Many people envision the life of an actress to be all glitz and glamour. It can be hard to imagine that anyone would actually want to walk away from fame. From fabulous parties to public notoriety, there are several perks that can come along with being a celebrity.
Yet, there are those celeb ladies that decided acting might not be right for them. Some of these ladies stepped out of the limelight to raise their children. Others fell off the radar because they discovered that they had passions outside of Hollywood. Many of these women had a thirst for knowledge and found themselves in academia.
Some of these ladies were blessed with beauty and brains. They may have realized that they have a head for business and launched their own company. From best-selling authors to yoga instructors, these ladies decided to leave their acting careers and pursue other interests. All of these celebrity moms have one thing in common-they don’t need fame to validate who they are.
So, they settled down and made a new name for themselves in all sorts of professional fields. Please enjoy this list of 15 celeb moms who quit Hollywood and now work normal jobs.
15 Sarah Michelle Gellar Is A Baker
We all remember Sarah Michelle Gellar as the heroine of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Fans of the show might be surprised to know that Buffy has given up her vampire- killing ways and is now slaying the baking industry. She is a co-founder of Foodstirs, an organic baking line.
Per the Foodstirs website: “Galit Laibow, Greg Fleishman and Sarah Michelle Gellar, parents and longtime friends, were touched by the unbeatable way baking helped them connect with their kids. Amazed at the absence of options to make it more natural and accessible, they made their own. They still try everything in their own kitchens and keep us searching for ever more inventive ways to bring baking back and make it better, with people and planet equally in mind.”
Forbes reported that Gellar 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 mag. "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.”
14 Andrea Barber Became An Academic In Women's Studies
Andrea Barber was best known for her role as Kimmy Gibler on the 1980’s show Full House. She took a long hiatus after the show and all but disappeared from Hollywood. She recently made a triumphant return as Kimmy in the Netflix reboot, Fuller House. We now see her alongside the old gang but many fans have wondered what Andrea has been up to.
According to The Huffington Post: “Barber left the business after “Full House” and acquired a degree in English from Whittier College, received an MA in Women’s Studies from the University of York in England and returned to Whittier as assistant to the director of Whittier College’s Office of International Programs.”
Andres married her husband, Jeremy Rytky in 2002. The couple has two children — nine-year-old son, Tate, and six-year-old daughter, Felicity. So it appears that Andrea was busy raising a family and being a supermom of two adorable kids. Between her academic pursuits and motherhood, she’s had a busy life outside of L.A.
She also likes to keep fit and fills her Instagram account with pics of her training for and running in marathons. That doesn’t sound like something Kimmy Gibler would do but it suits Andrea just fine.
13 Jennie Garth Created A Subscription Box For Moms
Fans of the 1990’s show, Beverly Hils, 90210 will remember Jennie Garth as Kelly Taylor. She’s all grown up and although we may see her pop up in a Hallmark movie every now and then, Jennie gave up acting to be a full-time mom to her three daughters. She and Peter Fanelli were married for eleven years when their marriage ended in divorce.
Jennie was suddenly a single mom and threw herself into motherhood and also became the curator for a subscription box company.
Per the website, Jennie said: “Welcome to my Mom Gift Box – I’m so excited to share some of my favorite things with you! I put a lot of effort into hand selecting these treasures and hope you love every one of them as much as I do!"
“We believe that the joy of receiving surprise boxes of all types, from toys and treats for pets to sweets treats or sporting gear, enhances our lives in simple, affordable, yet meaningful ways. Everyone knows the excitement and fun of opening and giving a gift! Our team works hard to bring that experience to your door every month, with fun, exciting and unique products that you and your friends will love!”
12 Karyn Parsons Runs An Educational Video Company
You might remember Karyn Parsons from her stint as Hilary Banks on the 1990’s show, The Fresh Prince Of Belair. She left the limelight and started her won educational video company. She sat down with Forbes Magazine to talk about her newest role.
“I’m the President and CEO—it’s so funny to hear that—but yeah, the founder of Sweet Blackberry. It’s a nonprofit, and the mission is to bring little-known stories of African American history to children.” she continued. “We create short, animated films with a single narrator and the way that they’re animated makes it more like a picture book that comes to life.”
Karyn was actually inspired to start the non-profit from a story that her mom told her when she was younger and the rest is history. “My mother—she was a librarian—she worked at the Black Resource Library when I was on Fresh Prince, and she would tell me these stories that were fascinating,” Karyn shared,
“She told me the story of Henry 'Box' Brown who literally mailed himself to freedom in a box, and I thought it was incredible. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard the story, and my friends hadn’t heard it, either.
11 Julia Stiles Took A Break To Be A Humanitarian
Julia Stiles was the romantic comedy queen of the 1990’s. She played alongside Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You. She most recently returned to the screen in the television series, Riviera. Yet, before she landed that role, Julia took a hiatus to do charity work with various organizations.
From building houses for the less fortunate with Habitat For Humanity to traveling around the world with Amnesty International, she worked for causes close to her heart. But it is her latest role that might pull her away from acting altogether. She recently gave birth to her daughter, Strummer Newcomb Cook, with her husband, Preston J. Cook.
Julia spoke with TV WEEK about why she is thinking about stepping out from the spotlight. When asked if she would quit acting to be a full-time mom, Julia had a surprising answer.
“That’s definitely possible. I’ve heard from some mums that they were excited to go back to work, but then felt the complete opposite,” she shared. “I don’t think I’ll be that way. I feel like being a new mum is a challenge in and of itself, and it might be hard for me to navigate and just take care of my kid.”
10 Geena Davis Started Her Own Institute On Gender Media
We all know Geena Davis from several Hollywood films but the one that seems to stand out the most is the 1991 feminist film, Thelma and Louise. Geena played Thelma and it seems like her role as a butt-kicking woman influenced her in many ways. She didn’t exactly leave Hollywood for this job but it’s a passion project of hers.
She is the founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender Media. Per their website: “The Institute is the first and only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence content creators, marketers and audiences about the importance of eliminating unconscious bias, highlighting gender balance, challenging stereotypes, creating role models and scripting a wide variety of strong female characters in entertainment and media that targets and influences children ages 11 and under.”
Geena spoke with Forbes Magazine about what inspired her to start the institute.
“It wasn’t until I had a daughter and started watching little children’s entertainment… that I realized there was a profound gender problem in the TV and movies that are made for, and aimed at, children. I immediately noticed that there seemed to be far more male characters than female characters.”
9 Alicia Silverstone Curates Healthy-Living Subscription Boxes
Alicia Silverstone is most recognizable from playing Cher in the film Clueless. Yet, as time went on, she all but disappeared from acting. So what has she been up too? Alicia became well-known for being a Vegan and animal rights activist.
She wrote a guide to vegan nutrition, The Kind Diet, and started the website The Kind Life. Five years later, she released a follow-up book The Kind Mama, and then a third, The Kind Diet Cookbook. Now, she is the curator of an eco-lifestyle subscription box.
I can’t help but wonder why she chose to leave Hollywood. She spoke with The Guardian and shared that she didn’t enjoy the pressures of fame. "I was just a theater kid. I never wanted to be in movies or TV. There's no support or schooling on what do you do when you suddenly found yourself famous as a young woman. It was just too much for me,” she admitted.
In the end, she decided that she’d rather make the world a better place. "I decided I would use this to spotlight for something that is very meaningful to me," Silverstone explained. "I went on a quest to change the world, to make things better—for children, for the earth, for animals.”
8 Kimora Lee Simmons Is A Lead Global Ambassador
Kimora Lee Simmons first found fame when in modeling and later became a fashion mogul. She is the CEO of the Baby Phat clothing line. She’s also a mother of two teenager daughters and can add Lead Global Ambassador to her extensive list of duties. She was named global ambassador for the non-profit, Unmentionables.
The organization provides women and girls in crisis with access to undergarments, feminine hygiene products, and family-planning related education. Forbes Magazine spoke with Kimora about why Unmentionables is so important.
“In times of disaster, undergarments and feminine hygiene products are oftentimes completely overlooked. But can you imagine being a woman (or a girl) whose life circumstances have radically changed for the worse, and you are without even the most basic of normalcies?” she said.
Kimora was moved to partner with the non-profit after Hurricane Harvey. “I saw this need right here at home when I brought my family to Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017.” Kimora continued.
“After a natural disaster like Harvey, people are inclined to donate more items like food, clean water, clothing, toys, and diapers immediately. But many people fail to consider items like underwear, tampons, and sanitary pads.”
7 Hilary Duff Is An Author
Hilary Duff found success when she played the character of Lizzie Macguire during her teenage years. She can act, sing, started a clothing line and even created a perfume. She can also add “Young Adult author” to her resume. Hilary wrote a paranormal romance trilogy-Elixer, Devoted, and True. They’ve all seen huge success and it seems like she has no plans to stop.
Seventeen Magazine sat down with Hilary for an interview. When she was asked when she knew she wanted to be a writer, she said:
“I don't know if I can pinpoint the exact time and date. But I have been playing with the idea for a few years now,” Hilary continued.
“It's a lot of fun and at the same time, very challenging. Humans are very complex; I definitely have a new respect for authors that are able to write books nonstop, it's an incredible talent.”
She also shared that writing was nothing new for her and that she kept a journal as a teenager that provided the inspiration for her books. “I have been writing songs and poems since I was a little girl. I started writing short scripts, which evolved into the idea for a book.”
6 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.
Here’s how she describes the shop in her own words:“Known for its eclectic and inspired selection of women's clothing and jewelry, Blue Tree also carries unique and carefully chosen items in home, gift, fragrance, music, delicacies, etc. There are no rules. And we are always re-inventing, recreating in the hopes of delighting,” Phoebe wrote on the “About” page on the company's website.
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 that 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.' "
5 Ali Macgraw Is A Yoga Instructor
Ali MacGraw was best known for her breakout role in the 1970 film, Love Story. She was a fashion icon in the 70’s and was famously married to actor Steve McQueen. Ali had her fair share of heartbreak and eventually divorced Steve and left Hollywood after she lost everything in a house fire. The decision was easy since she felt like Los Angeles was too judgemental for her.
Ali told Oprah during an interview: “I thought, ‘this has got to be happening to me for a reason.'” She also talked about her LA life, “It’s tough being an ex-female pop star getting older in a town that often judges you by ‘how do you look?'” So she packed up and moved to New Mexico. It was there that she discovered how much she loved yoga.
According to an insider at Fetchsport: “Ali decided to devote to a healthy lifestyle. Starting in her early 50s, she has embraced the yogi lifestyle and even released several yoga videos. Her video Ali MacGraw Yoga Mind and Body, which presents several physical workouts and meditations, has become a bestseller,” the insider continued. “In fact, it was so popular that Vanity Fair titled it as largely responsible for yoga’s popularity in the USA in recent years.”
4 Ariana Richards Is An Artist
You may remember Ariana Richards as the adorable little girl that starred in the Jurrasic Park franchise. What you might not know is that she gave up acting, moved to Oregon, and is an award-winning artist. She spoke with Daily Mail about her decision to leave Hollywood.
'If I wanted to go to a café and have lunch and have a conversation with people it was very difficult because people would come up to me and ask for autographs,” she shared. 'Being in the public eye brought a lot of challenges and I'm really fortunate that I am really close with my family and I had them close to me always.'
She found a new career as a painter and has seen huge success.
According to the folks over at IMDB, "Ariana completed a BS Degree from Skidmore College, New York, where she graduated with honors in Drama and Art. She has since become one of the most celebrated young portrait artists of our time.”
When asked if she would ever return to acting, Araina said, 'I find art to be incredibly challenging, but rewarding. 'But if Steven does one day decide to write me a role, it would be an even greater challenge to turn that down.'
3 Maia Brewton Is A Lawyer
Maia Brewton charmed us all as the cute Thor-loving little girl in the film The Adventures in Babysitting. Although it may seem like she hasn’t gone anywhere in our hearts, Maia actually made the decision to leave acting to become a lawyer. She sat down with the people over at Bravo for an interview to promote her guest appearance on the show Odd Mom Out in 2015.
When asked why she dropped out of Hollywood, Maia shared that she dabbled a bit here and there over the years. “I love acting, and I've been fortunate enough to experience it in many incarnations — from TV to film to off-Broadway to smaller theatre.” she continued. “After college, I thought about getting back into professional acting, but I found drawn to other things. I did theatre with a wonderful company in Santa Monica — City Garage, check 'em out — and that scratched the itch in a wonderful way.”
Yet, it was a thirst for knowledge that led her to give up acting and become a lawyer. “ was also growing increasingly interested, and disappointed, in government and decisions being made on both a local and national level. I decided to go to law school to learn more.” Maia said.
2 Andrea Elson Is A Yoga Teacher
Andrea Elson was known for playing Lynn Tanner on the series ALF. She met her husband on the set of the show and the two settled down to start a family. She continued doing bit parts after the show was canceled and was seen in Married With Children and small roles in after-school specials. She finally stepped out of the spotlight and chose to give up acting.
Andrea gave up acting in 1998 and according to her Twitter account she is now “a wife, mother, and world traveling yoga instructor.” She found her passion for and became a teacher until she started Yoga Village in California. She specializes in beach yoga and is there to help anyone find their inner peace.
Per the website: “Yoga Village is a community unto itself where individual attention is emphasized. Everyone is welcome to practice their yoga, from the newest beginner to the most experienced."
"From the extremely fit to those with major physical limitations. At Yoga Village, we realize that everybody is unique, with varied needs, and our certified, experienced instructors are there to guide you through your practice with personalized consideration. Come as you are, leave feeling relaxed and restored.”
1 Danika McKeller Is A Mathematician
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 quite an impressive resume. McKellar is the author of many books and also just so happens to be a mathematician.
She spoke with Forbes Magazine about how she discovered her love of math while studying film at UCLA. “ I took a math class because I thought my brain was getting mushy. I did well, better than expected. This guy tapped me on the shoulder one day in class and said, “Excuse me, aren’t you the girl...” and that question always ended with, “from TV.” But he finished with, “...who got the highest score on the midterm?”
It was in that moment that she knew that math could help her redefine herself. “I was hooked.” Danica shared.
She even has math theorem named after her. “When I was at UCLA, we proved a theorem about temperature for a mathematic model of magnetic material. It’s formally known as Percolation And Gibbs States Multiplicity For Ferromagnetic Ashkin-Teller Models In Two Dimensions.
Resources: Seejane.org, Forbes.com, Bluetreeny.bigcartel.com, Oprah.com, Fetchsport.com, Dailymail.co.uk, Imdb.com, Huffingtonpost.com, Bravotv.com, Thegiftbox.com, Arroyograndeyoga.com, Nowtolove.com, Seventeen.com, Theguardian.com,