We’ve all heard the old saying, “Breaking up is hard to do.” Well, that goes double for celebrities. These famous couples couldn’t make it work and were forced to face very public breakups. It can’t be easy to heal a broken heart in front of the flashing lights of Hollywood. So, how do celebs handle their high-profile splits?
Some celebrities retreat from the spotlight. It seems like they suddenly disappear from fame and we never hear from them again. They stop making movies and avoid the red carpet. Fans are left wondering why their favourite stars faded. Many of these celebs have trouble rebounding after a tough breakup and go into hiding.
Then there are those celebs that not only bounce back after a breakup but somehow manage to shine even brighter because of it. They take the publicity of their split and use it to push their fame forward. They throw themselves into work and have no problem stepping into the spotlight. These celebrities emerge from their failed relationships looking more glamorous and confident than ever.
Hollywood is a fickle town and most celeb relationships don’t last. It’s fascinating to see how the stars handle the failure of their personal relationships. Here are 10 celebs who left Hollywood after a breakup, and 10 who entered the spotlight stronger than before.
20 Left Hollywood: Demi Moore
Demi Moore ended her six-year marriage to Ashton Kutcher after he was spotted with a mysterious blonde. The actor was called unfaithful.
According to People magazine, Demi released this statement at the time of her split from the actor: “As a woman, a mother and a wife there are certain values and vows that I hold sacred, and it is in this spirit that I have chosen to move forward with my life.”
The actress retreated from the spotlight to lick her wounds and hasn’t been seen much around Hollywood since.
19 Stepped Into The Spotlight: Gwen Stefani
Gwen Stefani went through a very public divorce from her husband Gavin Rossdale in 2016. Rather than shy away from Hollywood, she released the album "This Is What the Truth Feels Like.” She also met her new boyfriend, Blake Shelton, while hosting the reality-television show, The Voice.
"It was like being handed this gift of a friend who was going through the exact same thing at the exact same time," she told Harper’s Bizarre of her friendship with Shelton that bloomed into love. He was going through a divorce at the same time as her. "It’s crazy the support and love I’ve felt. It went from horrible to, like, hopeful and, like, 'Wow, God, you just don't know what's gonna happen next.'"
18 Left Hollywood: Kim Basinger
Kim Basinger took a hiatus from acting after a divorce from her husband, Alec Baldwin, in 2002. Since then, she’s only taken on a few movie roles and has avoided the spotlight. The exes had a difficult and very public custody battle over their daughter, Ireland.
According to the NY Post, Basinger discussed her retreat from fame in the 2001 HBO documentary, “Panic: A Film About Coping.” She said,
“Fear has been something I’ve lived with my entire life, the fear of being in public places – which led to anxiety or panic attacks,” she says. “I stayed in my house and literally cried every day.”
17 Stepped Into The Spotlight: Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon might have taken some off from acting after her split from Ryan Phillipe in 2007, but she came back in a big way. The Big Little Lies star pushed herself back into the spotlight and has been seen on the big screen and working the red carpet ever since.
She told Entertainment Weekly: “My favorite quote is from Martha Stewart: ‘I have a very short memory for painful things.’ And I do. I have one of those incredible memories where I just erase painful things….I truly believe you never lose in a relationship. You’ve always gained something.”
16 Left Hollywood: Rob Kardashian
Rob Kardashian found fame in the reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Fans watched on as Rob grew into manhood and became a father to his daughter, Dream. Yet, when things went south with his girlfriend, Blac Chyna, the youngest Kardashian retreated from the spotlight.
Rob addressed his absence in court documents obtained by The Blast, saying, “It has been an extraordinarily difficult time for me emotionally and I have no desire to continue participating in the reality show. I would like to maintain my privacy, try to recover from the emotional damage of the past several months, and explore other business ventures.”
15 Stepped Into The Spotlight: Jennifer Aniston
If there is one actress in Hollywood who would have every right to hide and never show her face again, it would be Jennifer Aniston. She not only survived Brad Pitt leaving her for Angelina Jolie but she also went through a surprising split from her second husband, Justin Theroux. Yet, she still manages to hold her head high.
What’s her secret? She told Elle magazine: “It’s a glass-half-full kind of thing. Always being open. Allowing myself to feel what I feel. What brings me happiness? I have a great job. I have a great family. I have great friends. I have no reason to feel otherwise."
14 Left Hollywood: Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith was a Hollywood darling in the ’80s but has pretty much avoided the spotlight over the years. She was married to and divorced Don Johnson twice. Yet, it was her separation from Antonio Banderas that really took her out of the fame game.
According to ABC News, she opened up to Porter magazine about her life after the divorce. "I'm shy with men now, very reticent," she said. "I haven't met anyone in the almost two years [Antonio and I] have been divorced. No, I don't go on dates, nobody has asked me on a date. I go out with my girlfriends."
13 Entered The Spotlight: Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman stepped into the spotlight after her divorce from Tom Cruise. She opened up to People about being thrown into the public eye in the midst of dealing with their split. “I was catapulted into huge fame — it all sort of coincided in the sense of that, it was a lot. It was a lot,” she said.
Nicole went on to say, “But I’m so glad I did [everything] and at the same time pushing through that stuff — one, it was a great thing to do because [as] people who have gone through things a lot of the time will tell you... ‘just day by day’ and you push through it.”
12 Left Hollywood: Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez actually entered a rehab center to deal with her mental health after finally ending her “on and off” relationship with Justin Bieber. An insider close to Selena spoke with Entertainment Tonight about why the singer decided to step out of the spotlight.
"Selena is very delicate; her 'comeback' to the spotlight has been tough - especially with the interest in her personal life with Justin and her mother,” the source said. “She is taking time to herself. This is not the first time she has done this. She needs to figure out how to live the life she wants in the spotlight - if that's even possible.”
11 Entered The Spotlight: Emma Stone
The year 2017 was a big one for Emma Stone. She ruled the award season and took home the Oscar for her role in La La Land. Despite the fact that she had recently split from her boyfriend Andrew Garfield, the actress did not shy away from the spotlight.
Heartache wasn’t going to stop this girl from enjoying the accolades and she didn’t miss a beat. She’s historically very private about her personal life but opened up to Vogue about the ups and downs of 2017. “It's been interesting. It's been a good year. And sad. Pros and cons,” she said.
10 Left Hollywood: Anne Heche
Anne Heche faced a tough breakup with her high-profile partner, Ellen DeGeneres. She managed to have a public meltdown in the process. Who could forget the time that she left her car on the side of the California highway and stumbled up to a stranger’s door?
The actress disappeared from fame after she and Ellen issued a joint statement announcing their split. “Unfortunately, we have decided to end our relationship,” the actresses told The Daily News, as ABC News reports. “It is an amicable parting, and we greatly value the 3 1/2 years we have spent together. We hope everyone will respect our privacy through this difficult time.”
9 Entered The Spotlight: Katy Perry
Katy Perry could have gone into hiding after her divorce from Russel Brand but the pop singer put all of her energy into releasing a new album. Despite the fact that "Witness" didn’t do as well as her previous albums, Katy put herself out there - even though she had a broken heart.
According to Us Weekly, Katy opened up about her painful breakup. "He's a very smart man, and I was in love with him when I married him," Perry said. "Let's just say I haven't heard from him since he texted me saying he was divorcing me [on] December 31, 2011."
8 Left Hollywood: Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan may be back in the spotlight with her new show, Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club, but she escaped Hollywood for many years. She went through a difficult split from her DJ girlfriend, Samantha Ronson. The actress took time to refocus and get her personal life back in order.
According to The Independent, Lohan spoke exclusively with Us Weekly about the breakup and her plans to leave the spotlight.
“I'm just trying to be with my family, take care of myself, clean my house, get my work going. I'm doing what's good for me. I haven't done that in a very long time," she said.
7 Entered The Spotlight: Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga’s career skyrocketed after her breakup with her fiancé Taylor Kinney. The couple broke up in 2016 and shortly after the news broke of their split, Gaga was tapped to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime Show. She’s since moved on and is engaged to Christian Carino.
According to Elle, Gaga discussed the sacrifices she’s made for her career in the documentary, Five Foot Two. "My love life has just imploded,” she said. “I sold 10 million [records] and lost Matt. I sold 30 million and lost Luke. I did a movie and lost Taylor. It's like a turnover. This is the third time I’ve had my heart broken like this."
6 Left Hollywood: Angelina Jolie
One of the most public and surprising Hollywood divorces was when Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt ended their marriage. Since their split, Angelina has taken some much-needed time off from the spotlight to help their six children adjust to their new life without Brad. She’s also been dealing with some health issues.
Angelina opened up to Vanity Fair about her new life as a single mom. “I’ve been trying for nine months to be really good at just being a homemaker and picking up dog poop and cleaning dishes and reading bedtime stories. And I’m getting better at all three,” Angelina said.
5 Entered The Spotlight: Khloe Kardashian
Khloe Kardashian’s marriage problems ended in a public divorce. The reality star not only held her place in the spotlight after splitting from Lamar Odom, but she started her own show. The series featured people who wanted to get back at their exes by getting fit.
According to The Daily Mail, the show came about because Khloe sought refuge at the gym after her breakup. “Revenge Body is inspired by my own personal journey,” she said. “I was going through a difficult time going through my divorce and I started going to the gym as a place to clear my head and as a stress reliever.”
4 Left Hollywood: Katie Holmes
Who could forget when Tom Cruise declared his love for Katie Holmes by jumping on Oprah’s couch? The couple was married in 2004 and had a daughter, Suri. The marriage only lasted four years before ending in a quick divorce.
Katie retreated from the spotlight and has kept a low profile ever since. A person close to Katie told People: “She no longer had the life she wanted, in terms of her career, her way of life, everything.” The insider added, “It’s clear that Tom can be very persuasive and is very powerful. But once she decided to go, she was done.”
3 Entered The Spotlight: Chris Pratt
Chris Pratt and Anna Faris were total relationship goals so it was quite a surprise when they decided to end their marriage after eight years together. It seems like just as the news broke, Chris Pratt’s career took off. From Jurassic World to Guardians of the Galaxy, the actor stepped into the spotlight in a big way.
Chris Pratt talked about his divorce to Entertainment Weekly, saying: "We’re finding a way to navigate this while still remaining friends and still being kind to one another. It’s not ideal, but yeah, I think both of us are actually probably doing better."
2 Left Hollywood: Denise Richards
Denise Richards left Hollywood for years after her divorce with Charlie Sheen. She took time off to raise their two daughters and left the spotlight for motherhood. Who could blame her for avoiding the public eye while her ex-husband had a mental breakdown?
Now she’s back to acting and was cast in the show, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Extra sat down with her to talk about her decision to return to the spotlight. Richards said,
“I went through a lot and have been really private about a lot of things, and just in a really good place right now... and thought it would be fun [to be on the show], so I thought why not?”
1 Entered The Spotlight: Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Garner held her head high as her marriage to Ben Affleck fell apart. They divorced after 10 years of marriage when Ben got a little too close to their children's nanny. Rather than allow herself to hide from Hollywood, Jennifer stepped into the spotlight after their split.
She opened up to Vanity Fair about how she handled the tabloids' obsession with her failed relationship.“I cannot be driven by the optics of this,” she said. “I cannot let anger or hurt be my engine. I need to move with the big picture always on my mind, and the kids first and foremost.”
Nicely done, Jennifer!