Cameron Diaz Reveals Why She Quit Acting at the Height of Her Career
"When you're making a movie...they own you."
Cameron Diaz was one of the most successful actors in Hollywood in the '90s and '00s. From the Charlie's Angels movies to the hit comedy Bad Teacher to the beloved Shrek franchise, she starred in many beloved and high-grossing films. Her career was so huge that in 2013, she was the highest-paid female actor over 40, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. But after 20 years in the field, Diaz decided to leave show business behind at the height of her fame. While that may be a difficult choice for some to understand, she's since opened up about why she quit acting and how she's filling her life now.
Diaz found "peace" by quitting acting.
Speaking to Gwyneth Paltrow last year for an episode of In Goop Health: The Sessions, Diaz said that she started her life over in her 40s, after she quit acting. (The 48-year-old star's last movie role was Miss Hannigan in 2014's Annie.) Retiring allowed her to step away from the "grind" of work and focus on her personal life, she explained. In 2015, she married Good Charlotte's Benji Madden, and they had their daughter Raddix Madden in 2019.
Paltrow asked Diaz how it felt to walk away from such a major movie career. "A peace, I get peace in my soul," Diaz responded. "Because I finally was taking care of myself."
Diaz added that being in the spotlight was too intense for her.
"There's a lot of energy coming at you at all times," she explained. "When you're really visible as an actor and doing press and putting yourself out there…I do get the overwhelming energy of the attention that being put towards me."
She felt like her career "owned" her.
The star also told Paltrow that when she looked back on her career, she realized how tied down she had been.
"When you're making a movie, it's a perfect excuse, they own you," Diaz said. "You're there 12 hours a day, for months on end. You have no time for anything else."
The former actor noted that being responsible for "multimillion-dollar pictures" meant that she was consistently surrounded by press and paparazzi. Diaz and Paltrow also talked about how strange it is to be "catered to" on movie sets, to the point where they didn't even carry their own bags. Diaz didn't enjoy that part of the culture.
"That wasn't my comfort zone, to be taken care of, but I understood that was part of the job," she said. "And for me, I needed to become self-sufficient again. I really needed to know that I could take care of myself and that I knew how to be an adult. And that I knew how to navigate the world of the complexity of being an adult and having responsibility, and putting all the pieces of my life together the way that I wanted it to be."
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Diaz hasn't necessarily quit acting forever, however.
When she was on his Sirius XM show in February, Andy Cohen asked whether Diaz would ever considered acting again. She said that she wasn't looking for any gigs at the time and had no idea if she ever would, since she's been so focused on her family. That doesn't mean that she's stopped performing for good, however.
"Never say never," Diaz said. "But I couldn't imagine being a mom now, where I'm at as a mother with my child at her first year, to have to be on a movie set that takes 14 hours, 16 hours of my day away from my child. I wouldn't have been the mom that I am now had I chosen to do that at any other time in my life."
Diaz co-founded a wine company last year.
The former Hollywood star is now an entrepreneur. Diaz launched the wine company Avaline with her business partner Katherine Power in July 2020. The wines that they create are free from animal by-products and made from organic grapes. She's also written two books about health: The Body Book and The Longevity Book.
Speaking to Yahoo! Finance in March, Diaz talked about being the driving force behind a brand she believes in.
"I always promote my products, which are my movies," she said. "So I'm not really an endorser. So I've never jumped on another product. It felt right for me to be putting my name and energy behind a product that I was co-founding with Katherine. It was ours. We built it from the ground up."