You might think that living the Hollywood life would be the best thing in the world and for some people it is. There are plenty of working mothers in Hollywood like Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson who juggle work and motherhood. They love the industry and their careers so much that they can’t imagine staying away for too long. Not to mention that some of them worry that they might be forgotten in Hollywood if they take too much time off. But there are another group of mothers who shocked us by leaving Hollywood entirely in order to raise their children.
Whether you are someone that likes to take some time off to enjoy motherhood or someone who wants to get back to the grind, we can appreciate both desires because we all probably know someone who has done one or the other. The celebs that disappear from the spotlight are ones that may be gone until their children grow up or at least until they start school. There are actresses that just want to spend time at home and watch their kids grow. Check out these 20 actresses who quit Hollywood to be stay-at-home moms.
20 Poppy Montgomery Wanted a Break
For many years, we saw Poppy Montgomery on Without A Trace, but then the series came to an end. It was at that point that she decided to take some time off. “I had just had my son. I had been away so much for the first year of his life. I needed to take the time and actually be like mommy for a minute,” Montgomery told USA Today. The actress also revealed that the first two years were “more challenging than anything [she's] ever done at work."
"It’s intense. I can do a 20-hour day on set easier than I can do a full mommy day without a break; at work, it’s your thing, and when you’re with your kids it’s all about them.
But I loved it," she said.
19 Robin Wright Penn Moved Away
Robin Wright Penn has always been in Hollywood, but she did take a step back and just wasn’t seen as much. The family did also physically leave Hollywood and moved to Northern California. She didn’t want to raise her children right in the spotlight. She told Babble that she didn’t want "to raise her children in this weird, sycophantic society." She chose to raise her children out of the spotlight because she didn’t believe it was a good environment for them.
18 Lauren Ambrose Took Some Time Off
Some actresses choose to only take a few years off instead of waiting until their children are grown up. Lauren Ambrose decided to take some time off from Hollywood after she had her second children with husband Sam Handel. She was in Six Feet Under and she decided to leave and spend time with her family. That was in 2012 and we didn’t see her again until she appeared in The X Files in 2016 as Agent Einstein. She was only gone for a few years and we are happy to have her back.
17 Phoebe Cates is Retired
We loved this beauty in movies such as Gremlins and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. She married actor Kevin Kline and the two have been married for over 25 years. She decided to say goodbye to Hollywood in 1994 so that she could stay at home with her kids. It was almost ten years later before she returned to star in the movie The Anniversary Party. She did it as a favor to her friend Jennifer Jason Leigh who was directing the film. She’s not back in Hollywood, however. She now owns an upscale boutique in New York’s Madison Avenue called Blue Tree.
16 Elizabeth Hurley Was A Single Mom
Elizabeth Hurley was on top in the '90s and she was also dating actor Hugh Grant. They broke up, however, and she moved on to multi-millionaire Steven Bing. He didn’t turn out to be her knight and shining armor, however, and when she got pregnant, he denied the child was even his, even after paternity was established. She stepped away from Hollywood for a while to raise her son on a big farm in England. She didn’t want to raise her son on movie sets.
15 Candice Cameron of Fuller House
We all loved D.J. Tanner on Full House, we literally watched her grow up. At the time, she was one of the big names in the industry and we all believed she had a great career ahead of her. But then she met her husband, hockey player Valeri Bure, and decided to leave Hollywood. She is the mother of three and when she started having children, she made the decision to move to Florida and stay home with them. She is back now on Fuller House and taking on some TV movies as well.
14 Rhea Wahlberg is Model Material
Rhea Wahlberg is not only the wife of Mark Wahlberg. When they met, she was taking over the Revlon contract after Cindy Crawford. She was well on her way to being the next supermodel. She had a successful career and yet gave up her career as a model to stay at home with their children. “I stopped modelling after my son, Michael, was born to stay at home with the kids. I still do that now. I’m a stay-at-home mom,” Wahlberg revealed to Tinseltown Mom.
13 Demi Moore Said Goodbye
Demi Moore was a huge actress when she met her future husband Bruce Willis. They were the power couple of the '80s and '90s, especially when it came to the red carpet. When it came time to raise their children, they made the bold move to leave California. The children were raised in Hailey, Idaho and stayed there until the kids were older. It wasn’t until the kids had grown up that they moved back to California. Moore took a break from Hollywood, but she did return looking better than ever.
12 Jenna Fischer From The Office
We loved Jenna Fischer when she played Pam in The Office. It was at that point that she started to have children. In 2012, she decided to take time off to be with her children. She tweeted, "Plans for my hiatus: dentist, eye doctor, pilates. #AndLotsOfTimeWithMyBaby." She came back though and these days, she’s in the TV series Splitting Up Together.
“The kids go around the house and find things, and then they turn it into a museum,”
she said. “They make tickets, and then we have to buy tickets and look at all the things they’ve put on display. That one felt good! Because I was like, ‘Oh good, I’ve exposed them to the idea of museums.’ That felt like a win.”
11 Leelee Sobieski Came Back
Leelee Sobieski was another actress that was very popular in the early 2000s. She decided to leave Hollywood in 2012 when she started to have children. The last film we saw her in before she left was Branded.
"I am just focused on my kids. I think that’s mainly why I stopped,”
The New Yorker said in April 2016. The actress has two children, Martin and Louisianna with her husband Adam Kimmel. She did come back in 2016 to appear in The Last Film Festival.
10 Jamie Lynn Spears Disappeared
Jamie Lynn Spears is the younger sister to Britney and instead of going into the music industry, she got into acting as a child. At the height of her career, she became a scandal when she got pregnant at 16 and left her acting career to raise her daughter. She told Tinseltown Mom,
“It wasn’t hard for me because I was in a place where I wanted to be away from Hollywood.
I needed to take time to figure out who I was as a woman, and focus on being a mom so it was the only option for me.”
9 Vera Farmiga Only Takes Good Projects
Before she started having children, Vera Farmiga had a booming career. She was starring in movies like The Departed and Up in the Air. She didn’t necessarily leave Hollywood when she started having kids but she took on a lot less projects. She lives on a farm in Upstate New York with her family and some farm animals. She has stated that a script really has to interest her in order for her to want to leave her children. We adored her in the popular TV series Bates Motel.
8 Kellie Shanygne Williams Stays Home
Some actresses leave Hollywood and have no interest in coming back. You may recognize this actress from her years on Family Matters. She left Hollywood, however, in 2011 to raise her two children with husband, Hannibal Jackson. The last film she made at that time was the short film Aide-de-Camp. She is one actress that has yet to return to Hollywood and we’re not sure if she ever will. She has been gone now for seven years and has no further film credits to her name.
7 Debra Winger Left in the '90s
Debra Winger left Hollywood in the '90s despite the fact that she had a successful career as an actress and had three Oscar nominations for her work. She wasn’t interested in working in Hollywood while raising her children and moved away back east and raised her family. She took projects here and there throughout the years and even taught an acting class at Harvard. Imagine being in that class. We can now see her on The Ranch. “This is all about the vibrant quality of making something every week,” says Winger. “Coming in on a Friday, getting your script, and by the following Friday, you are in front of a live audience. It’s really exciting.”
6 Lisa Bonet wanted to keep her daughter safe
If you were a fan of The Cosby Show, then you probably had a crush on Lisa Bonet who played Denise. She married Lenny Kravitz and they had their daughter Zoey. It was then that she walked away from Hollywood. “People were falling off roofs trying to get pictures,” Bonet says of paparazzi trying to photograph her while pregnant. “I didn’t want to pass on those heirlooms, and this fresh wound of a divorce [to my daughter],” the actress explains. “I think there are probably times when these thresholds can either sink you, or you can see who you are and rise and dust yourself off.”
5 Hilary Duff Struggled With Balancing both
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We’ve have seen Hilary Duff off and on over the years because she took some time away from Hollywood to raise her son. She also went through a divorce and has spoken quite candidly about single motherhood. "Some of my friends tell me, 'God, it must be so nice, you get a break from your kid because you share him.' I'm divorced, and it sucks. Well, it did suck for a while; now it's just normal," she says. "But it's true, I do get a break. I had Luca by myself for a few weeks, no help, when Mike was on the road, and when he got home I was like, 'He's yours! Bye!'"
4 Shania Twain Inspired Us
Shania Twain is a true Cinderella story and when she left her massively successful music career to be a mother, everyone was shocked. She was at the height of her career when she decided she needed more time at home with her family. She wanted to be away from the spotlight to raise her children in peace and quiet. She went so far as to move to Switzerland with her husband Robert Lange and their family. “Fortunately, when you’re a mom, the responsibility of caring for your child can keep you going,” Shania said.
3 Lauryn Hill Raised Six Kids
We were all sad when Lauryn Hill put her career on hold to raise her children. She was a musical master in The Fugees and even more so with her solo career. It really seemed like she disappeared in the blink of an eye. She made no declaration when she silently disappeared from Hollywood to be a mother, either, she just took time off. She had six children to care for in total so it’s easy to see why she didn’t have time for anything else. Five of the children were fathered by Ziggy Marley, the son of the late Bob Marley.
2 Salma Hayek Loves Being At Home
Salma Hayek decided to have her daughter later on in life so she was more comfortable with leaving Hollywood behind, though she hasn’t completely left it. “I think if you are young and you have children, you still have so much to prove.
When you have children later in life, you lose a bit of that urge for working. At the time, I was thinking, I can do another movie that may or may not work, or I can be with my child, nourish her, and not miss a moment of this precious time.
And if my career is going to end in two years, what’s the difference, anyway?” she told Marie Claire.
1 Jennifer Garner Is Back
Jennifer Garner didn’t completely leave Hollywood, but she did take a step back and trimmed back her projects so that she could be home with her children.
“There’s an internal battle. I need to work, I need to work, I need to work, and I need to be home with my kids and the kids win.
It’s about getting the kids up and fed, getting one to school, getting the other down for a nap, going to the grocery store, picking one up from school, getting the other one down for another nap, and cooking dinner. I live my life at these two extremes. I’m either a full-time stay-at-home mom or a full-time actress,” Jennifer Garner told Us Magazine.