Everyone loves a good comeback, and this proves especially true in Hollywood. Although actors make boatloads of money, get to attend some pretty awesome events, and are able to travel the world, they still don’t have the easiest job. Being at the centre of attention can have its downsides, especially when things go wrong in their personal lives.
For many of the actors listed below, the fact that they made a comeback at all is impressive. And yet, for others, especially in light of the #MeToo movement and general Hollywood culture, it’s shameful that they remain as popular as they are.
From Drew Barrymore’s impressive comeback after her very sad time in rehab at the very young age of 13, to the fact that men like Mel Gibson and Mike Tyson are still living a charmed life despite what some might consider unforgieable past actions, Hollywood is absolutely filled with stories of actors who have made a comeback after what a lot of us thought might be career-breaking. Although some of these stories are far more inspirational than others, all of the actors listed below are still alive in well in Hollywood.
Read on for the 15 Actors Who Came Back To The A-List After Huge Scandals!
15. Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant has sort of become an icon, at least on the screen, as a sort of adorable British playb oy. And yet in real life, that’s not so far off from the truth.
At a time when he was in a relationship with the stunning Elizabeth Hurley, Grant was also in the midst of what some might consider a mid-life crisis. Whatever it was, Grant was found one night in his car, caught in some sort of act with a woman by the name Estella Marie Thompson (or Divine Brown), who was a night-worker he had picked up while driving along the Sunset Strip. They were both arrested for performing inappropriate acts while in a public space.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Grant and Hurley did not separate until 5 years later, and Grant generally went on with his career, having since starred in hit films like Bridget Jones’s Diary and Love Actually.
14. Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson has long had a reputation in Hollywood for being ultraconservative and, on several occasions prior to his scandal, had been accused by various organizations as homophobic.
His bigoted views were exposed back in July 2010, when a phone call he had had with his then girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva was recorded, in which Gibson is heard spouting off incredibly offensive racial slurs.
Gibson was given a restraining order to keep away from Grigorieva on the grounds of domestic violence. For some time, the police led an investigation into the situation, but the case was dropped after Gibson pleaded no contest.
13. Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore rose to stardom at a very young age, and began dabbling in illicit substances as a pre-teen. By the age of 14, she was in rehab.
This very sad tale is actually one of redemption, though, and one of Hollywood’s best, for that matter. When she came out of rehabilitation after that difficult time, Barrymore stayed with the singer David Crosby (From Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) and his wife, later emancipated herself from her parents, and moved into her own apartment at 15.
12. Robert Downey Jr.
From 1999 to 2000, Robert Downey Jr.’s life was a far cry from the success he has met in present day: a Golden Globe award winner and Oscar nominee with an estimated net worth of $180 million USD.
It’s hard to believe, then, that right in the middle of his career, Downey served time in prison on various occasions between 1997 and 2000, for drug-related charges, including possession.
Prior to his downfall due to substance abuse, Downey had already met critical acclaim for his acting talents, including for his role as Charlie Chaplin in the 1992 hit film Chaplin.
Around the time of his various arrests, most people thought Downey’s career was pretty much done for. But by starring in films like Gothika and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Downey soon resurfaced to the top of Hollywood’s A-list. He has remained sober since 2003.
11. Charlie Sheen
While some Hollywood comeback stories are inspirational, others make us shake our heads and wonder how someone could possibly still have a career after the things they’ve done.
This is certainly the case for Charlie Sheen, who, despite being accused of abuse by various past partners and ex-wives, remains somewhat functioning in Hollywood today.
In fact, just in 2017, Sheen was cast as the lead star in 9/11, a film about five strangers who find themselves stuck together on the day of the attacks on the Twin Towers.
Although it’s shocking that Sheen is still being cast in films despite his past actions, we can at least find solace in the fact that the film received an 11% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 20 out of 100 on Metacritic.
10. Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder was the biggest starlet of the 1980s, appearing in cult classics like Heathers, Beetlejuice, and Edward Scissorhands.
In 2001, Ryder was the subject of a sensationalized scandal involving her shoplifting from Sak’s Fifth Avenue – attempting to steal clothes and accessories valued at a total of $5,500.
Charges were pressed and Ryder was faced with a messy court trial case, which included her being accused of using a variety of hard drugs. She later revealed that she was clinically depressed at the time, and was under the influence of strong prescription medication.
Since then, Ryder has starred in hits like When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story, Black Swan, and Star Trek. As of 2016, Ryder stars in the very successful Netflix original series Stranger Things, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination.
9. Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeeman is quite possibly one of Hollywood’s best and most cherished actors, having wowed us all in 1994 for his role in The Shawshank Redemption. However, some rumors pertaining to his personal life have, in the past, stirred up quite a bit of discussion and controversy.
Freeman was accused of having an affair with his step-granddaughter whom he had officially adopted from his first marriage, E’dena Hines. These rumors were never substantiated or proven, but remain somewhat discussed today. And although he remains one the most respected actors in Hollywood, one can only imagine the pain he must feel for losing Hines, who was murdered in 2015.
8. Rob Lowe
Although adult tapes are usually associated with Kim Kardashian, it’s important to set the story straight. In truth, actor Rob Lowe was one of the first pioneers of the celebrity tape, which wound up being scandalous for more than one reason.
In 1988, after meeting success from starring in films like The Outsiders, St. Elmo’s Fire, and About Last Night, Lowe riding high as one of Hollywood’s younger sweethearts. This all came crashing down – albeit temporarily – when a tape was made public that involved him having inappropriate relations with a minor.
7. Michelle Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez has long been known as a bad girl in Hollywood and has been typecast in various movies as the rebel since her debut in Girlfight.
Rodriguez has starred in Blue Crush, the Fast & Furious franchise, and Avatar, and has generally been very successful as an actor.
However, she has also dealt with various legal issues throughout her career, including various tickets, fines, short periods of jail time for driving misdemeanors like drinking and driving and doing a hit and run.
These issues lasted from 2002 to approximately 2009 – she has since done her time (although been released from prison early on multiple occasions due to overcrowding), and continues to star in films, including more of the ever successful Fast & Furious franchise.
6. Christian Bale
Christian Bale is one of Hollywood’s most successful actors, starring in award-winning and box office hits like American Hustle, the Batman franchise, American Psycho, The Fighter, Treasure Island, The Machinist, and Public Enemy. He has won one Golden Globe award and one Oscar and been nominated for two more of each.
In 2008, Bale was arrested for allegedly assaulting his mother and sister in London, who had called and alerted the authorities. He was held at the police station for over four hours, but eventually was released due to lack of evidence.
5. Mike Tyson
In the 1980s, Mike Tyson was best known for his very successful boxing career. This changed in the early 1990s, when he was convicted and imprisoned for assaulting an 18 year old by the name of Desiree Washington. Tyson served just three of his six years’ sentence.
Since that time, Tyson has had what many consider to be a comeback, continuing his boxing career, and even taking a foray into acting.
In 2009, Tyson starred as himself in The Hangover, and in 2011, was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
4. Arnold Schwarzenegger
It is not as if Arnold Schwarzenegger has ever tried to hide from the limelight. From starring in massive Hollywood box office hits like Total Recall and The Terminator franchise to his surprisingly successful foray into state politics (serving as California’s state governor for two consecutive terms, from 2003-2011), Schwarzenegger apparently can do it all.
This may not be so in his personal life, however. In 2011, Schwarzenegger announced that he and his wife of 25 years, Maria Shriver, were separating. The reason? Schwarzenegger had fathered the child of their Nanny, Mildra Patricia “Patty” Baena, many years before. The scandal was published in The Los Angeles Times in 2011, and shortly thereafter, actress Brigitte Nielsen came forward, revealing that she, too, had had an affair with Shwarzenegger while he was married.
3. Colin Farrell
Colin Farrell is yet another of Hollywood’s critically-acclaimed stars, finding success from starring in films like In Bruges, Total Recall, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as starring as a detective in the second season of True Blood.
Fame has its downsides though, as Farrell experienced himself, when an adult tape was released to the public without his consent, featuring himself having sex with a former girlfriend, Playboy model Nicole Narain. Farrell filed a lawsuit against Narain for releasing the tape, and the case was eventually settled in 2006.
Since that time, though, Farrell has pretty much remained scandal-free, apart from dating a long and varied list of high=profile actresses. He is set to star in Widows and Dumbo, which will be released sometime this year and next.
2. Russell Crowe
The legendary Russell Crowe; a Golden Globe and Oscar-winning film star.
Although he has generally been considered a class act by fellow Hollywood actors and fans, even Crowe has experienced times in his life when things haven’t been so perfect.
In fact, outside of acting, Crowe has sometimes been accused of having a bad temper leading to his charge and arrest for throwing a telephone at a concierge in a New York City hotel. Crowe was charged with second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon (the gun!) – the concierge had to go in for a facial laceration.
Since then, Crowe has had a bit of a reputation shift as having a temper, although he has expressed his regret for his actions. Apart from this, though, Crowe remains very successful, most recently starring in Hollywood hits like Les Miserables, Noah, Winter’s Tale, and The Mummy.
1. Woody Allen
Woody Allen has been brought up again recently as one of Hollywood’s greatest points of contention. Before, though, Allen remained generally unscathed, believed to have overcome the scandals from his past.
Allen’s relationship and subsequent marriage to Soon-Yi Previn was the subject of much media attention, considered by most a huge scandal – if not for the age difference than for the fact that Soon-Yi Previn was Mia Farrow’s (Allen’s long-term partner) daughter.
Around the same time, Allen was involved in an ugly court case surrounding allegations that he had assaulted Farrow’s seven-year-old daughter, Dylan. Since that court case closed, Allen has written and directed a massive number of films, including Midnight in Paris, Blue Jasmine, and Vicki Cristina.
In recent days, several actors who starred in his films have openly regretted working with him, including Rebecca Hall, Ellen Page, and Greta Gerwig.
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