When the Harry Potter franchise was over, Emma Watson seriously considered getting out of Hollywood for good. In an interview she said, "For a while I kind of bought into the hype of, 'Will they ever be able to play anything else?' It gave me a sense of paralysis and stage fright for a while. And then a professor told me that they didn't think I should act, either. So I was really grappling with it and wasn't feeling good about it. And then, I don’t know. ... It got so bad and people had put me in a box so much that it started pissing me off. I suddenly wanted to prove them wrong. It gave me fuel, in a way. I’m not sure why that shift happened." I'm so glad she stuck around!
While Emma almost quit because nobody believed in her, Shailene almost quit because everyone believed in her a little bit too much. After her role in The Descendants, she felt so much pressure to do a great job in everything else that she told an interviewer she wanted to just stop. She said, "Somebody came to me and said, 'I can’t wait to see what you do next.' I took that as pressure – that I had to live up to somebody else’s expectations. There were a few months where I was like, ‘I don’t want to act anymore.’ And then I got over it and realized it’s none of my business what other people think of me."
Right when she was starting out as an actress, Kristen had some bad luck that almost made her quit for her. In one interview, she said, "I decided a year after not getting any commercials, 'F*ck it. I won't make my mom drive around Los Angeles anymore. I also got so nervous for every single audition. I was just dying. I had one appointment left and my mom said, 'Have a little integrity and go to your last one.' And it was The Safety of Objects. If I hadn't gotten that, I would have been done."
I don't want to imagine a life where Leonardo DiCaprio quit acting right after Titanic, but he actually almost did. It wasn't because of pressure or failure, it was because he was considered too hot. No seriously! In one interview, he said, "It was pretty disheartening to be objectified like that. I wanted to stop acting for a little bit. It changed my life in a lot of ways, but at the same time, I can't say that it didn't give me opportunities. It made me, for the first time, in control of my career."
Naya Rivera is another actress who almost quit Hollywood because of her looks - but not in the same way as Leo. As a person of mixed race, she grew increasingly frustrated in Hollywood's need and inability to define her. In one interview, she said, "I am half Puerto Rican, a quarter German and a quarter black. That was always a big issue for me - being mixed race - because casting directors tended to be very like, ‘OK, are you Hispanic for this role?’ ‘Or is she going to be African American?’ So, it was really tough and work started to show down. From the time I was 16 to really up until turning 21, the roles were really, really few and far between. I had people say that I just wasn't a good singer. They didn’t know what to do with me; I would never fit in any markets. I almost quit acting altogether."
After starring in Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl, Zoe Saldana was so disgusted with the industry that she almost left it. It wasn't about how well the movie it did (it did really well!), but because of what happened behind-the-scenes. Zoe discussed political issues that left her feeling disrespected and underappreciated. Hmm. Wonder what the details are there.
Sometimes celebrities get so disgusted with the amount of attention on their private lives that it makes them want to stop acting for good. This is what happened to Sandra Bullock after her highly publicized and very messy divorce. She said, “I was perfectly content to be permanently broken”, "I honestly didn’t think I was in a place where I wanted to work or wanted to step out of where I was… I wasn’t prepared. But the opportunity (to work again) was louder than my head.”
I love Keira Knightley and I would be so bummed if I never saw her in another movie again. But that might happen soon, because it doesn't seem like she's that into Hollywood. She has said that she's wanted to quit for years now because she feels guilty about all of the privileges she gets.
Another reason celebrities consider leaving Hollywood is to have more time for their families - like Julia Roberts. In one interview, she said, "The first time I worked after I had Finn and Hazel was a play [Three Days of Rain on Broadway] for four months. And they were a year-and-a-half old, and there was a little place in the theatre for them to play, and Paul Rudd's son was just younger than they were. It seemed perfect, 'I'll be at work while they're sleeping, and nothing about our life will be any different.' And then cut to me standing at an elevator waiting to go to work, literally pulling my own hair out. I went a little bit cuckoo." She added, "August: Osage County was the first time I left my family to go work. And I almost didn't do it because I just felt so heartsick at the idea. I'd never been away from my children."
Chris Hemsworth is another celeb who almost stopped acting because he didn't feel successful. Shortly before landing his role in Thor, he thought about quitting, saying, "I had a sort of nine-month period of nothing to the point where I was calling my parents. I was ready to pack it in and come home. It was like, ‘This is killing me."
Amy Adams hasn't always been happy in her line of work, and at some points, she was so unhappy that she thought about stopping. She said "Julie and Julia is really about reinventing yourself and what that takes. I've gone through that process of re-evaluating things. For a while, I was seriously considering giving up acting. My life lacked balance because I was too focused on a result as opposed to enjoying the process. I just had to get back into enjoying myself. There were times when I didn't work. There were times when I was flat broke, just like anyone else. You go through ups and downs in life. And, right now, I'm on an up. I'm going to enjoy it and have fun and make the most of it.".