When you watch a movie that gives you nostalgia, you’ve probably asked yourself, “What happened to her?” “Is he still acting?”
Many people dream of making it big in Hollywood. Famous actors and actresses seem to live a glamorous life. However, some of them choose to retire from the entertainment industry to live just like us. It could be because of the constant pressure they have with fame or for other various reasons. It’s hard to maintain fame, especially when they realize that acting isn’t for them. You know what they say — do what you love.
Famous celebrities have decided to step away from the spotlight to pursue other things like education, for example. Former child star Mara Wilson did just that, and there’s more to the story on why she quit acting at the peak of her career. There are also a few who weren’t getting good roles, but one of the most common reasons seem to be to focus on their family. Many actresses have taken a break from Tinseltown for motherhood, and we respect their decision.
Overall, it can be hard to believe that these people would just drop everything to avoid being in the limelight, but it happens. They left, and they never looked back. We’re sad that we won’t see them on-screen any more, but we’ll always remember them through their work.
10 Famous People We're Sad Left The Spotlight:
15 Meg Ryan: Rom-Com Queen Once Upon A Time
Once upon a time, Meg Ryan was “America’s Sweetheart” through her famous roles in iconic romantic comedies such as When Harry Met Sally…, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. Meg worked on these three classic films with the late Nora Ephron. We will never forget the famous quote, “I’ll have what she’s having,” at the restaurant in When Harry Met Sally... because it's the most memorable scene. Besides her acting, Meg is also known for her signature tousled bob she sported during her career peak. Fans adored her. Sadly, her presence slowly vanished into thin air after her public divorce from actor Dennis Quaid in 2001. The rom-com queen left the spotlight to focus on her life and her kids. It’s been a long time since we've seen her on the big screen.
14 Freddie Prinze Jr: The '90s Heartthrob Turned Chef
Freddie Prinze Jr was a teen heartthrob back in his prime. He became every girl's dream guy from his role in She's All That where he played the high school jock named Zack Siler. How can we resist that smile?! Before Zack happened, he was in horror films I Know What You Did Last Summer and its sequel, which are popular as well. He met his beautiful wife Sarah Michelle Gellar on set, and the couple has two kids together. Freddie continued to act in small parts, but he started to disappear from Hollywood. Eventually, he quit acting and changed his profession to a chef. He released his cookbook Back To The Kitchen in 2016. We’re sad that he left the spotlight, but we can all agree that he has aged like a fine wine.
13 Jonathan Taylor Thomas: It's All About That Education
Many girls had a crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas when he played Randy Taylor in the hit TV series Home Improvement starring Tim Allen from 1991 to 1998. It broke our hearts when he made a decision to walk away from Hollywood at the peak of his acting career to pursue education. He’s all about that education — he attended Harvard University and Columbia University. He later tells People in an interview, “I’d been going nonstop since I was 8-years-old,” he continues, “I wanted to go to school, to travel and have a bit of a break.” Jonathan continued to act in small films and do the voice for TV series until 2006. He came back in 2013 when he guest-starred on Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing a few times. That was it.
12 Amanda Bynes: Had An Unexpected Meltdown
The former child star Amanda Bynes is known for her roles in Nickelodeon’s All That and That Amanda Show. Unfortunately, she quit acting in 2010. Her last work was in Easy A starring Emma Stone. She told her fans on Twitter, "Being an actress isn't as fun as it may seem. If I don't love something, I stop doing it. I don't love acting anymore, so I've stopped doing it." Amanda’s good girl gone bad because of her wild stunts. After she quit, she had several unexpected meltdowns. She made series of bizarre tweets. She also had problems with the law — she got arrested for driving under the influence in 2012. Apparently, she’s been sober for a while now and plans to make a comeback in acting this year. We look forward to seeing her!
11 Sean Connery: The Original James Bond
Before Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, there was a man who was the first and the original James Bond. His name is Sir Sean Connery. He was in seven James Bond films, and some people say he’s the best Bond. The Oscar-winning actor officially announced his retirement in 2006. His final film was League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003, but he did the voice of Sir Billi in 2012. Apparently, he almost came out of retirement to be in Indiana Jones 4 (he was in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989), but he didn’t think it was worth it. While some actors have returned to films after “retiring,” it doesn’t seem like that will be the case with him. He seems to enjoy the retirement as he’s often spotted at tennis tournaments.
10 Jack Gleeson: Evil King Joffrey Baratheon On Game Of Thrones
The Irish actor Jack Gleeson quit acting after his character King Joffrey Baratheon was killed off in the hit HBO series Game of Thrones in 2014. The evil king was poisoned at his own wedding, and while fans were happy to see the most hated character die, they weren’t too happy when the actor decided to leave his career. After he quit, he pretty much stayed out of the spotlight. He focused on his college life — he studied theology and philosophy at Trinity College in Dublin. When Entertainment Weekly asked him about his retirement, he said, "The answer isn’t interesting or long-winded. I’ve been acting since age 8. I just stopped enjoying it as much as I used to.” Jack’s a talented actor, and it’s unfortunate that we won’t see him on-screen anymore.
9 Cameron Diaz: The Ultimate Girl-Next-Door
The ultimate girl-next-door, Cameron Diaz, rose to fame with her roles in The Mask, There’s Something About Mary, The Holiday, etc. She's mostly known for her rom-coms, but she’s also been in dramatic films like Gangs of New York. She’s one of the most versatile actresses in Hollywood. After she starred in the musical Annie in 2014, she disappeared from the spotlight. She revealed why she’s taking a break from Hollywood during a panel at Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Wellness Summit. She said, "I can't really say who I am to myself," which is a hard thing to face up to. I felt the need to make myself whole.” There’s still no upcoming projects for her. We miss her, but it's understandable. She worked for two decades and is enjoying her married life.
8 Rick Moranis: Acting Hiatus For A Long Time
Rick Moranis is widely known for his roles in Ghostbusters, Space Balls, and Honey, I Shrunk My Kids. After his wife, Ann, died of cancer, he went on an acting hiatus for over two decades. His last film was Big Bully in 1996. He mostly did voice work after. Rick left at the peak of his career to focus on his family. He made the decision to be a stay at home dad to raise his two young kids. Many fans wondered when he’d be back since he never officially announced his retirement. He told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015, “I took a break, which turned into a long break.” Long break indeed, but we respect his decision. There’s a chance that we might see him act again now that his kids have grown up.
7 Josh Hartnett: The Hunky Star In Pearl Harbor
Whatever happened to Josh Hartnett? It’s the question many fans have asked about the hunky star in Pearl Harbor. We’ve all had a crush on this heartthrob — his blue eyes were a magnet! He also had a huge success in Black Hawk Down soon after. He was at the peak of his career. He was in high demand getting films offered to him left and right. When he turned down Spiderman and Christopher Nolan's Batman, his offers began to dry up. It cost him his career. He also wanted to step away from the spotlight, so he packed up his bags and went back to his hometown in Minnesota. He later returned and starred in many indie films. We would’ve loved to see him in a blockbuster, but we’re happy as long as he’s happy.
6 Mara Wilson: The Former Child Actress Is All Grown Up
Mara Wilson was one of the most famous child stars in Hollywood. The talented child actress has appeared in many successful films such as Mrs. Doubtfire, Miracle on 24th Street and Matilda. It broke our hearts when the adorable, clever girl left the showbiz in 2000 out of the blue. Unfortunately, when she hit puberty, she wasn't getting movie offers like she used to when she was younger. She writes about it in her memoir, “Something didn’t make sense – at least until I was called for a role in a pilot,” she continues, “I would be auditioning for the ‘fat girl.’” After that happened, she decided to leave the spotlight to focus on her education. Mara made a guest appearance in Broad City in 2016, but we’re not sure if she’s considering to act again.
5 We Didn't Even Notice:
5 Jennifer Love Hewitt: Living The Quiet Life
The brunette beauty Jennifer Love Hewitt is known as the scream queen for her role in I Know What You Did Last Summer. She was in its sequel and other films like Can’t Hardly Wait. She also took parts in TV series like Party of Five, Ghost Whisperer, The Client List, etc. She pretty much worked nonstop since she became a star. In 2013, she married co-star Brian Hallisay, and they have two kids together. After she gave birth to her second child, she’s been keeping a low profile. She hasn’t been in the spotlight since her last role in the long-running crime series Criminal Minds in 2015. She’s one of many actresses who left Tinseltown for motherhood. Jennifer's been living the quiet life. She hasn’t mentioned when she’ll be back on-screen.
4 Michael Schoeffling: A Cliché High School Jock In Sixteen Candles
Michael Schoeffling quickly rose to fame after his breakout role in John Hughes’ Sixteen Candles as the gorgeous high school jock Jack Ryan. He took our breath away. We all wanted to be Molly Ringwald. After Sixteen Candles, he filmed eight more films and one TV series before he vanished into thin air. It’s been 17 years since his last film Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken in 1991. After he retired from acting, he went back to his hometown in Pennsylvania. He left, and he never looked back. Apparently, he retired because there weren’t good roles for him. He also changed his profession to support his family. He owns a furniture business. There’s not much information on him because he keeps his life private. Michael will forever be remembered as Jake Ryan in our hearts.
3 Ashley Tisdale: High School Musical Star Turned Social Media Queen
Ashley Tisdale's breakthrough role was in Disney’s The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, but she's famously known for playing princess Sharpay Evans in High School Musical movies. She continues to work in the entertainment industry, but she mostly did voice works in TV series. A lot has changed over the years. Ashley has her own production company called Blondie Girl Productions, and it produced Young & Hungry series. She’s been doing behind the scenes work more than being in front of a camera. She makes a guest appearance on TV series MacGyver this year, but it seems like she’s more invested in social media than her acting career. She currently has 9.6 million followers on her Instagram and almost 2 million subscribers on her YouTube channel. The former Disney Channel star turned social media queen.
2 Erik von Detten: Former Teen Disney Star With Surfer Boy Style
Many girls swooned over the former teen Disney Star Erik von Detten when he played Andy Brinker in Disney’s movie Brink because of his surfer boy style. He also appeared in Princess Diaries starring Anne Hathaway, and we can all agree with Princess Mia that Erik is gorgeous. Unfortunately, he hasn't been in any films for a decade. The hunky actor's last appearance was in one episode of Bones in 2008, and his last work as an actor was doing the voice for Sid in Toy Story 3 in 2010. There still aren’t any new projects lined up for him. It seems like he’s also been keeping a low-profile since he left Hollywood. We know that he walked the red carpet for the premiere of Adventures in Babysitting in 2016, but that’s about it.
1 Alison Lohman: Rose To Fame With Big Fish In 2003
Alison Lohman is a talented actress who rose to fame for her roles in films like White Oleander, Matchstick Men, and Big Fish. She left the spotlight in 2009 after starring in Gamer. She married Gamer’s director Mark Neveldine that year and gave birth to a son in 2010. Apparently, she kept her pregnancy a secret until the year after. Anyway — it seems like Alison put a pause in her acting career to be with her child. She filmed a couple of movies when she returned to acting in 2015, but they weren’t her finest, and she disappeared from Hollywood again. Her last film was Officer Downe in 2016, and she doesn’t have any upcoming films. We’re not sure if she’ll be back on-screen anytime soon, but according to her Twitter, she's also an acting coach.