You’ve seen them on the big screen, you admired their talent and beauty, you followed their careers with interest and curiosity. But then, one day, they were gone. No more movies, no more interviews, no more red carpets. What happened to these actresses who retired from Hollywood early? Why did they choose to leave behind fame and fortune for a different life? And where are they now? How come they’re no longer actresses now?
In this video, we’ll reveal the secrets behind some of the most surprising and mysterious retirements in Hollywood history. You’ll learn about the personal struggles, the family priorities, the career changes, and the new passions that led these stars to say goodbye to showbiz. Some of them you may have forgotten about, some of them you may still miss, but all of them have a fascinating story to tell.
From former child stars who grew up and moved on to leading ladies who decided to pursue other interests to icons who left at the peak of their fame – these actresses have proven that there’s more to life than Hollywood.
But don’t take our word for it. Watch on to find out why these actresses retired from Hollywood early – and what they’re doing now. You won’t believe what we’ve uncovered!
Facts Verse Presents: Remember Her? This is Why She’s No Longer An Actress
Clara Bow was one of the first and brightest stars of Hollywood’s silent era. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1905, and had a difficult childhood marked by poverty, abuse, and mental illness. Bow dreamed of becoming an actress and won a beauty contest that gave her a chance to go to Hollywood. There she quickly rose to fame with her natural charm, expressive face, and bubbly personality. She starred in dozens of films, including 1927s It, which gave her the nickname “The It Girl”. Pretty soon, Bow was considered to be the epitome of the flapper style and attitude that defined the Roaring Twenties.
But Clara’s success came at a price. She faced constant pressure from studio executives, gossip columnists, and fans who wanted to control her image and personal life. She also struggled with anxiety, insomnia, and depression. On top of all of that, she also had several affairs and scandals that tarnished her reputation. And when sound films arrived, she found it hard to adapt to the new medium because of her thick Brooklyn accent and lack of formal training. Because of this, she made only a few talkies before retiring from acting in 1933 at the age of 28.
After leaving Hollywood, Clara married Rex Bell, a former cowboy actor who became a politician in Nevada. They had two sons together and lived on a ranch near Las Vegas. Clara tried to live a quiet life away from the spotlight but still suffered from mental health issues. She had several breakdowns and attempted suicides over the years. She also became addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol.
In 1962, her husband died suddenly of a heart attack at age 58. Clara spent her last years alone in Los Angeles with only a few friends and relatives visiting her occasionally. Sadly, she died of a heart attack on September 27th 1965, at age 60.
Jane Fonda is an American actress, activist, and former fashion model who has won two Oscars and seven Golden Globes. She is the daughter of legendary actor Henry Fonda and started her acting career in 1960 with Tall Story. Fonda became a star in the 1960s and 1970s with films like Barbarella, Klute, Coming Home, and The China Syndrome. She also became a fitness icon in the 1980s with her best-selling workout videos.
Jane Fonda is also known for her political activism and social causes. She protested against the Vietnam War and was nicknamed “Hanoi Jane” for visiting North Vietnam in 1972. She supported the civil rights movement, women’s rights, environmentalism, and anti-nuclear campaigns. And she was married three times: to French director Roger Vadim, to activist Tom Hayden, and to media mogul Ted Turner.
Jane Fonda retired from acting in 1990 but made a comeback in 2005 with Monster-in-Law. She has since appeared in films like Youth, Book Club, and Our Souls at Night. She also stars in the Netflix comedy series Grace and Frankie since 2015.
Theda Bara was one of the first and most famous sex symbols of silent cinema. She was born Theodosia Goodman in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1885. In 1915, she got her breakthrough role as a seductive “vampire” in A Fool There Was. Bara became known as “The Vamp” and starred in many films that exploited her exotic looks and sensual appeal.
Theda Bara made over 40 films between 1915 and 1926, but most of them are lost today due to a fire at Fox Studios in 1937. Some of her most famous films include Cleopatra, Camille, Salome, and The Unchastened Woman. Bara retired from acting after marrying director Charles Brabin in 1921. She died of cancer in Los Angeles in 1955 at age 69.
Doris Day was a singer and actress who starred in many musicals and comedies in the 1950s and 1960s. She was known for her wholesome image and cheerful personality. She retired from acting in 1973 at the age of 49, after her last film, With Six You Get Eggroll.
After retiring from acting, Day devoted herself to animal welfare causes. She founded the Doris Day Animal Foundation in 1978 and the Doris Day Animal League in 1987. Also, she opened a hotel in Carmel, California, where she lived with her many pets. She received several awards for her humanitarian work, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004.
Day died in 2019 at the age of 97.
Cameron Diaz is another famous actress who retired from acting after a successful career in Hollywood. She rose to fame with her debut role in 1994s The Mask opposite Jim Carrey, and went on to star in more than 40 movies, including comedies like There’s Something About Mary, Shrek, Charlie’s Angels, and Bad Teacher. Throughout her time in Hollywood, she worked with acclaimed directors like Martin Scorsese, Spike Jonze, and Cameron Crowe, and earned four Golden Globe nominations.
Diaz announced her retirement from acting in 2018 during an interview for the anniversary of The Sweetest Thing. She said that she wanted to focus on other aspects of her life that she had neglected while being a movie star. She also said that she felt exhausted and overwhelmed by the pressure and scrutiny of being in the public eye.
Since retiring from acting, Diaz has pursued various interests and passions. She wrote two books on health and wellness: The Body Book and The Longevity Book. She launched an organic wine brand called Avaline with her friend Katherine Power in 2020. Diaz married musician Benji Madden in 2015 and welcomed their daughter Raddix Madden in 2019.
Diaz recently made a comeback to acting with a cameo role in 2023s Back In Action, a comedy film starring Jamie Foxx. However, she reportedly quit acting again after Foxx had an alleged meltdown on set that caused delays and tensions. Diaz said that Foxx was the only reason she agreed to do the film and that she was not interested in pursuing more roles.
Diaz has said that she is happy with her decision to retire from acting because it gave her peace of mind and freedom to explore new things. She has also said that she is proud of her work as an actress and thankful for her fans’ support.
Greta Garbo was a legendary actress of the 1920s and 1930s, known for her beauty, talent, and mystique. She starred in classics like Grand Hotel, Anna Karenina, and Ninotchka. She retired from acting in 1941 at the age of 35 after her last film Two-Faced Woman flopped at the box office. Saying, she was tired of Hollywood and wanted to live a more private life.
After retiring from acting, Garbo moved to New York City and became a recluse. She avoided publicity and rarely gave interviews.
She traveled extensively around the world and collected art and antiques. Though she never married or had children, she did have several close friends and lovers.
Garbo died in 1990 at the age of 84.
Shirley Temple was a child star who charmed audiences with her singing, dancing, and acting skills. She appeared in more than 40 films, such as Bright Eyes, The Little Princess, and Heidi. She retired from acting in 1950 at the age of 22.
After retiring from acting, Temple pursued a career in politics and diplomacy. She ran for Congress in 1967 but lost. She served as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly in 1969. Then, she was appointed as the U.S. ambassador to Ghana in 1974 and to Czechoslovakia in 1989. She also worked on various humanitarian causes and received many honors for her service.
Temple died in 2014 at the age of 85.
Meg Ryan was one of the most popular and beloved actresses of the 1990s, starring in hit romantic comedies such as When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. She charmed audiences with her quirky and beautiful persona, earning her the nickname of “America’s Sweetheart”. However, by the early 2000s, Ryan’s career took a downturn, and she became less visible on the big screen. So what happened to her?
One of the reasons Ryan decided to step away from acting was her disillusionment with Hollywood and its unrealistic expectations of women. She felt that she was constantly judged by her appearance and her personal life, especially after her divorce from Dennis Quaid and her affair with Russell Crowe. She also faced harsh criticism for changing her look with plastic surgery, which many saw as a betrayal of her natural beauty.
Another reason Ryan retired from acting was her desire to explore other creative outlets and pursue different passions. She became more interested in working behind the scenes as a producer and director, making her debut with the 2015 drama Ithaca. She also focused on raising her two children: Jack Quaid, whom she shares with Dennis Quaid; and Daisy True Ryan, whom she adopted from China in 2006.
Today, Ryan lives a low-key life away from the spotlight. She occasionally accepts film offers that appeal to her, such as 2008s The Women and 2017s The Bookshop, but she is not actively seeking roles or fame. Ryan is happy with her partner John Mellencamp, whom she got engaged to in 2018 after dating on-and-off since 2011. She enjoys traveling, reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.
Ryan has said that she does not regret leaving Hollywood behind because it gave her a chance to grow as a person and find new meaning in life. She has also said that she is proud of her legacy as an actress and grateful for the opportunities she had. She remains an icon of the romantic comedy genre and a beloved star for many fans around the world.
We’re just about of time for this one, but before you go, we’d love to hear from you. Which retired actress would you like to see make a comeback and can you think of any other stars that have exited the spotlight? Let us know in the comments, and as always, thanks for watching!