Celebrity Divorce: 8 Stars Who Bounced Back Better Post Split (PHOTOS)
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Can divorce be a catalyst for greatness?
Not many celebrities have second acts, and one box-office flop or tabloid taboo can relegate even the hottest stars to D-list notoriety. These 8 divorcees are the exception--their messy splits weren't impediments so much as launching pads for their most notable successes. Check out our list and add your picks in the comments.
Jennifer Lopez's <a href="http://www.accesshollywood.com/jennifer-lopezs-loves-over-the-years-on-screen-and-off_gallery_3057/image_149640">first marriage to Ojani Noa</a> in 1997 lasted a little less than a year, but that hasn't stopped her waiter-turned-actor ex from trying to cash in on her success. Since her first album, "On The 6," debuted in 1999, Lopez has been a Billboard mainstay, selling over 75 million records worldwide and garnering many music award nominations. She has also starred in several films and launched a fashion line, in addition to serving on the judging panel for "American Idol." Noa has sued Lopez <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/02/jennifer-lopezs-exhusband_0_n_856443.html" target="_hplink">multiple times</a> since their 1998 split, and has threatened to release unseen home video footage -- including an alleged sex tape, the release of which Lopez blocked. She has since remarried twice; her marriage to backup dancer <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,624417,00.html">Chris Judd ended in 2002</a>, after which <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,646315,00.html">she married</a> -- and then <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/jennifer-lopez-opens-up-about-marc-anthony-divorce-you-never-want-to-break-up-a-family-2012149">divorced</a> -- Mark Anthony, with whom she had two kids.
Denise Richards has emerged as the saner of Charlie Sheen's ex-wives, having avoided the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/18/brooke-mueller-back-in-rehab_n_850363.html " target="_hplink">drug troubles</a> of Sheen's most recent ex, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/02/charlie-sheen-and-brooke-_1_n_856410.html " target="_hplink">Brooke Mueller</a>. Since their 2006 split, Richards has starred in her own reality show on E!, "Denise Richards: It's Complicated," in addition to a stint on "Dancing with the Stars." Richards has become an <a href="http://www.accesshollywood.com/denise-richards-to-debut-monthly-animal-adoption-segment-for-best-friends-animal-society-on-access-hollywood-live_article_44348" target="_hplink">animal rights activist</a> in recent years as well; she is an ambassador for the Utah-based Best Friends Animal Society and regularly appears on TV and at events promoting animal adoption.
Martha Stewart was <a href="http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20101736,00.html">originally a stockbroker</a> before she and her now ex-husband, Andrew Stewart, decided to move to Connecticut to restore an 1805 farmhouse. There, she started a successful catering business that garnered her a cookbook deal; her first book, "Entertaining", became a New York Times bestseller. She penned multiple books including "Martha Stewart's Quick Cook" (1983), "Martha Stewart's Hors D'oeuvres" (1984), and "Weddings" (1987), before <a href="http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20101736,00.html">she and her husband split in 1990</a>. One year after her divorce, she created a magazine, Martha Stewart Living, for which she served as editor-in-chief. She rapidly expanded to radio and television, prompting New York Magazine <a href="http://www.entrepreneuressacademy.com/blog/case-study-martha-stewart/">to name her </a>"the definitive American woman of our time" in 1995. Two years later, she launched Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, a consolidation of the various television, print, and merchandising ventures related to the Martha Stewart brand. Sure, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2004/07/16/news/newsmakers/martha_sentencing/">being incarcerated</a> in 2005 for securities fraud wasn't a high point, but she launched a comeback upon her release and created the Emmy-nominated daytime talk show, "The Martha Stewart Show."
Harrison Ford quit his small-time acting job to become a <a href="http://www.forbes.com/2009/03/03/starting-second-career-leadership-careers_celebrity_acts_slide_4.html">professional carpenter in the early 1970s</a>, in order to support his first wife -- Mary Marquardt -- and their two young children. In a twist of fate, he was hired by George Lucas -- then a little-known producer -- to build cabinets in Lucas' home. <a href="http://www.forbes.com/2009/03/03/starting-second-career-leadership-careers_celebrity_acts_slide_4.html">Lucas offered Ford a small role in his film "American Graffiti"</a> and continued to employ him as a carpenter as he expanded to a larger office. In 1975, Lucas hired Ford to read lines for absent actors auditioning for "Star Wars"; his convincing portrayal won over director Steven Spielberg, who cast him as Han Solo -- the lead role. Shortly following the release of "Star Wars," <a href="http://thechive.com/2012/05/22/the-10-most-expensive-celebrtiy-divorces-ever-10-photos/">Ford divorced his first wife</a> and went on to become one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, with starring roles in dozens of movies.
Nora Ephron's widely publicized divorce from Carl Bernstein in 1980 inspired <em>Heartburn</em>, an autobiographical novel that was turned into the 1986 film starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. After the split -- Ephron's second -- she wrote over a dozen books and screenplays, including the Oscar-nominated films "Silkwood," "When Harry Met Sally," and "Sleepless in Seattle." In her final book, <em>I Remember Nothing</em>, Ephron wrote about her reflections on life, including <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nora-ephron/the-d-word_1_b_779626.html" target="_hplink">divorce</a>. She <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/27/movies/nora-ephron-essayist-screenwriter-and-director-dies-at-71.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0" target="_hplink">died in June 2012</a> at age 71.
Jack Nicholson's career took off after his <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000197/">1968 divorce</a> from Sandra Knight. He was nominated for his first Academy Award for 1969's "Easy Rider." Of the nearly 50 movies he has starred in since his split, 22 have won awards and multiple nominations, including "Terms of Endearment" (1983), "Batman" (1989), "As Good As It Gets" (1997), and "The Departed" (2006).
Kathryn Joosten quit her job as a nurse to be a housewife after marrying her psychiatrist husband. Two kids and ten years later, she was divorced and struggling to pay the bills. At the age of 42, Joosten discovered her love of acting in a local theater production in Chicago, and subsequently moved to Los Angeles to pursue her newfound passion. Several years later, she landed a <a href="http://www.forbes.com/2009/03/03/starting-second-career-leadership-careers_celebrity_acts_slide_2.html?thisspeed=25000" target="_hplink">recurring role</a> on "The West Wing," followed by a starring role on "Desperate Housewives," for which she won two Emmys. Joosten <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2012/jun/04/kathryn-joosten" target="_hplink">died of lung cancer</a> in June 2012.
Annette Bening and her first husband, choreographer J. Steven White, <a href="http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20129618,00.html">separated after two years of marriage</a> in 1986. She launched her acting career shortly thereafter, with roles in "The Great Outdoors" (1988), opposite Dan Aykroyd, and "Valmont" (1989), opposite Colin Firth. She received her first Academy Award nomination a year later, for Best Supporting Actress in her role as Myra Langtry in "The Grifters." From there, she went on to star in nearly 20 acclaimed films that garnered her three more Oscar nominations and two Golden Globe wins (for "Being Julia" (1994) and 2010's "The Kids Are All Right"). <a href="http://shine.yahoo.com/love-sex/annette-bening-her-20-marriage-203800174.html">She is remarried to Warren Beatty</a>, with whom she has four kids.