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Why Actors are Leaving Hollywood (and Why Some Come Back)

josh_hartnett(penny)

The entertainment industry can be a cutthroat business, but for many, the risk outweighs the reward. In recent years, several actors and actresses have walked away from Hollywood in favor of regaining normalcy, but not everyone could stay away.

Below, we’ve created a list of the recent actors who’ve left entertainment and revealed why they made the choice.

1. James Denton

Denton spoke to People Magazine, explaining his recent move from Los Angeles to a simpler life between Minneapolis and Montana.

After starring on “Desperate Housewives” for several years, Denton decided to get out of town and focus on his most important role of all – dad.

“I wanted to get my kids out of L.A.,” Denton said. “We live in a small town. It’s quiet and peaceful, ideal for really connecting with my family. It was definitely the right decision for us. I only have one chance to be a good dad to them.”

Since moving, Denton continues to work on television projects and films, but claims he is now “more choosy” than before.

Denton’s latest project, “Stranded In Paradise,” airs on the Hallmark Channel Aug. 16 at 9 p.m.

2. The Sprouse Twins

In 2011, Dylan and Cole Sprouse severed ties with the Disney Channel after starring in “The Suite Life Of Zack and Cody” from 2005 to 2008, and its spinoff, “The Suite Life on Deck,” from 2008 to 2011.

Although they went on to star as their “Suite Life” characters, Zack and Cody Martin, in a handful of shows, including “Wizards of Waverly Place” and “Hannah Montana,” they later chose to walk away from the world of Hollywood and focus on their education.

During an interview on “Conversations with Nat,” Dylan explained his and Cole’s decision.

“Historically, Disney Channel stars don’t survive well outside of the Disney environment,” Dylan said. “We decided that we should go and get a higher education [and also] give time for people to forget about us. If we left and returned four years later after we’ve grown, gained an education, looked physically different … it would only do good for us.”

The Sprouse Twins, who went on to attend college at New York University, were last seen as themselves in 2012’s “So Random!”

3. Amanda Bynes

Bynes announced she was quitting Hollywood in June 2010, telling fans on Twitter, “Being an actress isn’t as fun as it may seem. If I don’t love something, I stop doing it. I don’t love acting anymore, so I’ve stopped doing it.”

The actress’ last film was 2010’s “Easy A,” where she starred alongside Emma Stone and Penn Badgley.

Following a 2012 DUI, Bynes was charged with two alleged hit-and-run incidents. The next year, after moving to New York City to focus on fashion, Bynes was arrested for possession of marijuana and reckless endangerment after she reportedly threw a bong out of her window.

Later that year, Bynes returned to Los Angeles, where she underwent therapy and began attending classes at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

4. Jonathan Taylor Thomas

After an eight season run on “Home Improvement” and roles in films like “Man of the House” and “Wild America,” Thomas left Hollywood.

In 2013, Thomas, lovingly known to fans as “JTT,” spoke of the issue to People Magazine.

“I’d been going nonstop since I was 8 years old,” Thomas said. “I wanted to go to school, to travel and have a bit of a break.”

Following his acting exit, Thomas attended Harvard, Columbia and St. Andrew’s University in Scotland.

Eventually, Thomas returned to acting and landed roles in short films and guest spots on TV shows, including “8 Simple Rules,” “Veronica Mars” and “Last Man Standing.”

5. Freddie Prinze Jr.

Years ago, Prinze was one of Hollywood’s hottest leading men, but these days, he’s not around unless he’s attending an event with his actress wife, Sarah Michelle Geller.

Throughout the 1990s, Prinze starred in hits like “She’s All That” and “Head Over Heels,” but now, his focus is on his role as director and producer of World Wrestling Entertainment (Prinze landed the titles in 2010).

Prinze hasn’t left the industry altogether, however, and continues to make appearances on television shows and in movies. His latest role was a voiceover for “Star Wars Rebels.”

6. Mara Wilson

She was the adorable child in “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Matilda,” but after starring in “Thomas & the Magic Railroad” in 2000, Wilson said goodbye to acting. In March 2012, Wilson took to her blog to explain her choice.

“Doing the same thing over and over again until, in the director’s eyes, you ‘get it right,’ does not allow for very much creative freedom,” Wilson said. “Film can be exciting, but more often, it’s tedious.”

Wilson is currently working as a playwright.

7. Josh Hartnett

After leaving Hollywood and returning to Minnesota, Hartnett spoke to Details Magazine, revealing the motivating factors behind his decision.

“I was on the cover of every magazine,” Hartnett said. ”I couldn’t really go anywhere. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I was alone. I didn’t trust anyone. So I went back to Minnesota and got back together with my old friends.”

Hartnett returned to Hollywood and now stars in “Penny Dreadful,” a television series on the Showtime Network, which premiered in May 2014 and was recently renewed for a second season.

The job of an actor, as Wilson pointed out, is quite difficult, and all that comes with it can be even harder. Kudos to the actors and actresses listed for doing what was right for them and not succumbing to the pressures of Hollywood.


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Photo: SHOWTIME

Lindsay Cronin is a full-time writer and self-proclaimed Twitter jockey. Her multiple Twitter accounts are followed by celebrities like Paris Hilton, Terrell Owens, and Teresa Giudice, to name a few.

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