7 Celebrities We’re Glad We’ve Forgiven

Sometimes people do some stupid stuff. Scratch that. At some point, everyone is going to do some stupid stuff. There are celebrities who have messed up time and time again, or messed up on such a scale it’s shocking that they’re still welcomed into the world of big budget entertainment. There are those individuals we will likely never want to forgive — Kanye West — but there are others who screwed up royally, sought forgiveness, and made the world of entertainment a better place, because they were forgiven.

7. Mike Tyson

Iron Mike Tyson. What would the world of entertainment be without the former boxing great? It would be lacking some serious spice— some serious flavor. Or to say it like Mike: “Thome therious flava…” For those who only know Mike Tyson as the crazy dude with a face tattoo from The Hangover, it’s necessary to know more. Mike was once upon a time convicted of rape, and imprisoned, then forgiven and welcomed back into the boxing community. Soon thereafter, he entered the ring with Evander Holyfield, and during a tie-up, he bit off a piece of Evander’s ear. As time has passed, it has offered us a fascinating glimpse into the life and legacy of Mike Tyson. Being raised as he was, it was a miracle he lived to be a teenager. There’s no denying his heart of gold, and because of it, he’s enjoyed a whole-lotta forgiveness.

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6. Jane Fonda

The vast majority of Americans have forgiven Jane Fonda for her misgivings during the Vietnam War. Dubbed Hanoi Jane by many of the fighting men of the era, Jane was photographed straddling a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun. As imagined, this sent American troops, and their domestic supporters into a frenzy. According to the young activist, she had no clue what she was doing then, and simply hated the politics of the war. It is an act she regrets, but forgiveness has come hard for many. Still, she avoided being black-balled, and went on to star in a slew of movies, television and several exercise videos.

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5. Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix is an odd duck. One can never tell if he’s having a bad day, or if he’s simply having the last laugh within a celeb-obsessed culture. In truth, he loathes the idea of celebrity, and things like awards shows. So much so, he duped nearly everyone by “becoming a rapper” after quitting Hollywood, only to eventually drop the bomb that it was just a goof. He was doing it all for his documentary, I’m Still Here. People were genuinely annoyed with Joaquin after he let everyone in on his joke/social experiment, especially David Letterman. In the long run, people forgave Joaquin, and his peeps probably paid a sizable sum to Letterman’s peeps (for using footage in the documentary). Then Joaquin went back to acting and made awesome stuff like Her with Amy Adams, Scarlett Johanssen and Spike Jonze.

Photo by Broadimage/REX

4. Britney Spears

She’s Britney, b***h! Is there anything that grates on your nerves more than hearing that single phrase? How about seeing the paranoid Britney of 2007, when she shaved her head because she was concerned that authorities would take a hair sample to test for marijuana use. Yes, at the time, her paranoia made sense. She was trying to keep her kids at home, and worried Child Protective Services might take them. Brit went from the A-list to the P-sycho list, and lashed out at fans and threatened more than one paparazzi with an umbrella. People weren’t patient with the songstress, and they gave up on her. Then, everyone was ready to forgive and forget when she took us to the club… “All eyes on us…” Las Vegas has proven to be a perfect entertainment marriage for Britney and her fans.

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3. David O. Russell

How many people has David O. Russell offended or assaulted in his illustrious career? It all began with George Clooney on the set of Three Kings, when George felt David was mistreating background actors in the desert heat. It came to blows. Then, the infamous argument with Lily Tomlin while filming I Heart Huckabees hit the interwebs, securing his place in the category of really talented a**holes. Most recently, he was alleged to have had a tiff with frequent collaborator, Jennifer Lawrence, when the two weren’t seeing things eye to eye. All of these people, and the fans of his movies, have forgiven him each time. Seriously, David O. can makes some movies, but… this guy seems to be one of Hollywood’s most pompous d*cks.

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2. Christian Bale

Chalk it up to a bad day… or a fella who is unafraid of extremes. Whatever the case, Christian Bale completely lost his cool on the set of Terminator: Salvation, and verbally destroyed the gaffer who was working on the set. The audio of the entire encounter was captured, and released. If there’s one thing you can count on in Hollywood — the crew will stick together. This is especially true when an actor oversteps their bounds. Still, Christian apologized, everyone had a good laugh, many people reveled in self-righteousness, but had no issues in taking in the next Batman films. Ultimately, this should be a lesson to everyone: if you play a superhero that is able to take a licking and keep on ticking, you’re always worthy of forgiveness.

Photo by Camilla Morandi/REX

1. Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. is a guy who tried so hard to do it right. From day one, he tried… so hard. Sadly, he had a serious drug problem. His problems were so severe, he was in the news all the time before gossip news was Internet fodder and tossed out like candy at a parade. The irony of Robert’s transgressions: he took solace, and found quick forgiveness in his dear friend, Mel Gibson. It was the support of his brothers in arms like Mel, who continuously encouraged RDJ to get up and try again. Aren’t we glad he did? Robert is definitely one of the most talented actors of his generation, and it’s great that nobody ever fully gave up on him, including some studios that had to eat costs due to RDJ’s issues. As they say, everyday may be a battleground for an addict, but Robert is winning the war.

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James Sheldon