13 Iconic Celebrities Who Left Hollywood To Prioritize Motherhood

By Keelia Clarkson··  7 min read
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These women had it all going for them in Hollywood, but they chose to step back and focus on their family instead.

The call of fame, notoriety, glitz, and glamor are all part of having a career in Hollywood – and they’re hard to say no to. Every actress, singer, or entertainer that has seen any amount of success has undoubtedly given up quite a bit, sacrificed things that would’ve made her happy in the moment in pursuit of a long-term career in Hollywood.

But for some, the call of motherhood was even stronger, leading them to give up the momentum their career had, which most only dream of, in favor of raising a family away from the spotlight, choosing motherhood, and giving their kids their undivided attention.

And it’s more common than we’d think too. Here are some of the celebrities who put their career on the backburner in order to prioritize motherhood.

1. Robin Wright

Known for her performance as Princess Buttercup in the beloved 1987 film The Princess Bride, Wright chose to take some time away from the spotlight in order to raise her children, moving from Hollywood up to Northern California. Her reasoning was that she didn’t want to “raise her children in this weird, sycophantic society.”

2. Vera Farmiga

Best-known for her portrayal of Lorraine Warren in the Conjuring films, Farmiga has continued to take acting work after having kids, but clearly values raising her family above Hollywood’s call, having moved with her husband and children to live on a farm in upstate New York – complete with goats and other animals – in order to give her family a more normal life. She constantly shares pictures of her family on Instagram, and it’s just the sweetest.

3. Elizabeth Hurley

The model and actress, whose most recognizable movie credit includes the role of Vanessa Kensington in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, chose to stop doing movies after having her son, and instead prioritized being a mother. She then moved to a farm in England to focus on her family. Now that her son is grown, Hurley has begun making her way back into the acting world.

4. Eva Mendes

The Fast & Furious actress notably took a step out of the limelight after starting her family with Ryan Gosling. After becoming a mother, Mendes, who hasn’t starred in a film since 2014, has said that Hollywood wasn’t her main focus anymore, but instead, “setting an example” for her girls. While she doesn’t share pictures of her kids on Instagram, she shares little tidbits of her life as a mother in her captions.

5. Cameron Diaz

The Charlie’s Angels star recently opened up about her decision to take a step back from acting in order to raise her 2-year-old son. But she doesn’t mean for just a year – Diaz says that she’s not even sure if she’ll make another movie: “Maybe, never say never, but I couldn’t imagine… where I’m at as a mom now… to have to be on a movie set that takes 14 hours, 16 hours of my day away from my child.” Diaz seems to be a fairly private person, judging from her very few Instagram posts.

6. Shania Twain

The beloved Canadian singer and songwriter decided to relocate to Switzerland after becoming a mother in order to dedicate her attention to raising her son, Eja. Twain has also stated that she loves being a mother so much that she regrets not having more children, also saying that she “really does love being a family person. I love cooking and packing lunches and making pancakes on Saturday mornings and all that sort of stuff.”

7. Julia Roberts

While Julia Roberts hasn’t totally stepped out of the spotlight, she definitely chose to put her acting career on the backburner after becoming a mother: “By the time we had kids, I had accomplished things and felt secure about that part of my life…I was so joyful moving into the family phase of my life in a sincere way.” Roberts relocated her family to New Mexico in order to give her children a more normal upbringing – to the point where her kids didn’t even realize how famous she was.

8. Sandra Bullock

The Oscar award-winning actress recently announced she’ll be taking a break from the acting world, hinting that her desire to be with her two children, Louis and Laila, was stronger than her desire to be in front of the camera: “I want to be at home…I was always running to the next thing. I just want to be present and be responsible for one thing.”

9. Phoebe Cates

The 1980s starlet who was every guy’s crush after her roles in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Paradise hasn’t starred in a film since 2001 — but that’s not due to a lack of opportunities. She decided to focus more on her family: actor and husband Kevin Kline (married 1989) and their two children, Greta and Owen. Despite Cates and Kline agreeing to take turns working after their children were born, Cates ended up choosing to stay home with the kids every time it was her turn.

10. Rhea Durham

After having graced the cover of Vogue, Marie Clare, and ELLE, the model became a mother in 2003, and has since had three more children with husband Mark Wahlberg. Durham kept modeling for a few years after having her first child, but soon chose to make motherhood her top priority as she and Wahlberg had more children: “I stopped modeling after my son, Michael, was born… I’m a stay-at-home mom.”

11. Debra Winger

The Terms of Endearment actress hasn’t been quiet about how happy she is to have left the acting world after having children: “The parts that were coming, I wasn’t interested in. I’d already done that or I’d already felt that. I needed to be challenged. My life challenged me more than the parts, so I dove into it fully.” Winger has taken acting roles here and there, but it seems she has mostly been focused on her marriage and children.

12. Candace Cameron-Bure

The Full House star got a taste of fame at a very early age and had all the opportunities to continue with it. After finishing the show, Cameron-Bure desired to keep acting, but also wanted to be a mother, and shared on The Paula Paris Podcast: “I realized very quickly that I could not do both with the excellence that I wanted to do both of them with, so one of them had to be put on pause… and that was an easy choice.”

13. Drew Barrymore

The lifelong actress, having been born into a famous family, knows firsthand the effects of growing up in the spotlight. And after having children of her own, Barrymore says she came to the realization that she “didn’t want to be on a film set asking the nanny how the kids were. That was not my journey.” Since then, she has taken a step back from starring in films, but continues to produce and work on her talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show

Closing Thoughts

It’s refreshing and encouraging to see such talented women, who’ve accomplished incredible feats in their careers, fall in love with motherhood and see the purpose and power of raising their children with intention.

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  Pop-Culture  Motherhood  Celebrities
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