Hollywood's Biggest Comebacks
After the success of '90s hits Slums of Beverly Hills and American Pie, Lyonne's life seemed to spiral out of control: She faced criminal charges for harassment and trespassing and in 2001, plead guilty to drunk driving.
The comeback: After struggling with drugs and eventually coming close to death during a five-month hospital stay, Lyonne got her life back on track and nabbed her first Emmy nomination in 2014 for her hit Netflix show Orange Is the New Black.
When a 2013 lawsuit revealed the Food Network chef had used the N-word, things quickly went downhill as companies tried to separate themselves from the racism. She was dropped by the Food Network, Target and QVC; lost a ham endorsement deal; had several of her restaurants closed; and lost a five-book deal.
The comeback: Following a tearful apology on Today, Deen kept a low profile at her home in Savannah – and one year later, received a $75 million investment to re-start her brand.
He was a TV heartthrob playing the poor guy among affluent classmates on The O.C., but when the series ended 2007, he was unable to capture the same level of fame, starring in a few small films and the floundering series Southland.
The comeback: His new show Gotham is already getting rave reviews. McKenzie, who stars alongside Jada Pinkett Smith, plays Detective Jim Gordon – and this could be his biggest role yet.
She was just another rich reality starlet when she appeared alongside childhood pal Paris Hilton on the hit FOX series The Simple Life, which attracted 13 million viewers in 2003. But after a falling out with Hilton, the show was canceled; when it was picked up by E!, the duo chose to film separately. Soon she was facing more heat, this time for her drastic weight loss and a DUI.
The comeback: The star began focusing on family life with beau (now husband) Joel Madden and their children Harlow and Sparrow. She also put her energy into designing, launching several successful fashion labels bearing her name.
Heigl received loads of backlash after dissing Grey's Anatomy writers for not giving her enough good material to work with and calling her hit 2007 film Knocked Up "sexist." What followed was a messy split from Grey's, and not long after, the actress, who once commanded millions per film, faced rumors of diva-like behavior on set and struggled to find starring roles.
The comeback: After taking time off to focus on her growing family – and admittedly grow up a bit – Heigl is returning to the small screen in the NBC show State of Affairs, in which she stars as a CIA analyst.
After rising to fame as beloved Blossom on the '90s TV series of the same name, Bialik made a few cameos before shifting her focus to school, earning a PhD in neuroscience.
The comeback: After staying out of the spotlight for 15 years, Bialik decided acting would allow her more time with her children than life as a research professor did. She hit the jackpot in 2010 when she scored the role of Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on season 3 of the The Big Bang Theory – and earned three Emmy nominations in the years following.
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
Following life as Doogie Howser, M.D., Harris all but disappeared from the limelight, save for a few stage roles.
The comeback: On the heels of a hilarious cameo in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Harris transformed into playboy Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, a role for which he earned four Emmy nods. The actor, who proudly spoke out about his sexuality, also became Hollywood's most-wanted host – headlining the Tony and Emmy Awards – made a name for himself on Broadway and got married and welcomed two kids in the process.
Then considered the sexy alum of TV's 21 Jump Street, Depp went to great lengths to shatter that image with run-ins with the law in 1994 (for allegedly trashing a New York hotel room) and in 1999 (after a brawl with London paparazzi).
The comeback: Depp made the 2012 Guinness Book of World Records as the highest-paid actor in the world, earning a whopping $75 million between June 2009 and June 2010. Now sitting atop Hollywood's A-list, the future looks good for the dad of two: he has a wedding to Amber Heard to plan plus an Alice in Wonderland sequel and new Pirates of the Caribbean flick in the works.
Though the public didn't know it at the time, Barrymore's entire childhood was a low point – she had her first drink at 9, began smoking marijuana at 10, and took up cocaine at 12. At 14, she attempted suicide.
The comeback: After repeated stays in rehab, Barrymore's career blossomed in the mid-'90s, and she went on to form her own production company and win a Golden Globe for her performance in Grey Gardens in 2010. Now she and her art consultant husband Will Kopelman can add raising a family to the list of accomplishments!
Though it's up for debate when, exactly, Spears began her slide, by 2007, the image of the recently shorn single mom attacking a paparazzo's car was a sure sign she was in serious trouble.
The comeback: Following a stint in rehab, Spears was placed in a conservatorship overseen by her father, and slowly allowed her star to rise again. In 2011, she embarked on a successful world tour, with a residency at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas starting soon after.
In 1988, the Brat Packer was enmeshed in a scandal when a tape surfaced of the actor with two women – one of whom was underage – engaged in sexual activities the night before the Democratic National Convention.
The comeback: A decade later, Lowe began his climb back to fame, beginning with The West Wing, which earned him an Emmy nod. By 2010, he jumped from a successful run on Brothers & Sisters to Amy Poehler's Parks and Recreation. He added best-selling author to his résumé with his 2011 memoir, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, which he followed up with 2014's Love Life.
At 18, the former Disney princess hit the skids when reports of erratic behavior surfaced, followed by some time in treatment and her announcement that she suffered from bipolar disorder.
The comeback: Though she's stressed that her recovery is ongoing, Lovato came out with a new album in 2011 (the appropriately titled Unbroken), which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard charts. She became one of the most popular judges on The X Factor, before leaving in late 2013 to work on her music.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR.
Between 1996 and 2001, the actor was arrested on numerous occasions for drug-related charges. In 1999, he was given a three-year prison sentence, of which he served one year behind bars.
The comeback: A clean, remarried Downey Jr. appeared in the blockbuster Tropic Thunder in 2008, and headlined the Iron Man and Avengers franchises, becoming one of Hollywood's most bankable stars. He won a Golden Globe in 2010 for playing the eponymous sleuth in Sherlock Holmes and in 2012 he welcomed a son with the woman he credits for helping him clean up his act, wife Susan (they currently have a second on the way).
The brooding leading man seemingly went off the rails when he dropped acting for a career in professional boxing in 1991. By 1994 he was hospitalized after admitting to suicidal thoughts, had lost his Hollywood Hills home and was in the middle of a nasty separation from then-wife Carre Otis – whom he was accused of beating (the charges were later dropped).
The comeback: After being showered with praise for his Oscar-nominated turn as a washed-up performer in 2008's indie breakout The Wrestler, Rourke is once again being considered for plum movie roles, starring in big-budget films like Iron Man 2 and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.