Hollywood is known as ‘the land of broken dreams,’ because so many people move there in an attempt to get their big break in the entertainment industry. With stiff competition, harsh criticism and lots of rejection, very few actually ever make it big. Many have tried to make it in Hollywood, but have failed. Then, there are the people who have tried, have succeeded and decided to quit. They’ve learned that being a celebrity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. These former stars have exchanged fame and fortune for normalcy. Here are ten celebrities that said, “Enough is enough,” and decided to quit Hollywood.
10. Dylan & Cole Sprouse
Dylan and Cole Sprouse are the twins from Disney‘s, Suite Life of Zack and Cody and The Suite Life on Deck. They also co-starred alongside Adam Sandler, in the 1999 comedy, Big Daddy. At the age of one, Dylan and Cole got their start in Hollywood on the television show, Grace Under Fire. From 2005 through 2011, the twins had their own shows on the Disney Channel, but after a meeting with Disney executives, the two quit Hollywood for good. For a final season of The Suite Life on Deck, the Sprouse twins wanted to get involved in production and writing. They proposed an idea that would allow the series to go on without them, so they could go off to college. According to Dylan, Disney laughed in their faces. The executives came back two weeks later with their same idea, but attaching Selena Gomez to the series and giving no producer credits for the twins. The twins said, “No,” and quit Disney. They are now both attending NYU and do not regret their decision to quit acting.
9. Freddie Prinze Jr.
Freddie Prinze Jr. was the teen heart throb in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, starring in films like, She’s All That, Head Over Heels and Summer Catch. Freddie hasn’t starred in a film since 2004, when he played Fred in Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, alongside his wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar. The couple have two children together. Freddie Prinze Jr. has guest starred on some television shows and has done voice work, but other than that, he has left acting. Prinze is now a producer and director for WWE Raw.
8. Elizabeth Hurley
Elizabeth Hurley is best known for her roles in the Austin Power films and for her role as the sultry devil in the film, Bedazzled. Her last film was in 2004 and reportedly, Hurley retired from acting to raise her son, Damian. She bought a farm on the English countryside and remained out of the spotlight from 2004 – 2011. In 2011, she had a recurring guest role on Gossip Girl and since then has guest starred on the television show, The Tomorrow People.
7. Mara Wilson
Actress, Mara Wilson is widely known for her roles in Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda. Her last film was Thomas and the Magic Railroad in 2000. Since then, Mara explained in 2012 why she quit acting. She told US Magazine, “Film acting is not very fun. Doing the same thing over and over again until, in the director’s eyes, you ‘get it right’, does not allow for very much creative freedom. The best times I had on film sets were the times the director let me express myself, but those were rare.” Wilson now works for Publicolor, a nonprofit organization based out of New York City. Mara is interested in writing young adult novels and wrote her first off Broadway play, titled ‘Sheeple’ in 2013.
6. Sean Connery
Sean Connery got his breakthrough in Hollywood, when he landed the role of James Bond in 1962, for which he would play that character in seven films throughout his career. Connery has had a very successful career, with 94 acting credits under his belt. In 2003, Sean starred in his final film, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The film did alright in the box office, with $179 million grossed worldwide, but it was not popular with fans or critics. On RottenTomatoes.com, the movie received a 17% from critics and only 44% of viewers enjoyed the film. Sean Connery felt so personally embarrassed of the movie, that he reportedly decided to retire from acting altogether.
5. Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle is widely known for his sketch comedy series, Chappelle’s Show airing on Comedy Central. The series ran from 2003-2006 and during the production of season three, Chappelle shocked everyone when he abruptly left and took a trip to South Africa. Dave noted that he was unhappy with the direction the show had taken and that he felt the show was ruining his life. When he returned from his trip, Chappelle told Comedy Central he wanted to restructure the show and donate a portion of DVD sales to charity. He also did not want season three of Chappelle’s Show to air unless it was finished. Comedy Central decided to air the four completed episodes anyways, causing Dave to quit for good. Since 2006, Chappelle has continued to perform stand up comedy sporadically, which is all he wanted to do in the first place. He now lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio with his wife and three children.
4. Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Jonathan Taylor Thomas played Randy Taylor on the hit TV show, Home Improvement from 1991 – 1998. After the show ended, Jonathan went on to attend Harvard University in 2000. He finished up his degree years later at Columbia in 2010. During those years, he made guest appearances on television shows, including 8 Simple Rules, Veronica Mars and Last Man Standing. In 2013, Jonathan gave insight to People magazine on why he left acting when he stated, “I’d been going nonstop since I was 8-years-old. I wanted to go to school, to travel and have a bit of a break.” Nowadays, Jonathan is focused on directing and writing scripts and has no regrets about his decisions. “I never took the fame too seriously. It was a great period in my life, but it doesn’t define me,” Thomas told People magazine.
3. Meg Ryan
Meg Ryan was once considered America’s sweetheart with leading roles in films like, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail and When a Man Loves a Woman. After her divorce with Dennis Quaid in 2001, Meg began straying away from the spotlight. The divorce was very public because both Ryan and Quaid were unfaithful to one another. Meg Ryan had an affair with Russell Crowe while filming, Proof of Life and was open about this intimate detail. She now lives in New York with her daughter and boyfriend, John Mellencamp. Meg reportedly tries her best not to be recognized and has only had guest appearances on television shows since her last film, Serious Moonlight in 2009.
2. Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes got her start in 1996 on the Nickeloden TV series, All That and in 1999, she got her own spin off titled, The Amanda Show. She is best known for her roles in films like, What a Girl Wants, She’s the Man and Sydney White. In April 2012, Amanda’s very public breakdown began with a DUI and hit and run arrest. Afterwards, Bynes made headlines over and over again for her bizarre behavior, which was all documented on her Twitter account. In September 2013, Bynes was checked into rehab after setting a neighbor’s driveway on fire. In December 2013, Bynes exited rehab after successfully completing her treatment. Amanda Bynes is now attending The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and is pursuing a career in fashion design. As of now, Bynes has no intention of returning to a career in acting.
1. Josh Hartnett
Back in the early 2000’s, Josh Hartnett was considered an A-Lister, starring in films like, Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor, Lucky Number Slevin and 30 Days of Night. In an interview with Details magazine, Hartnett revealed that he got sick of his fame, because he didn’t feel comfortable in his own skin and he felt he couldn’t trust anyone. He moved back to Minnesota in 2007, for eighteen months and in the last seven years, Hartnett has only starred in independent films. Recently, Josh Hartnett took a role in the new Showtime series, Penny Dreadful which airs this month. Hartnett states that he is “seeking personal and professional growth now”, rather than “trying to climb the Hollywood ladder”.