For the past couple days, it seems like everyone’s been talking about Missy Elliott and the newly released music video for “WTF (Where They From),” her first major song in seven years. Even celebrities are taking to social media to rave about the song and video. The hashtag, “WTFMissy” was even trending on Twitter.

In honor of Missy Elliott’s highly anticipated return to the music scene, here are five other stars who disappeared, but only to come back bigger than ever.

  • Robert Downey Jr.: The actor is often credited for having one of the most successful career comebacks ever. Downey was a huge name in the ‘80s and ‘90s, starring in a long list of blockbusters. Unfortunately however, the actor suffered from alcohol and substance abuse and even landed in jail a few times. Directors were refusing to work with him and he lost out on several big jobs. However, after checking himself into rehab, he came back stronger than ever. Today, he’s at the top of his game, having bagged a number of huge roles, including the Sherlock Holmes and Avengers franchises. In August 2015, Forbes named Downey Jr. the highest paid actor in the world.
  • Mayim Bialik: Today, she’s known for playing one of the most beloved characters, Amy Farrah Fowler, on the very popular comedy The Big Bang Theory. But many people didn’t realize that Bialik was the same girl who played the lead role in the hit ‘90s sitcom Blossom. Although she made a few small television appearances here and there throughout the ‘90s, it wasn’t until 2010 that Bialik really made her comeback—she landed the recurring role of Dr. Wilameena Bink on The Secret Life of the American Teenager, followed by, of course, The Big Bang Theory, for which she’s already earned four Emmy nominations.
  • Britney Spears: After her highly publicized meltdown in 2007, nobody expected Britney Spears to salvage her musical career. However, after a brief hiatus, she came back and proved everyone wrong. Not only did Spears go on to release four more albums, she also completed a successful tour, became the highest paid judge on The X Factor, and most recently, her own Las Vegas residency, which runs till 2017.
  • Ed O’Neill: From 1987 to 1997 (and probably well beyond 1997), Ed O’Neill was known for playing Al Bundy on the raunchy comedy Married… with Children. When the show ended, the actor tried his hand at a few other roles here and there, but none of them really lasted. Then, in 2009 he was cast as Jay Pritchett in Modern Family, finally marking his big comeback. O’Neill has since been nominated for three Emmys.
  • Lady Gaga: Before she became Lady Gaga, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta was part of a group of young singers attempting to break their way into the music business. In the early 2000s, the Stefani Germanotta Band actually released an EP called Words, followed by their first official album, Red and Blue. The album didn’t have a wide distribution—it was reportedly only sold at one particular New York nightclub. It was then that the singer pulled back and reemerged in 2008 as Lady Gaga, whose debut album, The Fame, which saw instant success. Gaga has since released four more albums and earned six Grammy Awards.

Michalski, J., “The 13 Best Celebrity Career Comebacks,” Business Insider web site, November 6, 2013.
Gagapedia: Red and Blue,” Wikia web site, last accessed November 13, 2015.
10 ‘90s Actors/Actresses Who Made Huge Comebacks!”, January 3, 2014.


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