9 Celebrities Who Turned Their Backs On Fame

Some celebrities just can’t handle their fame. Once they get to the top, they want out – and fast. Some of them do come back after their so called retirements; however, some of them don’t. We’re looking at some of Hollywood’s best, brightest and most promising. These celebrities were headed for the big time and many of them made it, but then couldn’t handle it and disappeared. Some people think they’re crazy but, as many of us know, fame just isn’t for everyone. Here is Fame10’s list of 10 celebrities who have turned their backs on fame. Come see why Hollywood just wasn’t for them!

9. Garth Brooks

At one point, Garth Brooks was the biggest thing in country music. He broke records for sales and concert attendance throughout the ‘90s and, for the SoundScan era, is considered the best selling album artist. In 2000, he shocked everyone by retiring from music to focus on his family. “People said, ‘How could you walk away from music?’” he said. “But being a dad – there’s nothing that can touch that.” Now that his three girls have all graduated high school, he’s making a return to music, in part to combat empty-nest syndrome.

Brooks will be embarking on a three-year world tour with his wife Trisha Yearwood and has also signed a new record deal with Sony Music. He credits Yearwood with helping him transition back from soccer dad to country star. “Thank God I’m with the love of my life,” he said. “That’s why I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be.”

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8. Rob Kardashian

Rob Kardashian has become quite reclusive over the last couple of years. He literally went from loving the spotlight to avoiding it at all costs. He’s rarely ever spotted in public anymore and, on his family’s reality show, almost everyone is complaining about him and his inability to help himself or let anyone else help him.

The once athletic star doesn’t look anything like his former self. He’s gained about 100 pounds and is rumored to be suffering from depression. His older sister Kim has totally lost patience all patience and has been encouraging the family to take a tough love approach to Rob. Khloe, on the other hand, has shown way more support for her struggling brother. “I just feel, especially over the last year, Rob has become very introverted and has a kind of social anxiety. He’s definitely not at his happiest place that he once was, and I know he can get to that happy place and he will,” she said.

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7. Shania Twain

Shania Twain retired from performing in 2004. She moved to Switzerland with her husband Robert John “Mutt” Lange to raise their son Eja and stopped making albums. In 2008, when Mutt left her for her best friend, she slowly started to make a comeback. According to her, the main reason that she left the spotlight to begin with was because her singing voice was weakening. After she and Mutt broke up, her speaking voice was affected as well.

In 2012, Twain returned to the spotlight with her Las Vegas show, Still the One. She’s also gone on tour since then; however, despite telling fans that a new album is in the works, she has still yet to release one. One of the big problems she has been having is finding a producer. Mutt used to write and produce songs for her, but they’re no longer working together, understandably. She recently announced that she’s not retiring from music after her tour finishes and that she’s found several producers for her upcoming album.

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6. Cary Grant

In 1966, Cary Grant retired from filmmaking to raise his daughter Jennifer from his fourth marriage with actress Dyan Cannon. Before his retirement, he was known for his comedic and dramatic roles. He had been nominated for two Best Actor Academy Awards, for “Penny Serenade” and “None But the Lonely Heart, and for five Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor. He received an Honor Oscar in 1970 for his “unique mastery of the art of screen acting.”

While Grant quit making movies, he didn’t completely retire from doing other things. He became an executive for Faberge, a cosmetics firm, and he also joined the boards of Hollywood Park, the Academy of Magical Arts, Western Airlines (which was acquired by Delta Air Lines in 1987) and MGM. Before his death, he would take tours of the United States, “A Conversation with Cary Grant,” where he would show clips from his films and answer audience questions.


5. Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill’s debut solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill catapulted her to super stardom. It was the most critically acclaimed album of 1998 and earned her five Grammy Awards. She was on top of the world for a couple of years there; however, as of 2000, she had dropped out of the public eye. Her fame was too much for her and she began to resent it.

“I think Lauryn grew to despise who Lauryn Hill was,” a friend said. “Not that she despised herself as a human being, but she despised the manufactured international-superstar magazine cover girl who wasn’t able to go out of the house looking a little tattered on a given day. Because Lauryn is such a perfectionist, she always sought to give the fans what they wanted, so a simple run to the grocery store had to have the right heels and jeans. Artists are a lot more calculating than the public sometimes knows. It don’t happen by accident that the jeans fall the right way, the hat is cocked to the side just so. All of that stuff is thought about, and Lauryn put a lot of pressure on herself after all that success. And then one day she said, ‘F*ck it.’”

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4. Josh Hartnett

Josh Hartnett was considered on of Hollywood’s most promising young actors fifteen years ago. He hit the big time when he landed coveted roles in “The Virgin Suicides,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Black Hawk Dawn;” however, he wasn’t able to handle his fame. He left Hollywood when his career hit its peak and moved back to Minneapolis. “I was on the cover of every magazine. 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 – ended up getting back together with my high-school girlfriend for a while – and I didn’t do any filming for 18 months. I’m still finding my way through all that,” he told Details.

Since coming back, the good roles have been hard to come by. He has landed a number of parts in indie films; however, most of them have failed to find an audience. It remains to be seen if he can be make a comeback on TV.

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3. Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle’s career was on fire when he walked away from it all in 2005. His sketch comedy television series, “Chappelle’s Show,” which appeared on Comedy Central, was immensely popular. He was reportedly offered a $55 million contract to continue production of it for two more years. During production of the third season, however, he abruptly left and took a trip to South Africa. Many were quick to assume that the comedian’s exit had to do with drug addiction or a mental health issue; however, for him, his exit had more to do with his ethical and personal concerns.

According to Chappelle, he left his show and headed to South Africa because he became distracted by his fame. “Coming here, I don’t have the distractions of fame. It quiets the ego down. I’m interested in the kind of person I’ve got to become. I want to be well rounded and the industry is a place of extremes. I want to be well balanced. I’ve got to check my intentions, man,” he said.

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2. Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes was one of Hollywood’s most eccentric celebrities. Before he withdrew from public life, he produced several movies, including “Hell’s Angels,” “Scarface” and “Outlaw” and developed a reputation for being a lady’s man. He was also really interested in planes and established his own aircraft companies. In addition to designing and building them, he would also risk his life testing them.

In 1946, he was in a near fatal plane crash. It was after this, that he began to retreat from the world. A year after the accident, he locked himself in a darkened screening room for four months, subsisting off chocolate bars and milk and relieving himself into empty bottles. By the ‘50s, he was in complete seclusion. He wouldn’t even appear during the antitrust hearings concerning his company, Trans World Airlines. He died in self-imposed seclusion in 1975. He was practically unrecognizable at the time of his death and the FBI had to use fingerprints to identify his body.

1. Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson – who is best known for being the front man of the Beach Boys – became an international superstar during the ‘60s when he and his band released the album Pet Sounds. He was in the process of working on another project, SMiLE, that he hoped would be even bigger; however, it would take another 37 years for them to release it. While working on SMiLE, Wilson’s mental health began deteriorating and his erratic behavior began causing tensions in the band. He was abusing alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and LSD and was diagnosed with depression and schizophrenia. He suffered numerous nervous breakdowns, grew obese and then retreated from public life.

During the ‘90s, Wilson had a renaissance in his personal and professional life. He married Melinda Ledbetter and adopted three children. In 1995, he released his solo album Crate and, in 2004, he finally released SMiLE, 37 years after it was first recorded.

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Cate has a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature and has been the Managing Editor of Fame10 for more than 6 years. Despite having a love for the works of Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy and Lord Byron, she also has an intense fascination with pop culture. When she isn’t writing for Fame10, she’s planning her next big adventure in Southeast Asia.