Career Rebounds: Celebs Who Bounced Back

January 19, 2013 By:
Career Rebounds: Celebs Who Bounced Back

According to ancient tradition, 2013 falls under the cycle of The Year of the Snake/Lindsay Lohan, the overarching theme being that when some Hollywood talent falls off the sparkly grid, they fall hard.

Like, harder than the lonely and tragic fall their starring role in a straight-to-DVD movie makes as it hits the bottom of the $1.99 bin at your nearest Wal-Mart. Some stars are just destined to burn out, brightly explode and then maybe get offered a chair in "Celebrity Rehab: Season 122."

However, for every handful of these case studies, there are a few who beat the odds and rise like phoenixes from the million-dollar ashes.

Here are five who went from hardcore meltdown to makeup...

Britney Spears

Back in 2007, Scream and Shout was less a comeback song and more a way of life for the pop star. The singer caved under the pressures of fame, shame-spiraling in a very public way unlike any pop star we've seen before her. She showed off her samurai sword skills with an umbrella against paparazzi and stationary cars. She shaved her head at a strip mall…in Tarzana. She dipped in and out of rehab like it was a choreographed dance move. And let's not forget that notorious VMA performance where a jar of sitting Jell-O made more exciting moves than the pop tart did. Britney's meltdown was the stuff of a cautionary L.A. novel penned by Lauren Conrad.

Then this year, Britney had her best year ever. She worked her way back into the spotlight appearing as a judge on the "X-Factor" (every strand of hair intact) and her voice was back on the radio airwaves with a hit club song by And the horizon only continues to look up for her from here with reports of a Las Vegas residency at Caesars to the tune of $100 million. To take a lyric from one of Britney's hits it seems she's now, "stronger, than yesterday."

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey's 2001 meltdown started out like any skit on SNL would: funny, weird, but seemingly harmless. She showed up to the studios of MTV's "TRL" giving out popsicles to the audience while stumbling into a striptease. Then her film Glitter was released, it bombed, and suddenly Mariah was hospitalized, suffering from "extreme exhaustion." She was basically that '80s infomercial where the senior citizen says "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up," except that senior citizen is Mariah Carey singing that phrase in her ear-shattering whistle register. Album sales and her public persona were just never the same ever since then.

Until now, because it appears she's pulling a page from Britney's rise back to relevancy by agreeing to a judging stint on this season's "American Idol." At first, we were all worried, but once that leaked video of her feuding with co-judge Nicki Minaj, the passive-agressive interview with Barbara Walters, and subsequent press tours, we could tell she was back in shape because she's been throwing not just shade, but sha-haaaaaaade, like we haven't seen since the golden days of Mimi. Ironically enough, this larger-than-thou mentality is the clearest sign she's got her head on straight.

Drew Barrymore

Once upon a time, Drew Barrymore was the cutest thing in the world, adorably lisping her way into the hearts of humans and aliens alike in E.T. This sudden fame and fortune quickly got the best of her; I mean they don't just hand out those "Rebellious era" sub-headers over there at Wikipedia like the one found on Drew's page. Faster than you can say "Studio 54" or text your drug dealer (not an option in 1986), Drew was already a regular at the infamous club; smoking cigs at 9, drinking booze at 11, rolling blunts at 12, snorting coke at 13, attempting suicide at 14—it's like learning how to count on the wrong side of Sesame Street.

So, yeah, the flower child's petals wilted during her teen years but in the mid-'90s, the actress made her comeback with romantic comedies like Never Been Kissed and it was like the new Drew was kissing those drug-addled years goodbye.

Today, not only does she act, but has her own production company, a wine label, and a new beauty line.

Robert Downey Jr.

The L.A. County Police Department had their jobs cut out for them from 1996 through 2001. The actor was arrested so many times during that period, I'm sure the local division had a special code just for the actor; "10-14, Robert Downey, Jr. did something again." From speeding and missing court appearances to trespassing and heroin use and possession, many were counting Robert out.

Then after multiple relapses, Robert made a full recovery, of which you can see chronicled on his IMDb page. The actor began landing small and acclaimed independent roles again, before really hitting it big with blockbusters like Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes. Always rootin' for you, RDJ.

Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen's meltdown was interesting because even when he came out the other side, his career was still relatively intact, his reputation unchanged. Before fighting publicly with the showrunner and executives over at, "Two and a Half Men," Charlie was something of a bad boy. Then he was fired and we entered that summer of "tiger blood," adult film stars, and homemade viral videos.

His unfiltered response to his critics actually ended up working in his favor. He didn't have to clean up a thing about himself and still managed to get an FX show out of it, "Anger Management," which could ultimately lead to a $100 million in syndication. Saying whatever he wants and being a loose cannon is all just part of his enduring brand now—no one's really asking him to apologize for his whacky behavior. Guess he was "winning" after all.