The retirement planning process for many famous celebrities is a bit nontraditional. Since many earn larger-than-life salaries, it’s not uncommon for them to take an early retirement.
The average retirement age for celebrities is often notably young, though they frequently take a break and then head back to the workforce.
To see who has done that, take a look at these stars who made big money even though they tried out retirement.
Last updated: July 20, 2020
In October 1993, a 30-year-old Michael Jordan announced his retirement from the NBA. 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. 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.
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. She released “Walls,” her 36th studio album, in 2018.
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. Season 2 was released in 2019.
In March 2019, Rob Gronkowski took to Instagram to announce his retirement, after nine seasons in the NFL — all as a tight end for the New England Patriots. Just over one year later, in April 2020, the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Patriots agreed to trade Gronkowski to Tampa Bay — after he expressed his desire to return to the NFL to play with former teammate Tom Brady.
Rapoport tweeted that Gronk will honor his current contract. This means he will play the 2020 season on a one-year contract for $10 million, according to Bucs Wire.
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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 to music 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 and is an avid investor and businessman — his assets include Armand de Brignac champagne, D’Ussé cognac and entertainment company Roc Nation.
Jay-Z’s net worth is an eye-popping $1 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth, but it’s unknown how much is from his comebacks.
She launched The Farewell Tour in 2002, which Cher claimed would be her last. In retirement, she secured a three-year residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, which ran from 2008-2011.
She continued to tour despite her farewell tour in 2002 — she announced her upcoming Dressed to Kill Tour in 2013. Launched in 2014, the tour’s first 27 shows grossed more than $30 million, according to Billboard. On the road since 2018, the music legend’s Here We Go Again Tour grossed $108.2 million in 2019 — the biggest year of her touring career — according to Billboard.
In 2018, she told Parade she does plan to retire someday, but she still has more she wants to do.
NFL great Brett Favre 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, Favre 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.
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 performed a total of 390 shows through December 2017, reported Billboard. Celebrity Net Worth states his net worth at $400 million. Together, Brooks and Yearwood are one of the richest celebrity couples.
In 2018, he announced plans to play 10 to 12 stadium shows per year, for the next three years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he has been forced to reschedule several shows in 2020.
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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 ultimately paid him a total of $8.3 million, according to Over the Cap. After sitting out most of the 2019 season, he returned to the Seahawks in Week 17. He earned $60,588 for playing in the final game of the regular season, plus his share of online sales of “unfinished business” and “back in action” apparel on his website, according to Ian Rapaport.
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. The band’s frontman finally dropped the mic.
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. He played a 15-show North American leg of the tour in October 2018 and earned $14.4 million from just seven shows, according to Billboard.
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.
In 1992, a 43-year-old Ozzy Osbourne embarked on No More Tours 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. Still not in retirement mode, he released the album “Ordinary Man” in 2020 and he’s slated to perform his 19-stop No More Tours 2 across Europe from October through December.
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.
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 at the time 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. He was inducted into the Nascar Hall of Fame in 2019.
After 15 seasons in the NFL — all with the Dallas Cowboys — tight end Jason Witten announced his retirement in May 2018. He briefly started a new career as a broadcaster for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” but in February 2019, Witten revealed plans to dust off his Cowboys uniform and return to the field.
Witten signed a one-year contract for the 2019 NFL season, and earned a total of $4.25 million, according to Spotrac. In March 2020, he scored a one-year, $4 million contract with the Las Vegas Raiders, which includes $3.5 million guaranteed, according to NFL.com.
After Michael Phelps won his 18th gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London, he supposedly hung up his swim cap for good. Of course, he famously came out of retirement the next summer to prepare for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Beyond the $140,000 bonus Phelps received for winning five golds and one silver medal at Rio, it’s hard to tell exactly how much he earned by coming out of retirement. As a very general look, Forbes estimated his net worth at around $40 million before the 2012 games, and today, that has doubled to $80 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Phelps has repeatedly said he will not return for another Olympics. He appears to mean it this time, as he missed a December 2019 deadline to reenter a drug-testing pool to become eligible for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, according to NBC. Of course, the games will now be held in 2021, so he still has time to change his mind.
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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 37-year-old 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. He signed a one-year, $1 million contract to join the team for the remainder of the season, according to the Associated Press. When the season ended, he went back into retirement.
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 $48.45 million at theaters worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.
Soderbergh also directed the 2018 film “Unsane”— which grossed $14.29 million at theaters worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo — and the 2019 Netflix film “The Laundromat.” Showing no signs of stopping, he has two more directorial projects in the works — “Let Them All Talk” and “Kill Switch.”
After being defeated by Jimmy Young in Puerto Rico in 1977, George Foreman announced his retirement. He stayed away from professional boxing for 10 years before making his return in 1987. Foreman boxed for another 10 years before retiring for a final time in 1997.
It’s unknown exactly how much Foreman earned from his return to boxing, but his net worth is estimated at $300 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
However, in a 2014 interview with AARP, the boxing legend revealed he earned more than $200 million — sometimes $8 million per month — from his wildly successful George Foreman Grill. Forbes notes that these grills probably couldn’t have existed without the comeback, which if correct, makes his return seriously lucrative.
When the 2003 Major League Baseball season ended, Roger Clemens announced his retirement after 20 years of professional baseball. However, after hanging up his New York Yankees jersey, he swiftly signed with the Houston Astros for the 2004 season. After this, he retired again, only to sign with the Astros again for the 2005 season, and subsequently retire and re-sign with the team again.
In 2007, he returned to the Yankees for a final season to finish his career. His one-year contract had a maximum value of $28 million, and of that, he earned $17.4 million, according to Spotrac.
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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 in 29 years on the Billboard U.K. charts in June 2016. His comeback continues to treat him well, as he released his album “Beautiful Life” in 2018 and has nearly 20 tour dates listed on his website.
After competing in the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games, gold medalist Dara Torres decided to retire. However, the professional swimmer came out of retirement for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, where she became the oldest woman to win an Olympic medal in the sport. She retired again, but ultimately returned for the 2008 Olympics, before retiring for good.
Torres’ net worth is unknown, and there’s no way to know exactly how much she earned from her comebacks, however, they definitely opened many doors for her. In 2009, she won the ESPY for comeback athlete of the year. She also co-authored “Age Is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage in Your Life,” and is a motivational speaker and an entrepreneur.
In 1997, NHL Hockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux announced his retirement. However, he didn’t stay off the ice for long, as he returned midway through the 2000-01 season.
Health issues caused Lemieux to announce his retirement for a second — and final — time in January 2006. In total, his comeback allowed him to earn $20.16 million, according to CapFriendly.
In February 2011, Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte announced his retirement, after spending 13 of his 16 seasons in the league with the team. He sat out one season, then returned to the Yankees in 2012, before retiring for good at the end of the 2013 season.
His comeback earned Pettitte a $2.5 million salary in 2012, which turned into a one-year, $12 million contract for the 2013 season, according to Spotrac.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 24 Famous People Who Came Out of Retirement and Made a Fortune