Why These 10 Actors Took A Break From Hollywood

Hollywood is a fascinating place; for every actor who loves the spotlight and dwells in it, there’s one (read Kristen Stewart) who simply wishes they could act and go home without having to go through multiple rounds of press. Similarly, for every struggling actor waiting tables hoping to make things happen, there’s a veteran who’s done enough work to take a break of some sort. Actors choose to take breaks for different reasons. Cameron Diaz, for instance, was simply tired of being ‘the talent’ that everyone relied on and wanted to have more control of her time. More reasons can range between spending time with family, reevaluating one’s career, or simply getting rid of toxicity just like Kerry Washington did. Either way, here are some of our favorite actors and the reasons they chose to quit for a while.

1. Angelina Jolie

Born into an acting family, Angelina Jolie found a breakthrough by portraying Gia Carangi in the 1998 film, Gia. She’s since graced the big screen with multiple blockbusters. While Jolie did not completely go away from Hollywood, her acting roles reduced, and she took more roles behind the scenes. Recently, however, she decided to return to acting, following her divorce from Brad Pitt. According to Jolie, shorter-acting jobs would suit her current family situation.

2. Kerry Washington

For a while, before she landed a role on the hit show Scandal, Kerry Washington felt like her career had been on autopilot. “ I went into the wilderness. There was a lot of toxicity in my life; people that I needed to let go of in a personal way, in a business way. I took a break and did a Broadway play, and I went back to my roots as an artist. It was my return to my artistic essence, kind of the conversation between audience and artist. I worked with a director who really challenged me. And so, going into the wilderness really meant stripping myself of a lot of unnecessary weight.” Washington said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

3. Jennifer Lawrence

Back in 2018, Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence decided to bring her acting career to a halt for a year. Speaking to CNN, Lawrence said: “  I won’t be on set for a year. I still have projects on development. I’m going to be focusing on an organization I’m a part of representing us. I’m just trying to get young people engaged politically on a local level.”

4. Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy recently made a move back on the big screen with Amazon Prime’s Coming 2 America, a sequel to the 1998 cult classic. Murphy had a long break from acting, and it wasn’t until he had an interview with Marc Maron that we got to know why. According to Murphy, he was making ‘sh*** movies’ that won him one too many Razzies, and he had to go away for a while.

5. Chris Hemsworth

In 2017, Chris Hemsworth decided to take a break from acting in order to weigh more on roles he’d like to take and also spend more time with his family. Asked whether he had any hobbies he would take up during the break, Hemsworth said, “ Sewing definitely…I like a horse ride more. My wife loves horses and rides all the time. I surf all the time. If we do one of those together, we’d just teach a horse to surf. That’s the goal!”

6. Jada Pinkett Smith

While much has been told about how Jada Smith and Will got together, there’s one bit that’s often left out; how Jada had bought herself a ranch in Baltimore and was bidding farewell to the life of an actress. By sheer luck, it so happened that Smith had just ended his first marriage and decided that Jada was the one. Legend has it that Jada did not spend a single night in her ranch, and the rest, as they say, is history.

7. Jonah Hill

Wolf of Wall Street actor Jonah Hill has made headlines lately for his weight loss. The actor revealed that he took a break from his career, which was cruising high altitudes, to reorganize his life. Hill mentioned that most of his twenties were spent chasing success, and less time was spent on personal growth.  Growing up, Hill also revealed, he didn’t have so much self-confidence, and he had to work on that, too.

8. Matthew McConaughey

For the longest of times, McConaughey was the face of romcoms in Hollywood. Speaking to Ellen DeGeneres, the How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days actor said of his decision to strategize: “ There was a time where, when I received a romantic comedy script, I could look at it tonight and feel like, ‘Oh, I could do that tomorrow morning.’ There was nothing wrong with that, but I was looking to find work that made me sweat and challenged me. Made me go, ‘Oh, I don’t know what I’m gonna do with this.” That feeling, for McConaughey, resulted in a 20-month hiatus.

9. Sean Penn

In a 2018 interview with ET Canada, Sean Penn revealed that he was no longer in love with acting as a job and a career. “ I’ve been involved last month in a wonderful project with wonderful people, and it was hard.” Penn said. His sentiments are only but a reflection of what happened back in 2009 when he took a break from the craft to spend more time with his family. It’s obvious that we are going to see a little less of him in the near future, and in years to come.

10. Johnny Galecki

Prior to getting a role on Big Bang Theory, Johnny Galecki was ready to make a different career move. His area of choice: plumbing. “ I had done a bunch of movies. I took six months or a year off just to road trip and whatnot, and, not realizing that you grow cold fast in this business. After that time, I came back and I didn’t get the opportunities I thought I had. I was in my mid-twenties. I didn’t have a diploma or a degree or anything. I went to Wisconsin, and while I was there learning plumbing, I got a call to come and do the Hope & Faith program.” Galecki told Kelly and Ryan.


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