Then and Now: Long Forgotten Celebs Who Decided to Leave Hollywood Of Their Own Accord

Thu Oct 06 2022

Many people dream of seeing their names in lights. They hope that one day they’ll be on the big screen, with critics and fans around the world screaming for their autographs. And while we all know that getting to that stage isn’t easy, what you might not realize is sticking it out is even harder. After all, fame is a fickle mistress… and it’s not for everyone.

While diamonds are made under pressure, too much can cause them to crack – and it seems as though some of these long-forgotten celebs just couldn’t handle Hollywood. While they were once at the top of their game with impressive careers in front of them, they ultimately decided to leave the bright lights of Tinseltown behind. Now, they’re living off their earnings and enjoying a more humble life out of the spotlight. And some of them look totally different.

Cameron Diaz Knew That She Needed To Make Time for Her Personal Life

With an acting resume full of big-name productions like There’s Something About Mary, Charlie’s Angels, Shrek, and more, many people assumed that Cameron Diaz would continue her reign in Hollywood until she was old and grey. She was a celebrity that everyone knew, regardless of whether they had watched her movies or not. But it seems as though that’s exactly why Cameron decided that she needed to step back from Tinseltown.

When asked about her retirement in 2018, Diaz confessed that “I stopped and really looked at my life. When you’re making a movie … they own you. You’re there for 12 hours a day for months on end you have no time for anything else. I had been going so hard for so long, working, making films, such a grind. I didn’t make any space for my personal life.” So, she decided to focus on herself, her marriage, and their daughter.

Daniel Day-Lewis Has Not Disclosed the “Private” Reason for Why He Retired

British actor Daniel Day-Lewis is often considered to be one of the greatest actors to ever live, and it’s not hard to understand why. This prominent method actor has put his name to movies like Gangs of New York, The Crucible, Lincoln and Phantom Thread. And while Daniel bizarrely decided to retire in 1997 to become an apprentice shoemaker, he ultimately returned to Hollywood three years later. But then, in 2017, it was announced that he was retiring again. And this time for good.

Day-Lewis’ retirement statement noted that this was a “private decision,” but in an interview a few weeks later he hinted that “there’s something of the responsibility of the artist that hung over me. I need to believe in the value of what I’m doing. The work can seem vital, irresistible, even. And if an audience believes it, that should be good enough for me. But, lately, it isn’t.” Many hope that this will just be another break, and that the legendary actor will return to our screens soon enough.

Jeff Cohen Believes That Puberty Forced Him To Retire

Many aspiring actors hope to score at least one role that will thrust them into the spotlight, and Jeff Cohen certainly got that. He was just a child when he scored a major role in the 1985 classic movie The Goonies. His role as Chunk allowed him to capture the hearts of 80s movie fans, and many hoped that they’d see him in more movies as he grew up. However, Jeff believes that puberty forced him to retire earlier than expected.

Jeff is now a lawyer, but he spoke to the Mail in 2015 about his retirement. He stated that “There were basically about four fat kids in town, so every time there was a fat kid role you saw the same people at the audition. It was survival of the fattest. But when I hit puberty, it was a career ender for me. I was transforming from Chunk to hunk and I couldn’t get roles any more. It was terrible. My first love was acting but puberty had other ideas. It was a forced retirement.”

Meghan Markle Realized That Acting Wasn’t Allowed Within the Royal Sphere

To this day, Suits is still considered to be one of the most iconic television shows to ever hit the small screen, and Meghan Markle had the chance to star in this show. After working her way up in the industry, Meghan’s role in Suits allowed her to make a name for herself in Hollywood. But what she didn’t realize at the time was that her acting career would be cut short in favor of a royal life.

Although Meghan tried to continue her acting career when she started dating Prince Harry, it soon began clear that she couldn’t marry a prince in the UK and continue her career as an actress in the States. So, she swapped her trailer for a tiara and became the Duchess of Sussex instead. And while Harry and Meghan have now stepped back as working royals, it’s suggested that Meghan won’t return to her acting roots.

Bruce Willis Retired After He Was Diagnosed With Aphasia

Despite the fact that Hollywood is full of actors, there are some who stand out. And for the past few decades, Bruce Willis has been at the top of the food chain. With over 100 acting credits to his name, Willis made a name for himself as the ultimate action star, appearing in movies like Die Hard, Pulp Fiction, Looper, Armageddon, and more. Then, out of the blue, his family came out with a shock announcement.

In March 2022, his family confirmed that Bruce Willis would be “stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.” The statement read that the actor had been “experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities.” They finished the statement with the words: “As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up’ and together we plan to do just that.”

Meg Ryan Retired Because She Wanted To “Live More”

Those who grew up in the 1980s will be hugely familiar with Meg Ryan. After all, she was the ultimate rom-com queen of this era, starring in amazing movies like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and more. But Meg wasn’t just a romantic. She also showcased her ability to turn her hand to any project, which is why fans were sad to see her go during the late 2010s.

Although Meg hasn’t officially hung up her acting hat, she’s now more focused on directing and living a normal life instead of working in front of the camera. She spoke to the New York Times about her decision to step away from the acting side of things, and she confessed that “I didn’t feel like I knew enough anymore about myself or the world to reflect it as an actor. I felt isolated.” She also stated that she wanted to “live more.”

Rick Moranis Was Forced To Retire When His Wife Sadly Passed Away

With his big glasses and his comedic timing, Rick Moranis was a star of the 1980s and 1990s. He starred in epic movies like Ghostbusters, Little Shop of Horrors, Spaceballs, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. And while Rick loved his place in Hollywood and planned to continue his acting career, heartbreak struck him in 1991 when his wife sadly passed away at just 35 years old.

Rick not only needed time to grieve himself, but he also needed to reevaluate his priorities after the death of his wife. With two kids at home, he knew that he needed to step back from his acting roles and focus on being a full-time father instead. However, we do have some good news! In 2020, Rick signed on to appear in the upcoming Honey, I Shrunk the Kids sequel movie. At the moment, this movie does not have a release date.

Freddie Prinze Jr. Hated His Experience of Working With Kiefer Sutherland

With a talented comedian and actor as a father, it was only a matter of time before Freddie Prinze Jr. made his own mark on Hollywood – and he certainly did that. He became the king of the 1990s and 2000s, starring in mega movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer, She’s All That, Scooby-Doo, and more. Of course, he’s also known for his high-profile marriage to wife Sarah Michelle Gellar… and for unofficially retiring from acting.

Although Freddie still takes on small voice roles here and there, he stated that working with Kiefer Sutherland in the 2010 show 24 was “terrible.” He confessed that “I hated every moment of it. Kiefer was the most unprofessional dude in the world. That’s not me talking trash, I’d say it to his face, I think everyone that’s worked with him has said that. I just wanted to quit the business after that. So, I just sort of stopped.”

Josh Hartnett Retired Because Fame Made Him Feel “Alone”

With his floppy hair and his chiseled jaw, it should come as no surprise to learn that Josh Hartnett was the ultimate teen heartthrob during the late 1990s and early 2000s. His most profilic role to date came in the form of the romantic war drama, Pearl Harbor. And after the success of this movie, most fans assumed that he would only get bigger and better. Sadly, that wasn’t the case, as he decided to retire from big Hollywood blockbusters.

While he has not retired entirely from acting, he will now only work on small, independent projects as he doesn’t feel so “alone.” He told Details in 2014 that “I was on the cover of every magazine. I couldn’t really go anywhere. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I was alone. I didn’t trust anyone.” While Josh is regularly offered the chance to star in big budget productions again, he always turns them down.

Amanda Bynes’ Own Acting Pushed Her To Leave Hollywood Behind

During the early ’00s, Amanda Bynes was in movie after movie. Her acting and singing talent allowed her the chance to take on leading roles in the likes of Hairspray, She’s the Man, What a Girl Wants, and even her own television show. While many assumed that she would continue to reign supreme in Hollywood, she announced on Twitter in 2011 that she was quitting. And that her own performance had caused her to quit.

Apparently, she decided to retire after watching herself in the movie Easy A. She told Paper magazine that “I literally couldn’t stand my appearance in that movie, and I didn’t like my performance. I was absolutely convinced I needed to stop acting after seeing it.” While she hasn’t acted since, Amanda’s conservatorship drama has continued to play out in the press even though she herself has decided to recluse herself from the spotlight.

Robert Redford Decided That He Finally Needed a Break

Robert Redford has been in the limelight since the 1960s. Over the course of his career he has showcased his work as both an actor and a filmmaker, and it’s clear to see that he’s put a huge amount of work and dedication into his portfolio. And while fans will always remember his roles in movies such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, and All the President’s Men, most understand his reasons for retirement.

In August 2018, Robert Redford officially announced his retirement from acting, and in a subsequent interview with Entertainment Weekly, he stated that “I’ve been doing it since I was 21. I thought, ‘Well, that’s enough.’ And why not go out with something that’s very upbeat and positive?” However, after this decision, he did confess that he “regretted” announcing his retirement, as “you never know.”

Gene Hackman Left Hollywood Because It Was Too “Stressful” for Him

Gene Hackman made his professional acting debut back in the 1950s, and since then he’s been on a whirlwind journey. From starring in major blockbusters such as Superman, The French Connection, Bonnie and Clyde, and Mississippi Burning to winning four Golden Globes, two Academy Awards and more, many expected Gene Hackman to act well into his 90s. However, he retired in 2004.

Hackman has spoken about his decision to step away from the limelight in the past, stating that he decided to leave Hollywood because the whole business was just too “stressful” for him. He confessed that “The compromises that you have to make in films are just part of the beast, and it had gotten to a point where I just didn’t feel like I wanted to do it anymore.”

Phoebe Cates Decided To Focus on Being a Wife and a Mother

If you were a teenager during the 1980s, there’s a high chance that you had a crush on Phoebe Cates, and you may have even had her poster on your wall. Even today, she’s remembered for her iconic roles in the likes of Fast Times and Ridgemont High and the Gremlins movies – but sadly her career ended before it really began. That’s because Phoebe unofficially retired in 1994, and only came back for a small appearance in 2001’s The Anniversary Party as a favor to her friend.

While many people assumed that Phoebe’s career would skyrocket after her ’80s fame, that all changed when she married her husband Kevin Kline in 1989. When the couple welcomed their children into the world, they reportedly “agreed to alternate [parenting duties] so that we’re never working at the same time.” However, whenever it was Phoebe’s turn to go back into acting, she ultimately decided to stay with her husband and kids instead.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas Was Ready To Leave His Child Star Days Behind

Many child stars in Hollywood go on to have impressive adult careers, but Jonathan Taylor Thomas obviously didn’t want that. Although he rose to fame at just nine years old and then went on to star in the likes of The Brady Bunch, The Lion King, Home Improvements, and Pinnochio, he soon discovered that Hollywood wasn’t the world he wanted to live in.

After spending his former years in the limelight, it seemed as though Jonathan wanted to be a kid after his early success. So, he went to college and ultimately studied at both Harvard University and Columbia University. Since then, he’s made a few sporadic acting appearances here and there, but he’s now more focused on living a quiet life away from the spotlight.

Sean Connery Had Enough of the “Idiots” in Hollywood

Every actor cast as James Bond will go down in history, and that’s why it’s one of the most coveted roles in Hollywood. Sean Connery took on the moniker of 007 from 1962 and 1983, and it was this role that thrust him into the limelight and into the forefront of everyone’s attention. Today, he’s considered to be one of the most impeccable actors in history… even though he’s retired.

Connery officially decided to retire after the failure of the 2003 movie, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Although the actor sensed that the movie was “going off the rails” during the production process, director Stephen Norrington wouldn’t listen. He even went as far as to say that Norrington should be “locked up for insanity.” In 2006, he stated that the “idiots now making films in Hollywood” helped his decision to finally retire.

Jennifer Grey Believes Her Nose Job Forced Her To Retire

Although new movies are released into the Hollywood sphere every single year, there are some movies that go down in history no matter how old they are, and Dirty Dancing is one of them. This movie is considered to be a masterpiece, and it thrust Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey into the spotlight. And while this film allowed Jennifer to become the “it” girl of the ’80s, that all changed during the 1990s.

Although Jennifer Grey didn’t officially retire from Hollywood, she does believe that she became “invisible” thanks to a nose job she had during that decade. The actress stated that “I went in the operating room a celebrity, and came out anonymous. It was like being in a witness protection program or being invisible.” In her eyes, her nose changed her appearance to the point where nobody recognized her anymore.

Michael J. Fox Retired When His Parkinson’s Disease Progressed

Michael J. Fox is considered to be a legend in the game, and not just because everyone knows him as Marty McFly in the Back to the Future franchise. This impressive actor was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 when he was just 29 years old, but he didn’t let that get the better of him. While he stepped away from major movies, he continued to work on small roles here and there. Until 2020, that is.

As his disease progressed, Fox realized that he couldn’t go on much longer. So, in 2020 he officially retired from the acting world and decided to focus on his health and his charity work instead. In his memoir, he wrote that “There is a time for everything, and my time of putting in a twelve-hour workday and memorizing seven pages of dialogue is best behind me.”

Brendan Fraser’s Mental and Physical Struggles Forced Him To Retreat

Known for his roles in the likes of The Mummy franchise, George of the Jungle, Airheads, and more, there’s no doubt about the fact that Brendan Fraser is an icon in Hollywood. During the 1990s and early 2000s, he was at the top of his game, and everyone wanted a piece of him. But it turns out that that’s exactly why he decided to retreat.

Although he kept it a secret, Brendan has confessed that filming his own stunts for The Mummy franchise broke him mentally and physically. He underwent numerous surgeries over the course of seven years, and this, coupled with a divorce and a reported sexual assault, meant that he unofficially retired from the big screen. However, in 2022 Brendan made a comeback in the new movie The Whale, which has sparked his “Brenaissance.”

Kristy McNichol Knew She Had To Retire for Her Own Happiness

From the 1970s until the 1990s, Kristy McNichol was at the top of her game. The young actress was taking Hollywood by storm on both the small screen and the big screen, and she made a name for herself in shows like Family and Empty Nest, and movies such as Little Darlings and Only When I Laugh. But then we started seeing less and less of her, and in 2001 she finally confirmed the news that we had all been dreading; she had retired.

Kristy had been acting for 24 years when she decided that enough was enough, and in her retirement statement, she noted that “My feeling was that it was time to play my biggest part — myself! I must say that it has been the best thing that ever happened to me… some may not realize that the process I’m in at this time is necessary and vital for my personal happiness and well-being.”

Bridget Fonda Found the Pressure of Her Family’s Dynasty To Be Too Much

The Fonda name is huge in Hollywood. From Peter Fonda to Jane Fonda, it’s no secret that Bridget Fonda was born into an incredible dynasty – and so fans weren’t surprised when she made her own mark on the acting world. During the ’80s and ’90s, Bridget rose to stardom as Hollywood’s “it” girl in movies like Jackie Brown, Single White Female, and It Could Happen to You. Then, she disappeared.

After suffering a car crash in 2003, marrying her husband, and welcoming a son into the world, Bridget decided to retire from acting and live a normal life instead. However, it’s been suggested that she also struggled under the weight of her family name. In a 1993 interview, she stated that “I wonder what kind of satisfaction I would have with where I am now if I wasn’t part of a family that has done such phenomenal work.”

Jennette McCurdy Quit Acting for the Sake of Her Mental Health

While most of the actors on this list knew that they wanted to be actors from a young age, Jennette McCurdy didn’t. Instead, she was pushed into the industry by her abusive mother when she was just 6 years old despite the fact that she had no desire to be an actress. And while Jennette found fame for her roles in Nickelodeon’s iCarly and Sam and Cat, she has described her experiences as “hellish.”

In fact, Jennett has stated that the reasons she decided to retire from acting in 2017 was to protect her own mental health, as she had been struggling immensely in the spotlight. On her podcast, she noted that she felt “ashamed” of playing characters that were so different to her, and that playing these characters left her feeling “empty inside.” Her personal struggles with her mom behind the scenes also didn’t help.

Jack Gleeson Wanted To Enjoy a Simpler Life Out of the Spotlight

You probably don’t need us to tell you that the Game of Thrones franchise is one of the biggest franchises of all time. In many people’s eyes, Jack Gleeson scored the role of a lifetime when he was offered the chance to take on the role of Joffrey in this show – despite the fact that he was a highly divisive character. But it seems as though the hype around the show is exactly what put Jack Gleeson off fame.

Jack retired from big-screen acting after his time on Game of Thrones came to an end, and he’s now instead focused on running his own theater company in his home city of Dublin. He told the Irish Independent that “The lifestyle that comes with being an actor in a successful TV show isn’t something I gravitate towards.”

Frankie Muniz Decided To Focus on His Race Car Driving Career

There was once a time when Frankie Muniz was everywhere. The former child star was not only the lead actor in the epic television show Malcolm in the Middle, but he also landed roles in movies such as Agent Cody Banks, Big Fat Liar, and Racing Stripes. The ’00s were his time to shine, and many assumed that the young actor would continue in the limelight. But he didn’t.

When Malcolm in the Middle wrapped in 2006, he decided to focus on another passion instead; race car driving. He’s now a talented open-wheel racing driver and seems to be happy with his decision. In fact, when a troll insulted him on Twitter a few years ago, he noted that “being retired with $40,000,000 at 19 has not been awful. Good luck with moving out of your mom’s house before your [sic] 35.”

Ariana Richards Opted To Pursue an Art Career Instead

You probably don’t need us to tell you that Jurassic Park is one of the most incredible franchises out there. And when she was just a youngster, Ariana Richards was given the chance to appear in the original 1993 movie as Lex Murphy. After this, Ariana moved into the world of television films and worked on the likes of Born Free: A New Adventure, Switched at Birth, and The Incident. Then, she disappeared.

Despite the fact that fans were hoping for more Ariana in their lives, it seems as though this young actress decided to reassess her priorities… especially when she married her husband, Mark Bolton. Instead of focusing on her acting career, Ariana decided to focus on her love of art. Now, she’s a portrait artist in Oregon, and she even has her own gallery.

Jennifer Stone Left Hollywood To Understand a New Health Diagnosis

Remembered for her raspy voice and her ability to play eccentric and wild characters, it’s fair to say that Jennifer Stone made an impact on Hollywood. This largely came from her work on the Disney Channel. That’s because Jennifer landed a major role alongside Selena Gomez in Wizards of Waverly Place, and many hoped to see her in more. However, a health diagnosis then changed everything.

When she was 20 years old, Jennifer was diagnosed with latent autoimmune diabetes. In order to understand her diagnosis better, she decided to quit acting and head to university to study nursing. After graduation, Jennifer decided to use her degree wisely, and she’s now a full-time nurse helping the long battle against coronavirus.

Gwyneth Paltrow Had To Leave Hollywood To Avoid Burnout

When it comes to acting legends, Gwyneth Paltrow has to be somewhere at the top of the list. This actress has been in the limelight since the late 1980s, and since then she’s put her name to some of the biggest blockbuster hits of all time. In fact, there was once a time where she was filming five movies a year. But it seems as though that’s the exact reason she’s decided to retire from acting and focus on her entrepreneurial efforts instead.

When talking about her retirement, Gwyneth has noted that “when I was acting I really burned myself out…I really got to the point where even the little things, like sitting in the van going to set, getting your makeup touch-ups, and everything—I really don’t know that I can bear it.” However, she has noted that she would potentially go back into acting… but only if her husband wrote the movie.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Were Done With Living in Front of the Camera

Not many people can say that they landed their first acting gig when they were six months old, but Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen can. These twins’ appearance in Full House thrust them into the limelight before they even knew what was going on, but it wasn’t long before the world had fallen in love with them. Soon, their acting talent and their twin-ness spawned their own movies and television shows.

Today, all eyes are on their sister Elizabeth when it comes to the family’s acting talent, as both Mary-Kate and Ashley decided to fully retire from acting in 2012 to focus on their fashion careers. Ashley told Vanity Fair that “It was time to step behind the process. I wanted to work on other things. It doesn’t mean I’m not interested in Hollywood. I like the way it operates, I like the people who are involved and the sense of possibility. But if I ever get back in, it’s not going to be as an actress.”

Josh Saviano Quit Acting To Focus on His Education Instead

With his glasses, his braces, and his nerdy look, there was no doubt about the fact that Paul Pfieffer in The Wonder Years was supposed to be “the geek.” It was Josh Saviano’s job to bring this geeky character to life, and he did an incredible job. His role as Paul thrust the young actor into the spotlight, and he quickly became a fan favorite. This wasn’t enough to keep him in the spotlight though.

Although Josh landed a few minor roles after The Wonder Years, the work didn’t come rushing in. So, he decided to quit the industry and become a real-life geek instead. Not only did he graduate from Yale University with a degree in political science, but he’s now a full-time lawyer and the founder of his own consultancy group for celebrities.

Portia de Rossi Wanted To Challenge Herself Outside of Acting

While she’s perhaps best known as the wife of Ellen DeGeneres, it’s important to remember that Portia de Rossi was once a hugely talented actress herself. In fact, many people will remember her from the hugely popular show Arrested Development. This show thrust her into the limelight and gave her the chance to expand her acting career even further, but instead Portia decided to step away from the cameras.

Portia unofficially retired from acting after the fifth season of Arrested Development, and she went in search in something new. She told her wife on The Ellen Show that “I was approaching 45, and I just kind of…was wondering is there something that I could tackle now that I’ve never done before that would be really challenging and different. I kind of knew what acting would look like for me for the next 10, 20 years, so I decided to quit and start a business.”

Taylor Momsen Fell Out of Love With Acting and in Love With Music

When you look at her resume, it’s clear to see that Taylor Momsen has been on a whirlwind journey. After landing the role of Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 2000, she then went on to have a leading role in Gossip Girl during her teenage years. Two years into her role as Jenny Humphrey on the popular show, she also became the lead singer of her band Pretty Reckless.

When Gossip Girl wrapped in 2012, though, she decided that she wanted to focus all of her attention on her music rather than her acting. At the time, she confessed that “I quit acting, actually. I quit Gossip Girl and now tour and am in a band, and that’s pretty much all I want to do. Hopefully, I’ll be able to only do that for the rest of my life.”

Peter Ostrum Left the Limelight After His First and Only Role

Many actors dream of landing a huge role for their acting debut, but only a tiny percentage actually get that chance. In 1971, Peter Ostrum was one of the lucky ones. The young and unknown actor was cast as Charlie in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and most fans assumed that the fame and fortune he received from this one role would spur him on to continue in the business. Instead, it had the opposite effect.

At just 14 years old, Peter Ostrum decided to retire from acting. When asked about his decision to retire, Peter stated that “I soon came to the realisation that acting was a lot of work…I was offered a three-picture deal with the studio, but I decided not to pursue acting. Looking back, my paycheck was paltry, but it was during filming that I really became interested in medicine. So I bought my first horse with my earnings, and that started my current career path as a vet.”

Angus T. Jones Retired When His Show Conflicted With His Religious Beliefs

Many child stars in Hollywood go on to lead impressive careers, but there are some who retire before most adult actors even get their own careers off the ground. Angus T. Jones was one of those, as he retired from acting in 2016 after almost 20 years in the limelight. After all, he made his debut when he was just five years old. Now, at 29 years old he’s become a recluse.

For ten years, Angus became a hugely familiar face for fans of Two and a Half Men, but as he got older he soon realized that many of the themes in the show didn’t match up with his burgeoning religious beliefs. He confessed that the show was “making light of topics in our world that are really problems for a lot of people. I was paid a hypocrite because I wasn’t okay with it, but I was still doing it.”

Kay Panabaker Retired From Acting To Land Another Dream Job

As the younger sister of actress Danielle Panabaker, Kay Panabaker had an impressive big sister to look up to – and it didn’t take her long to follow in her footsteps. Kay became a talented actress in her own right, and over the course of her 11-year acting career she starred in major movies like Fame, Nancy Drew, and Little Birds. However, her last movie role came in the form of 2012’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3: Viva La Fiesta!

After this role, Kay decided to reassess her life and her dreams. She realized that she no longer wanted to be an actress, but instead wanted to go back to school to study zoology. Now, she works at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and couldn’t be happier, stating that “I just lost the love for acting. Life is short, we spend so much time at work, gotta do what you love and I love my job!” 

Karyn Parsons Left Fame and Fortune To Focus on Charity Work

When you think of Karyn Parsons, you probably immediately think of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. This actress was a natural in her role of Hilary Banks, and she perfectly brought the spoiled and sassy character to life. And while she was given six years of guaranteed work during this role, she struggled to kick her career on the ground when the show came to an end. So, she retired.

Karyn’s not just resting on her laurels now, though. She now spends her time on her charity work, and she’s even founded her very own charitable organization called the Sweet Blackberry Foundation. She uses this as a platform to produce books and animated films about black history and the unsung black heroes of the past.

Nikki Blonsky Became a Licensed Cosmetologist

There was once a time when Nikki Blonsky couldn’t stop the motion of the ocean or the sun in the sky, and she definitely couldn’t stop the beat. Yes, she was the breakout star of the movie musical Hairspray, and after starring alongside the likes of Zac Efron, Brittany Snow, John Travolta, and Queen Latifah, most people assumed that Nikki had a huge career ahead of her. However, that wasn’t the case.

Although Nikki hasn’t completely retired from the acting industry, she’s not very active – and she actually obtained her cosmetology license after her successful breakthrough, before taking a job in a salon. She’s noted that “Just ’cause I’m part time working doesn’t mean I’m giving up on my dreams; don’t give up on yours.” Today, she’s actually working on a fairly successful podcast where she interviews fellow celebrities.

Taran Noah Smith Retired Because He Grew Tired of Acting

We’ve already seen one child star of Home Improvements on this list, but it seems as though another member of the show decided to retire earlier than we expected. That person was Taran Noah Smith, who landed the role of Mark Taylor when he was just seven years old. He worked on the show for eight years, but he quickly realized that acting wasn’t what he wanted to do with his life. So, he retired when the show came to an end.

Speaking about his retirement, Taran confessed that “I started Home Improvement when I was seven, and the show ended when I was 16. I never had the chance to decide what I wanted to do with my life. When I was 16, I knew that I didn’t want to act anymore.” Since then, Taran has become a technical manager for a company that teaches people how to pilot submarines.