Everyone loves a comeback story, especially when it comes to celebrities. With riches and fame comes the less desirable consequences of stardom. Having to live a life that is constantly in the public eye can be exhausting for even the most stable celebrity. As a result, many celebrities have gone in a downhill spiral losing jobs, money, and respect. Countless stars have clawed their way to the top, only to have it all come crashing down because of drugs, alcohol, or just plain old bad career choices. Either way, watching a celebrity rise up from the ashes can be both inspiring and entertaining. Below is a list of the top ten celebrity comebacks. Here’s to hoping they’ll keep up with their happy ending.
10. Vanessa Williams
At the young age of 20, Vanessa Williams was practically on top of the world. In 1983, she became the first African American woman to be crowned Miss America but her success didn’t last long. Soon after Williams won the coveted Miss America crown, nude photos of her surfaced in Penthouse Magazine. She was promptly stripped of her crown and forced to abdicate. After Williams lost her title she remained silent for some time. Then in the late 80’s, she released an album that garnered her three grammy nominations. If that isn’t enough, the star continued her comeback by appearing on Broadway and in films such as Eraser. She has also made her way onto television, appearing in shows like, Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives.
9. Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris’ career has made the kind of comeback that we don’t get to hear about very often. Harris started his career as a child actor, appearing in Doogie Howser, M.D as the title character. After the show’s five year run, Harris saw the downfall of his celebrity status. He appeared in a few minor roles but nothing big came out of it. Then in 2004, Harris appeared in Harold and Kumar go to White Castle playing himself as a character. The role seemingly put his career back on track and paved the way for his role as Barney Stinson on the wildly popular show, How I Met Your Mother. Harris hasn’t just conquered television, he’s also appeared in big budget films such as, The Smurfs and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.
8. Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin has had his fair share of problems with the media. Most would blame his seemingly uncontrollable temper. In the past, he has been involved in numerous physical and verbal altercations on journalists and then there was the nasty voicemail he left for his daughter. This incident was probably the most damning to his reputation. In the voicemail, he went on a rant to his estranged daughter, calling her a “rude, thoughtless little pig.” However, this didn’t keep Baldwin out of the spotlight for long. In both 2008 and 2009, Baldwin won Emmy Awards for Best Actor for his work in 30 Rock. He’s also appeared in films such as The Departed and To Rome With Love. It seems like nothing will keep this star down for too long.
7. Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart saw the possible crumbling of her empire in 2004 when she was convicted of obstruction of an agency proceeding, conspiracy and making false statements to federal investigators. She was sentenced to five months in a federal correctional facility and a two year period of supervised release. Many thought that her multibillion dollar empire would fall as a result of her imprisonment but apparently, Stewart doesn’t give up that easily. In 2012, she told Lifestyle Entrepreneur that she had been planning her comeback ever since her conviction in 2004. Since then, Stewart’s empire has remained extremely profitable. Since her release from prison she has gained her own magazine, Martha Stewart Living, she is a New York Times best selling author for her book, ‘The Martha Rules’ and she has a starring role on daytime Television. Stewart is proof that not all comebacks are a result of a stroke of good luck.
6. Nicole Richie
Nicole Richie first worked her way into the spotlight as Paris Hilton’s sidekick on the popular show, The Simple Life. After her rise into stardom, Richie went in a downward spiral. She gained negative attention for her frequent partying and was even charged with a DUI and sentenced to four days in prison (she only ended up doing 82 minutes of her four day sentence). Since then, Richie has moved passed her wild party girl days and has become a successful woman. She has written a semi-autobiographical novel entitled, ‘The Truth About Diamonds,’ she has her own fashion line, she has starred in a reality television show about fashion for NBC, and she is the mother of two children and the wife to Joel Madden.
Drew Barrymore gained celebrity status in 1982 for her role in ET: The Extra Terrestrial. Being exposed to the limelight at such a young age didn’t seem to bode well for Barrymore. At just thirteen, she was dealing with substance abuse and by the age of fifteen she had been in rehab for drugs and returned for a suicide attempt. Barrymore kept up her bad girl image for many years. She posed nude for Playboy and she flashed her breasts on live TV. Barrymore starred in a movie called Boys on the Side and her career appeared to be back on track. Since then, Barrymore has risen back up to A-list status. She has been in highly successful movies such as The Wedding Singer, Never Been Kissed, 50 First Dates and He’s Just Not That Into You. She is currently married to art consultant, Will Kopelman. The couple is expecting their second child.
4. Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. made his big-screen debut at the age of five when he appeared in films such as, Less Than Zero and Weird Science. After his brief stardom, Downey became more popular for his drug problems than his acting. In the 90’s, his battle with drugs reached a high point when he went to a California Rehab facility. In 2000, Downey attempted to start his comeback by appearing in the popular show, Ally McBeal but was fired after two arrests. After the arrests, Downey finally got clean. He began to appear in high-grossing movies such as, Sherlock Holmes, Iron Man, and The Avengers. Today, Downey is a respected and highly paid actor. He has even landed a spot at the top of Forbe’s’ list of “Hollywood’s Highest Paid Actors.”
3. Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen has long been known for his abuse of alcohol and drugs. His abuse came to a high point when he was fired from Two and a Half Men for some very erratic behavior. In 2011, nobody could turn on their TV without seeing interview after interview of Charlie Sheen going on rants about, “tiger blood, winning and being a warlock.” After a sea of lawsuits, claims of spousal abuse, overdoses and arrests, in 2012, Sheen finally admitted that he might not have been in his right mind after all. Apparently, another stint in rehab had helped Sheen gain a better perspective of the past year. Since then, Charlie Sheen has returned to T.V with his show Anger Management. Although, he isn’t making the big bucks that he made on Two and a Half Men, it’s good to see Sheen clean. Let’s hope he stays that way.
2. Lindsay Lohan
Although Lindsay Lohan’s comeback is relatively new, let’s be positive and say that she is on her way back to the top. Lohan started her career strong, appearing in hits such as The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, and Mean Girls. After that, Lohan went in a downward spiral filled with drug abuse, DUI’s, stints in rehab, alcohol abuse, partying, arrests and jail time. For some time, it seemed like Lohan would never make it back from her fall from stardom. Fortunately, things seem to be starting to look up for the star. Between May and July 2013, Lohan spent thirty days in rehab and supposedly cleaned up her act once and for all. Since then the actress has starred in films such as The Canyons, in which she received mostly positive reviews. She has also filled in for Chelsea Handler on her show Chelsea Lately and she has her own reality TV show that premiered on March 6, 2014 on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Although her star power is nowhere near where it used to be, it seems as if Lohan is slowly making her way back to the top.
1. Britney Spears
Britney Spears has certainly had her fair share of problems in the media but she has arguably come out stronger than ever. Spears got her start on The Mickey Mouse Club and quickly rose to fame with her album, “Baby One More Time.” She was deemed the “Princess of Pop” and was able to stay on top of the music world with her next two albums. Unfortunately, Spears went in a downward spiral that consisted of custody battles, hospitalization, a shaved head and assault. Then, with the release of her album, “Circus” Spears regained her title as the “Princess of Pop.” All her past erratic behavior seemed to be forgiven by the public and Spears was able to work her way back into the music business, possibly stronger than ever.