While the media loves a good comeback story, not all celebrities get a shot at redemption or relevance for a second time. Discover some of the best celebrity comebacks, coming after a darker period in the lives of celebs or simply after a few failed projects.
From Britney Spears and Robert Downey Jr. to Ellen DeGeneres and Ben Affleck, check out a few of the most impressive celebrity comebacks.
After her breakdown in 2020, few people believed that Britney Spears could ever reach again the heights of her success from the early ‘00s. In one of the best celebrity comebacks, Britney managed to get the help she needed, and once her bipolar disorder was under control, she managed to release more successful albums, secure a spot as a judge on “The X Factor”, and get a $30 million Las Vegas residency.
Robert Downey Jr.
Dealing with substance abuse issues for more than a decade, Robert Downey Jr. seemed to have squandered many second chances, including being fired from “Ally McBeal” after one more drug arrest. His last chance was the role of Tony Stark in “Iron Man”, and Downey Jr. managed to become one of the best paid actors in the world.
After finding success as a teenage Disney star with “Hannah Montana”, Miley took a break from her singing career to focus on the right way to move forward. With the help of a risqué video for “Wrecking Ball” and a provocative MTV VMA performance with Robin Thicke, Miley pulled off one of the best celebrity comebacks.
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Transitioning from ‘N Sync to a solo career, Justin had two very successful albums, but put his musical career on hold to focus on acting. After a 6 year hiatus, Timberlake shot back to no. 1 in 2020 with two “The 20/20 Experience” albums and a high-grossing tour with Jay Z.
The actress first started acting at age 6, and by the age of 16 she was already a household name after appearing in Woody Allen’s musical “Everyone Says I Love You”. Trouble with drinking and heroin almost ruined her health and career, but Lyonne managed to pull off one of the best celebrity comebacks thanks to her role in the Netflix hit show “Orange is the New Black”.
Coming out in 1997 while starring in her own ABC sitcom, Ellen DeGeneres had little luck with TV projects until her daytime show debuted in 2020. Her show won over 30 Daytime Emmy Awards since, and she’s also hosted the Academy Awards twice.
Affleck’s career started out great, with an Oscar for co-writing “Good Will Hunting”. He also managed to transition to a career as a leading man, but that eventually crashed an burned with “Gigli”. Taking a break from big Hollywood productions, Affleck created one of the best celebrity comebacks, reinventing himself as a director, and getting a great opportunity to play the Dark Knight in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”.
Her early success turned her into a true child star, but Drew Barrymore battled addiction to alcohol and drugs and had gone to rehab twice by the age of 14. With her substance abuse problems behind her, Barrymore managed to become an A-lister again with the help of hits like “The Wedding Singer” and “Charlie’s Angels”.
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After being accused of insider trading and indicted for obstruction of justice, Martha Stewart’s empire seemed to be crumbling. However, the lifestyle guru worked as hard as she ever had, and her renewed success became one of the best celebrity comebacks.
Famous for his role as Al Bundy in the ‘90s sitcom “Married… with Children”, Ed O’Neill was typecast and couldn’t get another big break for more than a decade. After being cast in “Modern Family”, O’Neill lucked out and got a second iconic role, something very few people achieve when it comes to TV.
“Almost Famous” was Zooey Deschanel’s big break, but her early success wasn’t sustained for long. After a few years when she focused on music, Deschanel put together one of the best celebrity comebacks thanks to her role in “New Girl”, the well-rated sitcom nominated for multiple Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards.