Landon Donovan’s self-imposed exile from soccer has often been described as unprecedented or unusual, but this is hardly true. There is a rich and compelling history of surprising celebrity sabbaticals, with a wide variety of outcomes.
Some stars return from their time off to tremendous success (Bob Dylan, director Terrence Malick); others return to find that it might have been better if they had stayed away (actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, comedian Dave Chappelle). Still others, of course, do not really come back at all (J.D. Salinger).