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Top 10 Celebrity Returns from Disgrace

VO: Dan Paradis
Hey, everybody messes up once in a while, especially celebrities! Or at least, when they mess up, the public eye is watching. However, thankfully the public eye is forgiving, and even if you cause major controversy, harm your own reputation, or even harm someone else’s, you can still have your return from disgrace, just like Mickey Rourke, Robert Downey Jr., Mel Gibson, Justin Bieber, and many others did!

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Top 10 Celebrity Returns from Disgrace

These are the triumphant stories of the rich and famous who overcame some serious odds. Welcome to, and today we'll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Celebrity Returns from Disgrace.

For this list, we'll be ranking the most interesting and inspiring instances when celebrities lifted themselves up from some dark personal situations and returned to the top of their game. This could mean financial success or simply a feel good story of redemption, but the running theme here is having fallen down, and getting back up again.

#10: M. Night Shyamalan

For a while there, it seemed as if director M. Night Shyamalan might never recover from the career slump that set in only a few short years after his breakthrough 1999 hit "The Sixth Sense." A string of critical and commercial failures beset Shyamalan throughout the late aughts into the 2010s, with films such as "The Happening," "After Earth" and especially "The Last Airbender” all but running the director out of the business. Thankfully, there was enough buzz behind Shyamalan's 2015 film "The Visit" and his producer work on the T.V. show "Wayward Pines," to mount an honest-to-goodness comeback, one which was cemented with the hit film "Split."

#9: Justin Bieber

It's never easy growing up in the spotlight - just ask Justin Bieber. The teen pop idol found success hard and fast as a youth, and it wasn't long before Bieber was making headlines for anything but music. The Canadian singer went through the tabloid ringer when it came to his bad behavior, but all of that appeared to change in 2015. Indeed, it seemed as if we were being treated to an older, more mature Justin Bieber, and his album that year, "Purpose," reflected that focus, with songs like "Sorry," "Love Yourself and "What Do You Mean?” striking a chord with critics and fans alike.

#8: Mel Gibson

Anyone in Hollywood will tell you how difficult it is to overcome bad publicity, but it takes a certain kind of person to come back after two PR nightmares. Gibson was essentially blacklisted in the movie business following a pair of rants from 2006 and 2010, earning the original "Mad Max" actor a reputation for racism, anti-semitism, sexism and violence. Gibson acted infrequently during this time, and directed even less...until his work on 2016's "Hacksaw Ridge" earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Director. Hollywood is unlikely to ever forget Gibson's crimes, but they appear willing to give him a shot at forgiveness.

#7: Martha Stewart

How do you come out of a prison stint and STILL manage to look fabulous, cook deliciously and decorate with the greatest of ease? Only Martha Stewart knows. The homemaking guru hit a roadblock in 2004 when she was sent to prison for making false statements to investigators about her role in accepting inside information about a stock sale. Stewart would spent five months behind bars and five more on house arrest before emerging to rebuild. A lesser businesswoman might have simply retreated from the spotlight, but not Martha Stewart, whose brand is bigger than ever - proving that sometimes you just have to accept the cards the way they're dealt.

#6: Mickey Rourke

Mickey Rourke impressed critics and fans alike with his work in such ‘80s hits as "Diner" and "Angel Heart." Then Rourke’s career derailed, with him seemingly sabotaging his own career, turning down roles and causing problems on-set. He also suffered some blows to his movie-star good looks, thanks to some botched plastic surgery and a boxing career. Thankfully, a couple of critically acclaimed and financially successful films managed to turn things around for Rourke, namely "Sin City" and "The Wrestler." The latter was particularly poignant, showcasing just how powerful and sympathetic Rourke could be as an actor and earning him an Oscar nod in the process – as well as proving that raw talent never truly goes away.

#5: Rob Lowe

Young fans that only know Rob Lowe from his work on television commercials or programs such as "Parks and Recreation" and "The West Wing" may be surprised to hear that Lowe was once basically persona non grata in Hollywood. Lowe's then-shining star was badly tarnished in 1988 after a sex tape was released featuring the actor with two women, one of whom was just sixteen years old. Although the age of consent in Georgia was fourteen at the time, this scandal, combined with Lowe's substance abuse and erratic behavior, severely affected his personal stock for years. It wasn't until Lowe cleaned up his act that he managed to return from his disgrace.

#4: Drew Barrymore

Remember when we mentioned how hard it can be to grow up in the spotlight? Drew Barrymore is a poster child for both the dangers of childhood celebrity and the potential to come out the other side. Barrymore gained worldwide attention as a child star with iconic performances in such films as "Firestarter" and most notably "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" before the pressures of quick stardom began to take their toll. It would take multiple trips to rehab and a suicide attempt before Barrymore would rebound in the nineties, but when she did, it was for good, and she now enjoys a pleasant status on Hollywood's A list.

#3: Winona Ryder

The Netflix hit "Stranger Things" may have reminded us in 2016 just how bright Ryder’s star can shine, but truthfully, the actress had slowly been coming back for years. After a strong start to her career, spanning from the late ‘80s to ‘90s, a 2001 arrest for shoplifting temporarily derailed the actress. A hiatus followed, which ended with her role in the 2006 film “A Scanner Darkly”. Since then, she’s kept busy, working on such films as "The Dilemma," “Star Trek” and Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan". Though she’s arguably been back for years, it was undeniably her role in "Stranger Things," which earned her numerous award nominations, that cemented her return.

#2: Britney Spears

Many of us remember those shocking photos of 90s pop queen Britney Spears with a shaved head, acting completely crazy and attacking a car with an umbrella. By 2007, the performer had fallen on hard times, thanks to a heavy substance abuse habit, an ugly custody battle with former husband Kevin Federline and the death of her aunt. These days, however, Spears has seen her stock rise back to the top, thanks to a hot Las Vegas residency and a number of well-received singles. This, combined with sobriety and health, has seen Britney rise from the ashes of some truly dark times.

#1: Robert Downey Jr.

He may be Iron Man now, but there was a time not so long ago that Robert Downey Jr. almost lost it all. The actor had repeated run-ins with the law on account of his heavy substance abuse issues. These took a toll on Downey's personal life to the point where he was arrested in 1996 for falling asleep in a bed… which just so happened to belong to his neighbor. It took a rehab stint in California prison marred by a number of relapses to start Downey down the path to sobriety, one which eventually led to happiness and success as one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. Not too shabby!

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