Breakups are a part of life, and we all deal with them differently. Some of us get super proactive and hit the gym, dying to show our ex just what they’re missing, whereas others prefer to wallow in a carton of ice cream and endless Netflix binges. Some take breakups to their friends to help them deal, which could mean marathon ranting sessions or else partying until the sun comes up. Really, some of us rise and some of us fall in the wake of grief, and it all depends on the relationship and the person. There’s no right way to do it, but these celebs have show us how to succeed when you’ve just been through a breakup, or how to totally fall apart. Unlike us, these 20 stars don’t have the luxury of a private life in the way that we do, and every moment, even the painful ones, are captured for everyone to see.
If you want to take inspiration on how to kill it in a post-relationship world, check out the stars who managed to take the positive from the negative. However, if you’d prefer to be a hot mess (there’s always an occasion that calls for one), then check out the other 10. Stars – they’re just like us!
20 BETTER: Kourtney Kardashian
Another up-and-down relationship that was finally brought to a merciful end, Kourtney Kardashian said she hit the gym when she learned that baby daddy Scott Disick was cheating on her thanks to a slew of paparazzi pics that saw him in the arms of an ex, but she also took the smart approach when she lost 160 lbs of d-bag!
After being photographed stepping out on his longtime love, Disick chose to party while Kourtney picked fitness, reportedly hitting the gym five days a week!
Maybe she got some tips from little sis Khloe? Because that is certainly a revenge body worth celebrating! Kourtney also found herself her own kind of arm candy, with model Younes Bendjima, who is 14 years her junior! Hey, age ain’t nothin’ but a number, right?
19 WORSE: Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie has always been on the slender side, but she’s often bulked up for roles that required a great deal of physical fitness, like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider or Mr. & Mrs. Smith. She’s regularly been considered one of the most beautiful women in the world with her feline features and pouty lips, but after the acrimonious split from husband Brad Pitt in 2016, which saw her file for sole custody amid claims of Brad’s abusive and alcoholic nature, the stress has taken its toll on Angie.
Tabloids have abounded with “news” of Angelina’s weight loss, but we think it’s just stress that’s eating away at her.
It should be noted that the actress experienced a similar scare when she was diagnosed with the breast cancer gene in 2013 and when her mother passed away in 2007. Hopefully, future happiness can have her back to looking healthy!
18 BETTER: Katie Holmes
When Katie Holmes was with Tom Cruise, it seemed as if the actress was forced to wait in the wings while her eccentric hubby did his thing for the camera. Sure, he pulled her in front of audiences for staged smooches, but she lacked the fire and hotness that we knew she had inside her, opting for buttoned up and prim dresses, or high-fashion haircuts like her famous bob.
Well, fast-forward to 2012, when Katie filed for divorce and got out from under Tom’s thumb, and we’re witnessing a rebirth here!
Sexier and sleeker, Katie is no longer shying away from shaking what her mama gave her while proving that she is indeed a hot mom in NYC! Tailored pants are in and tea-length dresses are out and honestly, she’s practically glowing! (We bet that rumored romance with Jamie Foxx doesn’t hurt, either!)
17 WORSE: Demi Moore
A breakup or divorce is one thing, but Demi Moore was subjected to public humiliation when ex-husband Ashton Kutcher cheated on her with 20-something Sara Leal in Vegas. Leal, of course, looking for her 15 minutes of infamy, sold her story to the tabloids, and every dirty detail was available for the public to scrutinize, which took a toll on Demi’s mental and physical health.
Reportedly partying a lot and doing plenty of illegal substances, Demi’s already-slender frame was whittled down even further, making those in her inner circle fear for her life.
In fact, even her own daughters had to temporarily cut ties with her while she went off the rails.
Fortunately, she seems to have gotten much better, recently appearing in Rough Night and keeping a low profile since.
16 BETTER: Katy Perry
Considering how shocking her split – after a whirlwind romance and quickie marriage – it’s almost unfair how beautifully Katy Perry bounced back after ending things with comedian Russell Brand. Apparently, he simply sent her a text message declaring his intent to divorce and never spoke to her again!
Like many of us, Katy chose to change her hair, going from blue to black to purple, embraced her killer curves, and said that she simply had to pick herself up after feeling like she was going to fall apart. “You don’t have to lay down and die, even if you feel like you’re going to,” she told Jay Leno. Post-breakup Katy is the girl we know and love, who knows that you don’t let people – even exes – get you down, you just get up and “Roar”!
15 WORSE: Jessica Simpson
A good rule of thumb for a successful marriage is to not make it into a reality TV show. Seriously, it’ll basically triple your chances of making it to your fifth anniversary.
Alas, it was still early days when Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey chose to broadcast their tumultuous relationship via MTV’s Newlyweds, and it is said that the show – and Jess’s dad – was a key part in the demise of their marriage.
After splitting in June 2006, Jessica did the tried-and-true girl move of changing up her hairstyle, opting for a dark brown shade, and stress-ate just a little. While Jess has admitted to being a natural brunette, this color is just too dark on her and flattens her usually vibrant look. Plus, she was this shade when she got involved with John Mayer, which is never a good idea.
14 BETTER: Ashlee Simpson
Unlike her older sister Jessica, Ashlee Simpson took the whole divorce thing in stride and came back looking amazing from it!
Her marriage to Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz saw Ashlee amp up her punk aesthetic, rocking heavier eye makeup, more jewelry, and a more gothic vibe overall. Hey, the couple that shares eyeliner together stays together, right? Well, apparently not, because of the two split just two years later, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at Ashlee! With lighter hair, more natural makeup, and a more sophisticated sense of style, the pop singer had a major glow-up that left us saying, Pete who? And, she’s been able to find happiness again, most recently marrying Evan Ross in 2014 and becoming a mom a second time in 2015!
13 WORSE: Ben Affleck
Poor Ben Affleck, he’s had a rough couple of years. Unlike his ex Jennifer Garner, who is clearly slaying the post-divorce game, Ben isn’t doing so hot. There was all that bad press about him grabbing MTV VJ Hilarie Burton in 2003, and prior to that, an awful phoenix tattoo that took up most of his back – something even ex Jennifer Lopez thought was a bad decision. Oh, and
he had a little fling with his kids’ nanny, has been in rehab for alcohol addiction, and is basically the kind of mess you become once you realize you’ve thrown away the best thing to ever happen to you.
Instead of the clean-cut, cleft-chinned guy we’re used to, Ben has been looking blear-eyed and a little too scruffy lately, making us think he’s taking this breakup much harder than his ex.
12 BETTER: Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift, by her own admission, has a “long list of ex-lovers”, and when you’re someone who’s making a mint off of writing hit breakup songs, you’d better believe that she gets a "breakover" every time she crosses another guy off her list!
Following the highly publicized relationship – or, rather, summer fling – with actor Tom Hiddleston, Taylor ditched the flirty flower girl dresses and began her ascent into something much darker and hotter than we’ve ever seen her before. We know she went into hiding prior to the release of Reputation, following all of that Kim Kardashian-Kanye West drama, but even after her split with Hiddleston, Swift showed that a new wardrobe and a smoky eye can be the best cure for heartbreak. While she’s since found happiness with new beau Joe Alwyn, we hope she keeps the new dark look, at least for a while!
11 WORSE: Christina Aguilera
Showing the way celebrities become hot messes once they’ve dealt with an intense breakup, we have Christina Aguilera. After her marriage to Jordan Bratman ended in divorce in 2011, Christina did what many of us do and partied – hard.
Unfortunately for her, life as a celebrity doesn’t allow you the luxury of private grief, and her messy, alcohol-fuelled bender was caught on camera and eventually saw her arrested for public intoxication.
While Christina immediately jumped into a hookup scenario with production assistant Matt Rutler, the two have actually stuck together ever since! Now engaged and having recently welcomed a daughter with Rutler, Christina seems to have yanked herself (with a little help) from her dark place and is looking much better ever since this “after” photo.
10 BETTER: Kaley Cuoco
Kaley Cuoco loves to love, and she’s not ashamed to admit it, but it has gotten her into some sad situations when she’s rushed into things without thinking of the consequences. Case in point: After a mere three months of knowing one another, Kaley wed tennis player Ryan Sweeting, only to divorce him 21 months later, citing his addiction to painkillers as the primary reason for their split. During her time with Sweeting, it appeared as though Kaley’s bubbly personality was dampened, in keeping with Sweeting’s more introverted nature. She cut off the blonde hair we know her for and settled into a more somber style of dress.
Fortunately, that divorce was one of the best things that have ever happened to the TV star, who began clean eating, which helped her feel confident in her ab-baring outfits and, the hopeless romantic that she is has recently become engaged again!
9 WORSE: Rob Kardashian
Fact: Rob Kardashian does not handle breakups well. Before Blac Chyna and his decision to share intimate photos of the mother of his child, Rob was with British singer Rita Ora before the two ended things after a short period of time in 2012 (but not before Rob got a tattoo commemorating the pop star). Never one to stay silent about a breakup, Rob took to Twitter to air his grievances, claiming that Rita had been cheating on him with nearly 20 other men.
He also turned his pain inward, and became depressed, dependent on illegal substances, drinking heavily, overeating, and partying. His assault on his own body has seen him become a recluse, refusing to appear on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and gained a significant amount of weight.
8 BETTER: Ciara
Another tumultuous breakup, Ciara was engaged to rapper Future, with whom she shared a son. Unfortunately, just three months after giving birth, Ciara found out that Future had been cheating on her with his stylist, something that left the singer “devastated” by his betrayal.
It seems that being a new mom – and later, finding love again with NFL quarterback Russell Wilson – was hugely positive on Ciara, both personally and aesthetically! After dropping an impressive 60 pounds post-pregnancy,
Ciara also switched up her harsher and more architectural style for something softer and more flattering to her natural beauty.
Instead of outrageous hairstyles, the singer looked a little more romantic, possibly indicating her feelings for the football player. Clearly, the mommy glow and the look of love did wonders for Ciara, who welcomed a daughter with Wilson in 2017!
7 WORSE: Bella Thorne
Bella Thorne is in prime contention to be the latest Disney star to go off the rails, and her romantic history may have something to do with it. Following a year-long relationship with British actor Gregg Sulkin – which also saw rumors fly regarding Bella’s infidelity with Sulkin’s friend and costar, Tyler Posey –
Bella went a little wild, dying her hair, doing her own makeup (poorly), getting multiple piercings, and wearing increasingly outlandish and skimpy outfits on the red carpet.
Hey, we all deal differently, right?
Bella also chose to hook up with Scott Disick but didn’t come away unscathed by the notorious playboy. She later posed for controversial shoots for GQ Mexico and Playboy, leading many to wonder if the actress is really heading for a major downward spiral.
6 BETTER: Reese Witherspoon
Admitting that she got married at a young age, Reese Witherspoon was only 21 when she tied the knot with actor Ryan Phillippe, her costar in the dark teen flick Cruel Intentions. The two quickly welcomed two children, a son, and a daughter, but things started to go south as Reese’s star rose higher than her husband’s, and she sought comfort in the arms of another woman, his Stop-Loss costar Abbie Cornish.
But, like the pro she’s always been, Reese didn’t let anyone see her sweat, and showed up at the 2007 Golden Globes looking the kind of gorgeous "breakover" dreams are made of! Easily one of the most recognizable dresses in award show history, the canary yellow cocktail dress showed Reese’s slimmer figure, show-stopping bangs, and everything her ex was missing!
5 WORSE: Miley Cyrus
In an effort to eschew her Hannah Montana image, Miley Cyrus risked just about everything to break away – including, in the end, her relationship with actor Liam Hemsworth.
The pair met on the set of the Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Last Song, when Miley was a country cutie and brunette beauty, and as she grew older, she wanted to distance herself from her Disney image. Cue to infamous 2013 MTV VMA performance that saw her in a beige Latex bikini and Hemsworth was done. Afterwards,
we saw Miley cut her hair even shorter, dabbled in more and more narcotics, changed her appearance, and really became a shadow of the girl we once knew, proving how devastating the breakup was on her.
Luckily, the two have since reconciled and are back to being engaged again, and Miley has toned down her crazy antics, proving that you live, you love, and you learn.
4 BETTER: Khloe Kardashian
Hey, she didn’t call her show Revenge Body for nothing!
Khloe Kardashian has been outspoken about her dismay over being the “fat sister” in her perfectly coiffed clan, and it didn’t help that she spent much of her time on the show dealing with relationship drama, thanks to her marriage (after only one month) with NBA star Lamar Odom. The drama seemed over when Khloe filed for divorce in 2013, but wasn’t finalized until 2016, between which Odom overdosed in a brothel.
Now, Khloe has said that she used the gym to channel her energy, as she saw it as her only refuse. She later revealed that she had lost about 40 pounds. With a sexy new haircut and some killer clothes she can really rock, Khloe is happier, healthier, and more in love than ever with Tristan Thompson, showing us that good things come to those who wait!
3 WORSE: Britney Spears
The messy breakup to end all messy breakups, Britney Spears went off the rails in 2007 after a slew of personal issues, not the least of which included her divorce from Kevin Federline and the removal of her custody rights to her two sons.
Britney took to partying with pals like Paris Hilton before storming into a hair salon and shaving her head, then attacking a paparazzi vehicle with an umbrella.
She was placed on psychiatric hold and was still going pretty nuts until her father was able to gain conservatorship over her in 2008, which still remains to this day. Brit-Brit has managed to come back in the spotlight, her biggest comeback album being 2008’s Circus, and now seems happier and healthier than before, but we’ll never forget the relationship and ensuing conflict that almost cost her everything.
2 BETTER: Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Garner is basically supermom, picking up the slack from ex-husband Ben Affleck when it came to their three kids. Not surprisingly, this unfair work distribution was one of the reasons why their marriage failed, but Jennifer has managed to show Ben exactly what he’s missing ever since their split!
Trading in her mom-on-the-go dudes of jeans and sensible shoes for something much sleeker and sexier, Jennifer has planted herself firmly in MILF territory! When we were first introduced to her as an actress, she was a svelte, butt-kicking hero, and that never stopped, she just had some of the sexy sapped out of her. Now, with a hot new breakup makeover, Jennifer is proving that Ben did a bad, bad thing when he chose partying over her!
1 WORSE: Justin Bieber
Their relationship was on-again, off-again for years (before, most recently, seemingly on again), but when Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez seemed to split for good back in 2014, Justin went off the rails, and his new look showed it.
In addition to getting a slew of new tattoos, Justin decided to bleach his hair and later attempted dreadlocks, before shaving his head entirely (which we personally think was a wise decision).
2014 was also the year where his reputation transformed from sweet singing boy to the worst neighbor ever, as he faced multiple arrests for his behavior, which included drag racing and egging his neighbor’s house.
We know that Justin and Selena have since been rumored to have struck up their romance again, so maybe she can give him some new style tips!