True success is sometimes born out of starting over. Here are five guys with famous second acts.
Men's Fitness Editors 1 / 5
Joe Manganiello thought his career was about to skyrocket when he was cast as Flash Thompson in Spider-Man back in 2002. But a downward spiral took its place. Manganiello landed in a dark place, drinking a bottle of whiskey and smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. While he’s not quick to relive the hardship, he also doesn’t shy away from discussing it: “I really haven’t gotten anywhere by hiding anything,” he says.
Luckily he got back into the swing of things, showing his sense of humor in How I Met Your Mother and brooding in the teen drama One Tree Hill until he landed his breakthrough TV role as the werewolf pack leader Alcide Herveaux in True Blood. He also got in the best shape of his life playing the oft bare-chested heart throb. His body transformation—from a scrawny 150-pound kid into the chiseled 230-pound muscleman—is chronicled in his book Evolution.
Before Mad Men, Hamm was a St. Louis drama teacher who made quite a lasting impact in the classroom. Ellie Kemper—star of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt—was actually a student of his and recalls: “He was just as handsome back then. [Having Jon Hamm] teach you theater, it was like having a hunk in the class.”
Before he was the CEO of Twitter, Costolo was a comedian rising through the ranks of Chicago’s The Second City, the improv troupe that launched the careers of Stephen Colbert and Mike Myers. “People have Plato’s form in their mind of...what a CEO is...a bunch of elements I really don’t conform to,” he told The New York Times. “ I came to the conclusion that I don’t care.”
The road from gridiron to TV is a well-worn path. But no star has made the transition like Strahan. As he told Men’s Fitness last year, he owes his success to one simple fact: He has no problem routinely humiliating himself.
Most M.D.s have a few cheesy jokes up their sleeve, but Jeong, of The Hangover and Community fame, never let his patients in on the secret. “It was really important to me to not be Patch Adams,” he told NPR. After his big break as a doc in Knocked Up, he left medicine for good.
PLUS: Meet the 42-year-old family man who hit reset on his life and found success in his dream career — and find out how you can too.