It can’t be easy to be a child actor. Time and time again, we see these kids grow up and struggle to find their place in the world. The industry isn’t always kind to these children and many of them end up bouncing in and out of rehab, facing legal troubles, or having public meltdowns. The pressures placed on these young people can be too much for them to bear.
Not every child star goes down that path, though. There are a handful of them that walk away from Hollywood and pursue other dreams. Either they were no longer landing roles or they just decided that acting wasn’t for them, these former celebrities traded in the glitz and glamor for an everyday job. Many of them are totally content to be free from the Hollywood seen.
From lawyers to professors, these actors have found their nitch out in the real world. Some of them wrote books while others followed their dream of owning their own company. Many of them struggle to make ends meet and work as a hairdresser or a waiter. They have to find some way to support themselves. Whatever their motivation may be, please enjoy this list of 15 celeb kids who quit Hollywood and now work normal jobs.
15 Amanda Bynes Studies Fashion
Amanda Bynes has one of the saddest Hollywood stories. Kids in the 90’s grew up watching her on shows like All That and The Amanda Show on Nickelodeon. She suffered a nervous breakdown in 2013 after many public displays and social media meltdowns. Bynes was in and out of rehab but has finally emerged victorious.
She is now studying fashion and attending Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising in Los Angeles.
She recently took to Twitter to update her fans."Hi everybody! I haven't tweeted in a long time and I want to say hi! I've been really busy at FIDM, and I just finished my midterms," she shared with her 3.4 million followers. "I am really loving school and I feel that I am learning a lot. I enjoy all of my classes and my teachers are excellent."
14 Jack Gleeson Went Into Academia
Jack Gleeson played King Joffrey in HBO’s smash hit, Game Of Thrones. His character tormented the Seven Kingdoms and was an arrogant and cruel ruler. Yet, in real life, Gleeson is nothing like the character he played. He actually retired from acting at the ripe age of 21 and studies philosophy at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
He spoke with Entertainment Weekly about why he decided to quit acting.
“I’ve been acting since age 8. I just stopped enjoying it as much as I used to.” He said. “And now there’s the prospect of doing it for a living, whereas up until now it was always something I did for recreation with my friends, or in the summer for some fun. I enjoyed it. When you make a living from something, it changes your relationship with it. It’s not like I hate it, it’s just not what I want to do.”
13 Sarah Michelle Gellar Owns A Bakery
Fans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer might be surprised to know that Buffy has given up her vampire- killing ways and is now slaying the the baking industry.
Sarah Michelle Gellar is the co-founder of Foodstirs, an organic baking line. She started the company with her good friend, Galit Laibow.
Forbes reported that Galler decided to go all into the business when her show, The Crazy Ones was canceled.
“It’s always scary when you step out of your comfort zone, but as the saying goes, great risk brings great rewards,” Gellar told the mad. "I have always liked to challenge myself, and this seemed like the logical next step to tackle. I am not a spokesperson for the company. I have the same accountability and responsibilities as any other co-founder.”
12 Kevin Jonas Is Now A Building Contractor
We all know Kevin Jonas from when he was a member of band, The Jonas Brothers. He and his brothers gained popularity from their appearances on The Disney Channel and had several singles that found their place on the charts. The band officially broke up in 2013 over creative differences and each brother has gone on to find to their individual pursuits.
Kevin Jonas left the spotlight to start a family and works as a building contractor in New Jersey.
He co-owns JonasWerner Homes and builds custom built homes. Us Weekly reported that even appeared in The Real Housewives of New Jersey in a cameo as Kathy Wakile’s contractor. When asked by the client’s sister if he used to sing, he replied, "That was my day job. Now I'm doing this."
11 Mara Wilson Is Now An Author
Mara Wilson charmed audiences during the 1990’s when she stared in Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda. The actress decided to give up her acting career because she was constantly scrutinized for her looks. The pressures of image-obsessed industry just became too much for her to bare.
Wilson took the time to focus on her education and used her talents to write the book Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame.
“I wasn’t getting any parts,” Wilson writes in Where Am I Now? “As I saw it, I had three choices: get cosmetic surgery and go out on auditions for the cute and funny best friend characters, stay the way I was and go out for the meager character actor roles for young women, or accept myself and give up the idea of a Hollywood film acting career for good.”
10 Angus T. Jones Works At An Event Company
Angus T. Jones found fame when he played Jake Harper on the sitcom Two And A Half Men. He was cast as the son of John Cryer’s character and acted alongside Charlie Sheen. The show was known for it’s racy humor and as Angus got older, his character was written to be a bit raunchier. This became a problem when he became a Christian and felt like he couldn’t compromise his faith to act out the bawdy scenes.
He left the show and enrolled in the University of Colorado to focus on environmental studies.
According to People, he decided to take a break from academia as well. Jones became president of an event company called Tonite. He has thought about returning to acting when asked if he regretted quitting Hollywood Jones said, “In terms of regrets, I try to avoid those completely,” he shared. “There’s no changing anything. There’s only moving forward.”
9 Dylan Sprouse Owns A Brewery
Dylan Sprouse is best known for starring alongside his twin, Cole Sprouse in the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. After their long stint with Disney, the twins enrolled at NYU. At the time, Dylan worked at an Upper-East Side coffee house. Cole returned to the screen to play Jughead on CW’s Riverdale.
Dylan decided to follow his passions and opened the All-Wise Meadery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Vulture spoke with him about how it feels to be a former Disney star. “I’m not one of those people that looks back at that experience and says, Oh, I want to rebel. I don’t care that much. It’s only stood to benefit me most of my life. I’m opening up my brewery because of it” — Sprouse put “most” of his money into it, he says — “so I can’t complain that much.”
8 Nikki Blonsky Became A Hairdresser
Nikki Blonsky is known for playing a pleasantly plump teenager in the 2007 remake of the film, Hairspray. She danced and sang her way into our hearts in the musical. Fans might be shocked to learn the Blonsky left Hollywood and earned her cosmetology license.
She was spotted working at the Super Star Salon in Long Island, New York.
The actress took to Twitter to confirm the news. “Its true Im workin@ Superstar Salon as a makeup artist & more Im proud 2 b workin & helpin pay bills BUT ill NEVER loose sight of my dreams,”. Blonsky wrote. “Just cause Im part time workin doesnt mean Im gonna give up on my dreams n dont give up on urs I might book something big soon keep positive,” she continued via Twitter.
7 Chris Owen Became A Waiter
Chris Owen played the spiky haired “Sherminator” in the 1999 hit American Pie. His breakout role may have given him quite a bit of notoriety but his acting career seems to be stalling. Fans were left in disbelief when they discovered him moonlighting as a waiter at Sushi Roku, a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles.
The actor admits that his fame may have faded a bit since his American Pie Days.
“Life doesn’t always go the way you planned,” Owen told the Daily News . “I love acting and this job lets me stay in the fight. I get recognized a lot,” he continued . “I walk up to the table and see the look in their eyes. People get excited and it feels good. I like connecting with people for that brief moment in time.”
6 Danica Mae McKellar Is A Math Wizard
Danica Mae McKellar won our hearts when she played the role of Winnie Cooper on the hit television series, The Wonder Years. She was the girl next door that drove Kevin Arnold crazy. Well, she’s all grown up now and has an impressive resume.
McKellar is the author of many books and also just so happens to be a mathematician.
She wrote about how she discovered a love for math in a blog post. “I felt the empowerment of the confidence that comes from feeling smart and capable stuff having nothing to do with the glamour of Hollywood - and I was hooked.” She wrote.
“I liked the new identity I was building for myself; it felt good on the inside. As a bonus, getting recognized on the street became really entertaining, as when people would ask, So what are you up to now? the answer of pursuing a math degree always promised a fun reaction."
5 Charlie Korsmo Is Now A Law Professor
Charlie Korsmo was one of those adorable kid actors that Hollywood just couldn’t get enough of. Fans may remember him as the death-obsessed son of Richard Dreyfus in What About Bob or the earnest son of Robin Williams in Hook. He played The Kid in Dick Tracy alongside Warren Beatty and pretty much charmed all who watched his performance.
Now, he’s all grown up and gave up acting to pursue loftier pursuits.
He has quite an impressive work history since leaving the Hollywood scene. He earned a degree in physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to a story about Korsmo featured in the ABA Journal. He went on to work at Environmental Protection Agency and with a House of Representatives committee, he decided that a law degree would help him in policy work.
4 Phoebe Cates Owns A Boutique
Phoebe Cates was every teenage boy’s dream when she played the role of Linda Barrett in 1982’s Fast Times At Ridgemont High. She left Hollywood after she wed actor Kevin Kline and gave birth to two children, Greta and Owen.
She quit acting to be a full-time mom and when her kids became teenagers and needed her less, Cates decided to open her own boutique.
Blue Tree is a gift shop located in Soho. According to USA Today, she always dreamed of having her own boutique. "I always wanted to have a general store," she says. "If I could have had a photo booth and sold candy, I would have." The shopkeeper went on to say that most people know thats she works the register. "Or if they don't, they tell me I look like Phoebe Cates, and I say, 'I get that a lot.' " She said.
3 Jeff Cohen Is A Lawyer
Who doesn’t love Chunk from 1985 smash film, The Goonies ? Jeff Cohen was cast as the hilarious chubby kid and all of America adored him at the time. Yet, after he hit puberty and his looks changed, it became harder and harder for him to get any roles.
It was then that he decided to become an entertainment lawyer.
He spoke with Bitter Empire about what led him make that decision. “I was like, there’s a whole other aspect to entertainment. This was intriguing to me. Then I start studying those figures and what kept showing up were deals.” He said. “When I went through and looked at the people I respect in show business, whether it’s a producer and agent and executive, the common denominator was a law degree.”
2 Danny Lloyd Is A Biology Professor
One of the most terrifying movies from the 1980’s was The Shining. Who could forget Danny Torrance? Danny Lloyd was just 5-years-old when he starred in the movie.
He quit acting when he was 14 because he just couldn’t land any roles and didn’t mind taking a break from the spotlight.
“I’m glad I was in ‘The Shining.’” Lloyd told the Daily News in his first interview since he was a child.
“It was not a bad experience for me. It just wasn’t something that panned out and I decided to go back to being a regular kid.” He grew up to be a biology professor at a local community college outside of Louisville, Illinois. “A Hollywood life probably wouldn’t have been for me, anyway,” he laughed. “I’m proud to come from the Midwest and that’s where I’m comfortable at.”
1 Taran Noah Smith Owns A Vegan Company
Taran Noah Smith starred as the youngest son on Tim Allen’s hit show, Home Improvement. He is another one of those kid actors that struggled a bit once he left Hollywood. Smith grew up and fell in love with Heidi Van Pelt. The couple started a vegan cheese company, Playfood.
Sadly, the marriage didn’t last and after a bitter legal battle, Smith left the cheese business.
According to The Mirror, he then volunteered with the disaster relief organization Communitere, making a floating art gallery and working as a charter sailboat captain in Santa Barbara. He has no interest in acting again."I really enjoy working with my hands and working with tools and having something physical to look at and say that I built at the end of the day. That's what makes me happiest." he said.