30 Celebs Who Stepped Out of the Spotlight for Normal Jobs
The glamorous life that comes with success in showbiz looks like it comes with many perks. Everyone wants to have fame, fortune, and join Hollywood’s elite, right?
But for some stars from movies, TV, sports, and music, the opportunities may have dried up, or the spotlight simply got boring. Many former A-listers have walked away from show business and found other, sometimes bizarre jobs. Check out these 30 stars who are now cops, fitness instructors, or yes, even strippers.
Kirk Cameron, Pastor
In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, it was impossible to find a teeny bopper’s bedroom wall that didn’t have Kirk Cameron’s face plastered on it. Cameron played the mischievous Mike Seaver in the popular show Growing Pains, and was a star on the rise. Once the show wrapped, he could have had a cemented place in Hollywood for years to come.
Phoebe Cates, Boutique Owner
In 1982, Phoebe Cates made a major splash as the bikini-clad Linda Barrett in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It helped open the door for Cates to land a leading role in other ‘80s screwball comedies like Private School and Gremlins.
Kris Humphries, Fast Food Franchiser
Standing at 6’9, Humphries towered over his competitors in the NBA from 2004 to 2017. While he may be a known quantity in the sports world, the majority of us most likely recognize him for his highly publicized, 72-day marriage to Kim Kardashian.
Freddie Prinze, Jr., Chef
A teen heartthrob of the late ‘90s, Prinze, Jr. was the lead in several ensemble films throughout the era. Who can forget his rom-com role as Zack Siler, the big man on campus with a heart of gold in 2001’s She’s All That?
Al Green, Pastor
Iconic soul singer Al Green has given us all the feels with hits like "Let’s Stay Together", "I’m Still in Love with You", and "You Ought to Be with Me". His classic, sultry voice helped him sell millions of records and earn him 11 Grammy Awards over his career.
George Foreman, Grillmaster
“Big George” boasts an impressive boxing career spanning almost 30 years. Throughout his boxing career, he held countless heavyweight titles, and even won himself a gold medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics. He competed in the historic Rumble in the Jungle boxing match against Muhammad Ali in 1974, which had an estimated 1 billion viewers worldwide.
Frankie Muniz, Race Car Driver
Best known for playing the title character on Malcolm in the Middle, Muniz spent many of his younger years in major film and television roles. An Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations later, Muniz felt it was time to take a break from the limelight and focus on his other interests.
Danielle Fishel, Journalist
Topanga Lawrence, the bushy-haired hippie turned popular overachiever on Boy Meets World was brought to life by Fishel’s big smile and bright eyes. The show was her biggest role to date, and Topanga lived on in the short-lived series Girl Meets World, which followed Topanga’s daughter and their Disney-level family hijinks.
Shaquille O’Neal, Police Officer
7’1” basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal took his career to great heights while playing Center for 6 NBA teams over his 19-year career. He also made a name for himself as an actor and a surprisingly successful rapper during his heyday.
Jim Carrey, Painter
In the 1990s, no screwball comedy was complete without featuring Jim Carrey. Blockbusters like Dumb & Dumber, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and The Mask all showcased Carrey’s infectious energy and rubber facial expressions. His comedic prowess allowed him to explore more dramatic roles later on in films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Truman Show.
Tiffany, Shop Owner
In the 1980s, shopping malls were synonymous with two things: teenagers and Tiffany. Tiffany Darwish established herself as a mononymous pop star in the late 80’s with catchy songs like "I Think We’re Alone Now" and "Could’ve Been".
Vanilla Ice, House Flipper
Vanilla Ice immortalized himself in 1990 with "Ice, Ice, Baby", a song that may or may not have sampled the bassline from Queen’s "Under Pressure". Controversy aside, it was the first hip-hop song to top the Billboard charts and is credited with bringing hip-hop to the mainstream airwaves.
Jimmy Yang, Party Bus Operator
Known for his signature Fu Manchu mustache, blue jeans, and cowboy hat, Jimmy Wang Yang was a highlight in the WWE wrestling world. From 1999 to 2010, Yang dazzled wrestling rings around the country with his acrobatic and patriotic displays of wrestling starpower.
Gene Hackman, Author
Gene Hackman is a film legend that has starred in over 80 films throughout his career. He has collected two Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, and other major accolades throughout his over 60-year career in films like The French Connection, The Poseidon Adventure, and Unforgiven.
Nikki Blonksy, Cosmetologist
Nikki Blonsky made a major impact as the lead character in 2007’s Hairspray. It was a debut role that should have launched her into stardom, but Blonsky found it difficult to repeat her status as a lead actress years later.
Kerri Strug, White House Appointee
In the 1996 Summer Olympics, Kerri Strug shook the gymnastics floor with her now legendary vault routine. The world was stunned when an injured Strug managed to land a perfect vault routine and claimed gold for the American gymnastics team.
Willa Ford, Interior Designer
In the early 2000’s, blonde pop stars hit the music scene in a major way, creating big name superstars like Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, and Britney Spears. Ford cemented her platinum position in the group with her provocative 2001 hit "I Wanna Be Bad".
Lark Voorhies, Novelist
On Saved By the Bell, Voorhies played Lisa Turtle, the spoiled fashionista that batted away advances from the nerdy Screech Powers. The lighthearted comedy ran for five years but continues to play on televisions as younger generations get ready for school.
Cameron Diaz, Self-Help Author
Cameron Diaz, the blond bombshell from There’s Something About Mary and countless other blockbuster films, announced her retirement from acting in 2018. After over 40 films as a leading lady, Diaz admitted that traveling from film set to film set was too draining.
Jon Gosselin - Server, DJ, Stripper
In the late 2000s, all eyes were on Gosselin, his wife Kate, and their 8 children on the hit reality show Jon & Kate Plus 8. The show chronicled the absolute chaos that happens when eight toddlers are under one roof, and the impact it takes on an ultimately ill-fated marriage.
Erykah Badu, Doula
Neo-soul singer. DJ. Doula?! Erykah Badu made her mark on the music industry from the moment she stepped into the spotlight in 1997 with her debut album Baduism. Her eclectic combination of soul music with jazz, funk, and hip-hop ushered in a new wave of more earthy musical acts into the airwaves.
Gerardo, Youth Pastor
Gerardo, the original Latin lover of the ‘90s, is best known for gyrating around with minimal clothing in his video for "Rico Suave". The song was played extensively on MTV in the summer of 1991, but he was never able to achieve another hit on the charts.
Kristi Yamaguchi, Fashion Designer
Kristi Yamaguchi won the world’s heart (and a gold medal) at the 1992 Winter Olympics with her incredible solo figure skating performance. She continued her reign on several Stars on Ice tours until she pulled out in 2002 to focus on her family.
Audrey Hepburn, Humanitarian
In the Golden Age of Hollywood, Audrey Hepburn was one of the brightest stars on screen. Her iconic pixie-cut and effortless style helped Hepburn stand out among other actresses. Her resume includes cinema classics like Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and My Fair Lady.
Karyn Parsons, Philanthropist
On The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Parsons played Hillary, the ditsy big sister with a constant attitude problem. The role was the most notable performance on her resume to date, and any remaining acting parts dried up around 2002.
Jonathan Bennett, Spin Class Instructor
Mean Girls dominated the 2000s with an iconic roster of up-and-coming talent, including Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, and Rachel McAdams. Bennett’s Aaron Samuels was the friendly, brooding senior that all the girls wanted to be with, and his performance left many wanting more.
Liam Gallagher, Clothing Designer
In the 1990s, Brit Rockers dominated the radio airwaves, and Oasis was at the front of the pack with hit after hit. Noel Gallagher was the writer for most of the songs, but Liam Gallagher was the charismatic frontman that brought life to Oasis’ sound.
Danica McKeller, Mathematician
As Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years, McKeller helped educate a generation on suburban life during the radically changing late 1960s. The show, which ran from ‘88-’93, touched on topics from that era including the Vietnam War’s impact on traditional, middle-class American families.
Stacey Dash, Political Commentator
As Dionne “Dee” Davenport, Dash was the posh & preppy sidekick to Alicia Silverstone’s Cher in 1995’s teen comedy Clueless. The movie inspired a TV spinoff, where Dash reprised her character for an additional four years and continued her role as the Beverly Hills bombshell.
Cary Grant, Cosmetics Businessman
Cary Grant is an icon in Hollywood’s Golden Era, known for his casual demeanor, lighthearted speaking voice, and uncanny comedic timing. His performances in movies like The Philadelphia Story, The Awful Truth, and Bringing Up Baby made him Hollywood’s ultimate leading man.