The greatest celebrity career comebacks of all time

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
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

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

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.

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The N-Dubz singer was allegedly caught fixing up a drug deal between an undercover Sun reporter and her dealer friend and part-time rapper Mike GLC.

The illegal activity is likely to cost Tulisa dearly as she has cashed in on her youth appeal through the story of her troubled background and claims to have shunned drugs to grow her music career.

The modern day sporting hero and winner of seven consecutive Tour de France competitions saw his reputation plummet last year when he was found guilty of doping and cheating his way through is career.

Armstrong was stripped of all his titles, ordered to return his prize money, and sponsors couldn't drop him quick enough. He is also being sued by teammates. It is estimated that it will cost him $125m.

After possibly one of biggest public meltdowns in history, the actor lost it with the creator of his TV series Two and a Half Men. His outburst together with outlandish behavior including alleged drug benders, porn stars and drink problems, lead to Sheen being fired from the show. He reportedly earned $1.25m per episode, meaning he lost $36m for the whole season.

At the height of her short career, teen star Lohan was commanding around $7.5m per movie at four movies per year. Yet the pressures of fame at a young age got to The Parent Trap and Mean Girls star, seeing her life spiral out of control as she became embroiled in allegations of drug and alcohol abuse, jewellery theft, and drunk driving. Her earnings quickly plummeted and remain he doldrums.

Singer Chris Brown's reputation became muddied in 2009 amid allegations of assault against his then girlfriend, pop diva Rhianna.

The alleged offense took place the night before both stars were set to perform at the 2009 Grammy Awards. Brown's arrest on felony charges and the brutal images of Rhianna's battered face, led to an huge media frenzy. Overnight, Brown went from whiter-than-white Wrigley's gum and milk spokesperson to the most loathed man in music.

Fashions favourite supermodel could do no wrong until she appeared in the Daily Mirror in 2005 snorting "line after line" of cocaine at a recording studio with then-boyfriend and known drug addict, Pete Doherty.

Dubbed 'Cocaine Kate' by the press, Chanel promptly dropped Moss from their advertising, as did fashion house Burberry and Swedish brand H&M. But Moss managed to recover quickly from the scandal and is now the face of Rimmel, Dior and Mango.

Infidelity cost the golf star more than his marriage and a staggering $100 million divorce settlement – shaving brand Gillette was one of many brands to pull its endorsements following the incident in 2009. Woods also lost deals with Gatorade, AT&T and Accenture following the scandal.

Photos of the Olympic swimmer smoking a marijuana pipe saw Kellogg's pull its sponsorship of the sports star to protect their brand images. Phelps also received a suspension from competition and USA Swimming pulled financial support for three months.

Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho was axed from his Coca-Cola sponsorship deal after appearing with a can of Pepsi during a press conference at Atletico Minerio. The mistake cost the star £1 million in unpaid earnings as his £500,000 per-year contract was set to run until 2014.

While serving as president, Bill Clinton became embroiled in an embarrassing high profile scandal that looked set to cost him his career. The former president was accused of having sexual relations with intern Monica Lewinsky and harassment charges against Paula Jones.

Clinton was acquitted of perjury and obstruction of justice charges and made a public apology, which only served to strengthen his reputation. He went on to serve two presidency terms and left the office with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. president since World War II.

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