It is said that the American public has an unhealthy obsession with being a star. Author of “Fame Junkies: The Hidden Truths Behind America’s Favorite Addiction,” Jake Halpern, asked hundreds of teenagers what they would change about themselves if they could and found many wanted fame over anything else, including intelligence. Today’s generation lives and breathes the celebrity life from gawking at movies stars hanging out on the red carpet to touring the homes of sports giants.
Not all the stories are inspiring, though. The train wrecks like Lindsay Lohan get just as much attention. With all eyes on them, some of these public figures manage to pull themselves back from the brink to reestablish their careers. Those are the ones that teach society a lesson.
Hitting Rock Bottom can be Inspiring
Robert Downey Jr. (above left) shows that down is not necessarily out, especially if you are willing to ask for help. The Brat Pack actor from the ’80s and ’90s cut a different image than the one many know today. A stormy personal life that included well-publicized drug use overshadowed brilliant screen performances in movies such as “Chaplin” and “Less than Zero.” The actor was in and out of jail from 1996 to 2001 with court-ordered rehab having little effect. During one visit in front of a judge, Downey described his addiction as a shotgun in his mouth, according to BBC.co.uk.
In the spring of 2001, cops spotted the actor wandering through Culver City, California barefoot and high. During an interview with Oprah, Downey explained that he was facing prison for a second time and realized that he needed to ask for help. It was a request that paid off. With hits like “Iron Man,” “Sherlock Holmes” and an Oscar nod for his role in “Tropic Thunder,” he has turned his life and career around while staying on the path of sobriety.
Mental Health Issues Aside
When Britney Spears (seen above at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards) suffered a meltdown that included shaving her head and attacking paparazzi, many feared it was the end of the Disney stars’ career. It was actually a beginning of what would be a struggle to come back from mental breakdown. Prior to that fateful night, she had been living a dream life. Her career started when she was just 8 years old. As member of The Mickey Mouse Club, she made her way into the hearts of millions. A 1999 cover of Rolling Stone proclaimed her Teen Queen.
After losing custody of her two sons and control of her assets, Spears began to rehab her career despite rumors that she suffered from bipolar disorder. Publicists and identity professionals like online reputation management experts at Reputation.com went about changing her image. Although still struggling with personal issues, Spears has successfully made it back to the stage.
It Helps to be Humble
Lance Armstrong is far from having a positive public image. There had always been doping rumors surrounding cyclist Lance Armstrong, but he had continually taken an arrogant attitude regarding the charges. After scandal rocked his career, he finally took a proactive approach to fixing things by humbling himself.
It wasn’t until he admitted publicly that the allegations were true that his fans could move on. This coming clean was cathartic for those who had supported the athlete through a decade of lies. The scandal continues but it is easier to have sympathy for a man who admits wrongdoing. He even discussed during an interview how he finally told his 13-year-old son the truth. It is likely that moment will stick in people’s minds regardless of what he comes next.