What could cause celebrities to have left Hollywood for a normal life? Notoriety, luxury, endless pleasure, and more than six digits in your bank account? Who could ask for anything else when Hollywood has all these goodies to offer? But apparently, that wasn’t enough for quite a few of some of the most iconic actors and actresses to hit the big screen. While there are many celebrities who have been avoided, demoted, or altogether expunged from Hollywood, there are others who chose to willingly end their relationship with the film industry. Here are a few celebrities who opted out!
10 Freddie Prinze Jr.
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9 Kal Penn
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If you’re familiar with either the White Castle or Harold and Kumar films, then you would know exactly who Kal Penn is. His role as the carefree, ever-stoned friend of Harold Lee (John Cho) is an unforgettable comedy that keeps loyal fans begging another movie series. However, in 2009, using his birth name, Kalpen Modi, he left his acting career for a two-year stint to work with the government under the Barack Obama administration. During his time in office, he was offered the position of Associate Director of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. Penn remains a political voice for the Democratic Party.
8 Kevin Jonas
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Kevin Jonas is the brother of Nick and Joe Jonas, who, together, formed the pop-rock band, The Jonas Brothers, in 2005. The band signed with Columbia records and then quickly rose to fame in 2006 after partnering with Disney. During his time with Disney, he guest-starred on a Hannah Montana episode as well as in a role for the Disney Channel movie Camp Rock. Then the trio returned to the big screen for the sequel, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam. In 2013, the band split, and Kevin went on to execute his business plans. He created a construction company called JonasWerner which specializes in custom-built homes and renovations. He also founded a phone app called Yood, which simplifies the ordering process of food online.
7 Frankie Muniz
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Between the years 2000 and 2006, Frankie Muniz was a hit sensation on the Fox sitcom Malcolm in The Middle, where he starred as Malcolm. However, although it was his breakthrough role, this was not the start of his acting career. Dynamic, prolific, and talented, Muniz appeared in his first debut film, To Dance With Olivia, in 1997 and in the CBS Hallmark film, What the Deaf Man Heard in the same year. He also made guest appearances on Lizzie McGuire and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch. But his acting career was just getting started, with films such as Big Fat Liar, Agent Cody Banks, and other guest appearances. From there, his life would take a drastic turn, with him at the steering wheel. He found a love for racing cars in 2001 when he drove the pace car for The Daytona 500. He became a legitimate professional race car driver from thereon, even winning an award among his racer peers.
6 Nikki Blonsky
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She’s your favorite Hairspray diva standing at only 4′ 10″. Nikki Blonsky received her breakthrough role as Tracy Turnblad in the Hairspray musical in 2007, receiving awards and nominations, like the Critic’s Choice Awards for Best Actress and Best Acting Ensemble and the Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. She went on to star in the Lifetime film production, Queen Sized, and a string of other movies and television series. However, in 2011, she took a step toward becoming a licensed cosmetologist, perhaps inspired by her role in Hairspray. She then put her skills to work as a Superstar Hairstylist.
5 Willa Ford
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Willa Ford, born Amanda Lee Williford, is a limitless vessel of talent that wears the hats of a singer, songwriter, dancer, TV personality, and film actress. As an all-rounder celebrity, she wrote and released her own album entitled Willa Was Here in 2001. The album ranked 56 on the Billboard 200 chart. Her movie resume includes the likes of Impulse, The Anna Nicole Smith Story, and Friday The 13th. In 2019, the pop-star blonde with the hit single I Wanna Be Bad made the transition from the Hollywood film industry to a passion she would turn into a company: interior design. WF Interiors was launched in 2012 and is an all-women team of impressive designers.
4 Mara Wilson
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Remember the adorable and cheeky little brainbox that played Matilda? Well, she’s all grown up now and, similar to her role in Matilda, she chose a career that’s all about books and writing. Although Matilda was her real breakout role, Mara Wilson has graced many other movies besides her favorite childhood film. She has been featured in movies like Balloon Farm, A Time to Heal, Miracle on 34th Street, and another critically acclaimed classic, Mrs. Doubtfire, starring the late comedian Robin Williams. She could have never guessed the impact some of her movies would have on generations to follow. But her massive influence didn’t dissuade her decision to become a prolific writer, which is what she currently does.
3 Peter Ostrum
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While the new generation loves the new and improved Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp, nothing can beat the original from 1971. At the time, Peter Gardner Ostrum was the boy with the Golden ticket. Ironically, he also had the golden ticket to enter Hollywood following his acting debut in the movie, but the Texas native wasn’t head-over-heels for Hollywood. Apparently, acting was a natural talent he was good at, but not something that would make his life’s mission. Instead, he found his calling to be a veterinarian in 1984 after his parents bought a horse. Since then, His love for animals won him over, and he’s been doing that ever since.
2 Cameron Diaz
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If you know the number of movies she has been in, you would understand why Cameron Diaz’s absence in Hollywood can be felt. She has starred in numerous movies, most notably the Charlie’s Angels trilogy. She has also worked alongside big names in Hollywood like Jim Carrey in The Mask (1984) and Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky (2001), and Night and Day (2010). Her most recent films were Bad Teacher (2011) and Sex Tape (2014). However, Diaz grew tired after her 20-year long acting career and told BBC in an interview that she found “peace in her soul” after walking away from Hollywood. She has transitioned to working as a self-help author and owning a wine brand called Avaline.
1 Kirk Cameron
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Kirk Cameron got an early start in Hollywood. He began working on the ABC sitcom, Growing Pains, as Mike Seaver, from 1985 to 1992, which awarded him two Golden Globes for his performance. A young Cameron also starred in films such as the comedy-drama film, Like Father Like Son and Listen to Me. The show, Growing Pains, was canceled in 1992 as Cameron became more immersed in Christianity, which resulted in severe backlash from Hollywood because of his political and religious views. He went on to write and produce strictly Christian movies, such as the film adaption of the Left Behind book series and Fireproof. He has still held fast to his faith and enjoys the work he now produces.
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Sources: Frankie Muniz, Cameron Diaz Avaline Wines
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