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    21 Super Famous Actors Who Took A Break From Acting Or Literally Just Straight-Up Retired

    Thank GOD Eddie Murphy's back.

    1. Jennifer Lawrence

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    Lawrence announced her plans to take a year off back in 2018 after starring in Red Sparrow, saying, "I'm going to be working with this organization as a part of RepresentUs...trying to get young people engaged politically on a local level." Besides briefly reprising her role in the X-Men series, Lawrence has not appeared in another film or TV show since — however, she has four films in varying stages of production.

    2. Gwyneth Paltrow

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    Paltrow announced a break from acting in 2016 to focus on her line Goop. She's done a few roles since then (mostly just reprising her role as Pepper in the MCU), and has said she might return to acting one day (in particular theater), but she seems to have completely shifted to Goop in recent years.

    3. Selena Gomez

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    Gomez has taken breaks from performing in general in the past, even leaving two tours, due to her battle with lupus and depression and anxiety. She also spent a long stint away from scripted television/film — though she is set to return in the upcoming series Only Murders in the Building.

    4. Eva Mendes

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    Mendes isn't completely opposed to acting again, but has revealed that she's much more selective now, and would rather spend time with her children. "As a mother now, there are many roles I won't do. There are many subject matters that I don't want to be involved with, so it limits my choices, and I'm fine with that. I have to set an example for my girls now." She has said she'll return "when there's something worthwhile to be a part of."

    5. Eddie Murphy

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    Murphy decided to take a break from acting after receiving the Razzie Award for Worst Actor of the Decade after winning three Razzies prior, saying he no longer wanted to make bad movies. His planned yearlong break turned into six years, and he didn't necessarily want to return, but he said he didn't want the last thing he was in to be "bullsh**." He then starred in the critically acclaimed Dolemite Is My Name and won an Emmy for his stint hosting SNL. He also returned for Coming 2 America, the sequel to his 1988 hit Coming to America.

    6. Emma Watson

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    Watson has taken multiple breaks from acting over the years, most notably to attend college and to be a goodwill ambassador for the UN. She worked on the HeForShe campaign and started a global book club before returning to acting for a role in Little Women. Fans feared she might be retiring after her agent allegedly announced she wasn't looking for new roles, but her agent later debunked this, saying her social media is dormant but not her career.

    7. Ryan Gosling

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    In 2013, Ryan said in an interview that he'd been acting too much: "I've lost perspective on what I'm doing. I think it's good for me to take a break and reassess why I'm doing it and how I'm doing it." Gosling didn't do any projects in 2014, though he returned to film in 2015 for The Big Short and has been acting steadily since.

    8. Chris Hemsworth

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    Back in 2019, Chris revealed he likely wouldn't shoot anything that year, as he wanted to spend time with his children, who were "at a very important age" and starting to be more aware of him leaving frequently. He's since returned, and has a number of projects in production, including Thor: Love and Thunder.

    9. Joshua Rush

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    Rush, who played Cyrus in Andi Mack, quit acting to pursue a career in politics and attend the University of Utah.

    10. Joe Pesci

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    Pesci had been retired for around 20 years before director Martin Scorsese convinced him to star in The Irishman. He has not appeared in another project since.

    11. Tom Hiddleston

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    Hiddleston took what he called a "moment of consideration" away from film, saying, "I’d been playing so many different people in so many different parts of the world, and it’s very important to distinguish what’s real in one’s own life, and look after those things. Because if you don’t look after them, they can be lost, or they can be marginalized, and then you come home one day and they’re not there anymore.” He did some stage roles and turned down other opportunities that came his way — but he returned to the (silver) screen to star in Loki.

    12. Matt Damon

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    Damon told the Today show in 2016 that he was going to take a yearlong break from acting for the sake of his family. He'd done four straight movies in a row and "dragged them all over the word," and said that though they were great travelers, he was "excited to finish this year of work and take a year off and be at their behest for once."

    13. Cameron Diaz

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    Diaz has said that she never says never, and that she may return to film, but that she's "actually retired." In an interview with Gwyneth Paltrow, Diaz revealed that she just wanted different things out of life after working so hard in Hollywood for so long. "I decided to stop making movies and really focus on my personal life, my personal relationships with my family, my friends," she told Gwyneth, and also shared the peace she has found in taking care of herself. 

    14. Sean Connery

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    Connery, who famously played James Bond for seven films in the '60s–'80s, retired from acting in the 2000s. He announced the decision while accepting the AFI's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, though he did return for some voice work before his death in 2020.

    15. Olivia Holt

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    After two seasons on the Freeform show Cloak & Dagger, Holt took a break and pushed acting aside for a bit to focus on music. The pandemic appeared to extend this break, with Holt saying it taught her how much she misses performing, though she said she thinks she needed the break. She recently returned to acting in the series Cruel Summer.

    16. Daniel Day-Lewis

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    Day-Lewis announced a retirement from acting after starring in Phantom Thread, calling it "something I had to do." He also said, "I need to believe in the value of what I’m doing. The work can seem vital. Irresistible, even. And if an audience believes it, that should be good enough for me. But, lately, it isn’t.”

    17. Jordan Peele

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    In 2018, Peele said he was "out," calling directing much more fun than acting. He joked that the last straw was being offered the part of "poop" in The Emoji Movie.

    18. Rick Moranis

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    Moranis stepped away from acting to raise his children, and only did some voiceover work for 23 years, revealing that he "really didn't miss [acting]." However, he is now set to reprise his role from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids in the sequel, as well as a documentary about Second City Television, where he got his start.

    19. Michael J. Fox

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    Fox, who has Parkinson's, announced a second retirement from acting in 2020: "There is a time for everything, and my time of putting in a twelve-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me," he wrote in his book, mentioning having growing trouble with memorizing lines. He's currently focused on writing — however, he didn't completely write off the possibility of returning to acting one day.

    20. Terrence Howard

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    Howard revealed in 2019 that he was "done with acting." However, his break only lasted about a year before it was announced he'd star in a new pilot called Delta Blues.

    21. And finally, Robert Redford

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    Redford claimed to be retiring in 2018. However, a month later, he called it a mistake, saying, "If I’m gonna retire, I should just slip quietly away from acting. But I shouldn’t be talking about it because I think it draws too much attention in the wrong way.” Since then, he's briefly appeared in Avengers: Endgame and done two voiceover roles, but it looks like he's moving towards just producing.

    Correction: The original version of this article got Joshua Rush's college wrong. Our bad!

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