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    18 Celebrities Who Said, "Yeah, I'm Done" And Started A Brand New Career

    OK, but Brie Larson's music kinda bangs.

    1. Before Vera Wang was a fashion designer, she was a figure skater. In 1968, she competed in the US National Championships in Philadelphia.

    Vera Wang on a red carpet
    Andrew Toth / Getty Images

    She was a very talented skater; however, she did not qualify for the 1968 Winter Olympics, which was the end of her skating career.

    Vera Wang at the US Open
    Monica Schipper / Getty Images for Grey Goose

    After college, she became an editor at Vogue and worked there for 17 years until she became a designer in 1987.

    Vera Wang at the 2018 Met Gala
    Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images

    2. In 2003, Brie Larson pivoted from acting to writing and recording music. She caught the attention of some record executives and signed a record deal with Casablanca Records.

    Brie Larson on a red carpet
    Steve Granitz / WireImage / Getty Images

    Brie said about her music career: “I had no aspirations for that, but within seconds, I had a record deal. Tommy Mottola signed me, and I was being flown all over the US to write songs for my album.”

    In 2005 she released her debut (and only) album, Finally Out of P.E.

    Brie Larson playing guitar in her music video
    Casablanca Records

    Brie's album did very poorly, only selling about 4,000 copies. By the time her album was out, she was no longer interested in the music industry. She was being asked to record songs she didn’t write, and the work didn't feel like hers. 

    In 2006, she returned to acting after being cast in Hoot.

    Brie Larson in "Hoot"
    New Line Cinema

    3. After Wizards of Waverly Place ended in 2012, Jennifer Stone went to nursing school and is now officially a nurse.

    Jennifer Stone on a red carpet
    Tibrina Hobson / Getty Images for Scale Management

    Jennifer had been acting since 2003, when she was cast in Secondhand Lions.

    Jennifer stone in "Secondhand Lions"
    New Line Cinema

    Jennifer went into nursing because in 2013 she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and didn't have a good experience with healthcare professionals.

    4. After starring in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in 1971, Peter Ostrum turned down a three-film contract. He is now a veterinarian.

    Peter Ostrum holding a golden ticket at a "Willy Wonka" event
    Steve Granitz / WireImage / Getty Images

    He turned down the three-film deal because they didn't know what the movies were going to be yet, and Peter didn't want sign away his freedom without knowing what kind of roles he'd have to do. 

    Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is his first and only acting role.

    Peter Ostrum in "Willy Wonka"
    Paramount Pictures

    After filming Willy Wonka, Peter worked on a stable and became fascinated with veterinarians. He considered going back to acting, but decided to get a degree in veterinary medicine instead.

    Peter Ostrum next to a cow

    5. Actor Jamie Dornan was a model for years before he transitioned to a career in acting.

    Jamie Dornan on a red carpet
    Karwai Tang / WireImage / Getty Images

    In 2001, he started modeling and was part of reality show called Model Behavior.

    Jamie Dornan modeling on "Moden Behavior"
    Channel 4

    Jamie said the death of his mother indirectly led to his modeling career. “I’d left university, I was 19, and that summer I was just doing nothing, apart from drinking very aggressively all day in Belfast. My family were worried about me being so directionless, I think, so my sister put me up for this TV show, Model Behaviour, where you could win a modeling contract with Select and go on the cover of GQ. I was like, ‘To be a model? Fuck off!’ But she twisted my arm and I dragged my mate along. So I went begrudgingly, but that was my foot in the door, the window through which everything else followed. I didn’t win. But then I took myself to London and turned up, unsolicited, at Select’s offices and got signed."

    In 2006, he was cast in his first acting gig with a role in Marie Antoinette.

    Jamie Dornan in "Marie Antoinette"
    Sony Pictures Releasing

    Jamie has said stigma of modeling held him back from getting acting gigs in the UK. He explained, "Modeling doesn't hold you back in L.A. at all. In L.A., they don't think that because you leant against walls and looked depressed while someone took your photograph, it means you can't act. In the U.K., there's a massive stigma attached to it. You couldn't possibly have had your photograph taken for a living and act."

    6. Before becoming an actor, Whoopi Goldberg once worked as a funeral makeup artist in the 1970s.

    Whoopie Goldberg at the Met Gala
    Sean Zanni / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

    Whoopi's first movie role was in 1982, in Citizen: I'm Not Losing My Mind, I'm Giving It Away.

    7. After starring in Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3: Viva la Fiesta in 2012, Kay Panabaker retired from acting, and she is now a zoologist and works at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

    Kay's first acting role was in 2001, voicing the Garbage Monster in Monsters, Inc.

    The Garbage Monster
    Walt Disney Pictures / Pixar Animation Studios

    8. In 1993, Michael Jordan announced he was retiring from basketball, and in 1994 he signed a Minor League Baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox.

    Michael Jordan at an event
    Aurelien Meunier / Getty Images

    Michael said the murder of his father in 1993 influenced his decision to leave the NBA. 

    Michael had been playing for the NBA since 1984.

    Michael Jordan playing basketball in 1984Na
    Tom Berg / WireImage / Getty Images

    He played baseball from 1994 to 1995 and then quit. That year he announced his return to basketball and started playing with the Chicago Bulls again, and his playing career ended in 2003.

    Michael Jordan playing baseball
    Rich Pilling / MLB Photos via Getty Images

    Michael decided to pursue baseball because his father had dreamed of him being an MLB player. Michael quit baseball during the Major League Baseball strike because he was afraid of becoming a replacement player. 

    9. In 2017, Gwyneth Paltrow announced she would be taking a break from acting to focus on her wellness and lifestyle company, Goop.

    Gwyneth Paltrow on a red carpet
    Steve Granitz / WireImage / Getty Images

    Gwyneth Paltrow has been acting since 1989, when she debuted in the film High.

    Gwyneth Paltrow on the set of "High"
    Cbs Photo Archive / CBS via Getty Images

    Paltrow explained why she's taking a break from acting: “I’m still going to do a little bit here and there, but this [Goop] really requires almost all of my time." She added, “I’m in the office all day, every day. I have a pretty big team — we’re almost 85 people — so I kind of need to be at work.”

    She is the founder and CEO of Goop.

    Gwyneth Paltrow at a Goop event
    Rachel Murray / Getty Images

    “It’s just one of those things,” she said. “I was so lucky: I had an incredible acting career, but I had this deep passion to produce content and make great products and curate things. It sort of evolved slowly and had a long gestational period and now it’s like, a real business.”

    10. In 2017, singer-songwriter Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty, her cosmetics brand, and has been on a hiatus from releasing solo music since her album Anti in 2016.

    Rihanna at the 2021 Met Gala
    Taylor Hill / WireImage / Getty Images

    Rihanna's music career started in 2005 with the release of her debut single, "Pon de Replay."

    Rihana in the "Pon de Replay" music video
    Def Jam Recordings

    Rihanna has stated multiple times since 2019 that she is working on her ninth studio album and that it will have a totally different sound than her previous work. 

    In 2018, she also launched Savage X Fenty, a lingerie brand. In 2019, she launched Fenty, her fashion brand and in 2020 she launched Fenty Skin, a skincare brand.

    Rihanna next to her Savage X Fenty Line
    Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for Savage X Fenty

    11. In 2006, former acting duo Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen launched The Row, their luxury fashion label.

    The Olsen Twins on a red carpet
    Jeffrey Mayer / WireImage / Getty Images

    Ashley explained her departure from acting: "I was reading scripts, and ultimately I just said to the people who were representing me, 'I need to do things 100%. I don't feel like I can give you 100% of my time.' There's a lot of compromise in the entertainment industry. I can't sit in this room and audition for this part." 

    Mary-Kate agreed, and said she's "not great at not being able to control the end product."


    The duo started acting at 9 months old in 1987, when they were cast as Michelle in Full House.

    The Olsen twins as Michelle on Full House
    ABC

    Ashley is the CEO of The Row and Mary-Kate is the creative director.

    The Olsen Twins at a fashion show
    Michel Dufour / WireImage / Getty Images

    12. In 2012, actor Jessica Alba launched The Honest Company, which sells eco-friendly household goods, diapers, and body care products.

    Jessica speaking at an event
    Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

    Jessica was motivated to start The Honest Company in 2008, after she got a rash from her baby's detergent while washing baby clothes. 

    Jessica had been acting since 1994, when she had a small role in Camp Nowhere.

    Jessica as a kid in "Camp Nowhere"
    Buena Vista

    In 2013, she released her bestselling book The Honest Life, which is about her creating a natural, healthy, non-toxic environment for her children. In 2015, she released Honest Beauty, a collection of skincare products.

    Jessica Alba at an event for The Honest Company
    Stefanie Keenan / WireImage / Getty Images

    13. In 2006, while he was still part of the main cast of Degrassi, Drake released his debut mixtape Room for Improvement. In 2008, he left the Degrassi cast and released his debut album, Thank Me Later, in 2010.

    Drake on a red carpet
    Rich Fury / Getty Images for dcp

    Drake claimed he was "kicked off the show" because his schedule was too busy once he started pursuing music. He said, “Back then, I’d spend a full day on set and then go to the studio to make music until 4 or 5 a.m. I’d sleep in my dressing room and then be in front of the cameras again by 9 a.m. Eventually, they realized I was juggling two professions and told me I had to choose."

    Drake had been acting since 2001, and his first main role was on Degrassi in 2002.

    Drake on "Degrassi"
    CTV

    14. In 2015, John David Washington started pursuing an acting career after playing football professionally.

    John David Washington on a red carpet
    Rosdiana Ciaravolo / Getty Images for Netflix

    He played football professionally from 2006 until the United Football League folded in 2012.

    John David Washington on a football field
    Barry Taylor / NFL

    His first major acting gig came in 2015 as a main role in the show Ballers.

    John David Washington on "Ballers"
    HBO

    15. Before Ava DuVernay was a filmmaker, she was a film publicist. She worked at 20th Century Fox and other PR agencies and then opened her own firm in 1999 called The DuVernay Agency.

    Ava DuVernay sitting on a table
    Emma Mcintyre / Getty Images

    In 2005, she made her first movie, a short film, called Saturday Night Life, and in 2011, her first feature film, I Will Follow, was released.

    Ava at a screening of "I Will Follow"
    Tommaso Boddi / WireImage / Getty Images

    Ava DuVernay has explained what transitioning from PR to filming was like: "I didn’t want to stop my business while I tinkered in film when there was no precedent for a Black woman being successful in film commercially at that time. So I made my films on the side, and for my first five films I still worked my day job. The day I went to Sundance as a director, I thought maybe I should focus on this full time. And that’s what I did. I started giving my clients away to these small agencies, not taking new contracts, and within two to three months, I was a full-time filmmaker."


    16. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson started to transition to a career in acting while he was still wrestling.

    Dwayne Johnson on a red carpet
    Jesse Grant / Getty Images for Disney

    He started his professional wrestling career in 1996, and he also started acting in 1999. In 2004, he took his first retirement from wrestling and started focusing on his acting career full time.

    The Rock wrestling in 1996
    WWE

    He said he retired in 2004 because his contract was up. He also wanted to concentrate on his acting career so he could become a global success, return to the WWE, and bring it more value. He returned to the WWE in 2011, and in 2019 he announced he was retiring from professional wrestling.

    His first acting role was in 1999 in an episode of That '70s Show.

    Fox

    He was named the highest-paid actor in 2019 and 2020.

    17. Nnamdi Asomugha starting his acting career while he was still playing professional football.

    Nnamdi on a red carpet
    Bennett Raglin / Getty Images

    Nnamdi's professional football career started in 2003, when he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders.

    Nnamdi playing football professionally
    David Maxwell / Getty Images

    Nnamdi's first acting role was in 2008, when he guest starred on an episode of The Game. He officially retired from football in 2013.

    Nnamdi on "The Game"
    The CW

    18. And lastly, In 2006, professional wrestler John Cena also started his acting career.

    John Cena on Jimmy Kimmel Live
    Nbc / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

    John Cena started acting in 2009 in the film The Marine. He still wrestles professionally today.

    John Cena in "The Marine"
    20th Century Fox

    What other celebs completely switched careers? Let us know in the comments!