10 Greatest Celebrity Comebacks of All Time (PHOTOS)

Ericka Sóuter | May 21, 2014 Celebrities
10 Greatest Celebrity Comebacks of All Time (PHOTOS)

drew barrymoreThere are three things you can be sure of when it comes to your favorite stars: they always have a huge entourage in tow, no one ever tells them no, and they are more likely to have a major meltdown than to ever pick up an Oscar, Emmy, or Grammy.

The latter used to be a rare, jaw-dropping event. Not so anymore. Stars head to rehab after being outed with a sex or drug addiction, or caught during a homophobic rant. It used to be that these headline-grabbing embarrassments meant the end of their career. But some particularly savvy stars have been able to rebound back onto the A-list. Check out the 10 greatest celeb comebacks of all time.



Image via Getty

  • Drew Barrymore


    Image via Getty

    Born into the famous Barrymore family, she was a child star at a young age. The world fell in love with her after she was cast in godfather Steven Spielberg's alien flick ET. But soon, Barrymore became more famous for her problems than her acting. She was an alcoholic by age 9 and using cocaine by 12. However, she made a turnaround in the '90s, starring in hit romantic comedies and later starting the production company Flower Films.

  • Neil Patrick Harris


    Image via Getty

    While he didn't go off the rails like some of his peers, NPH faded into obscurity after Doogie Howser. He came back with a vengeance, playing a fictional version of himself in the Harold & Kumar films and then starring in nine seasons of the hit television series How I Met Your Mother. NPH performs regularly on Broadway and has been the recurring host of the Tony Awards. 

  • Nicole Richie


    Image via Getty

    There is only one way to describe Nicole Richie circa 2003: Hot mess! On the reality series The Simple Life, she was Paris Hilton's sidekick and both proved to be skanky, spoiled socialites. She even faced a DUI charge but struck a deal that got her only 82 minutes behind bars. Now, however, she's a respected fashion mogul and married mom-of-two.

  • Robert Downey, Jr.


    Image via Getty

    He started acting by age 5 and was a member of the beloved '80s Brat Pack, starring in hits like Weird Science and Less Than Zero. But with a severe, long-time drug problem, everyone counted him out and he went to rehab. Even after landing a guest spot on Ally McBeal in 2000, he was fired after being arrested two more times. Since then, he has successfully kicked his habit and kicked butt at the box office as Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes.

  • Alec Baldwin


    Image via Alec Baldwin

    A total heartthrob at the start of his career, things seemed to go downhill after a nasty voicemail message to his daughter was exposed. Hearing him refer to her as a "rude pig" was our first introduction to his now legendary temper. Landing roles in the Oscar-nominated film The Departed and sitcom 30 Rock turned things around for Baldwin. He's still very much a hot head (he was kicked off a flight for arguing with the stewardess and constantly fights with paparazzi), but fans don't seem to mind.

  • Britney Spears


    Image via Getty

    Her epic meltdown began in 2007 when she shaved her head. That was followed by dates with a sketchy paparazzo, custody battles over her boys, and hospitalizations. Needless to say, fans feared the worst for Britney. They were right. She was a disaster. Fortunately, the Pop Princess eventually began to bounce back, creating critically adored albums again. Today, she seems more happy and stable than ever.

  • Mickey Rourke


    Image via David Shankbone/Flickr

    It's hard to believe that Rourke was once one of the sexiest men in Hollywood, famous for sensual films like Nine 1/2 Weeks and Wild Orchid. However, he took a break from the movie biz to be a professional boxer. Unfortunately, he took a lot of hits to the face that caused damage and underwent surgeries to repair it. Still, he never quite looked the same. The 2008 movie The Wrestler brought his career back from the dead, earning him an Academy Award nomination. Since, he's gone on to star in several other films, including Iron Man 2.

  • Martha Stewart


    Image via David Shankbone/Flickr

    The domestic queen fell from grace when she was convicted for insider trading in 2004. But imprisonment didn't ruin her empire. In fact, her new prison cred made her more popular than ever. Since then, she's launched a magazine and a bazillion product lines, had a New York Times bestseller, and starred in her own TV show.

  • Charlie Sheen


    Image via Getty

    When he was rambling on about "tiger blood" and calling himself a "warlock" in 2011, everyone thought that was the end to his superstar status. Once the highest paid actor on TV, he had been reduced to a national joke, thanks to his drug-fueled rants. He showed us. Sheen may have been fired from Two and a Half Men, but after a stint in rehab, he landed the new FX show Anger Management.

  • Vanessa Williams


    Image via Getty

    At 20, she became the first African American to be crowned Miss America in 1983. However, she was stripped of the title after nude photos of her appeared in Playboy. Since that time, she has reinvented herself several times -- first as a singer (she earned three Grammy nominations) and then as a stage, screen, and TV actress.

celebs addiction celebrity gossip

More Slideshows