13 Celebs Who Walked Away From Money Or Fame

Sarah Kester

A star can't be born without a decent amount of hustling.

This means taking whatever job they can, like Jon Hamm who was a set dresser for adult films or Christopher Walken who was a lion tamer.

But there comes a point in a celeb's career where they have the luxury of saying no. Here are 13 celebs who walked away from money or fame!

1. Kourtney Kardashian

It seemed absolutely ludicrous when the Kardashian announced she was exiting Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

After all, this was the show that made her and her family insanely well-known and rich.

But her mind was made up. She told 'Vogue Arabia' that she wanted to focus on her kids and other interests.

"I have been filming the show non-stop for 14 years … I was feeling unfulfilled and it became a toxic environment for me to continue to have it occupy as much of my life as it was," she said.

2. Cameron Diaz

There's a reason you don't hear much from the actress anymore.

After many years of being one of Hollywood's top stars, she walked away from it all for a life of normalcy. She's now busy raising her daughter with her husband, Benji Madden.

3. Skeet Ulrich

Regardless of your thoughts on Riverdale, you can't deny that the show is popular. So it was surprising when Skeet decided to leave the show for its fifth season. He later said that he got "bored creatively."

4. Joe Pesci


The Oscar-winner is a talented actor, known for his roles in Home Alone and Goodfellas.

Despite being at the height of fame, he decided to take a 20-year break from acting to focus on music. He only decided to star in The Irishmen since it was directed by his friend, Martin Scorsese.

5. Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi

It's always odd when a celeb turns away from the hand that fed them for so many years. That's what Snooki did when she announced her retirement from Jersey Shore: Family Vacation on her podcast.

"I am not coming back to [the show] for a season four, if there is one," she said.

Giphy | Jersey Shore Family Vacation

"And there's a lot of reasons why, but the main reason is really … I'm just like, I just can't do it anymore," she added.

6. Frankie Muniz

From mega-star to olive oil maker...? That's the life of the former actor, known for his roles in a slew of early '00s hits, such as Malcom in the Middle, Big Fat Liar, and Agent Cody Banks.

He retired from acting in 2006 to pursue other interests, like opening an olive oil store.

6. Jim Parsons

Considering he was the highest-paid TV actor in 2018 with $26.5 million, it seemed insane that Jim would walk away from The Big Bang Theory. But, alas, he's the reason the show ended.

Production designer John Shaffner told 'Metro' that "Warner Bros and CBS wanted to sign for about two more years."


But since Parsons didn't want to come back and they had an agreement that they worked as a team, they pulled the plug.

7. Mara Wilson

Once upon a time, she was one of the most famous child actors of all time, having starred in Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire.

Once she got older, though, the pressures of fame caused her to walk away from it all.

"I realized, ‘I don’t fit their idea of what a Hollywood actress looks like, so there’s no room for me here,'" she told 'People.'


"It’s hard to come out of that sane and without some serious doubts about yourself.”

8. Dylan Sprouse

Dylan and Cole Sprouse may be twins, but their career paths ended up nothing alike.

While Cole has remained an actor, most notably found on Riverdale, Dylan left Hollywood to run his own mead brewery.

9. Mischa Barton


The actress became the "It" girl in the early '00s thanks to her role as Marissa Cooper on The O.C.. The fat paycheck didn't hurt, either. But she gave it all up after three seasons of non-stop drama.

10. Jack Gleeson

After a stellar performance as Joffrey, the evil King in Game of Thrones, the road was paved for Gleeson to have a successful acting career in Hollywood.

Instead, he retired at the age of 21 since he didn't enjoy acting anymore.

11. Christopher Meloni


While the actor is currently back on Law & Order, it took years to get him there. He originally walked away from the show after 12 years after salary negotiations didn't go his way.

12. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

After decades of being at the forefront of Hollywood, these twins made a decision to retire from acting. "I don't like to be the center of attention anymore," Ashley told Elle UK.

They've since focused on other projects, like their fashion line.

13. Lady Gaga

The singer is a woman of principle. It's most likely why she turned down $1 million in 2013 to perform at the Republican National Convention.

The snub was made public from a lawsuit filed by the Republican nonprofit fundraising organization American Action Network (AAN) against the vendor responsible for booking entertainment.

The documents show that the entertainment broker was asked to make the offer to Lady Gaga more tempting.

Giphy | RuPaul's Drag Race

She was told it would be an event "honoring women who run for public office."

She was also told that $150,000 will go towards a domestic violence shelter. In the end, she still refused.