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15 Famous People Who Came Out of Retirement and Made a Fortune

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The retirement planning process for many famous celebrities is a bit nontraditional. Since they earn larger-than-life salaries, it’s not uncommon for them to take early retirement.

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The average retirement age for celebrities is often notably young, though they frequently take a break and then head back to the workforce. Some of them even take on totally different careers than where they started.

Last updated: July 21, 2021
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1. Mike Fisher

On Aug. 3, 2017, Nashville Predators captain Mike Fisher — aka Mr. Carrie Underwood — wrote a heartfelt letter to fans announcing his retirement after 17 seasons in the NHL. Posted on The Tennessean, the hockey player thanked fans for their support and said he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Retirement didn’t even last six months for Fisher, as he revealed plans to return to the Predators on Jan. 31, 2018. His previous two-year contract was worth $8.8 million, according to NHL.com. Fisher only returned for the 2018 season and has since re-retired.

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2. Jay-Z

He’s retired from rap multiple times, but Jay-Z — aka Shawn Carter — always returns. Possibly his most high-profile retirement stint came in 2003 when the then-33-year-old announced plans to retire from rap after “The Black Album” because he was bored, The New York Times reported.

During retirement, Jay-Z became the CEO of Def Jam Recordings, but in 2006, he returned with a new album, “Kingdom Come.” In a 2006 interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said, “It was the worst retirement, maybe, in history.” Jay-Z has released multiple albums since coming out of retirement in 2006 and is an avid investor.

Jay-Z’s net worth is an eye-popping $1 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth, but it’s unknown how much is from rap comebacks.

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3. Barbra Streisand

In 2000, Barbra Streisand performed four farewell concerts to mark her retirement from performing live. At the time, she was 58 years old and wanted to focus more on acting, directing and recording albums, reported ABC News.

Her retirement ended in 2016 when she returned to the stage for her “The Music… The Mem’ries… The Magic!” tour, which grossed $53 million over 16 performances, according to Billboard.

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4. Brett Farve

NFL great Brett Farve retired multiple times before he finally hung up his cleats for good. He announced plans to retire from the Green Bay Packers in March 2008, when he was 38 years old, but came out of retirement five months later and signed with the New York Jets.

In February 2009, Farve retired from the Jets but returned to the NFL six months later to join the Minnesota Vikings. After two years with the Vikings, he finally left the game in 2011, after scoring a $16 million, one-year contract in 2010, according to Spotrac. Today he’s one of the richest NFL MVPs of all time.

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5. Steven Soderbergh

In 2011, Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh revealed plans to retire from filmmaking after shooting two more films he’d already committed to make. “It’s just time,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

He made good on his word and retired at age 50 in 2013, reported The Guardian. During his retirement, he directed all 20 episodes of the Cinemax series “The Knick,” but ultimately returned to film in 2017 with “Logan Lucky.” The film had a production budget of $29 million and grossed $47.4 million at theaters worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. Soderbergh is still working as a producer and director.

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6. Marshawn Lynch

In February 2016, then-29-year-old Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch announced his retirement during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl with a wordless tweet, reported the Seattle Times. His retirement lasted only one year, and then he returned to the NFL to play for his hometown team, the Oakland Raiders.

Lynch’s two-season contract paid a base salary of $9 million, with the chance to earn up to $16.5 million, according to the Seattle Times.

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7. Phil Collins

Legendary singer Phil Collins embarked on his “First Farewell Tour” in 2004 and 2005. In 2007 at 56 years old, he reunited with Genesis and went on tour.

In October 2016, Collins announced plans for his comeback tour “Not Dead Yet.” Earnings data hasn’t been publicly revealed, but Collins performed the European leg of his tour in the summer of 2017 and South America through March 2018.

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8. David Letterman

David Letterman entered retirement in May 2015, when he bid farewell to his eponymous TV show at age 68. He stayed out of the spotlight for a few years, but in 2018, he made his return to television with the Netflix series “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman.”

The iconic host earned approximately $2 million per episode, reported Variety.

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9. Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks shocked fans in October 2000 when he announced his plan to retire to Oklahoma until the youngest of his three daughters graduated from high school, reported Billboard. The country music superstar was 42 years old when he began his early retirement.

During his semi-retirement, he did a few sold-out stints at arenas and a 186-show Las Vegas residency with wife Trisha Yearwood, according to Billboard, but he largely stayed out of the spotlight. Brooks returned to touring in September 2014 and continued until December 2017, performing a total of 390 shows, reported Billboard. Celebrity Net Worth sites his net worth at $400 million. Together, Brooks and Yearwood are one of the richest celebrity couples.

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10. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

After defeating Andre Berto in a September 2015 fight, boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced plans to retire immediately, reported Sports Illustrated. Following his win, the then-38-year-old addressed reporters at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for nearly an hour, discussing the decision to end his 19-year career.

Retirement didn’t last long for Mayweather, as he stepped back into the ring in August 2017 in a match against UFC champ Conor McGregor, who he defeated. Agreeing to come out of retirement guaranteed Mayweather earnings of at least $100 million, according to Forbes.

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11. Ozzy Osbourne

In 1992, a 43-year-old Ozzy Osbourne embarked on his “No More Tours” tour as a segue into retirement. After being on the road for 25 years, he claimed it was time to spend some much-needed time at home,” according to Rolling Stone. Three years later, he was back rocking the stage.

The early retirement just didn’t work for Osbourne. “Retirement sucked. It wasn’t too long before I started getting antsy and writing songs again,” he told Rolling Stone.

It’s unknown how much he earned prior to his early retirement, but Osbourne’s net worth is $220 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

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12. Michael Jordan

In October 1993, a 30-year-old Michael Jordan announced his retirement from the NBA, according to CNN. The NBA legend then signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox, but then quit in March 1995 to rejoin the Chicago Bulls.

Jordan retired again in January 1999 and became part owner of the Washington Wizards, reported CNN. In October 2001, he sold his ownership stake and joined the Washington Wizards’ roster before finally retiring in April 2003.

During his last two seasons, Jordan’s average salary was just over $1 million per year, according to Spotrac.

Throughout his career, Jordan had one constant: Nike, the most lucrative endorsement deal in history.

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13. Tina Turner

At age 61, Tina Turner said goodbye to performing in arenas and stadiums with her farewell “Twenty-Four Seven” tour. She said, “I’ve done enough. I’ve been performing for 44 years. I should really hang up my dancing shoes,” she told Rolling Stone.

Thankfully for fans, the iconic singer came out of retirement in 2009 for a 90-show 50th-anniversary tour. That year, she played 59 of the shows, which grossed $86.4 million, according to Billboard.

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14. Jeff Gordon

In January 2015, Jeff Gordon revealed it would be his last season competing for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, reported NASCAR. A member of the Hendrick Motorsports team, the 43-year-old said he might compete in select events in the future but currently had no plans to do so.

Retirement didn’t last long. In July 2016, he shared plans to temporarily fill in for injured Hendrick team member Dale Earnhardt Jr., according to USA Today. It’s unknown how much he was paid for his temporary comeback, but Gordon earned $21.6 million in 2016, according to Forbes.

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15. Rick Astley

Known for hits such as “Never Gonna Give You Up,” Rick Astley played his last U.S. show in 1989 at age 27 before quitting music entirely in the early ’90s, according to Billboard. He made his return to the stage in Europe during the mid-2000s and started playing shows in the U.S. again in 2016.

His comeback earnings haven’t been revealed, but he scored his first No. 1 album on the Billboard U.K. charts in 29 years in June 2016, so it seems his comeback has treated him well.

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