11 Celebrities Who Successfully Reinvented Themselves

It may feel like our favorite celebrities were always as famous as they are today, but there are a few of them who had to switch gears a bit before they hit it big. Check out how some A-listers reinvented themselves (or just expanded their empire) before they started really raking in the dough, and for another great reinvention, check out the new E! Online.

1. Jennifer Lopez

After starting her career as a backup dancer, Lopez quickly became a famous recording artist, and before long was landing movie roles, creating fragrances and clothing lines, and even making judgment calls on reality TV.

2. Jon Stewart

When Jon was younger, he was a stand-up comedian. He even acted in a few movies. But no one really misses him doing either because he routinely kills it on “The Daily Show.”

3. Katy Perry

Katy grew up in a very religious household, so her first record had a gospel-quality sound. But soon after its release, her label dropped her. Thankfully, after some hard work, she rebounded with “I Kissed A Girl” and turned road trip playlists into an art form again.

4. Mark Wahlberg

After Mark Wahlberg was finished snorting cocaine and breaking people’s jaws in unprovoked attacks, he formed the musical group, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Then he modeled Calvin Klein underwear, and even made a fitness video. But he realized that if he became an actor, he could do all those things and demand a helluva lot more money.

5. Ellen DeGeneres

Like most of us, DeGeneres used to be a sitcom actress! She had 2 shows, but low ratings meant they were eventually cancelled. Thankfully though, she finally found a gig doing what she always wanted: as an Emmy-winning talk show host who gets to dance whenever she wants!

6. Mickey Rourke

Before college, Rourke amateur boxed, but then he took a break and got pretty good at acting. Then he started boxing again. But when his body started to give out (and after he’d become horribly disfigured), he returned to acting and won us over when he starred in Enrique Iglesias’s video for “Hero,” with Jennifer Love Hewitt.

7. Robert Downey Jr.

Downey’s career took a dip when he got addicted to drugs. He was arrested numerous times between 1996 and 2001, and no one wanted him in their movie. After relapses and several attempts at rehab, Mel Gibson paid the insurance bond that let Downey act in “The Singing Detective” in 2003, and Hollywood eventually took him back when he did “Gothika” with Halle Berry.

8. Betty White

Betty White was always a treasure on “The Golden Girls,” but 2009’s “The Proposal” reignited her career. She went on to host “Saturday Night Live” in 2010 after a campaign on Facebook demanded that she do so, and it earned her an Emmy. She’s been on an age-appropriate tear ever since.

9. Neil Patrick Harris

NPH got famous for playing an adolescent doctor on “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” and he’s one of the only child actors who became an adult star. He’s now winning Emmys and hosting award shows all over the place, and the world stops whenever he tweets pictures of his partner, David, and their young twins, Gideon and Harper.

10. Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow is still an Oscar winner, but these days she spends more time in the kitchen and on her blog than as an actress. When she’s not busy chronicling her experiences on Goop.com, she’s promoting her cookbook or making us jealous of the friendship she has with Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

11. “The Rock”

Dwayne Johnson spent years raising a villainous eyebrow in the WWE ring, but now he’s moved on to a career in Hollywood. He’s hosted “SNL,” and has been in movies like “The Game Plan,” “Fast Five,” and “The Tooth Fairy.” He even holds the Guinness World Record for receiving the highest salary for an actor in his first starring role (he got $5.5 million for “The Scorpion King”).

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