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Cameron Diaz Says This Is the Real Reason She Stopped Acting at 40

"I couldn’t really manage it, because it was so big," she said of her career in a new interview.

Cameron Diaz hasn't appeared in a movie or TV role since 2014. It's a bit shocking when you consider the time at which Diaz decided to leave Hollywood behind: In 2013, she was the highest-paid female actor over 40, according to The Hollywood Reporter, meaning it was truly the height of her career. And while her break from acting might have been surprising and disappointing for fans, she couldn't feel better about the decision. The now-48-year-old star has opened up about why she stopped acting over the years, but in a new interview with Kevin Hart, she gives more insight into her thought process. Read on to see what Diaz had to say about quitting Hollywood at 40.

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Cameron Diaz said she "couldn't manage" the "machine" that her life had become.

Kevin Hart and Cameron Diaz on "Hart to Heart"
Peacock / YouTube

In an interview with Hart on his Peacock show Hart to Heart, Diaz made clear that she didn't stop acting because she no longer enjoys it, but because she wanted to have more control. She wanted to run her own life, rather than have other people run it for her.

She said that when she was acting—which she described as doing "something at a really high level for a long period of time"—a lot of aspects of her life had to be handed off to other people. She listed finances and her home as examples, as well as, "the management of me as a human being." She added, "Not me as Cameron Diaz. Cameron Diaz is a machine. But for my personal, spiritual self, I was realizing that that one part of me that functioned at a high level wasn't enough."

She explained that around age 40, "I just realized that I looked around and it was just, like, so many parts of my life that I wasn't touching and that I wasn't managing. And I couldn't really manage it, because it was so big. Everything was so massive."

RELATED: Actor Adrian Grenier Reveals Why He Quit Hollywood for Good.

Now, she can manage everything on her own and she finally feels "whole."

Cameron Diaz on "Hart to Heart"
Peacock / YouTube

Quitting acting meant that Diaz could pare down her life and do more on her own. "I just really wanted to make my life manageable by me," she told Hart. "My routine in a day is literally what I can manage to do by myself … It's the best feeling. I feel whole."

Diaz made a similar comment in an interview with Gwyneth Paltrow for In Goop Health: The Sessions last year. "That wasn't my comfort zone, to be taken care of, but I understood that was part of the job," Diaz said in Aug. 2020. "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." She said she felt "peace in my soul" after walking away from acting.

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She was also able to focus on her personal life, including starting a family.

Benji Madden and Cameron Diaz at a Revolve event in 2016
Donato Sardella/Getty Images for REVOLVE

Diaz began dating her husband, musician Benji Madden, in 2014, the same year that her last film, Annie, was released. The couple got married in 2015 and welcomed a daughter, Raddix, in 2019.

"I met my husband. We started a family. All those things that I didn't have time for before—and didn't not just not have the time for, but didn't have the space to make the right decisions for me at the time to bring that in," Diaz told Hart of her life after acting.

Diaz has a couple new jobs, but she still loves acting.

Cameron Diaz at her Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in 2009
s_bukley /

As for other work, Diaz started a wine company, Avaline, in the time she has stopped acting, along with friend and co-founder Katherine Power. She also released her second book, The Longevity Book, in 2016.

To be clear, Diaz said she didn't start to hate her job after 20 years in Hollywood (starting with her breakout role as Jim Carrey's love interest in The Mask in 1994). "It's fun to do. I love it. I love acting," Diaz said on Hart to Heart. "I can go forever. I literally feel like sometimes I have unlimited energy and inertia."

But as to whether she'll act again, Diaz said she's not in a rush. "It's been a long time—it's been seven years or six years since I made a film. Girl, I am OK with that," she said in an Oct. 2020 interview with Naomi Campbell for her series No Filter with Naomi. "There's no part of me that's like, 'I gotta get in front of a camera!' I don't feel that way—and that's not to say I won't some day. But I'm really resolved at where I'm at right now."

RELATED: Child Star Taylor Momsen Quit Hollywood 10 Years Ago. See Her Now.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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