Celebs Who Were Released From Jail And Made A Comeback

This feature includes references to addiction and suicide.

There are a number of celebrities who have run afoul of the law, and some may never come back from it. Singer R. Kelly is serving a 30-year sentence for sex trafficking and racketeering. Josh Duggar was sentenced to 12 years in prison on child pornography charges. It's hard to say if the "I Believe I Can Fly" singer can resurrect his music career — he'll be 85 when he gets out — or if the "19 Kids and Counting" star will ever return to TV, but it's safe to assume those ships have sailed.

As for our group of high-profile ex-cons, not only did each of them revive their careers after being incarcerated, some even found new ways to share their talents. A few of them took their careers to a whole new level post-lockup. Naturally, if you're used to living a cushy lifestyle, being confined to a tiny cell for an extended period of time isn't going to be a walk in the park.

Rapper Lil Wayne said he contemplated suicide during his eight-month prion bid. "The reality in here is so harsh. I will never understand how anyone could think that this s**t is cool," he wrote in his journal, "Gone 'Til November: A Journal of Rikers Island." This is an inside look at 14 celebs who came out of the clink and made some of the best career moves of their lives.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Teresa Giudice has a new man and a new lease on life

"The Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice isn't the first housewife to face legal troubles, but the infamous table flipper was the first cast member to get locked up during her run of the show. In 2014, Teresa and her husband Joe pleaded guilty to multiple offenses including "conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and three counts of bankruptcy fraud," per People. Judge Esther Salas, who sentenced Teresa to 15 months and Joe to 41 months behind bars, told People, "In the eye of the law, it doesn't matter who you are. There are consequences to pay."

After serving 11 months in a minimum-security prison in Connecticut, Guidice told Amy Robach on "Good Morning America," "There was no intent to commit a crime. I didn't know I was committing a crime." The reality star, known for many of the show's instant GIFs, returned to the popular series in 2016. "For me, this season is all about letting go of the past and embracing the future," she told Bravo's The Daily Dish.

Guidice also penned a memoir detailing the highs and lows of her time out of the public eye, entitled "Turning the Tables." On the bright side, the best-selling author and competitive bodybuilder found love again. In 2022, she tied the knot with New Jersey businessman Luis Ruelas. But in true "Real Housewives" style, their courtship started off with some serious on-camera drama.

Remy Ma isn't just spitting bars these days

Remy Ma was a rising star in hip-hop music when a late night incident in New York City stopped her career dead in its tracks. In 2008, the four-time Grammy nominee was found guilty of "assault, weapons possession and attempted coercion" after shooting a former friend she believed stole $3,000 from her, per Reuters. The rapper, whose real name is Remy Smith, made her case to the judge for leniency.

"I'm not a thug," she said. "I'm not a threat or a menace to society, and I still have so much to offer." The Bronx-born emcee has proven that many times over. Remy received an eight-year prison sentence (although she was only jailed for six), and was released early in 2014. In 2015, she and her husband, fellow rapper Papoose, joined the cast of VH1's "Love & Hip Hop: New York," to show the softer side of the hard-hitting hip-hop couple's lives.

Remy received two 2017 Grammy nominations, alongside Terror Squad member Fat Joe for the song, "All the Way Up." She was named Best Female Hip-Hop Artist at that year's BET Awards, per Uproxx. In 2018, she released "7 Winters & 6 Summers," her first solo album, which features "Wake Me Up" with Lil' Kim. In an interview with Hot 97, the "Queens" alum said the one person she can always count on is her longtime partner, Papoose. "After going through so much and in the end still loving him more, I was like "yeah, this is definitely forever, forever."

Robert Downey Jr. made his way back to the A-list

Hailed as one of the greatest actors of his generation after his Oscar-nominated performance in 1992's "Chaplin," Robert Downey Jr. was busted multiple times in the late 90s for drug possession. In 1999, the actor was sentenced to 36 months in a drug treatment facility for missing a court-ordered drug test, per Daily Mail. During one court appearance, he vowed to get sober, describing his addiction "like I've got a shotgun in my mouth, my finger on the trigger and I like the taste of gun metal" (via Los Angeles Times).

After serving 12 months of his sentence, Downey Jr. was cast as Calista Flockhart's love interest on Fox's legal drama "Ally McBeal." Three months in, the actor was arrested again on drug charges, and Fox swiftly axed him from the show. The actor worked his way back to Hollywood's A-list with the support of his wife, producer Susan Levin. In 2008, he landed the titular role in MCU's "Iron Man" nailing his first screen test in 15 years.

The actor has played Tony Stark in ten Marvel films to date, raking in a reported $66 million for 2019's "Avengers: Endgame" alone. Speaking to Daily Mail in 2013, the "Sherlock Holmes" star said, "I used to say that I'd welcome a bullet to the forehead if I ever ended up as a fortysomething, remarried, marketable, big-action movie dad living in a cozy, cul-de-sac in suburban LA. Now I am that guy!"

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Snoop Dog played a big part in Martha Stewart's comeback

Martha Stewart built an empire around America's fascination with the finer things in life. In 2004, the domestic guru's world came crashing down after she was found guilty of "conspiracy, obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators about a stock deal," per PBS NewsHour. Stewart was sentenced to five months behind bars, which she served in a federal penitentiary in West Virginia, a far cry from her 152-acre estate in Bedford, New York she purchased for $15.2 million in 2000.

"It's not a good experience and it doesn't make you stronger. I was a strong person to start with and thank heavens I was," Stewart told Katie Couric on her podcast in 2017, per Today. After prison, the best-selling author published a memoir, "The Martha Rules," and launched her eponymous lifestyle magazine show, "The Martha Stewart Show" which ran for seven seasons. When Stewart teamed up with Snoop Dogg, the fuse was lit for the most unexpected collaboration of her career.

In 2017, the "Drop It Like It's Hot" rapper and the "Queen of Cuisine" earned Emmy nominations for co-hosting "Martha & Snoop's Potluck Party Challenge," a series inspired by their unlikely friendship. "I think it's just that we're an odd pair and people like contrast, right?" Stewart told Us Weekly. Snoop, of course, added his two cents. "You just put two people together that love people, we love people, so it's not just always about us ... We attract the energy of other people."

Lil Wayne's career is hotter than ever

Acclaimed by Billboard as "one of the most masterful lyricists of our time," Lil Wayne was first arrested in 2007 for possession of a loaded semi-automatic weapon on his tour bus, per The Guardian. Wayne, who started his career at age 12 with the Hot Boys, became a hip-hop star with his 2008 album "Tha Carter III."

In 2010, the rapper was sentenced to a year in prison on the weapons charge. "I'll be still rapping in there, have a gang of raps ready when I come back home," the artist assured Rolling Stone before he began serving his time. He walked out of Rikers Island eight months later. Wayne's eighth studio album, "I Am Not a Human Being," was released while he was still locked up. In 2020, Wayne pled guilty to illegal possession of a loaded handgun on a private plane.

In 2021, President Trump pardoned the convicted felon, who was facing up to 10 years in the slammer. These days, Lil Wayne's career is on fire. In 2023, he earned three 2023 Grammy nods for his work on DJ Khaled's "God Did" and he's launching a 28-city tour. The "Kant Nobody" rapper, who performed at the CMA awards and toured with Blink-182, told U Discover Music, "There's not a lot of rappers in this position who can do that or say they've done that."

Lori Loughlin may be a rom-com queen once again

Lori Loughlin is the biggest celebrity involved in the "Varsity Blues" college admissions scandal. In 2020, the "Full House" alum pleaded guilty to fraud charges after she and her husband Mossimo Giannulli initially denied paying half a million dollars in bribes to get their two daughters admitted into the University of Southern California, per Us Weekly. Loughlin received a two-month prison sentence, and completed 100 hours of community service. The "Summerland" alum has kept a low profile following her release.

In her first on-camera interview, Loughlin opened up at KTLA-5 TV's "Lead With Love 3's" telethon for Project Angel Food, an organization that provides food for people with life-threatening illnesses. "They have welcomed me with such open arms at a time when I was feeling particularly down and broken," she said, per the Los Angeles Times. Loughlin's job prospects were drying up even before she was locked up.

Once known as "Queen of the Hallmark Channel," the network abruptly parted ways with the actor, before flip-flopping on that call a few years later. Netflix wrote her character out of the final episodes of "Fuller House," but don't count this popular star out yet. In 2021, the actor reprised her role as Abigail Stanton in the Hallmark series "When Hope Calls," a spinoff of the network's hit series, "When Calls the Heart." Loughlin also stars alongside James Tupper in the Great American Family Network's 2023 rom-com, "Fall Into Winter."

Lil' Kim is still hip-hop royalty

Lil' Kim is a trailblazing female rapper. The Brooklyn-born MC set the tone for her career with her debut album, "Hard Core," which, along with her next two albums, were platinum-certified. The artist won a Grammy Award for her part in the 2001 chart-topper "Lady Marmalade." In 2005, Lil' Kim was convicted of lying to a grand jury about a 2001 shootout between rival rappers outside a Manhattan radio station, per Summit Daily.

The rapper, who was facing 20 years in prison, urged the judge to look at more than the one incident. "I ask you to consider my entire life's work and not just the days in the grand jury and on the witness stand in the courtroom. I'm a God-fearing, good person," she said. For trying to protect her friends, Kim was sentenced to 366 days in prison and she was released after serving 10 months.

In 2019, Kim released "9," which features collaborations with Rick Ross and City Girls. She also starred in and executive produced VH1's reality series, "Girl's Cruise." That same year, the "Queen Bee" received BET's I Am Hip Hop Award. Accepting the honor, she paid tribute to Biggie, her longtime partner and mentor. "I don't know if ya'll know what it's like to have an angel following you all the time, but that's Biggie," she said. "I'm gonna always love him and I'm gonna always ride for him."

Lindsay Lohan's career is back on track

Lindsay Lohan was a Hollywood star at age 10, getting rave reviews for her breakout role playing twin sisters in the 1998 comedy, "The Parent Trap." The hit movies kept on coming. The "Freaky Friday" star played Cady, the new girl in town in "Mean Girls." Lohan also starred in "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen." Sadly, the Long Island native was barely into her 20s when the actor's life devolved into a grown-up drama of her own doing.

In 2007, Lohan was busted for driving under the influence of cocaine and ended up serving about an hour in lockup, per E! News, but this was the first of multiple drug-related arrests and convictions. In total, she's been incarcerated six times. After six stays in various rehab facilities, the actor confirmed to Oprah Winfrey in 2013 that she is an addict, and that her substance abuse issues began with alcohol. "I'm my own worst enemy, and I know that," she added.

After nearly a decade out of the spotlight, Lohan staged her return to the small screen, starting by poking fun at herself in a 2022 Super Bowl ad for Planet Fitness. Then, the actor returned to her rom-com roots in Netflix's "Falling for Christmas." After watching a teaser for the flick, one person tweeted, "The comeback we've been waiting for!" Lohan also stars in the 2023 romantic comedy, "Irish Wish," opposite Ed Speelers.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Mike The Situation Sorrentino came back to Jersey Shore

Mike "The Situation'" Sorrentino is one of the stars of MTV's hit series, "Jersey Shore." Along with his fellow "Guidos," the young, attractive Italian-American cast coined the term "GTL" — Gym, Tan, Laundry — the three essential activities for life on the Jersey Shore. The series premiered in 2009, and ran for six seasons. Sorrentino also competed on Season 10 of "Celebrity Big Brother," and he gave the ballroom a shot on "Dancing with the Stars."

In 2018, Sorrentino was sentenced to eight months in prison for tax fraud. As CNN reported, he "pleaded guilty to tax evasion and concealing income, stemming from a 2014 indictment for falsifying business and personal tax returns between 2010 and 2012." In September 2019, the reality star was a free man. A year later, the former stripper was reunited with his "Jersey Shore" cast mates for "Jersey Shore: Family Vacation."

"This whole reboot has been very important to me," Sorrentino told CBS News "It was the start of me starting to come back and be my best self. It has documented everything from my proposal, getting sober, getting married, going to prison to coming back." The New Jersey Native married his high school sweetheart, Lauren, in 2018. They share two children, Romeo Reign and Mia Bella. Captioning a pic of himself with his son, "The Sitch" wrote on Instagram, "Of all the titles I've been privileged to have, 'Dad' has always been the best."

T.I. added reality star to his resumé

T.I. is a chart-topping emcee and reality TV star. The Atlanta native rose to fame in the mid 2000s with the releases of "King," "T.I. vs. T.I.P," and 2008's "Paper Trail" – all No. 1 hit albums. "Live Your Life" featuring Rihanna and "Whatever You Like" from "Paper Trail" each held the top spot on Billboard's Hot 100 list. Meanwhile, the three-time Grammy winner has done a few stints behind bars.

In 1998, T.I. was found guilty of "distribution of cocaine, manufacturing and distributing a controlled substance, and giving authorities a false name," per WSB-TV 2 Atlanta. The rapper received a three-year prison sentence, and was released after serving one. In 2007, hours before he was set to perform at the BET Awards, T.I. was busted for purchasing illegal machine guns, and subsequently sentenced to 366 days in prison, per MTV.

In 2011, T.I. and his wife, former Xscape member Tameka "Tiny" Harris, launched a VH1 reality series, "T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle." In 2016, he signed with Jay Z's Roc Nation label, where he has collaborated with artists like Young Thug, Swizz Beatz, and Meek Mill. In a 2021 interview with Revolt, the father of six explained that he wants to go down in history as a man who's true to his word. "I want to be my son's first hero and my daughter's first love. This other stuff doesn't matter," he said.

Meek Mill is making up for lost time with his comeback

Inspired by fellow Philadelphia hip-hop artists Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff, Meek Mill cut his teeth as a battle rapper, collaborating with Rick Ross on "Tupac Back" and "Ima Boss." In 2012, Meek released his first album, "Dreams and Nightmares," which debuted in the No. 2 spot on Billboard's Hot Rap Songs chart. With the 2015 follow-up, "Dreams Worth More Than Money," the rapper scored his first chart-topping album.

In 2008, Meek was found guilty of a drug and firearm charge, but instead of the expected misdemeanor "illegal carry" offense, which typically involves a fine and house arrest, the rapper was sentenced to two years in prison and eight more in probation, per Rolling Stone. In 2018, a judge piled on a sentence of up to four more years behind bars for minor probation violations. Per NPR, Meek served five months of his sentence before Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ordered him to be released on bail.

After his legal nightmare, Meek returned to the studio, releasing "Championships" in 2018, which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Album. His hit single off the album, "Going Bad" featuring Drake, spent 37 weeks on Billboard's Hot 100. In 2023, the rapper made an ambitious New Year's resolution. "This year a album every quarter!," he tweeted. Drake, who made a special appearance at Meek's 2019 Motivation Tour in Los Angeles, told his friend, "You definitely had the best comeback of all time."

Gucci Mane did a complete 180 after being locked up

Gucci Mane is one of the most prolific and highly-regarded hip-hop artists in the business. He also has a rap sheet that's a mile long. One of the founding fathers of trap music, the Atlanta rapper released his first album "Trap House" in 2005 featuring the hit single "Icy." Gucci got into a heated beef with his collaborator Young Jeezy over "Icy," which escalated into a shooting, and murder charges were filed against Gucci. In 2006, the charges were dropped, per All Music.

In 2013, the rapper faced a judge once again. Gucci pleaded guilty to a firearms possession charge, but because he was a convicted felon, he was sentenced to 36 months in a federal prison, per CBS News. In 2016, the artist was released four months early. In 2019, Gucci received his first Grammy nomination for his work on Lizzo's track "Exactly How I Feel."

The rapper's first album post-lockup, "Everybody Looking" had lots of people listening. It entered the Billboard's Top Album Sales chart in the top spot. He also created 1017 Eskimo, his own Atlantic Record imprint, which signed Migos and Young Thug before they broke out. "When I went to prison, I knew that I was special. I knew I was unique, and I knew I had something to offer that a lot of people didn't," Gucci told Billboard in 2021. "When I got out I said, 'I'm going to show everybody." He certainly did.

Michael Vick made a stunning NFL comeback

Michael Vick was one of the NFL's biggest stars in the early 00s. The Virginia Tech standout was the first pick for the Atlanta Falcons in the 2001 draft.Three years later, the starting quarterback took the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game, nabbing the 24-year-old a 10-year/$130 million contract. In the 2006 season, Vick had more than 1,000 rushing yards, the record for any QB in a single season in NFL history.

In 2007, Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his part in financing and participating in a dogfighting ring, per NFL News. The athlete was suspended from the NFL, and he had to file for bankruptcy. About a month after his release, the Philadelphia Eagles signed the Virginia native to a one-year contract. Vick was playing the best football of his career, leading his team to the NFC title.

In 2012, Vick was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year by the Associated Press making him the first ex-con to receive the honor in its 12-year history. Since his release, Vick has become an animal rights advocate, lobbying on Capitol Hill and working with the Humane Society doing community outreach. "The best thing to do was make amends for what I did," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I can't take it back. The only thing I can do is influence the masses of kids from going down the same road I went down."

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is rolling in cash

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is considered one of the greatest boxers in the history of the sport. Before he went pro, the undefeated pugilist won the National Golden Gloves competition three times, and scored a bronze medal in the 1996 Olympic Games. The son of a former fighter and trainer, Mayweather Jr. has taken down several high-profile opponents. In 2005, he won his match-up with light-middleweight champ Oscar De La Hoya.

Two years later, he knocked out Ricky Hatton in Round 10, handing the Brit his first-ever loss. In 2011, Mayweather Jr. was hit with a 90-day prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge stemming from an altercation he had with his ex-girlfriend, Josie Harris, per ESPN. After serving 60 days in a maximum security prison, the Michigan native came back better than ever. In 2015, Mayweather Jr. took a victory lap after defeating Manny Pacquiao, the boxing world's only eight-division champ.

In 2017, Mayweather Jr. faced off with UFC superstar Conor McGregor in "The Money Fight." "Money" Mayweather, as he's affectionately known, predicted his take from pay-per-view revenue would be in the ballpark of $350 million. These days, the retired boxer appears in exhibition matches across the world. "5 exhibitions in 5 countries in 9 months and if any of these exhibitions don't happen, I still get paid," he posted on Instagram. "I'm the most active hustler in boxing, my money is guaranteed."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).