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15 Celebrities Who Gave Up On Hollywood Too Soon

We often view celebrities through the prism of the media, which leads us to think that they are somehow different, even better, than the rest of us. We all have fantasies of the lives that our favorit

We often view celebrities through the prism of the media, which leads us to think that they are somehow different, even better, than the rest of us. We all have fantasies of the lives that our favorite celebrity lives, and it's often one that we dream of for ourselves. We sit at our desks, waiting for 5:00 to come, daydreaming about what life would be like if we were rich and famous. We could have everything we ever wanted, adored by a group of fans hanging on our every word. This idealized conception of fame makes us even more perplexed when they decide to leave it all behind.

Of course, celebrities are not much different than the rest of us. Sure, they have a lot more talent and better looks, but they largely have the same fears, regrets and hopes that the rest of us do. Imagine your job has made you a household name. Sure, that will come with some perks, but it will also come with a substantial amount of baggage. On top of the problems that come with a normal life, you would then have to face all of the questions that come with fortune and fame. Everyone thinks that their problems would go away if they had enough money. That's partially true, but what happens when you get all of that money and still aren't happy? Here are 15 celebrities that had to face this question head-on, and decided to walk away from it all.

15 Meg Ryan

Meg Ryan has acted in films for decades, including popular roles in Top Gun, When a Man Loves a Woman and When Harry Met Sally. The latter of these films garnered her a Golden Globe nomination, but Ryan has never appeared to be content with her film career. She was typecast early, and eventually took multiple breaks from Hollywood and the public eye. Ryan has quit Hollywood on three separate occasions, but has returned time after time. Her most recent hiatus took place in 2012, though it appears she will be stepping out from the shadows once again. This time, she is working behind the camera as a director in most of her work. She has done some television acting work along with her directorial ambitions, but has not been active for about a year. She may be taking another break, or she may be done for good; with Meg Ryan you can never know for sure.

14 Jonathan Taylor Thomas

via toofab.com

13 Sean Connery

12 Gene Hackman

via Business2Community

11 Freddie Prinze Jr.

via tvguide.com

10 Brian Wilson

via youtube.com

9 Howard Hughes

via forbes.com

8 Mara Wilson

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7 John Hughes

via baselineresearch.com

6 Lauryn Hill

5 JD Salinger

via pbs.org

4 Rick Moranis

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3 Harper Lee

via nydailynews.com

2 Agnetha Fältskog

via fanpop.com

Agnetha Fältskog was made an international figure during her stint with the pop group ABBA, and will likely be remembered most for her time with them. After the group split, Fältskog continued to record music as a solo artist. She was more successful while solo than her ABBA counterparts, but was still never able to escape the shadow of the group. In 1989, Fältskog decided to leave the music industry and the public spotlight altogether. She spent this time as privately as she could, though she was plagued by a stalker for much of that period. Fältskog did return to music in 2004, releasing a single and eventually a cover album entitled My Coulouring Book. She made her first public performance in 25 years in 2013, singing a duet with Gary Barlow. While Fältskog has not been able to replicate her commercial success, she is still relatively active and has written an autobiography that was released earlier this year.

1 Dave Chappelle

via huffpost.com

Dave Chappelle had maybe the most polarizing exit of any modern celebrity. Chapelle was on top of the comedy world during his Chappelle Show run, at least so it would seem. Privately, Chappelle was battling with the content he was creating as well as its affects to other parts of his life. While he’s never given us one concrete reason why he left the show, it seems as though there were a perfect storm of events that led to his departure. Chappelle has admitted that he didn’t feel comfortable dressing up as a woman for laughs, which was something that the studio wanted him to do. His stand-up act (Chappelle always thought of himself as a stand-up comedian first) was beginning to suffer, as unruly Chappelle Show fans would begin berating him during his performances. When he finally left for Africa with the show in limbo, many publications deemed him mentally unstable, and hinted at the fact that he might be on drugs. Chappelle was taken aback by these comments, making him even less inclined to return to his place in the spotlight. He left and only recently began publicly performing stand-up comedy again; although he prefers to be left alone with his family in Ohio.

Sources: VanityFair, MovieLine, NPR

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15 Celebrities Who Gave Up On Hollywood Too Soon