Hollywood Exit: Why Chris Hemsworth, Tom Holland, Bryan Cranston left spotlight after skyrocketing to fame

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Being one of the most famous people in the world has its pros and cons.

Bryan Cranston recently revealed plans are in motion to leave Hollywood behind for a quieter life in France, and Marvel star Tom Holland “disappeared” after filming his latest show.

And Chris Hemsworth stepped back from his superhero life on screen to focus on family after a shocking diagnosis.

The powerhouse actors join a growing list of stars opting out of the bright lights of Hollywood in lieu of a little peace, quiet and anonymity.  

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Hollywood stars Chris Hemsworth, Bryan Cranston and Tom Holland

Bryan Cranston, left, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Holland have each taken a break from Hollywood. (Getty Images)

Bryan Cranston

For Bryan Cranston, peace and quiet comes in the form of a French farm once he takes a step back from work.

The “Breaking Bad” star ultimately wants to devote more time to his wife of 34 years, Robin Dearden.

Cranston, who grew up in the San Fernando Valley of southern California, told British GQ that he has a three-year exit strategy to remove himself from the business.

To begin, he’ll shut down his production company, then sell his half-ownership of the mezcal brand Dos Hombres, which he started with former co-star Aaron Paul. Finally, he’ll set up shop in a new country – hopefully France – with his wife.

Bryan Cranston and wife Robin coordinate in groovy attire at Asteroid City premiere

Bryan Cranston wants to devote more time with his wife, Robin, and less time to work. (Taylor Hill)

Cranston and Dearden want to learn new languages, cook, read and grow a garden together.

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“I want to change the paradigm once again,” Cranston said.

“For the last 24 years, Robin has led her life holding onto my tail. She’s been the plus one, she’s been the wife of a celebrity. She’s had to pivot and adjust her life based on mine. She has tremendous benefit from it, but we’re uneven. I want to level that out. She deserves it.”

The idea of slowing down gave him joy.

“I want to have that experience. I want to go for day trips and have the fire in the fireplace and drink wine with new friends and not read scripts,” he said. “It’s not going to be like, ‘Oh, I’ll read and see what I’m going to do.’ No, it’s a pause. It’s a stop. I won’t be thinking about [work]. I’m not going to be taking phone calls.”

Bryan Cranston wearing a suit and bowtie on the red carpet with his wife Robin wearing a white dress

Bryan and Robin have been married for 34 years. (Gisela Schober)

Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston smile at a Breaking Bad event

Cranston and “Breaking Bad” co-star Aaron Paul co-own the mezcal company Dos Hombres. (Kevin Winter)

He later clarified on Instagram that he’s not retiring after his 70th birthday (in three years), but he wants to “hit the pause button” on his career to find clarity.

“I’ve had such an unbelievable ride for over two decades – with playing characters on TV, films, and on stage that I could only have dreamt about…until it actually happened,” he wrote. “I could not be more grateful and thankful for such opportunities.”

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“That said, I feel as though I’m beginning to run out of fresh ideas in how to play characters that I’m being offered. So exploring a more expanded life experience will give me the chance to replenish my soul and prepare for whatever roles I may be afforded in a more authentic way.”

He reiterated that there are “several films” coming out and “a few stories for TV” that he is producing before possibly devoting attention to Broadway.

“I never take my good fortune for granted,” Cranston wrote. “I am blessed, and man, do I know it.”

Chris Hemsworth

The Marvel Cinematic Universe star put his mind and body to the test for the National Geographic and Disney+ docuseries, “Limitless.”

After thorough genetic testing, Hemsworth discovered he has two copies of the APOE4 gene – one from his mother and one from his father – which studies link to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

In November, the Australian actor revealed he completely changed his life after finding out about his genetic makeup. He told Vanity Fair the discovery was his “greatest fear.”

Shooting “Limitless” helped Hemsworth reevaluate what was most important in his life – his family.

Chris Hemsworth poses for portrait session wearing suit jacket and button-down shirt

Chris Hemsworth took a step back from acting after finding out about his genetic makeup. (Getty Images)

“It really triggered something in me to want to take some time off,” he said. “And since we finished the show, I’ve been completing the things I was already contracted to do. Now, when I finish this tour this week, I’m going home, and I’m going to have a good chunk of time off and just simplify – be with the kids, be with my wife.”

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Hemsworth is set to star in “Furiosa” with Anya Taylor-Joy, a sci-fi flick in post-production and slated for a 2024 release. He’s also the only actor billed in the as-yet untitled Hulk Hogan biopic and will portray the wrestling legend whose full name is Terry Bollea.

His claim to fame, though, is starring as the God of Thunder – aka Thor – in a handful of MCU movies, a role he’ll reprise for “Avengers: Secret Wars” in 2026.

While many believed Hemwsorth’s revelation meant retirement was in his near future, he recently clarified that his diagnosis, paired with taking time off, had been misconstrued.

“It was a positive in that sense, but it got a little over-dramatized, like I was potentially retiring because of this thing,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “Which just isn’t the case.”

Chris Hemsworth in a black suit and jacket poses on the red carpet next to Elsa Pataky in a busty red gown in Sydney, Australia

Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky have been married since 2010. (Brendon Thorne)

He added, “I realized how restorative and replenishing that time can be, but I also realized how much I need an outlet, too. I need to be building something, creating something.”

“As fun as sitting around on the beach all day sounds initially, it very quickly becomes … I don’t want to say mundane, but too familiar.”

Tom Holland

Tom Holland made his first appearance as Spider-Man in the 2016 Marvel flick, “Captain America: Civil War.” He earned his own stand-alone film the following year and has appeared in six movies – three of his own – as the crime-fighting hero.

Tom Holland wears green velour suit on red carpet

Holland had to take time off after filming his role for “The Crowded Room.” (Nina Westervelt)

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Despite web-slinging battles and defeating villains for years, the movie that pushed Holland to his limits was “The Crowded Room.”

“It was a tough time, for sure,” he told “Extra.” “We were exploring certain emotions that I have definitely never experienced before. And then on top of that, being a producer, dealing with the day-to-day problems that come with any film set, just added that extra level of pressure.”

Though he’s “no stranger to hard work,” Holland explained that the production took a toll on him and his personal life.

“I’ve lived by the idea that hard work is good work. Then again, the show did break me,” he said. “There did come a time where I needed a break and disappeared and went to Mexico for a week and had time on a beach and laid low.”

“I’m now taking a year off, and that is a result of how difficult this show was.”

Zendaya and Tom Holland at the Spider-Man premiere

Holland last starred as the web-slinging superhero alongside Zendaya in “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin)

Jim Carrey

“Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” star Jim Carrey says he is “fairly serious” about his retirement from acting.

Last year, Carrey said “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” would likely be his last film as he really likes his “quiet life” and retirement had become more appealing.

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“If the angels bring some sort of script that’s written in gold ink, that says to me that it’s going to be really important for people to see, I might continue down the road,” he told “Access Hollywood.”

“But I’m taking a break.”

Jim Carrey wears black leather jacket at panel discussion

Jim Carrey remained true to his word and has not worked since his film “Sonic the Hedgehog 2.” (Getty Images)

Carrey found joy in art and his paintings, and he explained that his life outside the spotlight brings him joy.

“I really like my quiet life, and I really love putting paint on canvas, and I really love my spiritual life, and I feel like – and this is something you might never hear another celebrity say as long as time exists – I have enough,” he said.

“I’ve done enough. I am enough.”

Cameron Diaz

She spent 20 years in the spotlight after a memorable debut alongside Jim Carrey in the 1994 comedy, “The Mask.”

Four years later, Cameron Diaz earned a Golden Globe award for her role in “There’s Something About Mary,” and she went on to star in “My Best Friend’s Wedding” with Julia Roberts, which was followed by “Charlie’s Angels” with Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu.

Diaz became one of Hollywood’s most coveted actresses, also doing voiceover work for her role as Princess Fiona in Disney’s “Shrek” franchise.

Jamie Foxx wears a wide-brimmed hat on the red carpet with Cameron Diaz

Jamie Foxx helped Cameron Diaz come out of retirement with her first starring role in five years. (Dave J. Hogan)

Her Miss Hannigan portrayal in the film adaptation of the classic musical “Annie” in 2014 became her last on-screen movie role until she officially announced her retirement in 2018.

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The best-selling author relayed to Gwyneth Paltrow on “In Goop Health: The Sessions” series that she “got a peace in my soul, because I finally was taking care of myself” after retiring.

“It’s a strange thing to say, I know a lot of people won’t understand it, I know you understand it, but it’s so intense to work at that level and be that public and put yourself out there,” she said.

“There’s a lot of energy coming at you at all times when you’re really visible as an actor and doing press and putting yourself out there.”

Cameron Diaz on Jimmy Fallon

Diaz has 60 acting credits to her name with almost a dozen voice-over roles. (Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty Images)

The “Vanilla Sky” actress welcomed daughter Raddix with husband Benji Madden in December 2019 and kept her focus on family and motherhood.

“Being a wife and a mother has been the most … fulfilling part of my life so far,” she told Bruce Bozzi on his Sirius XM show in 2021. “I waited for this … so I didn’t have any distractions. Like, I can’t imagine [working now]. As a mother with my child, to have to be on a movie set that takes 14 hours, 16 hours of my time away from her, I just couldn’t.”

She added, “I personally feel like I wouldn’t be the mom that I am now had I chosen to do that at any other time in my life.”

All bets were off only one year later, though, when Jamie Foxx announced Cameron Diaz was coming out of retirement to take the lead role in his Netflix movie “Back in Action.”

Foxx tweeted an audio conversation with Cameron and retired quarterback Tom Brady in June 2022.

“Cameron I hope you aren’t mad I recorded this, but no turning back now. Had to call in the GOAT to bring back another GOAT,” Foxx captioned his Twitter post. “Cameron Diaz and I are BACK IN ACTION – our new movie with Netflix. Production starting later this year!!”

Diaz and Foxx worked together on her last project, “Annie,” and also starred together in the 1999 football flick “Any Given Sunday.” 

Ryan Reynolds

In October 2021, Ryan Reynolds took a reprieve from Hollywood following his work on the film “Spirited.”

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The 46-year-old actor-turned-soccer club owner celebrated “singing, dancing and playing in the sandbox with Will Ferrell” before revealing a quick break from the scene.

Ryan Reynolds at the 2022 Met Gala

Ryan Reynolds took a step back from acting in 2021. (Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)

“Perfect time for a little sabbatical from movie making,” he wrote. “I’m gonna miss every second working with this obscenely gifted group of creators and artists.”

Reynolds may have stepped away from the movie-making business for a beat, but he added another child to his family with wife Blake Lively and also helped build a successful soccer team with co-owner Rob McElhenney.

Reynolds and McElhenney took over ownership of the failing club in 2021, and just two months ago, the Wrexham Red Dragons were promoted to the English Football League after defeating Boreham Wood, 3-1.

The win puts the team on track to work its way up the system to the very top, the Premier League, alongside famous clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and more.

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