Celebs Who Took Hiatuses From The Public Eye Right In The Middle Of The Careers

It is a pretty fair statement to say that being famous and in the public eye makes for a very peculiar life experience. Not too many of us mere mortals know how it feels to be constantly hounded by photographers while on the street or have our private lives double as a tabloid playground. For celebs, this gets tiring and overwhelming and sometimes, they just need to step away from it all. In fact, some celebs have taken hiatuses from the public eye and re-emerged successfully to the surprise of fans and the industry.

As is expected, there have been times when celebrities needed a break to just be a normal human beings, whether it was self-imposed or due to a series of unfortunate events. A few of these people had to take a break out of necessity for their well-being, despite what their fans or other people in the business might have advised them.

Can anyone ever be truly sure that they can "come back"? The business of celebrity is a very picky one, but luckily for the eight celebrities below, they were able to take a hiatus from the public eye and return to a fan base ready to accept and support them.

1. Britney Spears


We've have all read the meme "If Britney Spears could make it through 2007, we can it make it through today." And it's true that that year was one of toughest for Spears, who dealt with a public breakdown before hiding away in a studio to record her "comeback" album, Circus. She had also previously announced a hiatus in 2004, posting on her fan site, “My prerogative right now is to just chill and let all of the other overexposed blondes on the cover of Us Weekly be your entertainment. Good luck girls!”

2. Dave Chappelle

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Chappelle was on top of the comedy game in 2005 with Chappelle's Show, when he left mid-season on a surprise hiatus. Despite being offered insane amounts of money by Comedy Central to continue the show, Chappelle took off to South Africa to enjoy his life. That year, Time caught up with Chappelle who said of his time in Africa, "Let me tell you the things I can do here which I can't at home: think, eat, sleep, laugh. I'm an introspective dude. I enjoy my own thoughts sometimes. And I've been doing a lot of thinking here." He has slowly returned to the stage since 2012, selling out tours in 2014 and 2015, and has since announced a slew of dates in Milwaukee and Toronto in early 2016.

3. Frank Ocean

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After the release of his universally praised debut album, Channel Orange, in 2012, Frank Ocean seemed to have disappeared. Fans have been rabid for any new music from the elusive artist for the past few years, with little avail, until he randomly popped up on a new version of "Wolves" on Kanye West's album The Life of Pablo. He also made an appearance at the rapper's Yeezy 3 show. The time might be nigh!

4. Robert Downey Jr.

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In 1993, Downey Jr. was an Oscar nominee for Best Actor for Chaplin. But from the mid-'90s until the early '00s, the actor was dealing with his substance abuse issues. He spent most of those years in and out of rehab, and in July 2001 was sent to court appointed rehab where he showed significant improvement after being away for nine months. In 2003, he grabbed a hold of his life and re-started his career with Gothika, and eventually earned another Oscar nomination (this time for Best Supporting Actor for Tropic Thunder in 2009) and a spot in the Marvel Universe as Iron Man.

5. Lauryn Hill

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Lauryn Hill is probably one of the most elusive musicians on the planet. She received massive acclaim for her solo debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, in 1998 and seemed to not want to have any part in the music world much after that. In 2002, she surprised everyone when she dropped her MTV Unplugged album. Hill says raising her five children was a major reason for her hiatus, but she's been making random festival appearances the past few years, to mixed reviews.

6. Winona Ryder

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After her shoplifting incident in 2001, Ryder took a hiatus to focus on her personal life. She starred in a few small projects throughout the '00s, but it wasn't until her surprise role in Star Trek in 2009 and Black Swan in 2010 that her career was on the road to "comeback." In 2014, she told The Telegraph of her career hiatus, “Fame can be incredibly isolating. Dangerously so. And I’ve definitely gone through that. There was a time when I would go for a hike and I wouldn’t even know that I was being photographed.”

7. Kanye West

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It may seem impossible to think that West would voluntarily not want to be seen or heard, given his latest antics surrounding the release of his album The Life of Pablo. But back in 2009, after that now-infamous Taylor Swift diss at the MTV VMA's, West went into hiding in Hawaii for a few months, only to reappear with new music on his critically acclaimed album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. He obviously came back with a bang — and hasn't gone anywhere since.

8. Josh Hartnett

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Hartnett was the heartthrob of the '00s, but he seemed to have gone into a move exile after 2006's Black Dahlia. He reemerged in 2014 when he was cast in the fantasy television show Penny Dreadful and has a slew of film projects being released in the next two years. Hartnett is also a new father as of December 2015 with his girlfriend, Tamsin Egerton.

It is never a bad idea to take some time off to take care of yourself, and these celebrities prove that we all need it every once in a while.