Finding the perfect balance between motherhood and work commitments is a tough task, and while some parents manage to juggle both (although not without feelings of working guilt), others prefer to leave the workforce to care for their little ones. This is a personal decision, and it is one that some of the biggest stars in Hollywood have also been faced with. Should they say goodbye to their fame, to be more present in their children’s lives?
Actresses like Poppy Montgomery and Gwyneth Paltrow decided to remove themselves from the limelight for a little bit to focus on their children, before returning to our screens again. Others have seriously considered leaving the business since becoming a parent, and have made their thoughts on the topic well-known. Stars, like Phoebe Cates and Lauryn Hill, chose to leave it all behind them for good, even though the world was constantly questioning when they would return.
But it’s not just women who have made this decision, men have made it too. There are many celebrity dads putting their children first, whether this means they’re being more picky with the projects they take, or whether they decided to retire and opt for a quieter life. Below are 5 of those dads, and 16 celebrity moms, who thought twice about fame.
Let's start with the 16 celeb moms who gave it all up for their kids...
21 Poppy Montgomery Needed To Be A Mommy For More Than A Minute
Raising a family is important for Poppy Montgomery, but so is her professional life, and at one point she found it hard to balance the two. Although you will still see Montgomery on your TV screen, when her show, Without A Trace, came to an end, she decided to take some time away from the limelight to focus on her children. According to IMDB, she told USA Today at the time,
“I had just had my son. I had been away so much for the first year of his life. I needed to take the time and actually be like mommy for a minute.”
20 Salma Hayek Doesn't Want To Miss A Precious Moment With Her Loved Ones
Salma Hayek shares a daughter, Valentina Paloma Pinault, with her husband, François-Henri Pinault, and she is glad that she had children later in life because she feels it gave her more time to focus on being a mother.
In an interview with Marie Claire, she said, “I think if you are young and you have children, you still have so much to prove. When you have children later in life, you lose a bit of that urge for working. At the time, I was thinking, I can do another movie that may or may not work, or I can be with my child, nourish her, and not miss a moment of this precious time. And if my [life as an actress] is going to end in two years, what’s the difference, anyway?”
She did return to Hollywood though, with her husband’s encouragement.
19 Jennifer Garner Lives Two Extremes, But Being A Full-Time Mom Is The Best One
Jennifer Garner is another celebrity who slowed down after becoming a mother, and she has spoken about the difficulties she goes through trying to balance being a parent, with a being a Hollywood star. Not to mention the guilt of choosing one over the other, and she found her life had “two extremes," and she was either “a full-time stay-at-home mom or a full-time actress.”
According to The Bump, she shared her thoughts with Us Magazine and explained how she was constantly dealing with an “internal battle” where she felt she needed to work, but she also needed to be home with her kids, but that her kids always win.
18 Jenna Fischer Thinks Having Children Has Been Too Much Of A Change
Becoming a parent caused Jenna Fischer’s life to change in many ways, and she experienced the sleepless nights and never-ending days when she became a mom. According to Babble,
She stated that becoming a mom was too much of a “life change,” and that meant she had to learn to balance it all.
She hasn’t given up acting altogether, and in 2018, she played an onscreen mom in Splitting Up Together. But she has had to try and figure out a balance that works for her. Fischer told People, “It’s so funny because I think there’s the perception that every [famous] woman has a driver and a chef and a personal trainer and a nanny. I don’t have any of those things. Like other working moms, I’m trying to figure out how to balance it all.”
17 Jamie Lynn Spears Was A Teen Mom When She Left The Limelight
Jamie Lynn Spears surprised her fans when she announced she was pregnant because she was 16 at the time. She had been on a Nickelodeon show, Zoey 101, and when it finished she learned she was pregnant. She walked away from fame in an attempt to escape the scrutiny, and years later she shared her thought process at the time with Glamour. She said,
“I just wanted to get away from it as much as I could, to just go away and be a mom and figure out what I wanted, and to earn a sense of respect back for myself. Move to a town in the middle of nowhere and just raise my child. All I could be was a good mother…”
16 Uma Thurman Seriously Considered Leaving The Acting World Behind Her
When Uma Thurman became a mom, she realized it was going to be extremely tough to get back into acting, and so, she seriously thought about not pursuing acting anymore. She previously told Candis magazine (via Express),
"I love and adore being a mother. It's the greatest gift I've ever been given. Having children flips the game from being about you to about what you can create in a home and what your responsibilities are.”
She continued, "I've thought about quitting acting, but I love what I do so much -- it's the big conundrum of my life…” Instead, she has tried hard to balance the two.
15 Shania Twain Was All About Motherhood And Baking
Like many celebs featured on this list, their removal from stardom has not necessarily been permanent, and the same can be said for Shania Twain because she has since made a comeback. However, there was a time when she decided to walk away from showbiz and focus on raising her son, Eja.
According to New York Times, during her time away from the limelight she "was focused on motherhood,” and the publication quotes the singer as saying she spent her time “baking cake, packing lunches, running back and forth to soccer and all that stuff” for her son.
14 Meg Ryan Stepped Away From The Limelight To Focus On Being A Mama
Meg Ryan was married to Dennis Quaid for almost a decade, and during their union, they had a son, Jack. But later in Ryan’s life, she realized she was not done having children, and in 2006, she adopted her daughter, Daisy, from China.
Ryan has since made the decision to leave Hollywood, and according to People, she avoids award shows, doesn’t often do red carpet events, and hasn’t had a major interview in five years (and the report dates back to 2013). People also noted that these days, Ryan’s life is focused on being a mother to Daisy.
13 Jessica Biel’s Son Demanded So Much Of Her Attention
Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake are one of Hollywood’s power couples, and together they are parents to their son, Silas Randall. Fans of Biel would have noticed that her acting life seemed to slow down a bit once she became a mom, and perhaps that’s because her life started to revolve around her son. She told Marie Claire,
“You think you're a selfless person, and then you realize you're not. These little people come around, and they require so much, and your schedule is really not your own, nor is it important anymore, and it's very clear that it's your life now revolving around this dude.”
12 Elizabeth Hurley Realized Her Son Brought Her More Joy
Elizabeth Hurley is a mother to only one child, her son, Damian Hurley, and she has spoken about her role as a mother and the effect it had on her professional life.
“Looking after my son became my number one task, and it was a joy to have someone else on whom to focus,” the actress told Closer magazine (via Nicki Swift).
“I was 36 and had been worrying about myself for quite long enough. I stopped doing movies and TV for the first eight years of his life, and I don’t regret it for a moment. I always put him first.”
11 Phoebe Cates Chose To Stay Home With The Kids Instead Of Focusing On Hollywood
Phoebe Cates was one of the IT girls in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, but few from the younger generation will probably know who she is, and that’s because she decided to walk away from Hollywood to start a family.
She married actor Kevin Kline in 1989, and the pair went on to have two children. It seems they made the decision to work at separate times so that their kids were never alone, which according to Country Living, Kline has explained in an interview with a famous publication. He said, "We have agreed to alternate so that we're never working at the same time [but] whenever it's been her slot to work, Phoebe has chosen to stay with the children.”
10 Demi Moore’s Goal Is To Have A Great Relationship With Her Kids
Demi Moore has three children who she shares with ex-husband Bruce Willis, and although she has had a successful job as an actress, one of the things she wants to the most is to spend time with her daughters and have a good relationship with them. In 2001, she told InStyle,
“One of my goals is to build a loving relationship so that my children, as adults, will want to share their lives with me. The foundation I lay – if it’s not there now, it won’t be later.”
According to BabyGaga, when Moore’s daughters were small, she and Willis stepped away from Hollywood and moved them to a town in Idaho called Hailey.
9 Kyra Sedgwick And Kevin Bacon Are All About Raising Their Family
After Kyra Sedgwick married Kevin Bacon, the pair started a family. She first gave birth to their son, Travis, in 1989, and later a daughter, Sosie, in 1992, and according to The Stir, Sedgwick decided to take time off work to focus on motherhood.
In 2012, when her children were adults, she gave an interview to Redbook and discussed her feelings about her family and the importance they have in her life. She said,
"[Your children] are the first thing you think about in the morning and the last thing you think about before falling asleep. And suddenly, you're fired!"
8 Vera Farmiga Opts To Use Most Scripts As Fertilizer
Vera Farmiga hasn’t disappeared from the limelight completely since becoming a mom, but she is extremely picky on the projects she works on. She is also said to make a bonfire with her scripts on the small farm where she lives, something which she spoke about with Sydney Morning Herald -- it’s not quite as dramatic as the media made it out to be.
"I live in upstate New York and we don't have proper [waste] disposal, so we have to take our trash to the transfer station and separate the plastics from the burnables,” she explained. “My scripts are watermarked and I don't want them to end up being sold in St Mark's Place in the East Village with my name on it, so it becomes fertilizer and the ashes get dispersed on my garden…”
7 Lauryn Hill Wanted Her Next Big Move To Be Focusing On Being A Mom
In 1997, Lauryn Hill and Rohan Marley had welcomed their first child, Zion. The following year they had their daughter, Selah Louise -- and Hill was not done having children. In 1998, Hill released an album, which was met with critical acclaim and chart-topping success.
Everyone wanted a piece of her, and all Hill wanted to do was disappear from the limelight and focus on her growing family.
She grew tired of everyone asking her what her next big move was going to be when all she wanted to be was a mom. According to Mother Mag, she said, “Everybody asks me, ‘What’s your next move?’, and right now my focus is just being a good mother. If I could do that properly, I’d be really, really happy..."
6 Gwyneth Paltrow's Life Has Changed A Lot Since Becoming A Mom
Gwyneth Paltrow has said a lot of unrelatable things over the years, and even when she is trying to relate to other moms (or the "common woman," as she sometimes refers to regular folks), she makes people roll their eyes.
But there has been a time when she was relatable, and that time happened when she spoke about trying to find a balance between her job and motherhood.
She spoke to InStyle UK (via Us Weekly) about how her professional life had changed since becoming a parent, explaining she "kind of quitting acting for three years.” It was a decision she made because she was “just thinking I want to have kids and I want to be home with them.”
And here are the 5 celeb dads...
5 Cary Grant Really Loved His Role As A father
It is not just women who have decided to leave their jobs behind (even if only temporarily) to focus on their family, but also men, and heartthrob Cary Grant is a fine example. He had his daughter, Jennifer Grant when he was in his sixties, and he made the decision to retire and spend time with her. According to Daily Mail, Jennifer had this to say about her father:
“Every daughter looks up to her father but the fact is we were incredibly close. He retired at 60, when I was born, so I had him for the first 20 years of my life. Although I lived with my mother, she’d be away making a film for three months, say, and I’d be at my father’s house..."
4 Rick Moranis Made An Important Decision To Be A Stay-At-Home Dad
Rick Moranis lost his wife and had to raise his children as a solo parent, and to do this properly, he decided it was time to leave Hollywood. He initially thought he would return later, but he told USA Today in 2005, that “the little bit of a [pause] turned into a longer [one], and then I found that I really didn't miss it.”
Moranis has also shared his thoughts on being a stay-at-home dad, and the joy that it has brought him. According to Uproxx, he said, “When my kids came home, there was music, and there were lights on, and there were great smells coming out of the kitchen. And it was just a joyful place to be, and that’s what I wanted.”
3 Michael Schoeffling Opted For A Quieter Life In Pennsylvania
In the ‘80s, Michael Schoeffling was a well-known actor, although he lives a much quieter life now. Schoeffling chose to leave the acting world behind him to focus on family life, and according to Zimbio, he and his wife, Valerie C. Robinson, moved to Pennsylvania to raise their two children (a son and a daughter).
Schoeffling will always be remembered for his role in Sixteen Candles, but he has pretty much disappeared from the Hollywood scene, and little is known about his life. Although Zimbio does note that he is believed to have started a woodworking and furniture business.
2 Ricky Martin Says He’s Wrapped Up In Being A Dad To His Twins
Ricky Martin is a world-renowned superstar, but that comes second to his responsibilities as a dad, and he reminded the world of this when he gave an interview to Ocean Drive magazine (via Hola!) about his twins, Mateo and Valentino (who he became a father to in 2008, via a surrogate).
“First and foremost, I am a father,” he told the publication, adding, “My role as a father is one that I’m obsessed with. Every decision I make in my [professional life] or in my personal life is based on the well-being of my kids.”
1 For Freddie Prinze Jr., Being A Full-Time Dad Is Not A Job Because He Loves It
Ah, Freddie Prinze Jr., the man who was the star of popular movies, She’s All That, and, I Know What You Did Last Summer. You may not hear much about Prinze Jr. these days though, and that’s because (as noted by Zimbio),
He has left Hollywood behind him to focus on his two loves; cooking, and raising his family with wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar.
"For me being a father, not having a dad, it makes it my No.1 priority," he told E! News, referring to his own father’s passing when he was young. "So when my daughter was born, that was pretty much it for me. I became a full-time father. It's not a job. It's what I love to do."