Retirement fakeouts

Last month actor Joaquin Phoenix announced at the premiere of his latest film Two Lovers that he was retiring from movies to focus on his music. However, it is hard to believe he will stay retired. There is a long list of celebrities who decide to end their careers early, but come back for more a short time later, some of whom are described below.

1. Cher
Cher has been in and out of the spotlight since the ’60s. The pop star fell into a deep depression when Sonny Bono passed away in 1998.

Shortly after, Cher was able to contact Sonny through a “well-known psychic,” according to The National Enquirer. He told her to “get out there and show ’em what you’ve got.”

That is exactly what she did during her farewell tour in 2005 — and again in February 2008 at the opening of her Caesars Palace Las Vegas show.

According to her Web site,, the artist has confirmed her return to Caesars in February 2009. — Christine Labit

2. Brett Favre
Brett Favre, who has reportedly been flirting with retirement since 2005, announced on March 4 that he planned to step away from football for good.

Just three months later, Favre was speaking to the Packers about a possible return, but the team had moved on.

This began a “he said, they said” between Favre and the organization about whether he was ousted. When Favre started looking to other teams, it was reported that the Packers offered him $20 million to stay retired.

Favre declined the offer and eventually signed with the Jets, who lead the division 8-3 this season. — Joe Polito

3. Celine Dion
In December 1999, Celine Dion announced her “retirement” from entertainment, so she could start a family and spend time with her husband, who had recently been diagnosed with throat cancer. She had recently hit the $100-million mark for records sold worldwide and had taken home two Grammy’s.

However, she didn’t stay out of the spotlight for long. In March 2002, she returned to the music scene and signed a three-year contract with Caesars to perform nightly, and the contract was later extended to 2007. This year she is performing in cities worldwide on her “Taking Chances” tour, which runs through February 2009. All in all, Dion’s retirement from the music industry lasted three years and three months. — Andrea Gallagher

4. Jet Li
Fearless was advertised as “Jet Li’s last martial arts epic!” The 2006 release played off of Li’s presumed retirement and grossed more than $64 million worldwide, more than any Li film since 2001’s The One.

A year later, Li’s agent explained that his next film War didn’t fit the requirements for a “martial arts epic.”

Apparently, his later films Warlords, The Forbidden Kingdom and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor weren’t epics either.

It’s obvious that either Li had no intention of retiring or he was offered some big bucks for his return to the big screen.

Li’s career continues in 2010 with the recently announced American film The Expendables, which co-stars Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham. — Matt Ferrara

5. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is one of the most iconic figures in sports history but he has used retirement scares to punk more people than Ashton Kutcher.

Jordan’s first retirement, after the murder of his father, was Oct. 6, 1993. Fans were later surprised to learn that Jordan signed a baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox on March 31, 1994.

After a disappointing baseball career, Jordan made his comeback to the NBA on March 18, 1995, helping the Chicago Bulls secure a spot in the playoffs. Jordan retired for a second time Jan. 13, 1999 but returned to the NBA a year later as part owner and president of basketball operations for the Washington Wizards.

Sitting courtside apparently didn’t suit Jordan very well, and on Sept. 15, 2001 he made a comeback on the court for the Washington Wizards. After an injury-plagued season, Jordan retired again April 16, 2003, at least for now. — Amanda Moore

6. Jay-Z
In 2003, hip-hop superstar, Jay-Z, announced that The Black Album would be his final album. At the time it was hard to believe that the artist who brought the world hip-hop classics such as “Hard Knock Life,” “99 Problems” and “Big Pimpin'” wouldn’t be releasing any more songs.

However,  Jay-Z ended up being the Michael Jordan of hip-hop, coming back just three years later with his 2006 album, Kingdom Come. During his three-year retirement period, he had gone on a world tour and performed on hit records with Beyonce, Linkin Park and other entertainers, so the album wasn’t that big of a shock. He told The Associated Press in June 2006 that he would continue making music until he has nothing left to say. — Robin Roup

7. Lance Armstrong
After seven triumphs over the grueling Tour de France and successfully beating testicular cancer while raising millions for cancer research in the process, retirement seems to be too slow-paced for “Livestrong” athlete Lance Armstrong.

His retirement was anything but inactive, but like many athletes before him, Armstrong decided to re-enter the professional world. He recently announced his intention to conquer the Tour de France for an eighth time in 2009, along with plans to enter four other races.

There is one surprise in what can be considered a predictable move, however: Arnstrong plans to bike in each competition for no salary or bonuses. — Emily Handy