitt’s spell on Criminal Minds proved to be so unpopular that some viewers even petitioned for her firing. And while Hewitt’s character, FBI agent Kate Callahan, was eventually written out of the show, it was only as a result of the star’s real-life pregnancy.

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And perhaps Hewitt is content to leave the chaos of Hollywood behind. In 2015 she seemed to suggest that she would be taking some time out for herself, saying to American Baby, “I’ve been an actress for 25 years and have had to be hungry at times for my career. Because so many of us are busy or driven, we forget to take care of ourselves. I hope to continue to be a little kinder to myself after pregnancy.”

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And, of course, there’s the small matter of her raising her family. The star regularly posts photos of her normal life with husband Brian and kids Autumn and Atticus on Instagram. However, in an effort to retain her children’s privacy, she restricts pictures of Autumn and Atticus to backs of heads and silhouettes.

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Yet while Hewitt has largely stayed out of the spotlight since 2012, she did nevertheless find herself in the headlines in July 2017 thanks to her former co-star Scott Wolf. During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, the actor was asked which Party of Five cast member had hooked up with the most fans. Wolf then pointed to Hewitt’s head.

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Wolf later backtracked on his answer on Twitter, where he wrote, “The joke I made about @TheReal_Jlh on @BravoWWHL was absurd and obviously not true. She’s awesome, these are JOKES people. Sorry Love!” Even so, in keeping with her new-found low profile, Hewitt didn’t publicly respond to his comments.

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