Former Celebrities Trade Hollywood Careers For Regular Jobs

By: Max Frost | Published: Oct 18, 2023

Ever wondered what celebrities do after they retire from the spotlight? Some prefer to leave fame and fortune behind to pursue a different path. And with all the uncertainty in the entertainment industry, having a steady paycheck can be a smart move.

Michael Schoeffling: Carpenter

Meet Michael Schoeffling – the ultimate icon of the ’80s! This talented actor starred in unforgettable classics like Sixteen Candles, Vision Quest, and Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. His performances are etched into American pop culture forever.


Source: Michael Schoeffling @earth_to_annaa / | 16 Candles @Michael Schoeffling /


Danica McKellar: Best-Selling Novelist And Mathematician

Remember The Wonder Years? Well, Danica McKellar played Winnie, and for almost half a decade, fans grew up with her character in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Regardless, McKellar has taken a different path today: advanced mathematics and geometric theory.


Source: Danica McKellar © Kathy Hutchins I Winnie The Wonder Years @staredcraft /

Cameron Diaz: Philanthropist

You probably remember Cameron Diaz from some of the most famous romantic comedies of the past decade or two, like My Best Friend’s Wedding, Something About Mary, and Being John Malkovich. She was also one of the highest-paid actresses in the world and wrote two books on health and wellness.


Source: Cameron Diaz © Everett Collection | @welivein90s /

Hayden Christiansen: Farmer

Did you know that Hayden Christiansen’s acting career began almost by chance? He actually went along with his older sister to an acting agency’s interviews and ended up getting signed on to do commercials. Regardless, his role as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies really made him famous.


Source: John Shearer/WireImage for GQ Magazine / Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images

Steven Seagal: Deputy Sheriff

Steven Seagal is a man of many talents – he’s been a musician, actor, and martial artist throughout his career, and he even holds citizenship in America, Russia, and Serbia. Even though he’s mostly retired from acting, he’s keeping busy with other pursuits. He works as a deputy sheriff and is now involved in the weapons industry!

Source: Steven Seagal ©Featureflash Photo Agency / @Ryan__Rigg /


Mark Feehily: Barista

Mark Feehily, a member of the Irish Pop boy band Westlife, was a prominent figure in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Despite being a songwriter and occasionally releasing his music, he now works as a barista since going solo.

Source: Mark Feehily @TodayFM | @ViviendoLaMusiq /


Drake Bell: Musician

Former Nickelodeon star Drake Bell, known for his role in the hit show Drake and Josh, has retired from acting and transitioned into a music career. Beginning his acting career at just five years old, Bell has worked in various voice roles, including the voice of Peter Parker in Spiderman.

Source: Alamy | @haylee_not_here /


Shaquille O’Neal: Reserve Officer

After retiring from the NBA, Shaq’s fascination with law enforcement led him to become a reserve officer with the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department in Georgia. He’s a towering seven-foot-tall NBA star holding an honorary Deputy Marshal title and has even worked as a beach reserve officer while in Miami for which he was paid a symbolic salary of $1.

Source: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images / Allsport/Getty Images


Kristin Davis: Spokesperson

Actress and fashion designer Kristin Davis, famous for her role in Sex and the City, has collaborated with Belk to design a line of women’s clothing and accessories inspired by her character.

Source: | @BelaNorok /


Elizabeth Hurley: Charity Ambassador

Liz Hurley, a renowned supermodel, made her mark in the industry at the age of twenty-nine when she signed with Estee Lauder, a leading cosmetics brand. Though she lacked experience, the company took a chance on her. This contract established Liz as a top model.

Source: Alamy | @Hispalense1981 /


Daniel Day-Lewis: Charity President

Fans weren’t pleased when Daniel Day-Lewis announced his retirement in 2017. Despite having a net worth to envy, the sixty-two-year-old explained that he no longer felt the urge to act.

Source: Jim Spellman/WireImage / Georges De Keerle/Getty Images


Portia de Rossi: Philanthropist

Portia de Rossi is recognized for her role as Lindsay Bluth on the beloved TV show Arrested Development. Although the former model has taken a hiatus from acting, she revealed that she’d gladly make an exception for the character if producers revive the show.

Source: /


Meg Ryan: Producer

Remember America’s sweetheart, Meg Ryan? The actress who captivated audiences with her romantic comedies in the ’80s and ’90s, like You’ve Got Mail? After hanging up her acting boots, she’s since taken on the director role, financing and producing indie productions through her business connections.

Source: Alamy | @bye_bi_beth /


Terrence Howard: Producer

The curtains have drawn for Empire actor Terrence Howard, who recently announced his retirement from acting, leaving fans disappointed. Howard revealed that he was weary of the facade that came with acting and no longer had the passion for it.

Source: Alamy | @arsonvictim /


Taylor Momsen: Musician

Taylor Momsen, who rose to fame with her roles as Jenny in Gossip Girl and Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, announced her retirement from acting in 2012, citing a lack of passion.

Source: Getty Images | @krudolph75033 /


Lauryn Hill: Teacher

Did you know that Lauryn Hill, the Grammy Award-winning singer, and actress, quit Hollywood and opted for a regular day job? After achieving immense success with her album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and starring in hit movies like Sister Act 2 and The Preacher’s Wife, she decided to take a break from the limelight.

Source: Victor Boyko/Getty Images for Kenzo / Brian Rasic/Getty Images


Adam Lamberg: Development Associate

Do you remember Adam Lamberg from the hit TV show Lizzie McGuire? After the show ended, Lamberg went on to attend UC Berkeley and later worked in various film production jobs.

Source: Alamy | @ImLizzieM /


Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen: Fashionistas

Are you familiar with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen? These famous twins were once child stars known for their roles on TV shows like Full House and in movies like Passport to Paris. But they decided to quit Hollywood and pursue other interests.

Sourve: Everett Collection |


Bill Murray: Bartender

After entertaining audiences in popular films such as Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day, Bill Murray has changed career paths and can now be found serving drinks as a bartender. In the 2000s, he worked as a bartender at his son’s bar in Brooklyn.

Source: Getty Images | @historylvrsclub /


Jeri Ryan: Real Estate Agent

Jeri Ryan, the actress who starred in popular TV shows like Star Trek: Voyager and Boston Public, decided to leave Hollywood and switch to a regular job. Can you believe it?

Source: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images / SGranitz/WireImage


Gene Hackman: Now a Star Novelist

Despite retiring from acting after a long career, Gene Hackman continues to write novels and has not announced his retirement. His six-decade career began in 1956 with two Oscars, a SAG Award, two BAFTAs, and four Golden Globes. Before retiring, Hackman starred in the satirical film, Welcome to Mooseport.

Source: Getty Images | @magnanisima /


Sarah Michelle Gellar: A Unique Cookbook Writer

When she was four years old, Sarah Gellar appeared in the movie Invasion of Privacy. After starring in All My Children and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she had her breakthrough.

Source: @foodsirs / | ©Getty Images / Handout


Frankie Muniz: Outrageous Olive Oils Store Owner

His most famous role was as the title character in Malcolm in the Middle, a Fox sitcom that earned him an Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations. Upon resigning from acting, Muniz started an open-wheel racing career, competing in the Atlantic Championship and tracks across America.

Source: Alamy | @reneejess0205 /


Eva Amurri: A Great Career In Blogging

A famous film and TV actress, Eva Amurri is best known for her role in Californication. Eva is the daughter of Meryl Streep. She got into acting at an early age, with a role in a movie in 2002.

Source: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images / Evan Agostini/ImageDirect


Ron Howard: Settles For Teaching And Business

Ron Howard has two Hollywood Walk of Fame Stars, one for acting and one for directing. His roles in movies such as CocoonA Beautiful MindCinderella Man, and other massive hits have given him impressive directing credentials, while his role in Happy Days made him a household name as an actor.

Source: Alamy | @Ptaray /


Erik Estrada: Police Officer

Erik Estrada went from playing a cop on the screen to become one in real life, making a most remarkable career switch. After years of thrilling audiences with his portrayal of Frank “Ponch” Poncherello on CHiPs, he is now taking on real-life criminals with his law enforcement career in his 70s.

Source: Alamy | @GroovyHistory /


Nikki Blonsky: Artist

After achieving global fame in 2007 for her leading role in Hairspray alongside John Travolta, Nikki Blonsky’s career took an unexpected turn. Despite early predictions that she would become a Hollywood A-lister, we haven’t heard from her since 2017, when she was set to appear on Stuffed but withdrew from illness.

Source: @majtague / | Good Morning Baltimore /


Tiffany: Entrepreneur

Tiffany, the ’80s pop star sensation, rose to fame with her hit song I Think We’re Alone Now, which topped the Billboard charts. Besides music, she also modeled for Playboy, appeared in reality shows, and acted in low-budget horror/sci-fi movies.

Source: Michael Adamucci/Getty Images for Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino / Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images


Freddie Prinze Jr.: WWE Producer

Freddie Prinze Jr. found fame on the silver screen, starring in blockbuster hits like She’s All That. However, he has now transitioned from acting to working behind the camera as a WWE producer.

Source: Alamy | @wahleci /


Charlie Korsmo: Lecturer

Once a child star who captivated audiences in the Disney comedy What About Bob? Charlie Korsmo left his showbiz days behind to pursue an academic career. After his brief Hollywood stint, he attended law school and now teaches corporations and corporate finance law at Case Western Reserve University.

Source: @cineporloscodos | @Rebecca Shah /

Once a child star who captivated audiences in the Disney comedy What About Bob? Charlie Korsmo left his showbiz days behind to pursue an academic career. After his brief Hollywood stint, he attended law school and now teaches corporations and corporate finance law at Case Western Reserve University.