Hollywood is a tough business to crack, and for those that beat the odds and reach the top, it seems as though their artistic life is complete. The parties, the dream projects, the fat paychecks, the house on the hills. It's a lifestyle many will only ever reach through their dreams, which makes those that reach the top even more spectacular. But life doesn't always work out the way you thought it would- even if your dreams do come true.
Here, we chronicle 10 actors who reached the top, only to turn their backs on the industry years later.
1. Rick Moranis
Who could forget this star from classics like ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’? Following the tragic death of his wife from breast cancer in 1991, Moranis began a ‘hiatus’ from on-screen acting that lasted nearly 20 years. Being a single parent, he wanted to focus on bringing up his children and found he didn’t miss acting much at all.
He did, however, lend his voice in Disney’s ‘Brother Bear’. Now in his 60s, Moranis enjoys writing comedy albums with his friends.
2. Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo was a high-profile Hollywood star of the 1920s and 30s. Known for her glamour and poise, she starred in many silent movies before making the transition to sound in the 1930s. Though enormously successful, Garbo admitted she never enjoyed her acting work. She made an early retirement at the age of 36.
She lived a very private life in her retirement, avoiding public appearances whenever she could. She lived a life of leisure until her death in 1990 at the age of 84.
3. Freddie Prinze Jr
Freddie Prinze, Jr was a big-time Hollywood actor and heartthrob in the 1990s. However, after what was considered a poor performance in the ‘Scooby-Doo’ films, he never went on to make any more hits. He acted in a couple of lower budget movies and did voice acting for animated series ‘Star Wars Rebels’.
He is now involved in WWE as a producer and has even wrestled in the ring a couple of times himself.
4. Mara Wilson
While we remember this familiar face from starring roles in ‘Matilda’ and ‘Mrs. Doubt fire’, Mara Wilson has not graced our screens for a fair number of years.
She has spoken openly about her struggles with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and OCD from a young age. Following the death of her mother from breast cancer, Wilson stepped back from the big screen and later became involved in a charity to support teens with mental illnesses similar to her own. She also produces internet skits and vlogs.
5. Jack Gleeson
Jack Gleeson has been acting since the age of 7, but is best known for his role as the young King Joffrey in the television series ‘Game of Thrones.'
At the young age of 23 Gleeson has announced his retirement from acting. He plans to pursue his academic studies. He is currently studying theology and philosophy at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
6. Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes has been hitting the headlines many times after her retirement from acting in 2010.
Two years later she faced legal trouble, having been apprehended for driving under the influence and two hit and run incidents. She was later admitted to a psychiatric ward for treatment. Now Bynes is pursuing a career in fashion design.
7. Josh Hartnett
The Black Hawk Down star burst onto the Hollywood scene in the late 1990s and quickly became the 'it' actor of his generation. But the hunk exiled himself from Tinseltown at the peak of his success.
Speaking to Time Magazine in 2014, Hartnett explained his decision. “It was kind of like being in a relationship with Hollywood, and it just didn’t feel like we weren’t in the same place at the same time,” he said. “I wanted something that they didn’t want to give me. So I took a break from my relationship.”
He now lives in Hampstead, London.
8. Elizabeth Hurley
The Beautiful British actress turned down a plethora of acting opportunities to live a more humble life on a farm in the English countryside with her little child.
Hurley made her name playing the love interest of horny British spy Austin Powers in the film's namesake.
9. Dave Chappelle
Funnyman and all-round great guy Dave Chappelle walked away from it all when he got into a dispute with Comedy Central following a trip to South America.
Disinterested with the industry because of creative differences, the comedian walked away from his contract, and in many eyes, his glittering career too.
10. Phoebe Cates
Phoebe Cates is often known as the bikini girl that launched a million teenage fantasies, but nowadays, her acting career seems to be nothing but a fantasy.
Citing her reasons for quitting Hollywood, Cates is believed to have become disillusioned with the press intrusion and wanted a more quiet life when she had a family with her husband, Kevin Kline.