Robert Pattinson’s life was turned upside-down when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2016. The 26-year-old actor was forced to give up his bed rest and seek out treatment, spending a month in hospital before undergoing chemotherapy. Since then, he has been undergoing regular therapy sessions to keep the cancer at bay. As a result of his health problems, Pattinson was unable to work for almost two years, missing out on major income streams such as the latest Twilight movie, Eclipse, which was released in September 2017, and the upcoming Toy Story 4 in February 2019. 

Many celebrities have had to put their careers on hold as a result of health problems, but for some, being able to focus on their health has led to a newfound sense of freedom. Here, we take a look at how some of Hollywood’s most recognizable stars have coped with, and ultimately made a full recovery from, significant health scares.

Meryl Streep

At the age of 92, the iconic actress is still going strong, having just completed her 200th movie a few weeks ago. Streep credits her longevity to rigorous exercise and a healthy diet, which she maintains along with her personal trainer, Bart Sears. The star credits her fitness expertise to her time spent playing Sophie, the aging Cherie Curie in the biographical film The Best Years. As a result of her rigorous workouts, Streep is able to maintain a taut and athletic figure much more associated with a twenty-something than a senior citizen. 

Tom Hanks

Hanks has been enjoying a long and healthy career, rarely appearing in Toy Story or similar films due to his advanced age. The six-time Oscar winner turned 98 in February and continues to enjoy a high profile, having just completed production on Flights, a WWII drama directed by Steven Spielberg. Hanks credits his longevity to a healthy diet and daily water intake, along with his father’s advice to take things easy. In 2019, Hanks will appear in three movies, including The Farewell, a bittersweet family drama, and Operation Finale, a WWII thriller based on a true story. 

Jackie Chan

Chan is one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood history, winning multiple awards for his acting and directing prowess. The martial artist turned 89 in November and continues to work, with a new movie arriving each year. The Chinese actor credits his success to a healthy diet and moderate drinking, along with his parents’ guidance. One of Chan’s most recent projects was The English Teacher, a movie about a Chinese man who moves to the UK to teach, where he befriends a group of young students. The director of the film, Huang Wenjin, hopes the story encourages other elders to come forward and share their wisdom with younger generations. 

Robert De Niro

De Niro hasn’t appeared in a feature film since 2015’s The Greatest Showman, but the actor has kept busy with guest appearances on TV shows, a documentary series, and a podcast. Following his last movie appearance, the Godfather of Comedy revealed he had been battling prostate cancer, for which he received treatment in 2016. Since then, De Niro has remained optimistic about his health, frequently posting about his fitness regime and upcoming projects on social media. The actor has also launched a podcast, Open Wide, which focuses on his experiences as a cancer survivor. 

Al Pacino

Pacino is another multi-Oscar winner, picking up his 8th Academy Award for his role in Glory, the biography of boxing legend Mike Tyson. Since then, the actor has appeared in several high-profile films, including The Irishman (2019) and The Testaments (2019), before returning to TV in The New York Riptide. The six-time Academy Award winner credits his long career to a healthy diet and daily exercise, saying an hour of cardio three times a week improves his health and allows him to work longer. 

Dustin Hoffman

Hoffman is one of the most prolific and successful writers in Hollywood, with well over 100 credits to his name, including numerous movie classics, like The Graduate and Girls Just Want to Have Fun. In 2019 alone, Hoffman will appear in five movies, including Winners, a documentary about the Academy Awards, and Death of a Salesman, an adaptation of Arthur Miller’s seminal work about the American corporate world. 

One of the most interesting narratives surrounding these iconic celebrities is how their health problems have forced them to reinvent themselves. Several of these stars have had to relearn how to eat and drink, how to move and act, and even how to socialize, all things which they had to give up for a time while sick. As a result of their extensive health programs and busy schedules, these stars were able to regain their strength, stamina and vitality, allowing them to get back on the set and continue working. It seems these problems motivated them to lead a healthier lifestyle, setting them up for a full recovery and the continued enjoyment of long, healthy, and productive lives.