The greatest celebrity career comebacks of all time

Sarah Coles
Louise Redknapp
Louise Redknapp

Everybody loves a comeback story, so there was plenty of excitement when rumours started circulating that Louise Redknapp could be planning a pop comeback, 19 years after leaving Eternal. Photos of her in the studio posing with other musicians hit Instagram, where her fans started getting very excited. But while the path from full time mum to Strictly Come Dancing star and then international pop sensation would be quite a career comeback, it wouldn't be the most dramatic one we've ever seen.

See also: Shocking celebrity debt problems

See also: What female celebrities have paid out in divorce settlements

Over the years there have been some stonkers, and here are five of our favourites:

Robert Downey Jr
Robert Downey Jr

1. Robert Downey Jr
In 1996, he was rising high, with high profile movie roles, and even an Oscar nomination. Unfortunately, over the following five years substance abuse, arrests, rehab and relapses sent his career sideways, until it was hard to imagine him ever being a star again. However, after turning things around in 2001, he built up his career again, until he hit the jackpot in 2008 as Iron Man. Suddenly he was the star of a huge franchise, which has left him at or near the top of the list of the world's highest-paid actors for years.

2. Martha Stewart
The lifestyle guru had it all in 2004 - with her own cooking, lifestyle and entertaining empire. Unfortunately, at that point, the wheels came off, as she was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators. She spent five months in prison and six months under house arrest.

For lesser stars this would have been an end to the brand, but not for Stewart. Her talk show, The Martha Stewart Show, hit the screens in 2005, and her star was in the ascendance again. She is back in the market of retail tie-ups, has launched a series of books, dominates the world of Pinterest, and has firmly returned as the US domestic goddess.

Britney Spears
Britney Spears

3. Britney Spears
The pop princess ruled the world in 1999 with "Baby One More Time", and went on to dominate the charts for years. It was in 2007 when things started falling apart. She split with her husband (the father of her two children), ran into trouble with the paparazzi, went into rehab, and perhaps most famously she shaved her head. For many stars this would have signalled years in the wilderness, but Britney came back after just one year. A shoot by Mario Testino in 2008, followed by a new single and a fifth album, put her back in the limelight for the right reasons.

4. George Foreman
At the age of 24, in 1973, he was at the top of his boxing game, but he was called to be a preacher, so gave up the sport. Unfortunately, he ran into financial difficulties in his late 30s, and needed to return to boxing to earn more money. At that point many boxers would have felt it was too late for a comeback, but not Foreman.

He returned to the ring, and became the oldest ever heavyweight champion at the age of 45. The following year, life took an even more fortuitous turn, when his wife persuaded him to put his name to a fat-reducing grill. By 2012 he was said to be worth £300 million.

Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore

5. Drew Barrymore
Her early life as a child star, including the role of Gertie in ET: The Extra Terrestrial, catapulted her to fame. Unfortunately, like so many child stars before her, she found it tough to keep level-headed, and by the age of 14, her drug abuse landed her in rehab.

It could have been the end of her cautionary tale, but by the mid-1990s, Barrymore was not only starring in major films, but had set up her own production company. Her comeback has seen her star in a huge number of successful comedies, become a respected producer, and even a UN Ambassador.

From Our Partners