Back With A Bang: 42 Amazing Celebrity Comebacks
Celebrities are always in the public eye and people are just waiting for them to fail. With paparazzi and social media keeping a close eye on them, they always have to be on their best behavior to not put their image or career in jeopardy. But celebrities are human and are bound to slip up sometimes. Unfortunately when they do, those mistakes make national headlines with mugshots or infamous videos going viral to boot.
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That extra scrutiny plus the craziness that comes with fame makes it easy for celebrities to get involved with drugs, party too hard or struggle with mental health. Those who spiral out of control usually go to rehab and put their career on pause while they get healthy again. Other celebrities just do really stupid things and end up spending time apologizing for their behavior in order to be taken seriously again. With the help of a good manager and publicist they can fix their image and save their career but it might take some time.
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Many celebrities have ruined their image completely and can never work again, but luckily these 42 stars were able to right their wrongs and make a major career comeback!
1. Britney Spears
Britney Spears is one of the most iconic pop singers of all time but had a very public meltdown from 2006 to 2008. Britney was dealing with a nasty and public custody battle with ex Kevin Federline, battling addiction and dealing with mental illness. Nobody knew how bad she was struggling until she shaved her own head in a salon after the stylist refused to do it for her. Days later she was photographed attacking a photographer's car with an umbrella and the photos went viral. She reached her breaking point in 2008 when she was placed on an involuntary 72 hour 5150 hold after refusing to give her children to Kevin. After she was released she was committed to changing her image and rebuilding her career. She released her chart-topping sixth album Circus in 2008 and her song “Piece of Me” won three VMAs, including Video of the Year. In 2012, she was chosen to be on The X Factor judging panel and a year later she released her self-titled album Britney Jean. The album led up to her successful Las Vegas residency, Britney: Piece of Me, which has since grossed more than $100 million to date. Talk about a comeback!
2. Matthew Perry
Matthew Perry is best known for his role as Chandler from Friends in 1994-2004. Sadly, while he was filming the show he was also struggling with a a prescription drug addiction. After a jet-ski accident in 1997, he developed an addiction to Vicodin and recalled a physician telling him, "Here, take this... I did and I felt better than I ever felt in my entire life. I had a big problem with pills and alcohol, and I couldn't stop." He completed a 28 day rehab program later that year and continued filming but was still struggling. He tried to hide his continuing addiction, but his ongoing weight fluctuations indicated otherwise. It finally came to a head while filming Serving Sara when he was rushed to the hospital for severe stomach pain. He then entered rehab for the second time in 2001. His rehab stints always gained media attention and after Friends ended, Matthew stopped landing major roles. Matthew ultimately won his battle with drug addiction and started speaking publicly about his struggles. In 2009 he appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show, giving her a Fall Out 3 video game which led to him being cast in the series Fallout: New Vegas. He has been a successful working actor and executive producer since. Matthew is now a celebrity spokesman for drug abuse and even opened up a sober living home in his name. He is truly an inspiration for anyone struggling with addiction.
3. Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. is one of the highest paid actors and touts possibly the most astonishing career comeback of all time. Always a promising talent, Robert appeared steadily in films through 1996— and while some of them flunks, he gained an Oscar nod in 1992 for the film Chaplin. But in 1996 things went south and his issues with drugs and alcohol landed him in jail. He was arrested that year after driving naked down Sunset Boulevard and for the next five years he was in and out of jail and rehab. Robert has an impressive rap sheet: he was arrested for street racing, drug possession, breaking parole, and having a loaded gun. After he was released for the final time he was determined to clean up his act and get back on the big screen. Robert sobered up in 2002 and in 2005 landed his first big role since being released from jail in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Proving that he was a bankable actor and a changed man, his biggest role to date came in 2008 when he was cast as Iron Man, a role he has reprised in multiple sequels.
4. Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton is known for her partying ways and infamous sex tape but even socialites aren't above the law. Paris's drama caught up to her in 2006 when she was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. After breaking probation in 2007 she was sentenced to 45 days in jail and the media was in a frenzy. Nobody could imagine the star in jail and photos of her crying in the back of the cop car were everywhere. Unsurprisingly she didn't complete the entire sentencing and was released early for good behavior. But the public was not easy on Paris for her reckless and selfish behavior behind the wheel. Paris admitted that she couldn't imagine what would have happened if she had killed or injured someone while she was driving intoxicated and did several post jail interviews to restore her image. Paris told Larry King, "Even though I hate it, I'm glad it happened in a way because this really changed my life forever, and I feel stronger than ever." Despite the slip, she was able to stay a successful socialite and began DJing. The career change was definitely surprising and people mocked her, but Paris was the last one laughing. In fact, she tours the world as one of the highest paid DJs out there and is happily engaged.
5. Justin Bieber
After reaching pop stardom as a mere teenager, Justin Bieber's road to adulthood included several detours of ridiculous behaviors. In 2013 everyone realized Justin was not a little kid anymore when he was photographed with blunts and sizzurp. The final straw came when in 2013 when a video surfaced of Justin urinating into a mop bucket in a New York restaurant, and screaming "F--- Bill Clinton!" while also spraying liquid on the president's photo. His image as a role model was tainted and so was his character. Justin later apologized to the former president publicly on twitter, and tweeted "@billcintonthanks for taking the time to talk Mr. President. Your words meant alot sic. #greatguy." The tweet didn't undo the damage and Justin continued to make headlines for the wrong reasons, especially with his DUI arrest in 2014. His downward spiral continued but his manager Scooter Braun, was resilient and determined to plan a major comeback. The team never gave up on Justin and they strategically had him on the Comedy Central Roast so the world could take out their frustration. The roast went perfectly as planned and he released his hit album, Purpose followed by a highly successful world tour. In 2017, his song "Despacito" became one of the biggest hits of all time. Justin was able to spin his comeback as a chance to rebrand himself as a "sexy and cool but misunderstood bad boy." And that is working out just fine.
6. Drew Barrymore
The lovable Drew Barrymore has an impressive resume. She rose to fame early at just 7-years-old with her breakout role as Gertie in ET. Unfortunately, she fell into Hollywood's dark side. Growing up way too fast, she developed a childhood drug and alcohol problem and was in rehab by the time she was 13-years-old. She went a second time before she turned 15 for a suicide attempt. In 1991, she released her autobiography Little Girl Lost, which gave perspective into her struggles as a child. The book was a heartbreaking success and Drew was able to get the second chance she deserved. After a cameo in Scream she reminded Hollywood and the world of her extraordinary talent and her career took off. She went on to star along side Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer and became a romantic comedy queen. Since 2017, she has starred in Netflix's Santa Clarita Diet and there are no signs that her career is going anywhere but up.
7. Raven Symone
Raven Symone had her own show in the early 2000s and everyone loved the comedic actress. When That's So Raven ended she appeared in a few movies but it wasn't until she joined The View that she was back in the limelight. But in 2014, she made negative headlines for making controversial comments on The View, like "I'm not African American, I'm American" and saying that she wouldn't hire people with black names like "Watermelonisha." After getting heat for her discriminatory remarks she apologized and attempted to clarify what she meant in several interviews. She left The View in 2017, but has since returned to Disney with a new show: Raven's Home.
8. Chris Brown
Chris Brown shocked and disgusted the world when it was revealed that he had beat up Rihanna in his car. The haunting photos of her bruised and swollen face should have been unforgivable. After spending time in and out of jail Chris started doing interviews to try and repair his image. He got agitated and sometimes violent in them and it seemed like his career was over. But after an emotional performance of Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" people saw it as an apologetic statement. He continued to release music and despite the brutal domestic assault his career came back to life. His arrest will always leave a scar on his image and he is often in the news for erratic behavior, but his music seems to rise above it all, often making the Billboard Hot 100 list.
Kesha made it big with major hits like Tik Tok, but her career came to a halt in 2013 when she entered rehab for bulimia. She recorded and wrote music while in rehab and was on a mission to free herself from her producer. In October 2014, Kesha sued producer Dr. Luke for sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence and emotional abuse. The lawsuit went on for two years but was dismissed in 2016. Kesha attempted to fight the case one more time but eventually felt the stress wasn't worth it and dropped the charges to focus on her music. Still in binding contract with Dr. Luke, she released her album Rainbow in 2017 which made the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 200 album list. The disgraced producer may have her contractually bound, but she is truly rising above it and on a successful comeback tour for her album.
10. Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder was a major star 1990s for her roles in movies like Edward Scissorhands, Reality Bites and Girl, Interrupted and it seemed like her career couldn't go anywhere but up. Unfortunately she was arrested for shoplifting at Saks Fifth Avenue in 2001, shocking the world in the process. She was ordered to psychiatric and drug counseling and she decided to take a break from Hollywood for several years to get herself figured out. When she returned she landed supporting roles in Star Trek and Black Swan, but it wasn't until her role as Joyce Byers in Netflix's Stranger Things, which garnered her an Emmy nomination, that the world truly knew Winona was back.
11. Martha Stewart
Nobody could believe it when Martha Stewart was convicted of felony charges of conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding, and making false statements to federal investigator in 2004. Despite having the best lawyers she was convicted and sentenced in July 2004 to serve a five-month term in a federal correctional facility. After doing her time Martha started doing interviews and launched her comeback. She returned back to day time television, and her talk show was nominated for six Day Time Emmy awards. She is stronger than ever and even had a cooking show with Snoop Dogg.
12. Leah Remini
Fans of The King of Queens, loved Leah Remini and she remained a major celebrity while it aired through 2007. Her career was relatively stagnant after the show's cancellation but she was still in the public eye promoting Scientology. She was very open about her beliefs and it was never an issue with her career until she decided to separate from the church publicly in 2013. She began criticizing the church but was slammed with hate and retaliation by it. Despite the scandal and what she called "intimidation tactics to end her career" she released a memoir in 2016 and started using the experience to make her comeback. She now has her own show on A&E called Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath that she won an Emmy for and even reunited with Kevin James on his show Kevin Can Wait.
13. Remy Ma
Remy Ma was just starting to move her way up as a rapper when she sang with Fat Joe in his hit song "Lean Back." She had a budding solo career after the song but shot at a woman in 2007 and was sent to prison for eight years. She served time and was obviously out of the music scene while she was locked up. Her management team got to work quickly once she was released from prison in 2014 and she was cast in For the Love of Hip Hop in 2015. Remy's comeback quickly took off and she started being taken seriously as a rapper again. In 2017 she released a diss track agains Nicki Minaj and it became a viral sensation. Later that year she even won best female rapper at the BET Awards.
14. Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson was unstoppable for decades until her infamous wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl happened. While performing with Justin Timberlake her left boob was exposed on live television and it became the years hottest new controversy. The incident was a full blown scandal that directly affected her music. Janet's singles and music videos were blacklisted from MTV, Infinity Broadcasting, and Clear Channel Communications. She attempted to release music with little success through 2010 then stepped away from the scene all together. But by 2015, the scandal was behind her and nobody cared about exposed nipples anymore. She finally released a new album entitled Unbreakable, and fans were ecstatic. She returned back to touring and is a bonafide legend.
15. Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin rose to fame for his roles in films like Beetlejuice and The Hunt For Red October. He was a successful actor and comedian... but then his temper began making public appearances. His rage was uncontrollable and videos of him physically and verbally assaulting journalists and even a flight attendant were posted online. His outbursts started tainting his appearance but Alec crossed the line in 2007 when an angry voicemail message to his daughter went public in which he called her a "rude, thoughtless little pig." Alec worked to rebuild his image using his signature charm and his continuing hilariousness on the award winning 30 Rock and even co-hosted the Oscars in 2010. His hilarious bits as Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live made everyone laugh so hard it seems as of now all has been forgiven. He is even going to host his own Friday-night talk show on MSNBC.
16. Rob Lowe
Rob Lowe became a teen heart throb in the 1980s after starring in films like The Outsiders but his dreamy image was trashed in 1988. A video tape was leaked of him having sex with a 16-year-old girl, then more footage was released of him and another man having sex with a model. His image was stained but he was able to make a successful comeback. Rob made fun of himself as the host on Saturday Night Live in 1990 and went on star in The West Wing and was a regular on Parks and Recreation. Rob says his sex tape scandal was the best thing to ever happen to him and attributed it to his sobriety. His next movie Super Troopers 2, will be released in 2018.
17. Michael Vick
Michael Vick was a successful NFL football player and was playing for the Falcons when he was caught financing a dog fighting operation in 2007. The disturbing scandal made headlines and he was convicted and jailed for 21 months. After Michael was released the Falcons dropped him and he started apologizing to the media in an attempt to repair his image. He worked to get the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act passed in Congress and signed with The Eagles in 2009. He was the starting quarterback and had the greatest season of his life. He later played for the Jets and Steelers and retired in 2017 with a successful football career—and the terrible scandal—behind him.
18. Paul Reubens
Paul Reubens is best known for his role as Pee Wee Herman in The Pee Wee Herman Show from 1981 to 1991 and Pee Wee's Big Adventure. The comedian and actor had a large following and even traveled the United States as the character. Unfortunately for poor Pee Wee he was infamously arrested for masturbating in an adult movie theater. His arrest caused a media frenzy and he was obviously embarrassed and publicly shamed. His Pee Wee character went down with him. Dolls were pulled from the stores shelves as Paul pleaded no contest to his crimes. After completing community service, Paul stayed out of the public eye and hoped people would forget about it. During the mid 1990s he started doing interviews again, appearing in and promoted his films like Mystery Men in 1999. Paul's comeback continued and his acting was praised again after costarring in the film Blow. Pee Wee himself even made a comeback in 2016 with the Netflix film Pee Wee's Big Holiday.
19. Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey was unstoppable in the ‘90s with hit after hit and receiving the Billboards Artist Of The Decade Award. But in 2001, Mariah had a public meltdown and began posting alarming messages and audio clips onto her website. In 2001 she showed up unannounced on TRL pushing an ice cream cart in a large T-shirt and did an unimpressive striptease. By this point, the consensus was that had she lost it. In 2002, Mariah released another album which went on to be considered the worst of her career. But with a determination to let her music speak for her, in 2005 Mariah reclaimed her position as number one pop diva with her album The Emancipation of Mimi (which gave the world “We Belong Together”). Since 2005 she has had several successful albums leading up to her Las Vegas residency in 2017. In 2018, opened up about her struggles with mental health and announced that she has been struggling with bipolar disorder since 2001 and is now a spokesperson for mental health...and one of the world's favorite divas, of course.
20. Nicole Richie
Nicole Richie was known as a carefree party girl starring alongside Paris Hilton on the Fox reality show, The Simple Life. In 2003 she was arrested for heroin possession and went rehab and her health was in question for the next few years. In 2006, a scary photo of Nicole's thin frame running on the beach hit news stands everywhere sparking rumors about an eating disorder, drug abuse, or both. Her career hit a standstill when she was arrested for DUI in 2006. It was reported that her vehicle was seen driving into oncoming traffic on the highway and she admitted to using Vicodin and marijuana. Nicole stopped being photographed at the club and started to do what she could to make people take her seriously. Nicole and Joel Madden started dating and her life took a turn for the better. She began doing philanthropic work, opening up The Richie Madden Children's Foundation and raising $100,000 for UNICEF's water project. In 2008, she launched her House of Harlow line and was recognized for her design talent which led to appearances on shows like Fashion Star and Project Runway. Nicole and Joel have a beautiful family and she is a successful executive producer, business woman, and even had her own show called Candidly Nicole.
21. Michael Jackson
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Michael Jackson is the "King of Pop" and king of controversy. His solo career made history for tearing down racial boundaries and his 1982 album Thriller is still the best selling album of all time. Michael's appearance began changing with multiple plastic surgeries and skin bleaching, and though people thought it was weird but it never affected his music. But Michael's career hit a disturbing wall in 1993 when he was accused of sexually abusing children. A 2003 documentary called Living With Jackson didn't help his case when he described sleeping in the same bed as the children staying there—including Macaulay Culkin. That same year another sexual abuse case was filed and was a public spectacle until he was acquitted in 2005. Michael proclaimed his innocence and was acquitted on all counts. The case left its marks on history and some people still don't know what to believe. In 2009, Michael announced a comeback tour that sold out. He began rehearsing and the world couldn't wait. But less than three weeks before his shows were set to start Michael passed away due to cardiac arrest. But death couldn't stop his comeback, and the release of his concert documentary This Is It is the highest grossing film of its kind.
22. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is one of the best basketball players of all time with a huge sex scandal behind him. He was accused of sexually assaulting a 19 year-old concierge at a hotel in Colorado in 2003. Kobe publicly apologized and maintained his belief that it was a consensual encounter and the rape case was later settled out of court. Kobe went back to basketball and broke records for the second most points scored in a single game while playing for the Raptors. His wife always stayed by his side and although Kobe no longer plays basketball he has found success elsewhere. He even won an Oscar for his film Dear Basketball in 2018.
23. Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris is at the top of his career in more ways the one. The actor, singer, host, dancer and even magician has been nominated for multiple Emmys and Academy Awards. But Neil hasn't always been on top. He played the lead role as a kid doctor on the show Doogie Houser M.D. from 1989-1993 but as the show ended so did his career. He booked small roles in films nobody really saw and turned into an early '90s memory. Then in 2004 Neil made a cameo as a drugged up comedic caricature of himself in Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle and his comeback began. Two years later in 2006 he was cast in his biggest role as Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother. That same year he came out as homosexual and is the first openly gay man to host the Academy Awards. Since How I Met Your Mother he has booked many successful acting jobs and even has his own game show. He also been named 100 most influential people by Time magazine.
24. Paula Abdul
Paula Abdul started off at the age of 18 as a cheerleader for the LA Lakers, followed by a highly successful career as a choreographer in the '80s. Then she started singing and was topping the charts in the '80s and '90s as a pop star. She had six number one singles that all topped the Billboard Hot 100 list and was a singing and dancing double threat. Unfortunately, Paula was dealing with personal issues like bulimia and stepped away from the limelight in the '90s. Everyone forgot about her until she was asked to take an American Idol judging seat in 2002. Paula was a judge for seven successful seasons and even has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
25. Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant gained major heart throb status after roles in Four Weddings and a Funeral. The British hunk had a moment of what he called "insanity" and was arrested for lewd contact in 1995 after police caught him receiving oral sex from a sex worker named Divine Brown. The actor was in a longterm relationship with Elizabeth Hurley at the time, so not only did get caught with a sex worker, he caught cheating too! His mugshot was everywhere after which he released the following statement: “Last night I did something completely insane,” he said. “I have hurt people I love and embarrassed people I work with. For both things I am more sorry than I can ever possibly say.” Divine sold her story and it did not help his career. He started rebuilding his image by appearing on Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 1995 and apologized again. Luckily Hugh didn't have to go to jail and just paid a fine. His girlfriend stuck by him during the scandal and he went on three year hiatus after it. When he returned on the big screen in 1999 with Julia Roberts in Notting Hill it was obvious his sex scandal was behind him. The movie made 363 million dollars world wide and turned him in to a romantic comedy icon.
26. Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson is know for his amazing boxing career and biting off Evander Holyfield's ear. But in 1992 he was arrested for rape and his life and career went up in flames. He was convicted after just a 10 hour deliberation. He was sentenced to six years in prison but released after just three in 1995. After his parole he went back to fighting and had a successful comeback in the boxing world, achieving some of the best boxing moments in history. Unfortunately, in 2006 he was arrested for DUI and went to inpatient recovery for multiple addictions. His image was never really cleared for people outside the boxing community until 2009 when he had a cameo in The Hangover. He even had his own weird reality show about pigeons on Animal Planet in 2011.
27. Russell Brand
Russell Brand is best known for his hilarious, sexually liberated character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall in 2008. The film introduced him to the Americas but the English actor had been doing comedy in London and touring nationwide since 2000. Sadly, Russell had also been struggling with personal issues and was addicted to heroin and crack for 11 years and also has a sex addiction. His drug addiction affected his career and he was fired from MTV in 2001 after showing up the day after September 11th dressed as Osama bin Laden. After his agent found him doing heroin in a bathroom at a holiday party in 2002 it was obvious that Russell was gambling with his life and his agent was dedicated to getting him help. He got Russell into a 12 week rehabilitation program and he has been sober ever since. Russell uses his personal struggles in his stand up comedy and has become a voice for mental health, addiction and politics and is one of the most inspirational men in Hollywood.
28. Lil Kim
Lil Kim is a rap legend and has worked with notorious artists like 50 Cent, DMX, and Beyonce. She is an award winning artist and loyal as hell. In 2005 she was arrested for lying to to a federal grand jury about her cousins involvement in a shooting. After security footage ratted her out she was convicted to a year in jail and had to put her successful career on hold. Lil Kim kept writing songs in prison and was there for 12 months. She released her album The Naked Truth with little time to promote it and was back on the charts. Since then she has had her own reality show, and starred on Dancing With The Stars and is respected by fellow rappers as one of the queens.
29. Demi Lavoto
Demi Lavoto made it big on Disney as a pop star and actress but her personal life started spiraling out of control at a young age. In 2010, Demi checked into rehab for three months after punching a backup dancer in the face. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and also treated for bulimia. Demi revealed in interviews that she was struggling with a coke addiction and couldn't go more than thirty minutes without the substance. in 2011, she wrote an article for Seventeen about her problems and was open about her eating disorder and self-medicating. That year she released "Skyscraper" and poured her heart out into the song. The song was a tribute to self-love and peaked the charts. Then in 2012, Demi made a documentary about her rehab and recovery that was played on MTV to try and restore her image. She stopped drinking that year and in 2013 she lived in a sober house and tried to pick herself back up. She joined Britney Spears on the X Factor and released her own music that made the charts. Demi kept releasing music and working on inspirational projects and became a role model again. In 2017, Time Magazine named her on their annual 100 Most Influential People list.
30. Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande may have one of the prettiest voices on the planet but has been caught doing some ugly things. In 2015, a video of Ariana in a donut shop went viral and her image was temporarily tarnished. In the video Ariana was heard saying she "hates America" because of the size of one of the donuts, then licked a random donut on the counter that she did not purchase. The lick was seen around the world and she was shamed for her gross behavior. The worker revealed that she never paid for the donut she licked and was also incredibly rude. She was then pulled out of performing in the Major League Baseball's All-Star concert but claimed it was because of a tooth removal. Health officials and authorities launched an investigation and Ariana began apologizing. She posted a video on Instagram noting her disgusting behavior and apologized for her antics. She explained that she made the statement about hating America because of her frustration with rising child obesity rates and her fans made the hashtag #WeForgiveYouAriana go viral on twitter. In 2016, she made fun of the incident on Saturday Night Live and joked, "A lot of kid stars end up doing drugs, or in jail, or pregnant, or get caught looking at a donut they didn't pay for." That same year she was named as 100 Most Influential People in the world by the New York Times. Ariana is at the top of her career and put her donut licking past behind her.
31. Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars is one of the hottest singers around and his perfect voice made people forget all about his 2010 arrest. Bruno was arrested in Vegas after being found with a bag of cocaine and faced felony drug charges. Bruno was a charmer and his smile didn't even leave his face to take his mugshot. He did interviews after the arrest, paid a $2,000 fine and charmed his way back into everyone's hearts. In 2013, he was on the cover of GQ magazine and discussed his arrest explaining he was young and dumb. He went on to play at the Superbowl in 2015 and has continued releasing music and topping the charts.
32. Matthew McConaughey
Matthew Mocconaughey played the comedic lead in Dazed and Confused (1993) and seemed like he was the next big actor to hit Hollywood. He continued to make films through the '90s but Matthew ended up type casting himself when he accepted the lead in multiple terrible romantic comedies throughout the 2000s. His romantic comedy persona was the butt of jokes and even Matthew admitted, " I knew I could say no to the things I'd been doing. In saying no to those things, I knew work was going to dry up for awhile" and thats exactly what happened. Matthew appeared in films like The Wedding Planner (2001), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), and Failure to Launch (2006) then stopped agreeing to do romantic comedies in an attempt to rebuild his image. It wasn't 2013 that the now famous "McConaissance" started. He lost 39 pounds to play the role of Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, making his comeback as a dramatic and complex actor who is finally taken seriously.
33. Natasha Lyonne
If you watch any major 1990s teen flick you'll probably see Natasha Lyonne. Natasha was a quirky, funny and lovable actress on screen but struggling with personal demons off screen. In 2001, she was arrested for a DUI, she was battling drug addiction and having a mental breakdown. After crashing her car she was kicked out of her apartment for threatening to "molest" her neighbors cat. Natasha went to the hospital in 2005 under a pseudonym, suffering from hepatitis C, a heart infection, and a collapsed lung. She spent the next few years getting sober then started making appearances and talking about her struggles in 2012. Natasha made guest appearances on primetime television shows but landed her biggest role in 2014 on Netflix's Orange Is The New Black and was nominated for an Emmy.
34. Ashlee SImpson
Poor Ashley Simpson seemed to always be in the shadow of sister Jessica Simpson in level of hotness, talent and fame. But in 2003, she finally made a name for herself as a pop singer. With hits like Pieces Of Me making the charts she was finally coming into her own. Sadly, her singing career ended as fast it started. In 2004, she performed on SNL when an audio foul up revealed she was lip synching. Ashlee couldn't even try to play it off and awkwardly danced off stage. The incident went viral and Ashlee was roasted into infinity as she allegedly was the first singer to ever lip synch on the show. The incident had everyone questioning her authenticity as a singer, but Ashlee took the heat and did damage control. She was in the second season of her reality show and revisited the horrifying moment. Ashlee claimed she had a raspy voice and during rehearsal she croaked and a doctor said she would ruin her vocal chords if she went on with her performance. Ashlee had her chance to prove haters wrong at her performance at the Radio Music Awards and she called in on TRL the day of the performance telling fans to watch. Ashlee made light of the situation before her performance pretending the wrong song was playing again. She won multiple awards at the Teen Choice Awards that year and continued to release music until 2008. In May of 2018, it was announced she was returning to reality TV with her husband Evan Ross.
35. Katherine Heigl
Katherine Heigl landed her breakout role when she was cast in Grey's Anatomy in 2005. Her success on the hit drama lead her to star oin feature films like Knocked Up and 27 Dresses and seemed like Hollywood had found its next romantic comedy queen. But in 2008, stories emerged of Katherine's difficulty to work with on set. She added insult to injury in an interview with Vanity Fair in which she called Knocked Up "sexist" explaining "it paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. … I had a hard time with it, on some days. I'm playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy?" Seth Rogan told the press he felt betrayed by her comments. She then talked smack about Grey's Anaotmy and dug her own career grave. This time she went after the material Shonda Rhymes gave her on the show. Katherine was noticeably absent from the 2008 Emmys and when asked about it said, “I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention.” In 2010 Shonda axed her from the show and it was all down hill from there. Her films tanked and she was even nominated as Worst Actress for the Golden Razzie award. Whenever Katherine returned to primetime television the shows were canceled and it seemed like Katherine couldn't get a break. But in 2016, she did another interview with Vanity Fair and expressed regret for her actions in 2008. She said she wished she had never made her comments and explained how her career downfall was so traumatic she even went to therapy. In 2017, she started her acting comeback with the release of Unforgettable and reminded people why they loved to watch her on screen. In 2018, it was announced that she was joining the cast of Suits and should be the start of her new career.
36. Amber Portwood
Amber Portwood starred on MTV's 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. Everyone was watching her dramatic storyline—including child protective services. In 2009, she was arrested on three counts of domestic abuse, two of which were felonies. Police used footage from the show to press charges and her legal battles lasted the next four years. In 2010, she broke parole twice, left her inpatient rehabilitation and was sentenced to five years in jail. Her mugshot was every where and she was disgraced as a mother. While Amber was in jail she resolved to do better. She sobered up, got her GED and was released early for good behavior. Once released, she was on a mission to fix her image and get her daughter back. She appeared on Dr.Phil in 2013 and explained that she was on drugs while filming and struggling with addiction. Amber continued her interviews and started appearing again on Teen Mom OG. Amber was noticeably different and fans started rooting for her again. In 2018, she gave birth to her second child with her new man and is often a voice for body positivity on Instagram.
37. Miley Cyrus
We all remember Miley Cyrus from days as a role model and teen sensation on Hannah Montana. But in 2008, Miley's more wholesome persona had fallen by the wayside and she started getting shamed for her behavior. She was ridiculed for posing topless on Vanity Fair and taking weird photos with her dad. Disney executives were livid and Miley was forced to apologize saying, “I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed. I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about,” The scandals continued and in 2010 a video was released of Miley hitting a bong of salvia while laughing uncontrollably and people were pissed. Miley used the scandal to rebrand herself into a more mature singer with bad girl tendencies and released her song "Can't Be Tamed" in 2010 and cut off her hair in 2012. The transformation was a success and Miley topped the charts in 2013 with her comeback single "We Can't Stop."
38. Mel B
After Spice Girls broke up Mel B attempted to make her mark as a solo actress but failed miserably. She released a solo album that tanked and then tried again but luck was not on her side and the artist was criticized for her music and music videos. She released a video using her own children as actors and the public was not having it, calling her desperate. She was then dropped by her record label and out of the spotlight. In 2007, when Spice Girls announced their reunion tour Mel was back, joining their sold out tour. In 2010 she stepped in to host Oxygen's weight loss show Dance Your Ass Off and was cast as a judge on X Factor. Mel is one of the favorite judges on the show and her career is right on track.
39. John Travolta
John Travolta was an unstoppable heart throb in the 1970s as the lead in multiple films like Saturday Night Fever, Grease, and Urban Cowboy but his career came to a halt in the '80s. Although nominated for an Oscar for his role in Saturday Night Fever his career fizzled after a series of box office flops. It wasn't until the legendary director Quentin Tarantino cast John in Pulp Fiction in 1993—a role for which John grabbed his second Oscar nod—that his career bounced back big time. John went on to star in films like Face/Off, Hairspray and Wild Hogs and is headlining the 2018 mafia pic Gotti.
40. Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle is the highest paid comedian of all times and a legend. His show The Chappelle Show was at the height of its popularity in 2006 but Dave abandoned his $50 million dollar contract and went to South Africa. His abrupt decision had many conspiracy theorists claiming it was because of the Illuminati and he disappeared for a few years. But in 2013, Dave returned to the stage and went back to touring full time and doing interviews. Dave had his biggest show since he returned in 2014 and promoted it by appearing on The Today Show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with David Letterman. Dave was back and in 2016 Netflix announced that he would have three stand up specials released in 2017. His specials are Netflix's most watched of all time.
41. Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix is a handsome and talented actor who got his start as a child star, a path he veered from briefly after his older brother River Phoenix tragically overdosed in 1993. He returned to acting at 15 and went on to star in huge box office hits like The Village, and the highly acclaimed Walk The Line. But Joaquin was struggling and in 2005 after a DUI a car wreck he checked into rehab. Joaquin appeared on Letterman and continued to work but his behavior became erratic. In 2008 he announced he was giving up acting to pursue a hip hop music career and made public appearances looking disoriented and disheveled. It turned out the whole thing was a social experiment for a documentary he was filming called I'm Still Here but the damage was already done. Stories about Joaquin's mental breakdown spread through Hollywood and in 2010 he took a break from acting. In 2012 he returned to the big screen in The Master which garnered him a Best Actor Oscar nomination.
42. Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez started her acting as child first appearing as Barney's friend on Barney & Friends then continued her road to stardom on the Disney channel. From 2007-2012 she starred in Wizards of Waverly Place on the network and was cast in films like Another Cinderella Story (2008), Princess Protection Program (2009), and Spring Breakers (2012). Selena began singing in 2009 and her singing career proved it was gonna be even more successful than her acting career. She has won multiple awards—an American Music Award, an MTV Video Music Award, a People's Choice Award, two Billboard Women in Music Awards, and sixteen Teen Choice Awards. But drama stated for Selena when she was dating Justin Bieber and their on and off again toxic relationship was all over tabloids and affecting her life. In 2014 she went to rehab in Arizona for two weeks and rumors swirled that Selena was heavily partying and experimenting with drugs during the time. Selena has maintained that it was for her mental health and not drug related and tried to get back to business as usual when she was released. Sadly the star was still struggling and in 2016 she canceled the rest of her Australian tour and disappeared from social media. She entered rehab again in 2016 and was open with fans in August about her demons and explained, “I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off." Selena's honesty was appreciated by her fans and the world just wanted her to be healthy again. She made her first public appearance after rehab at the American Music Awards in 2016 and won the award for favorite Pop/Rock female artist. Things started to look up for Selena in 2017 when her single "It Ain't Me" made the Billboards top 10 list and the show she produced called Thirteen Reasons Why premiered on Netflix. She continued to release chart topping hits and got back to acting in films like A Rainy Day In New York. In 2018 she released a new single called "Back to You"which was on the 13 Reasons Why soundtrack and set a new record. The single is the star’s twentieth Top 40 smash and its winning streak is the best in history.