Show business history is filled with people who had it all and then ended up with nothing. There's nothing faster than a falling star, and the higher you got, the farther you have to fall.
In the early 2000s, nothing was higher than American Idol. Season 1 was an innovative smash hit that guaranteed future seasons. Even back then no one could have predicted that it would launch so many stars and get the following that it ultimately did.
If you think back to that very first season you might remember that the format was slightly different. It still had the three judges, but it also had two hosts. Of course the perpetually bubbly Ryan Seacrest and a quirkier Brian Dunkleman.
After Season 1 Dunkleman made the decision to leave the show, a move he regrets.
On The Howard Stern Show Dunkleman explained that he left to make a career for himself in stand-up comedy, but admitted in 2008 that it was a mistake.
On screen work has come slowly for Dunkleman. He has lent his voice to several small productions and appeared in occasional episodes of sparsely-watched TV shows like Las Vegas and Ghost Whisperer.
To top it off, he's going through a bitter divorce from his estranged wife Kalea Dunkleman, that includes a contentious custody battle over their five-year-old son, Jackson. This has led to a big career change for the man who was once one of the faces of America's most watched show.
TMZ reported that Dunkleman now earns his keep as an Uber driver. While the news is surprising, there's been a large outpouring of support. Many people considered the article "job shaming" and spoke up in defence of Dunkleman.
So? Most of TMZ staff stalks celebs for profit— redonkalous (@redonkalous_) January 4, 2019
The former host himself took to Twitter to defend his choice.
He added that he makes $1,000 a week on a good week, but roughly $800 a week. That's pretty good money even if it's not at Ryan Seacrest levels.
Comedian Orny Adams put everything into perspective when he reached out personally to Dunkleman.
Listen I thought you died when I saw your face on TMZ! I'm relieved to find out you're just driving Uber. No shame in honest work. Let me take you to lunch one of these days... I will always have fond memories of us bonding at the Improv and on some studio lot.— Orny Adams (@Ornyadams) January 4, 2019
Dunkleman's apparent girlfriend, Andrea Whitney, posted a picture of him and his son with a colorful caption.
So many stars don't handle fading away very well and can turn to drugs or even crime. Dunkleman seems to be putting his family first and stopping at nothing to be with his son.