Top Ten Celebrity Comebacks of the Decade

They were down but not out.

America loves a good comeback story and a celebrity comeback is even better. During the past decade, some stars went from obscurity to Oscar nod. Others had a rollercoaster decade, starting on top, plummeting in the middle, but managing to end on top. And, in the case of one star, it took death to bring him back to the forefront of pop culture.

Take notes, Jon Gosselin, Lindsay Lohan, Joaquin Phoenix and Kanye West -- all celebrities who could use a comeback in the next decade. Here's a look at the 10 biggest celebrity comebacks of the decade:

Mickey Rourke

Mickey Rourke, who started his acting career as a sex symbol in the 1980s, and then left it in the 1990s for a failed career in professional boxing, had no problem calling his starring role in 2008's "The Wrestler" his comeback.

"This is a second chance for me. It's my last chance; I just wanted to bring it," he told Peter Travers in an interview for ABC News Now's "Popcorn."

"I was living on hope, fears," the 57-year-old actor said. "Being out of work for 13 to 15 years is no walk in the park," he said.

His role as a washed-up wrestler taking his last shot in the ring mirrored Rourke's own professional life. Rourke's last shot paid off. He received a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar nomination for best actor.

Not bad for an actor who started out the decade playing the villain in Enrique Iglesias' "Hero" music video and ended it with the role of Whiplash in 2010's sure-to-be blockbuster "Iron Man 2."

Robert Downey Jr.

Speaking of "Iron Man," Robert Downey Jr. could have been just another Hollywood tragedy.

After fighting heroin and cocaine addiction and going through multiple drug arrests in the 1990s, Downey appeared headed for a comeback in 2000 when he was cast as Calista Flockhart's love interest in the television show "Ally McBeal." His performance earned him a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination, but after two arrests in late 2000 and early 2001, Downey was written out of the show.

Downey finally got sober after one last stay in a court-mandated drug treatment program. His career began to take off again. His roles in 2005's "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" and 2007's "Zodiac" got glowing reviews.

"Iron Man" cemented his return. It was followed by an Oscar nod for Downey's comedic turn in "Tropic Thunder."

Back at the top of his game, Downey will end the decade playing Sherlock Holmes in Guy Ritchie's action-filled remake.

Tom Cruise

At one time, the "Risky Business" star made all the right moves. His "Mission: Impossible" films in the late 1990s and 2000s were worldwide blockbuster successes, making him the world's most powerful celebrity in 2006 according to Forbes.

But then Tom Cruise fell in love and made a public relations blunder. In a May 2005 appearance on the "Oprah Winfrey Show," he began jumping on the host's couch to show his excitement over his budding romance with actress Katie Holmes.

A month later, he made another controversial on-air appearance, this time on NBC's "Today" show, when he called psychiatry "pseudoscience" and cast doubt on actress Brooke Shield's claim that she suffered from post-partum depression.

Suddenly Cruise, the ardent Scientologist, was perceived as something of a joke or, at the very least, an oddball.

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