15 Celebs Who Broke Up With Hollywood & Found Success in the Real World

Tanvier Peart | Aug 26, 2016 Celebrities

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It's so easy to look at stars and think about how easy their lives must be. The glitz. The glam. The bank account we'd kill to have. Many celebs love basking in the Hollywood spotlight (some a little too much) while others decide, at some point, to exit stage right. Sometimes, the perks of being famous just isn't worth it. And who can blame them? For all the glamorous moments, being famous and a child cannot be easy. 

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With tons of aspiring entertainers heading off to the land of stardom, there are some celebrities who decided to pack up and pursue other ventures. Maybe we'll see them in front of the cameras again, and maybe we won't. But when we look at what they are doing now, we have to agree that leaving the Hollywood life does seem to agree with them. They've found different careers, had families, written books, or disappeared from public life. Some have had some missteps, while others have thrived. But either way, we were totally driven to find out where our favorite celebrities have gone -- and now we've made a list of our faves to share with the world. Inquiring minds want to know! 

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  • Mara Wilson


    Who can ever forget Mara Wilson, the adorable little girl who stole our hearts in Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire? She was such a cutie pie! Just don't ask Mara if she plans on film acting in the future -- 'cause that answer is a big fat no. As happy as this 29-year-old is to touch those who enjoyed her work, Wilson says she's relieved she's no longer in front of the cameras. Now an author, Mara Wilson fans can catch up on all the scoop in her new book, Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame. 

  • Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen

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    Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have been in front of the cameras since they were babies on the hit show Full House. Making appearances on TV shows and in movies, this sister duo has a bountiful archive of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen videos to last a lifetime (How the West Was Fun, anyone?). Sure, you might still see them on a red carpet or two, but can't blame them for leaving Hollywood -- no matter how much we want to see them make a cameo on Fuller House. Mary-Kate and Ashley have built an estimated $1 billion dollar fashion empire that includes their fashion design house, The Row, and their successful line, Elizabeth and James.

  • Amanda Bynes

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    Can you believe Amanda Bynes is now 30? The childhood mega star (All That, The Amanda Show, She's the Man) had a long run as an actress. While she's been performing since she was 7, most are more familiar with the troubling headlines that surrounded Bynes a few years ago -- ones that included a DUI and hit-and-run charge. (Amanda was also placed in an involuntary psychiatric hold.) Thankfully, though, life for Amanda has been much better. Enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (yes, the school Lauren Conrad attended on The Hills), Amanda has said goodbye to acting and hello to the fashion world.

  • Josh Herdman


    Soo technically Josh Herdman hasn't broken up with Hollywood just yet (he still has one or two acting projects in the pipeline), but my goodness, he's definitely headed in a new direction. Exchanging his Hogwarts wand for four-ounce gloves, Josh Herdman is now an amateur MMA fighter who's kicking ass and taking names inside the octagon. Don't mess with Gregory Goyle!

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  • Jack Gleeson

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    Man, Jack's icy stare still sends chills up our spines! As terrifying as he was as King Joffrey on Game of Thrones, please don't associate Jack Gleeson with his psychopath character. Bidding adieu to acting, Jack earned his degree in philosophy and theology not too long ago, which will likely leave some GoT fans in major disbelief. As of now, the former actor is promoting his Bears in Space puppet show (yes, this is a real thing) with plans to showcase it in the US. 

  • Kevin Jonas

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    Since the Jonas Brothers split, Kevin Jonas has traded in his microphone for life as a family man. Married for seven years, Kevin and his wife Danielle are expecting their second child. (The couple has a 2-year-old daughter named Alena.) Jonas is also the cofounder of The BLU Market, an influencer marketing company that aims to help creators grow their social media. Not bad, Kev!

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  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas


    You cannot consider yourself a true millennial unless you had a mega crush on '90s heartthrob Jonathan Taylor Thomas (complete with his Tiger Beat posters hanging up in your room). Of course, shortly after his show Home Improvement ended, JTT walked away from acting to pursue a degree at Columbia University. Since then, Jonathan has made a few appearances on his former costar Tim Allen's show Last Man Standing -- and even directed a few episodes. As exciting as the thought of a Jonathan Taylor Thomas comeback is, don't hold your breath. Aside from these recent appearances, JTT hasn't acted since 2006. We're just happy to see him after so much time!

  • Hanson


    Sorry if you're still struggling to get the song "MMMBop" out of your head. That damn tune has been haunting us with all its catchiness since 1997. While you won't hear any remixes from the popular '90s band Hanson anytime soon, the siblings (Isaac, Taylor, and Zac) have been keeping busy with a new venture that's best served cold. That's right, the Hanson Brothers Beer Company is a real thing. And guess what the name of their beer is? Why, Mmmhops, of course!

  • Charlie Korsmo


    Even though Charlie Korsmo only acted for a few years, his films, like Hook, Dick Tracy, and Can't Hardly Wait, are still faves today. (Don't act like you don't have them in your Netflix queue.) Now an associate law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, Charlie says acting helped foot his college bill, and that enabled him to pursue his true passions. 

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  • Karyn Parsons

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    Karyn Parsons was beyond funny on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Playing the ditzy and lovable Hilary Banks, Parsons took on several acting gigs before hanging up her SAG card in the early '00s. In 2005, Karyn founded the Sweet Blackberry, a nonprofit that aims to showcase African-American stories to young children.

  • Taylor Momsen

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    Who the heck knows if Taylor Momsen actually got fired from Gossip Girl or if she quit. (We'll always have love in our hearts for little J!) Since her days on the hit CW show, Momsen has found her voice as the lead vocalist of the rock group The Pretty Reckless.

  • Jeff Cohen


    One person who fully embraces his cult following is Jeff Cohen. Known to the world as the infamous Chunk in the cult classic The Goonies, Cohen stopped acting in the early '90s before studying law. Jeff Cohen is now a partner at the entertainment law firm Cohen Gardner LLP.

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