Regardless of what job you do, all of us need a little break sometimes. And though we all idealize what being a famous actor would be like, many of our favorite stars have taken a breather in the past to reset, refocus and, sometimes, even retire.
Oppenheimer star Emily Blunt, for example, recently revealed she would be taking time off to spend quality time with her daughters Hazel, 9, and Violet, 6, and her husband John Krasinski. “I worked quite a bit last year and my oldest baby is 9, so we’re in the last year of single digits,” the actress told the Table for Two podcast. “And I just feel there are cornerstones to their day that are so important when they’re little.” The same goes for other A-listers, including Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds and Eva Mendes, who have all pressed pause to get some more family time.
With that said, not all stars made the decision for the same reason. Tom Holland, for example, just recently announced he’ll take a break from acting after wrapping up The Crowded Room, an intense TV show that was just too taxing for him to continue. In another interesting story, Chris Hemsworth also announced a break after a medical scare turned his life upside down.
Check out all the stars who’ve taken acting breaks and opened up about them below!
Most recently, Matt Damon opened up about negotiating taking time off with his wife, Luciana Barroso. According to the Oppenheimer star, however, negotiations went south because of the one caveat he had with the deal.
“I had — not to get too personal — negotiated extensively with my wife that I was taking time off,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “The one caveat to my taking time off was if Chris Nolan called,” he added, noting that the director had put him “on ice” since starring in 2014’s Interstellar.
“This is without knowing whether or not he was working on anything because he never tells you, he just calls you out of the blue,” Damon added. “And so, it was a moment in my household.”
Much like her Oppenheimer co-star Emily Blunt has also opened up about taking a step back. “This year I’m not working,” she said in the Table for Two podcast, per People. “I worked quite a bit last year and my oldest baby is 9, so we’re in the last year of single digits. And I just feel there are cornerstones to their day that are so important when they’re little.”
“And it’s, ‘Will you wake me up? Will you take me to school? Will you pick me up? Will you put me to bed?’ And I just need to be there for all of them for a good stretch,” she continued. “And I just felt that in my bones.”
Similar to Blunt, Sandra Bullock announced her own break from acting last year to work on herself and spend time with her kids. “I’m so burnt out. I’m so tired, and I’m so not capable of making healthy, smart decisions and I know it,” she said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter following the release of The Lost City.
“Work has always been steady for me, and I’ve been so lucky,” she continued. “I realized it possibly was becoming my crutch. It was like opening up a fridge all the time and looking for something that was never in the fridge. I said to myself, ‘Stop looking for it here because it doesn’t exist here. You already have it; establish it, find it and be OK not having work to validate you.’”
Earlier this year, Jim Carrey announced he was taking a well-deserved break from acting after the release of his movie Sonic The Hedgehog 2. When asked what he was planning on doing with his newfound free time by Entertainment Tonight, the comedian was impressively candid. “Honestly, I feel like there are so many things because I’ve been so busy for so long, important things that I’ve ignored,” he said, adding that he wants to finally catch up on shows, paint and release NFTs.
“Other than that, I’m going to strive for un-exceptionalism,” he continued. “I want to be frighteningly normal. Nothing going on. Whole lotta nothing.”
Last year, Bruce Willis’ family announced the actor was diagnosed with aphasia was would be “stepping away” from acting. “To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities,” said the statement, per The Hollywood Reporter. “As a result of this and with much consideration, Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”
Charlie’s Angels star Cameron Diaz retired from acting back in 2014. Since then, she’s been open about her decision to step away from her craft. In a chat with Kevin Hart’s talk show Hart to Heart, for example, Diaz explained that her decision came after she realized how many parts of her life were being “handed off to other people,” Vanity Fair reports. “For me, I just really wanted to make my life manageable by me,” she added. “My routine in a day is literally what I can manage to do by myself.”
For Thor star Chris Hemsworth, his desire to take a break began when he found out in his series Limitless that he has two copies of the APOE4 gene, which greatly increases his chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. “[Doing Limitless] really triggered something in me to want to take some time off,” he told Vanity Fair last year. “And since we finished the show, I’ve been completing the things I was already contracted to do. Now when I finish this tour this week, I’m going home and I’m going to have a good chunk of time off and just simplify. Be with the kids, be with my wife.”
About Time star Rachel McAdams is known for taking regular breaks throughout her career to focus on herself and her family. “I felt guilty for not capitalizing on the opportunity that I was being given because I knew I was in such a lucky spot,” the actress told Bustle earlier this year. “But I also knew it wasn’t quite jiving with my personality and what I needed to stay sane. There were definitely some anxious moments of wondering if I was just throwing it all away. It’s taken years to understand what I intuitively was doing.”
Although Ryan Gosling will be giving us major Ken inspiration in the upcoming Barbie movie, the actor once decided to take a step back from acting to focus on himself. “I’ve been doing it too much,” he told the Huffington Post back in 2013. “I’ve lost perspective on what I’m doing. I think it’s good for me to take a break and reassess why I’m doing it and how I’m doing it. And I think this is probably a good way to learn about that. I need a break from myself as much as I imagine the audience does.” Gosling took an almost two-gap, with his next project being The Big Short in 2015.
A few years later, Gosling took a four-year break in 2018 to spend time with his family. “I wanted to spend as much time as I could with them,” he told GQ.
After two intense movies, Red Sparrow and Mother! back in 2017 and 2018, Jennifer Lawrence took a quick hiatus from acting. “I’m taking [a break]. I don’t have anything set for two years,” she told Savannah Guthrie during an appearance on Today back in 2018. “I don’t know [what I’m going to do]. I don’t know, start making pots? I think I’m just taking a little break. I’ll see you in six months.”
Although we’ve always seen him at events and on the red carpet, The Lost City star Channing Tatum once took a four-year breather after working on blockbuster movies back to back. “I got lucky. I won a creative lottery ticket. I made a little bit of money, so I could take a step back and figure out what life is,” the actor told Variety.
As for what he did with his newfound free time, it seems like Tatum just enjoyed life. “I sculpted. I took pictures. I wrote my own stuff, not like a script or anything. Just creating on different levels,” he revealed. “I wanted to take a breather.”
After doing a candid interview last year, Hitch star Eva Mendes set the record straight on her decision to take a break from acting back in 2014. “I never quit acting,” she wrote on Instagram. “I wanted to be home with my babies and fortunately my other business ventures allowed me to do that more than acting would.”
“Also, I was not excited about the stereotypical roles being offered to me at the time,” she continued. “Especially after working on the film Lost River – that was a dream project. That’s a tough act to follow.”
Following his work in The Crowded Room, in which he played Billy Milligan, the first-ever defendant found not guilty by reason of insanity, Tom Holland needed to hit reset. “I’m now taking a year off, and that is a result of how difficult this show was,” he revealed to Extra. “It was a tough time, for sure.”
Following the release of his movie Spirited, Ryan Reynolds took time off to spend with his four daughters and wife Blake Lively. “It was just great,” he told Entertainment Tonight of his over a year break. “I just love being home with my family and taking the kids to school. I have so many other aspects of my life that keep me busy.”
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