Some celebrities walk away from the spotlight at the height of their careers, and some take a step back after a string of disappointing box office flops or critically panned performances. Whatever the case, here is a list of actors people online are wondering where they are and what they are doing now.
1. Jet Li
Jet Li, Chinese and American film actor, producer and marital artist, is knowns for his roles in “Cradle 2 the Grave,” “Romeo Must Die,” and “Lethal Weapon 4.” Li hasn’t officially retired from acting, but had taken a step back from the industry due to health concerns.
In 2018, Li revealed that he was suffering from hyperthyroidism and spinal problems, which made it difficult for him to perform physically demanding roles. He also stated that he was taking a break from acting to focus on his health and spend time with his family.
2. Jason Lee
Known for starring in the show “My Name is Earl,” Jason Lee has shifted his focus from acting to pursue other interests such as photography and to spend more time with his family. Some fans have spotted him in Texas, living a regular life outside of Hollywood.
“He moved to Denton, Tx and does photography now.“
“Check his IMDB – he’s pretty busy doing voice overs and other stuff in the industry.”
“What a life, Pro Skateboarder, Actor, Restaurant owner, Now I’d assume he’s basically retired taking photos.”
“He also is part owner of a restaurant in the town’s square. He’s so lovely! My husband and I lived in Denton while I finished my undergrad at UNT and I’m going back to Denton to Texas Women’s for grad school. This was a couple years ago when I met him, but he was very warm and friendly.
3. Josh Hartnett
Former heartthrob Josh Hartnett who appeared in such blockbuster movies as “Pearl Harbor” and “Black Hawk Down,” has taken a step back from the spotlight and hasn’t appeared in many high-profile projects. In various interviews, Hartnett has spoken about his decision to take a break from acting and focus on other aspects of his life, such as spending time with his family and pursuing personal interests. He has also stated that he was selective about the roles he took on and wanted to work on projects that were meaningful to him. Fans are thrilled he has returned to acting in the hit show “Penny Dreadful.”
“He was such an icon. Met him at the SXSW premiere for “Penny Dreadful,” along with director J.A. Bayona. Super friendly. He has an old connection to Austin and Texas in general due to filming The Faculty with Robert Rodriguez.”
4. Mena Suvari
Suvari has had a long and successful career in Hollywood, starring in films such as “American Beauty,” “American Pie,” and “Loser,” among others. While she may not be as visible in the industry as she once was, she continues taking on roles in films and television. Suvari also released a memoir in 2021, sharing her story of being a young teenage model-turned-actor and losing herself to drugs and abusive relationships while starring in blockbuster movies that made her famous.
5. Nelly Furtado
Nelly Furtado, Canadian singer, and songwriter, has sold over 40 million records worldwide. Known for such hits as “I’m Like a Bird” and “Promiscuous Girl,” Furtado stepped out of the spotlight to focus on having a family. However, she has remained involved in the music industry even after having three children. Her records haven’t hit the same level of success as her records in the early 2000s. However, she has been increasing her stage presence and joined Drake in a performance in Toronto, where they performed her hit singles. Fans living in her area mentioned spotting her taking her kids to their activities.
“She had her daughter enrolled in ice skating classes at the rink I worked at in the early-mid 2000s. She’s just been living a normal life it seems.”
6. Leelee Sobieski
While Sobieski had a successful acting career in the 1990s and 2000s, starring in films such as “Deep Impact,” “Eyes Wide Shut,” and “Joy Ride,” she has not pursued as many acting opportunities in recent years. Sobieski has spoken in interviews about her decision to take a break from acting to focus on raising her family. She has two children with her husband, fashion designer Adam Kimmel, and has expressed that motherhood has been her priority in recent years.
“Commenting on the reasons for her early retirement to Us Weekly, Sobieski said, “I am just focused on my kids. I think that’s mainly why I stopped. Also, ninety percent of acting roles involve so much sexual stuff with other people, and I don’t want to do that.”
7. Eliza Dushku
Dushku had a successful acting career, starring in films such as “Bring It On,” “True Lies,” and “The New Guy,” as well as TV shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Dollhouse.” Dushku has spoken in interviews about her decision to take a step back from acting to focus on her personal life. She had gotten married, had a child, and wanted to spend more time with her family. Unfortunately, she had her share of poor experiences in Hollywood, speaking out against a stunt coordinator who molested her when she was only 12 and inappropriate comments made to her on the set of “Bull” by the series lead Michael Weatherly. Fans discuss what they have heard about her life now.
“Apparently she reported harassment and was dropped from the show soon after and hasn’t worked since.”
“She got a 9.5 million dollar settlement due to what happened on Bull. After that she took a break from acting and went to college. She got a BA in psychology and is now working on her masters.”
8. Taylor Lautner
Lautner rose to fame with his role as Jacob Black in the “Twilight” film franchise, and has also appeared in films such as “Abduction” and “Valentine’s Day.” While he had not appeared in many high-profile projects in recent years, he had continued to work in the entertainment industry and had taken on a variety of roles. Lautner has spoken in interviews about his desire to continue acting and taking on new challenges as an actor. He has also expressed interest in exploring other creative pursuits, such as producing and directing.
“I think he was recently on some TikTok where his fiancée was showing who her initial crush was and who she ended up with. It was Robert Pattinson.”
“He’s actually trying to restart his career after leaving the business for a while. He’s on some Hulu or Netflix movie as one of the main characters, he plays a coach or something.”
9. Mischa Barton
Barton had a successful acting career, starring in the hit TV show “The O.C.” and films such as “The Sixth Sense” and “Notting Hill.” Barton hasn’t appeared in any high-profile projects lately and has spoken in interviews about her desire to focus on her personal life and other creative pursuits, such as fashion and music. She has also discussed her interest in producing and directing. One reader commented online: “If i remember correctly, being famous messed with her head so she deliberately put the brakes on her career.”
10. Billy Zane
Zane has had a long and successful acting career, starring in films such as “Titanic,” “The Phantom,” and “Dead Calm,” among others. According to some online readers, it felt like he suddenly disappeared “He was in everything…. Then he just…. Went.” While he has not pursued as many acting opportunities in recent years, Zane has spoken in interviews about his love for acting and his desire to continue pursuing it. Zane has consistently appeared in smaller roles in film and television and is also an abstract expressionist painter. He has had several solo and group exhibitions.
11. Johnathan Taylor Thomas
Often referred as “JTT,” Thomas had a successful acting career as a child and teenager, starring in the TV show “Home Improvement” and films such as “The Lion King” and “Tom and Huck.” Thomas has not appeared in any major film or television projects in several years. He has been known for his desire for privacy and has not spoken extensively about his decision to step back from acting. However, in interviews he has mentioned wanting to take a break from the industry to pursue other interests and focus on his personal life.
“He made a few cameos in Last Man Standing. From what I’ve gathered is he just likes being him and not all over the place. Being a teen heart throb is probably stressful enough. He’s probably just living off Home Improvement checks or something.”
12. Richard Simmons
Simmons had a long and successful career in the fitness industry, promoting healthy living and exercise through his workout programs and motivational speaking.
However, Simmons has largely withdrawn from public life in recent years. While he has not officially retired from his work in the fitness industry, his absence has led to rumors and speculation about his well-being and whereabouts. In 2017, a popular podcast called “Missing Richard Simmons” explored the mystery surrounding Simmons’ withdrawal from public life, but no definitive answer was reached about his current status or why he had stepped back. People online commented about what they heard about Simmons below:
“Can’t remember where I watched the piece, but some channel did a segment recently on this and interviewed people he used to work with. It’s multi-faceted but sounds like Richard is a solitude man, very different from the public persona he put on. He’s getting older and has knee problems and wanted to disappear from showbiz on a high note while we was still doing well.”
“I won’t go into detail, but I have a close personal tie to him, and I can confirm that Richard Simmons is enjoying a quiet, normal life. There is no “transitioning”, or any other controversial buzzword-y nonsense. The simple truth is that the man enjoyed his work and never the fame. And once he felt his work was done, he retired. It really is that simple. Today, he spends time with his family and enjoys the life he built for himself.”
13. Thora Birch
Birch had a successful acting career, starring in films such as “American Beauty,” “Ghost World,” and “Hocus Pocus.” According to readers online, Birch’s father, acting as her manager, ruined many employment relationships with his poor behavior, which resulted in Birch losing work opportunities.
“Her creepy dad destroyed her career”
“God, that’s sad. Imagine your career ending because of your own parent.”
“That basically was what happened. People around her were telling her to get a real manager and stop having her father run everything into the ground, she stuck with him, so the work dried up.”
Although she has managed to appear in smaller roles throughout the years, she captured a recurring role in the hit television series “The Walking Dead.”
14. Meg Ryan
Ryan had a successful acting career, starring in films such as “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” and “You’ve Got Mail.” Ryan last appeared on film in 2009 and has since moved behind the camera in the role of director and producer. She has also expressed frustration with the way that women are often portrayed in Hollywood and the limited opportunities available for older actresses.
15. Calista Flockhart
“Flockhart is known for her roles in the television shows “Ally McBeal” and “Brothers & Sisters,” as well as the film “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Flockhart has not spoken extensively about her decision to take a step back from acting, but she has mentioned in interviews her desire to spend more time with her family and her husband, actor Harrison Ford. However, she continued to work in occasional projects.
“She was the best part of season 1 Supergirl, but when production moved to Canada for season 2 she didn’t want to follow.”
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