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After a racial slur scandal cost Paula Deen her Food Network job and handfuls of sponsors, the celebrity chef is attempting to rebuild her image and career with a new team behind her. But will she be able to make a comeback? For every Robert Downey Jr., there's a Pee-wee Herman, who was never able to scale back to his pre-sex scandal height of fame. Here are 14 stars who were able to recover.
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The scandal: A Star report and a car accident outside of his home in November 2009 led to the golfer's confession that he had cheated on his wife Elin Nordegren with multiple women. Woods took a hiatus from golf, lost a slew of sponsors, divorced Nordegren and dropped to No. 58 in the world rankings.
Post-scandal: It was a long road back to the top. Though he tied for fourth place in his first tournament back at the 2010 Masters, Woods wouldn't win a tournament until December 2011. He finally regained the No. 1 ranking in March 2013, after which Nike launched a new ad with the tagline, "Winning takes care of everything," which drew criticism. The 14-time major champ, whose last major win was at the 2008 U.S. Open, has also retained new sponsors and is now dating Olympic skiing champ Lindsey Vonn.
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The scandal: Grant, who was dating Elizabeth Hurley at the time, was arrested for misdemeanor lewd conduct in June 1995 when he was caught with hooker Divine Brown in his car on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard. He pleaded no contest, paid a fine and was ordered to complete an AIDS education program.
Post-scandal: Grant repaired the damage swiftly and charmingly on a Tonight Show appearance, during which Jay Leno famously asked, "What the hell were you thinking?" Grant's classic mea culpa: "I did a bad thing." The actor's career was hardly impacted, as he continued to enjoy a string of rom-com successes, including Notting Hill, Two Weeks Notice, the Bridget Jones's Diary films and Love Actually, and the dramedy About a Boy, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination.
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The scandal: The heart wants what it wants. In 1992, Allen, then 56, and Mia Farrow, his girlfriend of 12 years, split after the actress found nude pictures that Allen had taken of her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, 21. (Allen never adopted Previn.) Allen and Farrow had a bitter custody battle over their three kids, none of whom keep in contact with him anymore. He and Previn married in 1997 and have two daughters.
Post-scandal: Allen took some heat when his film Husbands & Wives opened during the scandal and featured his character jonesing after the much-younger Juliette Lewis. Nevertheless, the film was well-received and earned him yet another writing Oscar nomination. (He holds the record with 15 nods.) Allen has continued to make critically acclaimed films with marquee names and won his third original screenplay Oscar for 2011's Midnight in Paris. Of Farrow's discovery of those naked pictures, Allen said in 2005, "It was a turning point in my life for the better."
5 of 15 Rob Tannenbaum/MSLO/PBS
The scandal: Stewart served five months in prison from October 2004 to March 2005 after being convicted of obstructing a federal securities investigation and making false statements in the ImClone insider trading scandal. Following her release, she was placed under home confinement for five months and two years of supervised release.
Post-scandal: The tide turned in Stewart's favor while she was in prison, as the public started to sympathize with the mogul as a scapegoat. Stewart's empire recovered fast with expanded, thriving new Martha Stewart Everyday lines, The Martha Stewart Show, which lasted seven seasons, and now a new PBS show, Martha Stewart's Cooking School.
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The scandal: Gibson made anti-Semitic remarks during his 2006 DUI arrest. Four years later, recordings leaked of his violent, abusive remarks toward his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.
Post-scandal: The jury is still out on Gibson's career — he's rarely worked in the past seven years and has said that he doesn't care if he ever works again — but he has slowly been accepted back by his peers after a well-received, low-key appearance at the 2013 Golden Globes Awards, where his longtime pal and staunch supporter Jodie Foster received the Cecil B. DeMille Award. As for his career, Gibson, who was dropped from The Hangover II, can next be seen in Robert Rodriguez's Machete Kills.
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The scandal: The child star had experimented with alcohol, marijuana and cocaine by the time she entered rehab for the first time at age 13. She returned to rehab after a suicide attempt the following year. Barrymore also caused a stir when she posed nude for Interview at 17 and Playboy at 19.
Post-scandal: By the mid-'90s, Barrymore went on the straight and narrow, founded her own production company and has starred in a number of box office hits. She drew critical acclaim and won a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for her turn as Little Edie in HBO's Grey Gardens.
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Robert Downey Jr.
The scandal: Repeatedly arrested in the '90s on drug-related charges, Downey served nearly a year in prison from 1999 to 2000, which forced him to be written out of Ally McBeal.
Post-scandal: Committed to cleaning up his act, Downey, who's been candid about his troubles and his recovery, revived his career in 2008 with mega-hits Iron Man and Tropic Thunder, for which he earned his second Oscar nomination. Now one of the highest-paid actors, Downey pleaded with Hollywood to forgive his friend Mel Gibson like they did him in his American Cinematheque Award speech in October 2011.
9 of 15 Donna Svennevik/ABC/Getty Images
The scandal: Sheen was fired from Two and a Half Men in March 2011 after he went on bizarre rants about tiger blood, "winning," Adonis DNA, being a warlock, and trashed CBS and Men creator Chuck Lorre.
Post-scandal: Sheen tried to make amends with his former employers at the Primetime Emmy Awards that year, wishing the show and replacement Ashton Kutcher the best. The actor wasn't unemployed for long — FX snatched him up in July 2011, and his show Anger Management premiered in 2012.
10 of 15 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
The scandal: The Los Angeles Lakers star admitted to having sex with a 19-year-old woman and insisted it was consensual after she filed a sexual assault complaint against him. The case was dropped when the woman refused to testify, and the parties settled a civil suit out of court. Bryant bought his wife Vanessa a $4 million diamond ring as an apology.
Post-scandal: Bryant, who split from Vanessa for a year before reconciling in January 2013, quickly buried the scandal from public consciousness with his on-court prowess. He earned two NBA scoring titles, was named league MVP in 2008, and added a fifth and sixth ring to his collection, along with two Olympic gold medals. The Black Mamba singlehandedly willed the Lakers to the playoffs in 2013 before suffering an Achilles injury from which he has vowed to come back stronger.
11 of 15 Jeffrey Staab/CBS
The scandal: Letterman revealed in October 2009 that he had been a victim of a blackmail attempt by someone threatening to expose his numerous sexual relationships with female Late Show staff members, including his personal assistant, Stephanie Birkitt, over the years. 48 Hours producer Joe Halderman, an ex-boyfriend of Birkitt's, was later arrested and served a six-month jail sentence after pleading guilty.
Post-scandal: Confronting the scandal head-on, Letterman issued a heartfelt mea culpa in a lengthy speech on his show, apologizing to viewers, his staff and his wife, Regina Lasko, and emerged relatively unscathed — not counting his self-deprecating joke every now and then.
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The scandal: Brown was sentenced to five years' probation for assaulting Rihanna in February 2009. He has since possibly gotten a tattoo of Rihanna's bruised face, brawled with Drake, thrown a chair outside a Good Morning America studio window and reportedly faked his community service.
Post-scandal: Though his antics continue to polarize fans, Brown has been accepted back into the music industry fold, releasing two No. 1 albums and a number of top 10 singles, and he won his first Grammy in 2012. He also temporarily reunited with Rihanna after she had his restraining order modified.
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The scandal: In 1988, Lowe was involved in a sex tape scandal involving two young women he met while stumping for Michael Dukakis at the Democratic National Convention; one of the girls, unbeknownst to Lowe, was 16 years old. The tape became one of the first commercially available celebrity sex tapes.
Post-scandal: His Brat Pack heartthrob image severely tarnished, Lowe, who served 20 hours of community service for having sex with a minor, slowly worked himself back in the public's favor after lampooning his troubles on Saturday Night Live. Later telling Oprah that the tape was "the greatest thing that ever happened to me," the actor went to rehab for alcohol and sex addiction, and rebounded with his Emmy-nominated turn on The West Wing. These days, he's literally making us laugh on Parks and Recreation.
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The scandal: Tyson served three years of a six-year prison sentence from 1992-95 after being convicted of rape. Two years later, he bit Evander Holyfield's ear.
Post-scandal: Tyson won over fans with his cameo in The Hangover and his new, softer, reflective persona that includes racing pigeons. His 2013 guest spot on Law & Order: SVU as a convicted rapist stirred controversy, to which Tyson paid no mind. "I don't trip on that stuff. I'm not trying to get rich and famous; I'm just trying to feed my family," he told TV Guide Magazine. "Why should they care? Since I'm clean and sober five years, I haven't broken any laws or did any crimes. I'm just trying to live my life." Tyson most recently made an appearance at the 2013 Tonys.
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The scandal: Clinton was impeached after admitting — following numerous denials — to having sex with White House intern Monica Lewinsky in 1998.
Post-scandal: Acquitted of all charges and allowed to finish out his second presidential term, Clinton made a seamless recovery, leaving office with the highest approval rating of any post-World War II president. Now a humanitarian, Clinton focuses on AIDS prevention and global warning with his William J. Clinton Foundation and served as an ambassador for the U.S. in the release of two journalists from North Korea in 2009 and the Haiti earthquake recovery efforts. Clinton remains one of the highest-rated former presidents in public opinion polls.