Celebrities Who Needed To Take A Break (Or Retire Completely) From Acting

Sarah Kester

Acting isn't cut out for everyone — just ask these celebs!

Each and every one of them had successful careers, along with all the perks that come with that. Fame, fortune, fans — you name it.

But along the way, they all made a choice: to take a break or retire permanently.

Come see what these 10+ celebs chose!

1. Selena Gomez

The actress has taken many breaks from performing for the sake of her health.

When she was accused of going to rehab, she set the record straight. "I was diagnosed with Lupus, and I've been through chemotherapy. That's what my break was really about. I could've had a stroke," she told Billboard.

2. Chris Hemsworth

While the Marvel actor's wife, Elsa Pataky, basically retired from Hollywood, Hemsworth took a break in 2019.

He didn't want to leave his kids for a year while they were "at a very important age."

3. Jessica Alba

She was the queen of the 2000s with roles in Blue Crush, Dark Angel, and Fantastic Four.

But that's all changed now, as she's now a wife, mother, and a businesswoman. This has completely changed her perspective on film.

She told *Good Housekeeping* in 2017 that she won't return to the screen unless she has total control.


“If I could develop a film or a series for Netflix, that would be cool. I still have my Dark Angel fans, and Hollywood is finally allowing women to star more in action franchises, which is a passion of mine," she said.

4. Eddie Murphy

Giphy | Hollywood Suite

After he earned the Razzie Award for Worst Actor of the Decade and three other Razzies, the comedian took a step back to prevent making any more bad movies.

He's since returned with a few roles, including the Coming 2 America sequel.

5. Michael J. Fox.

The actor has announced not one but two retirements during his career.

In 2020, he wrote in his book, "There is a time for everything, and my time of putting in a twelve-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me."

6. Joe Pesci


If there was anyone who could bring the iconic actor out of his 20-year retirement, it was Martin Scorsese.

He played a lead role in the Oscar-nominated film, The Irishman and hasn't appeared in anything since.

7. Mara Wilson

After starring as Matilda and Robin Williams daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire, Wilson was one of the most beloved child actors in Hollywood.

She eventually quit as a tween due to the pressures of Hollywood, according to People.

"I realized, ‘I don’t fit their idea of what a Hollywood actress looks like, so there’s no room for me here.’ It’s hard to come out of that sane and without some serious doubts about yourself.”

Giphy | 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

In the end, she and her dad decided that she would pursue school instead.

She's since graduated college and has even written a memoir about being a child actress. It's called Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame.

8. Jack Gleeson


It wasn't easy for this actor to play one of the most hated characters in television history.

That, of course, was the role of Joffrey Baratheon on HBO’s Game of Thrones, who met his end at the Purple Wedding episode.

After his character was killed, he retired from acting at the age of 21.

"I’ve been acting since age 8. I just stopped enjoying it as much as I used to," he told Entertainment Weekly.

"When you make a living from something, it changes your relationship with it. It’s not like I hate it, it’s just not what I want to do."

9. Matt Damon

Giphy | The Academy Awards

After the actor's Hollywood career affected his family for years, he said enough was enough.

He announced his break in 2016, telling Today that he'd done four straight movies in a row and "dragged them all over the world."

10. Daniel Day-Lewis


The actor announced his retirement after Phantom Thread.

He called it "something I had to do," telling Variety, "I need to believe in the value of what I’m doing. The work can seem vital. Irresistible, even. And if an audience believes it, that should be good enough for me. But, lately, it isn’t.”

11. Frankie Muniz

In the early 2000s, the actor was everywhere: Malcom in the Middle, Big Fat Liar, and Agent Cody Banks, just to name a few.

But in 2006, he retired from the spotlight to pursue his other interests, such as race car driving. These days, he owns his own olive oil store with his wife.

12. Dave Chappelle

The world was shocked when the comedian abruptly left Hollywood, including his popular Chappelle Show.

Turns out, the fame got to him and his family. "That kind of attention wouldn't have been conducive to raising a family," he told People.

13. Eva Mendes

The Hitch and Ghost Rider star took a step back from Hollywood after she and Ryan Gosling had kids.

“I feel more ambitious in the home right now than I do in the workplace," she told Women's Health.

14. Ryan Gosling


Like his partner, Eva Mendes, Ryan once took a step back from acting.

"I've lost perspective on what I'm doing," he said in 2013. "I think it's good for me to take a break and reassess why I'm doing it and how I'm doing it."

15. Cameron Diaz

She's been one of Hollywood's biggest stars for decades, with roles in The Mask, Charlie's Angels, and Shrek.

But in 2014, she unexpectedly retired. She later said that she "doesn't miss performing." Now, she's busy with her first child with husband, Benji Madden!