While the media is certainly known for melting into a puddle of ecstatic glee whenever someone is having a rough go of it, there is nothing more enticing and uplifting than a solid comeback story. While the actress still has a long road ahead of her, Lindsey Lohan is freshly out of rehab today, and lo and behold, it sounds like her new film The Canyons is oddly captivating. Such signs of career life are hopeful, especially considering how beloved LiLo once was. In order to prove that picking yourself up and dusting your acting chops off isn't just possible, but inspirational, here are our favorite comeback kids.
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Robert Downey Jr.
Talking about Hollywood comebacks is basically telling the story of Robert Downey Jr., a bright member of the '80s brat pack who very openly fell into addiction and garnered multiple arrests for heroine and cocaine possession. After spending a year in treatment, Downey tentatively joined the cast of Ally McBeal...where he got fired after being charged with drugs again. Thankfully, RDJ committed to becoming clean — and thanks to Mel Gibson (of all people) — landed a role in The Singing Detective, which proved he could be trusted on movie sets again. Now, RDJ's manic tendencies manifest in a healthy way, peeking out in his quirky roles and his undying affection for his wife Susan.
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After DeGeneres made the groundbreaking choice to come out during her sitcom in '97, her network pulled back on promoting the series, and it was quickly cancelled. That, plus a tabloid-fraught relationship with Anne Heche and the difficult job of hosting the post-9/11 Emmys show could have closed the curtain on DeGeneres. Another failed sitcom later, and DeGeneres' star was falling — except for the fact that, hey, everyone loves Ellen, even if, they didn't realize it at the time. With her endlessly positive, uplifting daytime show, DeGeneres proved a daytime hit and garnered award nominations and critical acclaim, beating out other celeb daytime TV shows. (Sharon Osbourne, anyone?)
Pam Grier's initial stint in Hollywood had her playing incredibly independent, incredibly sexy women in blacksploitation movies like Coffy and Foxy Brown, but then she spent the '80s living in obscurity. In '88, she was diagnosed with cancer and was told that she had 18 months left to live, which forced the actress to rethink her life. Yet, it was Quentin Tarantino who cast her in one of his most critically acclaimed movies yet, Jackie Brown, reminding Hollywood what an icon she is. Work hasn't stopped since, and while Grier hasn't taken a leading role in a few years, she is consistently honored as a groundbreaker for African-American women.
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Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen
Born in the spotlight, these twins teetered on the brink in the early aughts, with Mary-Kate entering treatment for an eating disorder in 2004, and then Ashley ducking out of the limelight to go to school. The bottom line is: Pop culture was ready to write off these two as former It Girls who had lost their "It." But by dropping acting (a reverse comeback, perhaps?) and embracing fashion and entrepreneurial enterprises, the duo are more successful — and respected — than ever.
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Much like many of his characters, Wahlberg has had issues with violence in the past, including an attempted murder charge and some very off-color language (and we have heard some wild stories about his persona away from the camera). But a successful career and a strong Catholic faith have, he says, helped him turn things around — and in addition to playing our favorite good guy in The Departed
, he even founded The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation