These Artists Who Took Hiatuses Came Back Even Stronger
Celebrities need a break sometimes just like everybody else. After all, it’s not easy living life in the spotlight. With so many eyes watching your every move, there’s constant pressure to never make mistakes. Not to mention, there’s an endless amount of pressure to top their last project while online trolls hate on them for no reason. Sometimes, the fame can become too much, and that’s why celebs need to get away from all the noise every once in a while. Other times, they just need some time off in order to get inspired again. While some actors and musicians’ star status was never the same after stepping back from the public eye, these 20 artists who took a hiatus only found more success when they came back.
The hype leading up to their big comeback projects was unbelievable. Fans were just so excited to see their faves back to work again, wondering what they were cooking up next. Since these stars’ previous releases were so huge, fans wondered if their follow-up movies, television shows, or records would have the same impact. In the end, these celebrities exceeded everyone’s expectations by dropping their best work yet.
From Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez, to Demi Lovato and Kesha, here are 20 artists who took a hiatus and came back even stronger and more determined than ever.
1. Taylor Swift
After releasing her record-breaking album 1989 in 2014, Taylor Swift admitted she didn’t know where to go from there. "How could the next [album] be as big?" she said in an October 2015 interview with NME. "I think I should take some time off. I think people might need a break from me."
After Swift’s infamous feud with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West over the rapper’s controversial "Famous" lyrics in 2016, she did just that. However, in 2017, she came back better than ever with Reputation. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and its lead single, "Look What You Made Me Do," soared to the top of the Hot 100, becoming Swift’s fifth No. 1 single.
Since then, Swift’s dropped Lover and Folklore, which both went straight to No. 1 as well.
2. Demi Lovato
Following her 2018 overdose, Demi Lovato made her highly-anticipated comeback at the 2020 Grammy Awards, where she performed her emotional track "Anyone." The performance brought the audience and viewers at home to tears.
Soon afterward, Lovato sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, and released singles like "I Love Me," "Still Have Me," and "Commander In Chief," which took aim at President Trump and his controversial policies. She also collaborated with Sam Smith on "I’m Ready" and Marshmello on "OK Not to Be OK," proving she was just as in demand as ever.
3. Selena Gomez
Fans went five years without new music from Selena Gomez after the release of Revival in 2015. The singer’s reason for her break was understandable, as she needed to take care of her physical and mental health following health complications due to lupus. "I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off," Gomez explained to People in 2016.
In September 2019, Gomez received an award from Massachusetts’ McLean Hospital for raising awareness about mental health. During her speech, she said she went through a year of "a lot of intense work" educating and bettering herself with the help from doctors.
Months later, Gomez dropped her third studio record, Rare, which she described as a "healing" album. It gave Gomez her first No. 1 Hot 100 single with "Lose You To Love Me."
4. Harry Styles
One Direction’s indefinite hiatus began in 2015, and that’s when Harry Styles took the opportunity to focus on his solo music. After a few years finding his sound, he returned with his self-titled debut album in May 2017. The pop-rock record brought hits like "Sign of The Times," "Two Ghosts," and "Kiwi." It landed at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and was named one of the best releases of the year by several publications.
The singer only achieved greater success with the release of his second album, Fine Line, as "Watermelon Sugar" became Styles’ first No. 1 single.
5. Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber also took a five-year gap between albums. Following his 2015 record Purpose, the star did a few collaborations here and there, but didn’t feel ready to launch into another full-length LP until much later. In a March 2019 Instagram, Bieber admitted he was unhappy and didn’t want to come back before seeking help. "Music is very important to me but nothing comes before my family and my health," he explained, adding he only wants to give fans the best version of himself. The following month, the singer told fans he had begun therapy.
Eventually, Bieber found himself again and in February 2020, and he made his big return with Changes. The record debuted at the top of the Billboard 200, becoming Bieber’s seventh No. 1 album.
6. Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj’s 2014 studio album, The Pinkprint, was hard to top, but the rapper proved it was possible with the 2018 release of Queen. From "Chun-Li" and "Barbie Dreams," to "Good Form" and Bed," there wasn’t a song fans didn’t love on this record, which debuted just behind Travis Scott’s Astroworld in August 2018.
“I went through a moment where I got to know myself again, and then I went through a moment where I got to know myself as the rapper again. And then I locked [myself] in the studio and I didn’t want to leave," Minaj said of her comeback. "Spiritually, I’ve experienced more growth in the last six months of my life, of my career, than I have in the last eight years."
Adele’s 2015 album 25 ended her four-year hiatus following the release of 21. Her lead single, "Hello," was proceeded by hits like "When We Were Young" and "Water Under The Bridge." The record went on to win Album of the Year at the 2017 Grammy Awards and British Album of the Year at the 2016 Brit Awards. In true Adele fashion, she went on another hiatus after making her big comeback. Considering she did some promo activities on SNL on Oct. 26, she may be getting ready to take the music industry by storm once again.
8. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga reinvented herself with her 2016 release Joanne, as it had her rocking a more stripped-down look than fans knew previously with The Fame, Born This Way, and Artpop.
For four years, fans wondered which direction Gaga would take next with her sixth album. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gaga pushed back Chromatica‘s release from April to May 2020 and canceled her tour dates.
Despite all these complications, the record proved to be a success. Her collab with Ariana Grande "Rain On Me" became a No. 1 hit and it won several accolades at the 2020 Video Music Awards.
Kesha sued Dr. Luke for abuse in 2014, claiming the producer "sexually, physically, verbally, and emotionally" abused her. She lost her legal battle to be released from her contract with Dr. Luke’s label, Kemosabe Records, and in turn, Dr. Luke sued her for defamation. Elite Daily previously reached out to Kesha and Dr. Luke’s teams for comment on the case but did not hear back by the time of publication.
Due to the situation, Kesha couldn’t produce new music for years, but after Sony agreed she wouldn’t have to work with Dr. Luke, she was finally able to drop "Praying." The piano ballad marked a new beginning in her career because it was unlike anything the star had released before. "This song is about coming to feel empathy for someone else even if they hurt you or scare you," she explained in a letter.
10. Britney Spears
Following the release of her 2007 album Blackout, Spears checked into UCLA Medical Center’s psychiatric hospital in January 2008 to focus on her mental health.
That November, she released her sixth studio album, Circus. The record’s lead single, "Womanizer," went No. 1, becoming the singer’s best-selling song since her 1998 track "…Baby One More Time." Her album’s success proved fans were still by her side no matter what.
After releasing his fifth album, Encore, in 2004, Eminem was away from the hip hop scene for half a decade. The hype surrounding his follow-up record, Relapse, was huge. In an October 2018 interview with BBC Radio, the rapper said he "loves the attention," but he has "no desire" to be at the top again.
"Whatever happens, I’ll take it, but that’s definitely not what I’ll be recording the songs for," he said.
Relapse turned out to be his most authentic piece of work yet, and fans loved it, helping it shoot to No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
12. Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart took everyone by surprise with the announcement of her hiatus in October 2014. "I’m going to take so much time off. I’m going to buy a live-work space in downtown L.A. and I’m going to make some [stuff] with my hands," the actress told USA Today at the time.
Of course, Stewart couldn’t stay away from acting for long. (In fact, it only lasted a few months.) She starred in various films throughout the years, starting with American Ultra in 2015, but the project that was most prominent was Charlie’s Angels, which came out in November 2019. The movie saw Stewart taking on a very different role than the serious roles fans had become accustomed to from the star.
13. Jason Derulo
Over the years, Jason Derulo’s had a lot of huge singles, like "In My Head," "Talk Dirty," and "Ridin’ Solo," but his most successful song has got to be "Watcha Say," which went No. 1 in 2009. While he had a few modest hits over the years, Derulo hit his new stride after a decade on TikTok. Derulo finally achieved his second No. 1 single with the TikTok viral hit "Savage Love," along with help from Jawsh 685 and BTS, marking his big career comeback.
14. Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio has stepped away from the limelight several timesthroughout his career. One of the actor’s breaks happened after he won his first Oscar for The Revenant in 2016. He was away for four years before fans saw him on the big screen again in 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The movie was a huge success, winning Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy at the 77th Golden Globe Awards.
15. Missy Elliot
Missy Elliot is a music icon who pushed boundaries for female artists in hip hop. She rose to fame in the late 1990s and 2000s, but, at the top of her fame, she disappeared from the spotlight after the release of The Cookbook in 2005.
She returned in August 2019 with her EP Iconology. The same year, she won the Video Vanguard Award at the VMAs and made a big splash with a compilation performance of her biggest hits (which obvs featured her old school music video staple, Alyson Stoner).
16. Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey is one of the most prominent actors around. He made his breakthrough with romantic comedies like The Wedding Planner and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days in the early 2000s, but when he noticed Hollywood refused to cast him in other genres, he took a step back from acting for almost two years. He even turned down a $14.5 million offer for a romantic-comedy role all because he wanted to reinvent himself.
That happened in 2013 with his roles in True Detective, Dallas Buyers Club, and The Wolf of Wall Street. His comeback was so successful that it was dubbed the "McConaissance."
17. Shania Twain
To many people, Shania Twain is considered the Queen of Country Pop, so when she stopped putting music out following the release of her album Up! in 2002, fans were devastated.
Years later, fans discovered Twain had actually contracted Lyme disease that left her unable to sing. The star was worried she would never be able to perform again, but she defied the odds. Following years of intense vocal rehabilitation, Twain dropped her comeback album Now in 2017. It entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1.
18. Fall Out Boy
Fall Out Boy was also at the height of their fame when they took a hiatus in 2009 to release solo projects. Although some bands split following a long break, Fall Out Boy stayed together. In 2014, they dropped their fifth studio album, Save Rock and Roll, which went No. 1 and brought the smash hit "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)."
Since then, Fall Out Boy has released two more albums, American Beauty/American Psycho and Mania.
19. Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder’s career skyrocketed in the late ’80s and ’90s with her roles in Beetlejuice, Heathers, and Edward Scissorhands. However, things changed in 2001 when Ryder stopped acting following her arrest for shoplifting $6000 worth of merchandise. At the time, the actress said she didn’t realize how her break would impact her career.
"I was constantly being told, ‘You have to keep working so you stay relevant.’ When I was ready to come back, I was like, ‘Oh, where did everyone go?’" she said in a June 2016 interview with TIME.
Ryder saw major success again by starring in Stranger Things, the most-viewed show on Netflix in 2019.
20. Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle’s Comedy Central sketch show The Chappelle Show was a big hit when it premiered in 2003. It went on for two seasons before Chapelle stepped away in 2005 because he began questioning his work on the show, revealing it didn’t feel right anymore.
That was only the beginning for the star, however. A decade later, Chapelle made his comeback with his role in the 2015 film Chi-Raq. He then made his Saturday Night Live hosting debut in 2016. A year later, he released four Netflix specials, two of which went on to win Grammys for Best Comedy Album.
Today, these 20 stars are known as some of the most recognizable faces in entertainment, proving comebacks are totally possible if you never give up.
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