Paula Deen could still come roaring back from this, you know.
She has dropped endorsements over the past week like a lo-fat cookbook drops butter and sugar in favor of yogurt and Splenda, but the now former Food Network star is certainly not the first famous to spectacularly face-plant in the court of public opinion.
Every scandal is a bit different, but judging by how pretty darn prominent the following nine celebs still are post-career-threatening screw-up, maybe Deen won’t be needing 13 alternative job ideas after all:
1. Hugh Grant: Do you know how many lovable rogues/romantic leads the ever-charming Brit has played since being arrested with a prostitute in Hollywood (which also meant he was cheating on then-girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley) in 1995 and taking that infamous mug shot?So many! Plus, his “I did a bad thing” interview on The Tonight Show ranks as one of the all-time great talk show mea culpas.
2. Martha Stewart: She went to prison, for Pete’s sake! Her media empire did take a hit and she’s not quite as easy to find on broadcast TV since being convicted on charges related to an insider-trading scheme, but her Martha Stewart Living products are still huge. And she’s ubiquitous enough that she was readily available to comment on Paula Deen last night during an appearance on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live.
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3. Mel Gibson: Well, the jury is still kinda out on this one. The Oscar winner and onetime box office magnet hasn’t starred in a particularly successful film since being arrested for DUI and outing his issues for the world to see back in 2006. And there was that whole ranting thing with ex Oksana Grigorieva that didn’t do him any favors in the late-night punchline department. But he did have a plum seat at devoted pal Jodie Foster‘s table at the Golden Globes this year and he’s more or less been accepted back into the Hollywood fold.
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4. Vanessa Williams: Miss America 1994 lost her crown after it was revealed that she had posed for nude photos. Boy, that’s a snoozer of a scandal in this day and age. Williams stayed strong and carried on beautifully, of course, recording a few big hits (including the Oscar-winning Pocahontas theme “Colors of the Wind”) and going on to scene-stealing roles on Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives.
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5. Chris Brown: The attention-welcoming R&B star won his first Grammy, for Best R&B Album, last year—aka three years after he was busted for assaulting Rihanna after Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammys bash. And the music community welcomed him back with open arms not that long after he copped to his terrible behavior. Heck, even Rihanna gave him her post-arrest seal of approval. (She has since rescinded the seal, but who knows whether those two are really through with each other.) The law is after Breezy again, but his fans are true-blue.
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6. David Letterman: Never before have seen a celebrity take a scandal by the horns so masterfully. The Late Show host admitted during an opening monologue in October 2009 that he had messed around on his longtime partner Regina Lasko with “women who work for me on this show” and was the victim of an extortion attempt (the culprit later pleaded guilty to attempted grand larceny) by someone who was threatening to make his dalliances public. Having already given himself the late-night monologue treatment, what else was there to say (besides a begrudging, “Deft maneuver, Dave”)? And by signing up with CBS through at least 2014, Letterman is going to surpass Johnny Carson‘s record of 30 years hosting a late-night show. Not bad for the ole scandalmonger.
7. Kate Moss: Cocaine, shmocaine. A photo published in London’s Mirror in 2005 of the British supermodel appearing to snort the stuff made waves—but she had the final say in court and barely missed a beat. Not hurting her resilience factor, of course, is the fact that she remains one of the most stunning women in the world. So many models would kill (and have, at least on Law & Order) for that sort of longevity in the business.
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8. Robert Downey Jr.: The actor is probably pretty lucky that he stumbled into a neighbor’s house and crashed on an extra bed in 1996, long before the 24/7 media onslaught had really taken hold of celebrity culture. What a great Vine video it would have made, but we wouldn’t trade RDJ’s incarnation of Iron Man for any splashy tabloid story or epic meltdown. And just how far has he risen since the dog days of the 1990s (and early oughts)? A Stark-load of millions are headed his way to suit up for The Avengers 2 and 3.
9. Charlie Sheen: Well, he certainly believes that he’s rebounded with a vengeance. Who are we to argue?