Perhaps Cameron Diaz is more the out of sight, out of mind type.
Because speaking to InStyle for their 25th anniversary issue in 2019, it didn't seem as if her absence from the film industry had made her heart grow any fonder for that celebrity existence. Yes, her sabbatical had passed its five-year mark, but as far as she was concerned it could drag on indefinitely. "The way I look at it is that I've given more than half of my life to the public," reasoned the star, whose film debut was in 1994's The Mask. "I feel it's OK for me to take time for myself now to reorganize and choose how I want to come [back] into the world. If I decide to."
It's not as if she didn't have other outlets for her creativity, having followed up her 2013 New York Times bestseller The Body Book with 2016's The Longevity Book. And her decades in entertainment ensured she'd never be hurting for money. So why shouldn't she enjoy the retirement she'd so richly earned?
"I don't miss performing," she admitted. "Right now I'm looking at the landscape of wellness and all that. But whatever I do, it has to be something I'm passionate about—sometime that just feels effortless."
Because at the moment the bulk of her energy is being funneled into a project she's had in the works for quite some time.
It's hard to say that Diaz and husband Benji Madden's bombshell just days into 2020 that they'd welcomed a baby girl together was surprising. Sure, they'd managed to keep it entirely under wraps until after daughter Raddix was in their arms, a feat that's hard to accomplish in a town as gossip-driven as Hollywood. But the fact that the couple, who will celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary Jan. 5, were hoping to follow the traditional love-marriage-baby carriage model wasn't exactly a secret.
"They are absolutely elated," a source told E! News. "They wanted this for so long and so many years it's all very surreal."
"Even with all the amazing experiences I've had in traveling, and accomplishments of working hard and putting things into the world I'm proud of, I know, this is the most ratifying time in my life, to be in this place, to get here," the star said in the October chat. "Having a family when you're young, it's like anything when you're young, you do it. When you're my age and you decide to do it, it's a real choice. You really have to work hard for it."
Now tucked away in their 2,000-square-foot home in L.A.'s Studio City neighborhood, the duo are enjoying every tiny yawn and messy diaper change—an insular situation they intend to carry on for the foreseeable future, the current coronavirus pandemic providing even more reason to hunker down at home.
"Cameron isn't working. She's devoted to being a full-time mom," revealed an insider at the time. "She feels she gave up a lot of time and valuable years working instead of being at home. Now is her time to be a mom and she is cherishing it. She has no plans to work at all."
Though the 48-year-old San Diego native understands, perhaps better than most, that plans have a funny way of changing.
Because it was a little more than six years ago that the actress—coming off a stretch of filming that included The Counselor, The Other Woman, Sex Tape and the 2014 Annie remake—was offering up thoughtful commentary on her decision to forego parenting altogether.
"It's so much more work to have children. To have lives besides your own that you are responsible for—I didn't take that on," she told Esquire's August 2014 issue. "That did make things easier for me. A baby—that's all day, every day for eighteen years."
That's not to say she hadn't considered it, per se...
"Not having a baby might really make things easier, but that doesn't make it an easy decision," she continued. "I like protecting people, but I was never drawn to being a mother. I have it much easier than any of them. That's just what it is. Doesn't mean life isn't sometimes hard. I'm just what I am. I work on what I am."
Though, she confessed to The Telegraph that same year, she couldn't be sure exactly who she might be in the coming years. "I've never said never to anything in life. If I wanted kids, at any point in life, I would have them," she insisted. "But I'm certain that if at any point I wanted a child, that child would find its way into my life, whether through adoption, or through being in a relationship with somebody who has a child."
Or, perhaps, falling hard for a person who suddenly flips your world on its head.
Because while Diaz was instantly attracted to Madden on initial encounter—"The first thing I said when I first met my husband was, 'He's hot,'" she shared with Andy Cohen on his SiriusXM radio show in 2016—she's been forthright about the fact that she wasn't actually looking to make it a whole thing.
"I don't know if I was ready, but I knew Benji was special," she told InStyle. The more time she spent with him following that fateful 2014 dinner party where pals Joel Madden and Nicole Richie inadvertently played matchmaker—the married duo letting his twin brother tag along as third wheel—she realized what a rare find she had in the Good Charlotte lead guitarist.
"He's just a good man," Diaz told the mag of the Maryland-bred rocker, who was inspired to form Good Charlotte with Benji after they caught a 1995 Beastie Boys concert in high school. "There's no bulls--t. It's really refreshing. I'm really grateful for him."
Because while she'd had boyfriends in the past, significant ones, even, having shared years of her life with Matt Dillon, then Jared Leto, then Justin Timberlake and Alex Rodriguez, "There's a really, really distinct difference between husbands and boyfriends," she told close pal Gwyneth Paltrow at her 2017 Goop Wellness Summit.
Sure, on the surface, the blonde California girl, a quintessential rom-com love interest, and the rocker, who competed in boxing matches for fun and has a tattoo of Benjamin Franklin that covered the whole of his back, may not have appeared to be the perfect fit.
But they both understood what it meant to build thriving careers barely years removed from high school. And despite their bold-faced name status, they each crave a life as far removed from Hollywood's glaring spotlight as possible.
"I have a husband who is just my partner in life and in everything," she told Paltrow. "Talk about two very different people! We are so different from one another, but we share the same values—we're totally two peas in a pod. We are both just weird enough for each other."
And so mere months—and a handful of European getaways later—they decided to wed in the least conventional of ways, inviting 100 guests (including bridesmaids Richie and longtime bestie Drew Barrymore) to her Beverly Hills home for a Monday night ceremony.
"We got married in our living room in front of our friends," she told Cohen, "had a little party in our backyard on the tennis court." And as she danced the evening away, Diaz basked in the contentment of knowing she'd absolutely made the right choice. "It was one of those things where everyone tells you, 'You just know when you know,'" she said, trotting out the well-worn phrase. "I was like, 'What does that mean? Oh, I get it. You just know when you know. Like you're my husband.'"
Because while they'd both done the serious relationship thing before, the musician even proposing to Australian singer-actress Sophie Monk, those previous romances hadn't quite completely fit. "Here's the thing: You make the same mistake over and over again until you learn your lesson," she surmised to Cosmopolitan in 2015. "We girls sometimes do the thing where we pick the same person over and over again—they look and seem different, but deep down, they're the same."
With Madden, though, she was confident she had found more than just a variation on a theme. He was the one to support her pivot away from acting, guiding her through what she described to Paltrow in an August 2020 episode of In Goop Health: The Sessions as a painful journey of self-discovery. "I broke that mirror about a thousand times when he put it up to me. I was like, 'I hate you... don't show me that,' and he was like, 'Look, bitch. Look'," she shared. "Thank God for him."
So when she told Cohen that "no one compares," she was certain of it. "Everything else just like washes and slips away," she continued. "You realize like, 'Oh right, this is what the real thing is, this is what real love is and this is what commitment and devotion is. This is the person that you build your life with.'"
And suddenly, just like getting married, starting a family made perfect sense. "Cameron is so much more settled, stable and happy," a source told People last January. "It was natural to want a baby."
In fact, what she wanted was an overhaul of everything that had come before. Content to allow her take on Miss Hannigan in 2014's Annie to be her last film role for a bit, she stepped away from her day job to revel in life as a newlywed. And though she joked to Entertainment Weekly in 2018 that she'd be "totally down" for a sequel to 2002's buddy comedy The Sweetest Thing, the film that saw her paired up with Christina Applegate and Selma Blair, because "I'm literally doing nothing," she didn't really hate her life of leisure.
As a source told People, she "loves married life and just being with Benji."
And now that they've added a tiny plus-one who "has completely captured our hearts and completely our family," as they put it in their reveal, well, now she knows what people mean when they talk in cliches such as "over the moon" and "thrilled to pieces."
Madden, now CEO of artist management company MDDN, and Diaz spend most of their days marveling at their new addition. "My Wife and Daughter fill me up with so much gratitude," the 41-year-old musician wrote in a February Instagram. "I feel so lucky."
They've even found every last silver lining in the current stay-at-home situation.
"I've kinda been living a quarantine life anyhow because I have a three month old, three-and-a-half month," she told friend Katherine Power, her partner in a new clean wine brand called Avaline, during an April 2020 Instagram Live chat. "So my life has been completely quiet and still for the last few months. But I was able to have my friends over all the time. And now I just don't see anybody."
While it had been great to rely on a set of extra hands or two—particularly help from Madden's twin and his bride Richie, just a few doors down—hunkering down just the three of them hasn't been too shabby. "It's nice," she said, "and I love a bubble and being in the womb of my home with my husband and cooking."
A year in, they've established quite the routine. "After we do bath time with our baby and we put her to sleep, Benji puts her to bed," she shared with Power. "He's so good. He's such an amazing father. I'm so lucky he's my baby's father. He's incredible. He puts her down and I go into the kitchen and I pour myself a nice glass of red wine. I start my cooking, I put on my show, whatever it is."
Once that's done, he takes on the late shift, his natural night owl tendencies lending themselves to middle of the night feedings.
"Benj goes to bed—he wants to go to bed late. I go to bed early and wake up early. He wants to go to bed and wake up later," she explained in an April Instagram Live with makeup artist Gucci Westman. "That works so well for us as parents because, you know, I can go to bed a few hours earlier, and he does those later feeds and I can go to bed. And then I can wake up early and then I'm with her early in the morning and he can sleep. Those things are so valuable. We don't even think about it. There's a reason opposites attract. It's because we need each other."
Their current give-and-take finds Diaz heading up daily care as Madden works in his home office. "He actually gets to come out of a meeting and give her a kiss and play with her for a little bit, where if he was going to the office every day, he wouldn't have been able to do that," she described on a July 2020 episode of of Late Night With Seth Meyers. "So, we're just having a lot of gratitude for that."
Well, that, and the fact that she no longer needs to make excuses for why she'd rather oversee bath time than catch a quick drink. "Before, my baby was an excuse to stay home," she continued, "now I don't have to make that excuse. It's just what it is, and I get to be with her."
And their at-home life does sound rather idyllic.
"Well, since we have a little one, we are really jamming out to some dope Sesame Street jams," she revealed to Rolling Stone last July. "We got 'Baby Shark' in the mix, and of course Benj has written at least a dozen songs for her. So we are doing serious upbeat and often a cappella jams over here."
Each morning seems to bring, not just a new tune, but a fresh milestone for baby Rad. "Literally every single day…there's leaps and bounds and these things that happen that—she's not the same baby she was yesterday," she gushed to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show last July. "Where was yesterday? Yesterday is literally gone and today is a new day and tomorrow will be a new day that she's a completely different baby, but it's so gratifying to actually get to see that growth and to be a part of it and to help just let her be her."
Because, of course, Diaz knows how quickly things can turn on a dime. "It's been heaven," she shared. "It's the best thing that ever happened to both Benj and I. We're just so happy."
(Originally published Jan. 16, 2020 at 3 a.m. PT)