Celebrities have a hard time. People may admire them and cheer them on, but when they make a false move no one really feels sorry for them. Their stories just make it to the headlines of tabloids and gossip websites. There are many stories of celebrities getting side-lined and even suffering from public breakdowns.

But not all celebrities who stumbled were unable to make a comeback. Some did manage to do things right. They are the ones who managed to turn things around. In some cases, these celebrities are even doing better now than before their downfall. Here are just some of the stars who made great comebacks in recent years.

Robert Downey Jr.

You must have seen this one coming. There is no doubt that Downey has made one of the biggest comebacks in the history of Hollywood. Downey started his career in the late 1980s and even then his talent was recognized. He was known to be one of the most promising young actors back then. He starred in movies like Less Than Zero and Soapdish. His performance in the 1992 movie Chaplin won him an Oscar nomination. It was almost a sure thing that Downey was headed for more success in his career.

But then his problem with drugs and alcohol started overtaking him. He also did some jail time and his promising career started to fall down. He did not work for any big projects for a long time and when he did, the buzz was more about his legal and drug problems more than the actual work that he was doing. But then he started to clean up and he started working again. He was willing to take on small roles until he was given a break again. That break came when he landed the lead role for Iron Man. His acting was a huge reason why Iron Man became one of the most successful superhero franchises ever. Now, Downey is one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood and one of the most famous celebrities worldwide.

Mickey Rourke

Rourke was one of the actors in the 80s who came out big. He made movies like Angel and 9 ½ Weeks and his career was on the rise. But after a slowing down in his career he decided to leave acting and go for boxing. His fighting career wasn’t so successful and it left him scarred and disconnected with the acting world. Many believed that his career was really done for.

Then Darren Aronofsky took him on in order to play the lead role in the 2008 movie The Wrestler. Rourke was able to get the Best Actor nomination in the Oscars for his role in the film and he was back on track again. He played the villain in Iron Man 2 and appeared in The Expendables.

Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore started her career at a very early age. She became famous for her role in E.T. which is one of the most successful movies of all time. Unfortunately her early start in acting also meant being exposed to the party lifestyle at an early age. By 13 she was already in rehab. She seemed to be on track to end up as another wasted child star.

Barrymore did manage to make a comeback starting in 1995 with movies like Scream and Boys on the Side and from then on she never looked back. She has landed roles in big movies and has become a product endorser. Now she is a very successful actress and a filmmaker in her own right.

Britney Spears

Britney Spears was one of the biggest musical stars to come out of the 90s. Her albums were selling millions worldwide and her songs were always topping the charts. She started her career in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse like so many other talented musicians. But then Spears’ career went on a downward spiral. She attacked a paparazzi and then shaved her head. It culminated when she was forced to enter a psychiatric ward. Others have written her off already.

But Spears made a comeback. Just recently, she was able to earn $64 million after a very successful concert tour that showed that she was still in touch with her fans. She also signed a record contract deal with Vegas.

Michael Vick

Michael Vick managed to ruin his football career back in 2007 when he was involved with illegal dog fighting. He became one of the most hated men in professional sports after that. But he did manage to be signed up by the Philadelphia Eagles and fans are inclined to forgive him, at least while he’s still helping the team win.

Paul Reubens

Paul Reubens played the character of Pee-Wee Hermann who was one of the most recognizable faces of the 1980s. His television Pee-wee’s Playhouse show was very popular and was considered to be ground-breaking. He also appeared in a successful film Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, which was a surprise hit before being signed on for the television show.

Reubens’ downfall came swift and unexpected. While visiting his parents in his hometown he decided to watch an adult film showing at a local theatre. Unknown to him, police were doing some surveillance work in the theatre at that time and he was caught when he started masturbating during the showing. He was arrested and when the media realized of who he was, it became a huge scandal. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal if he was just any other actor but his show was geared towards children and because of his crime he was seen as a sex offender. The network dropped his show and Reubens’ career suffered a terrible blow.

While Reubens has not managed to stage a Robert Downey Jr. like comeback he has started appearing again as Pee-Wee Hermann and has managed to get small roles in movies over the years.

Victoria Beckham

As part of the ultra-successful girl group the Spice Girls, Beckham tasted success like few people would experience it. Their albums were some of the biggest selling in music history and their singles were such big hits. But after the group broke up, some people started to hate Victoria Beckham. They resented the way that she didn’t smile in her photos or how she seemed to hate the rest of the girls in the group.

Her career experienced a turn around when she became a fashion designer and she started her own fashion line. She made a new set of fans and she is now seen as a major player in the fashion world.

Jimmy Fallon

When Jimmy Fallon was on Saturday Night Live people didn’t really like him at all. A lot of people said that they found Fallon annoying. His comeback started when he was able to get his own talk show. A lot of people find Late Night with Jimmy Fallon refreshing and something different from the usual late night talk shows. It really is hard to keep in mind that the Fallon hosting the show was the same guy on Saturday Night Live before.

These are just some of the best celebrity comebacks in recent years. Unfortunately, there are more celebrities who didn’t manage to come back after their downfall.