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 Hollywoodâs 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.Â
Kirk Cameron, Pastor
In the late â80s and early â90s, it was impossible to find a teeny bopperâs bedroom wall that didnât have Kirk Cameronâs 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.Â
Instead, Cameron has turned his focus away from show business and focuses on his Evangelical Christian faith. He currently produces Christian-based films and offers a service to teach others how to express their faith effectively through an online series of âCourage Coursesâ.
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 â80s screwball comedies like Private School and Gremlins.
Catesâ last acting role was in 2001, but in 2005 she focused her attention on opening a chic, NYC boutique named Blue Tree. The womenâs clothing and jewelry shop promises in its description to "...always re-invent and recreate in the hopes of delighting."Â
Kris Humphries, Fast Food Franchiser
Standing at 6â9, 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.
After his basketball career (and marriage) came to an end, Humphries left the spotlight for his native Minnesota. He's since dabbled in both real estate and franchising several Five Guys fast-food restaurants. After a marriage to Kim Kardashian, thereâs definitely no shame in hiding behind a deep fryer.Â
Freddie Prinze, Jr., Chef
A teen heartthrob of the late â90s, 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 2001âs Sheâs All That?
The real dish on Prinze, Jr.âs career is served in his 2016 cookbook titled Back to the Kitchen. In it, he not only offers some of his favorite recipes, but he discloses that he was considering going to culinary school before becoming an actor.
Al Green, Pastor
Iconic soul singer Al Green has given us all the feels with hits like "Letâs Stay Together", "Iâm 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.
After a traumatic argument with a girlfriend in 1974, Green stopped recording sultry, romantic soul music. Two years later, he became an ordained pastor at the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis, Tennessee. Since then, he's focused on gospel music that has failed to perform as well as his previous work.
George Foreman, Grillmaster
âBig Georgeâ 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.
But his second chapter is where things really started cooking. In 1994, George released the George Foreman Grill, the portable electronic grill that sold in over 100 million homes. Based on profit predictions, Foreman has amassed a $200 million fortune by lending his name to the grill, outweighing his earnings as a boxer.Â
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.Â
Those interests involved four wheels and major adrenaline. Muniz started to pursue a professional race car career in 2007 just as Malcom in the Middle finished its run. Sadly, right when his racing career was picking up speed, a series of injuries put the breaks on his tenure as a professional racer.Â
Danielle Fishel, Journalist
Topanga Lawrence, the bushy-haired hippie turned popular overachiever on Boy Meets World was brought to life by Fishelâs 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 Topangaâs daughter and their Disney-level family hijinks.Â
After the show wrapped, Fishel has yet to find a role that matches Topanga's notoriety. In the meantime, Fishel has had an ongoing job as a reporter for the website PopSugar and also helps manage its YouTube channel. Girl Meets Online World doesnât have as nice a ring to it, but good for her anyway!
Shaquille OâNeal, Police Officer
7â1â basketball legend Shaquille OâNeal 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.
Shaq later took his interest in law enforcement to the L.A. County Sheriffâs Reserve Academy and became an officer with the Los Angeles Port Police. He also became a reserve officer in Miami, Florida and later a sheriffâs deputy in Jonesboro, Georgia. Â
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 Carreyâs 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.
In the last few years, Carrey has taken a back seat from major film roles to focus his time on his painting. His bold color choices make for fantastic paintings, and heâs showed many of his pieces at high end galleries. Don't forget to check his Twitter feed for some of his more...colorful social commentary.
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 80âs with catchy songs like "I Think Weâre Alone Now" and "Couldâve Been".
While shopping malls continued to rule the lives of teenagers, Tiffany didnât fare as well. Her follow-up albums sold less and less, so she did what any good mall rat would do: she opened up her own store. Tiffany opened Tiffanyâs Boutique in downtown Nashville, Tennessee and sold vintage-inspired clothing until it closed in late 2015.Â
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 Queenâs "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.
Ice was never able to repeat the same success, so he put down the mic and picked up a hammer. Thatâs right, Vanilla Ice is now an accomplished house flipper. He has made a comfortable living buying properties and renovating homes on his reality show, The Vanilla Ice Project. Pretty cool, Ice.Â Â Â
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.
After his wrestling career, Jimmy purchased an elaborately decorated Redneck Party Bus and drove it throughout Cincinnati, OH. For a rental fee, heâll drive the tricked out party bus for groups of people who want to tailgate sporting events or simply travel in questionable style.Â
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.
After six decades and monumental success onscreen, Hackman officially retired from acting in 2004 to pursue a career in historical fiction. He has since written five novels that take place in various times in American history, from the wild west to the Great Depression. Based on his many film roles, storytelling seems like a well suited path for the legendary film star.Â
Nikki Blonksy, Cosmetologist
Nikki Blonsky made a major impact as the lead character in 2007âs 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.Â
Blonsky earned her cosmetology license in 2011, and works part-time doing hair and make-up for others between auditions. It may not be as glamorous as starring in a movie about hairspray with John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer, but it's a living, nonetheless.Â Â
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.
After retirement, Strug moved to Washington, D.C. in 2003, where she worked as a staff assistant with the White House Office of Presidential Student Correspondence. She eventually worked her way up the ranks and joined the Justice Departmentâs Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention staff as a presidential appointee. Â
Willa Ford, Interior Designer
In the early 2000âs, 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 hitÂ "I Wanna Be Bad".
Fordâs follow up singles and record company roadblocks proved to be more complicated than she bargained for, and she ultimately decided to walk away from the industry. Turns out what a girl wants, what a girl needs is to create, so she turned her career around and became a full-time interior designer with her own firm. Not bad, Willa!
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.Â
After the show finished its run, Voorhies landed several bit parts in other shows before stepping away from television roles in 2002. Afterwards, she picked up a pen and wrote three self-published books, none of which include a cast of squeaky-clean teenagers.Â
Cameron Diaz, Self-Help Author
Cameron Diaz, the blond bombshell from Thereâs Something About Mary and countless other blockbuster films, announced her retirement from acting in 2018. After over 40 films as a leading lady, DiazÂ admitted that traveling from film set to film set was too draining.Â
It appears Diaz has done a lot of inward thinking, because sheâs published three self-help books focused on self care and how to better love your body. Sheâs a New York Times Bestseller, so where Diaz goes, the public is sure to follow.Â
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.Â
After the show (and divorce), Jon took himself out of the limelight, working as a line cook at T.G.I.Fridayâs, DJing local parties, and yes, even stripping. Gosselin made his stripping debut in 2017 at Caesarâs Palace in Atlantic City in celebration of his 40th birthday. The cameras, sadly, were not there to capture the magic.Â
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.
In 2001, one of her close friends was in labor, and Badu stayed by her side throughout the fifty-two hour process. Badu later welcomed over 40 children as an official doula, and told The Huffington Post in 2017 that she was getting her midwifery license. While her music may not sell as well, there will always be pregnant women looking for an experienced doula.
Gerardo, Youth Pastor
Gerardo, the original Latin lover of the â90s, 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.
Gerardo later worked behind the scenes as an A&R executive at Interscope Records, presumably with his shirt on. Yet his true calling became clear years later, as he announced in the 2010s that he had become a Christian youth pastor in Ashland, Kentucky.Â
Kristi Yamaguchi, Fashion Designer
Kristi Yamaguchi won the worldâs 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.
Her hiatus from public life didnât last long, as Yamaguchi continues to make a name for herself with her successful womenâs athletic apparel brand, Tsuya. Each sale of her stylish fitness line supports Yamaguchiâs other venture, her nonprofit Always Dream Foundation.Â
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 Tiffanyâs, and My Fair Lady.
But as her film career reached its peak, she chose to devote more of her time to charity work. Hepburn traveled with UNICEF through Vietnam, Turkey and many other countries to help with humanitarian causes. She was later recognized by president George H. W. Bush with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her monumental efforts.Â
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.
Inspired by the stories her mother told her when she was a child, Parsons started her own non-profit, Sweet Blackberry. Its mission aims to bring little known stories of African American achievement to children everywhere. They even produce their own animated movies for schools and museums about inspirational historical figures.Â
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. Bennettâs Aaron Samuels was the friendly, brooding senior that all the girls wanted to be with, and his performance left many wanting more.Â
While Bennett does get the occasional TV role from time to time, you may have a better chance of spotting him in Los Angeles, where in between roles, Bennett works as a spin class instructor. Weâre sure his hair looks sexy pushed back while up on the bike.Â
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 Oasisâ sound.
The Gallagher brothersâ tumultuous rivalry led to the bandâs indefinite hiatus, upsetting fans around the world. Gallagher opened up Pretty Green in 2009, a â60s rock-inspired UK clothing line to help bring out the rock nâ roll star in all of us. Â
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 â88-â93, touched on topics from that era including the Vietnam Warâs impact on traditional, middle-class American families.
McKeller has seemingly caught the education bug, as she graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a degree in mathematics. As a writer, she has written six nonfiction books targeted to young people with a potential interest in studying math.Â
Stacey Dash, Political Commentator
As Dionne âDeeâ Davenport, Dash was the posh & preppy sidekick to Alicia Silverstoneâs Cher in 1995âs 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.
These days, Dash is recognized for stepping into the political spotlight, having served as a conservative commentator for Fox News from 2014-17. She even ran a campaign in 2018 for Californiaâs 44th Congressional District before withdrawing to focus on her family. Who knows where her political aspirations will take her next!
Cary Grant, Cosmetics Businessman
Cary Grant is an icon in Hollywoodâs 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 Hollywoodâs ultimate leading man.
Grant retired from acting at 66 and embraced his interest in business by joining the board of directors of cosmetics brand FabergĂ©. His success on the board helped grow the companyâs net worth tremendously over time. Who knew the man on screen with such dreamy eyes had such a keen eye for business?Â