Why Keke Palmer Might Be Planning to Quit Hollywood

Keke Palmer candidly reflected on her two decades in the spotlight and shared why she might be ready to leave Hollywood.

By Brahmjot Kaur Jan 31, 2024 4:55 PMTags
Watch: Keke Palmer Says QUITTING Hollywood is “Around the Corner”

Keke Palmer may soon be saying nope to life in Hollywood.

After all, the Nope star revealed that she's considering stepping out of the limelight in the near future. 

"I think the timer has started," Keke told Teen Vogue in an interview published Jan. 30. "I know that it's around the corner. I don't know when exactly, but it's around the corner."

But amid this potential next chapter for her, the 30-year-old reflected on her two decades in entertainment, which, since her breakout role in 2006's Akeelah and the Bee, has included a Nickelodeon sitcom, an Emmy-winning game show and a hit podcast. Not to mention, keeping booked and busy with films like Hustlers and Alice. And she's grateful to have created a space that allows those following in her footsteps who've come after her to thrive. 

"The main thing I want those legacies to be is [a call] to use your power for good, to use what you have to create spaces and systems for other people to thrive," Keke noted. "I just don't believe in holding everything.

As she put it, "I don't believe in gatekeeping."

Keke Palmer's Best Looks

And while Keke is contemplating what her future will look like, she's also taking the time to live in the moment. Amid months of legal turmoil, including a temporary domestic violence restraining order against ex Darius Jackson—with whom she shares 10-month-old Leodis —she is focusing on the positive.

Rodin Eckenroth/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images

"I have never been so happy," she captioned an Instagram post Jan. 3. "Already 2024 has started off on the vibes I was looking for, more experiences and more enjoying what this beautiful world has to offer." 

"Look at my smile! I don't even recognize me!" she continued alongside the clip of her swimming with a stingray. "I'm on clouuuuuud nine!"

Keep reading to see more stars who chose to leave Hollywood behind.

Ian Somerhalder

The Vampire Diaries alum hasn't sunk his teeth into a new role since Netflix's 2019 series V-Wars. Instead, the dad of two (with wife Nikki Reed) has dug a little deeper into a passion project, namely his mission to combat climate change by improving the world's soil. 

"I stepped away from acting a little over four years ago to raise my kids, build my companies and get these films launched," Somerhalder told E! News in November of launching the 2020 documentary Kiss the Ground and its newly released follow up Common Ground, each detailing the need for regenerative farming. 

When he looks years down the road, he continued, "I will be a rancher and building legacy brands, whether it's my bourbon or my health and wellness company, and the regenerative agriculture and healthy soil management practices that I live by and our family lives by. That's where my life was going. So when people say 'Why do you care?' That's why I care. Because that's who I am, that's what I'm going to become."

Jennette McCurdy

On a February 2021 episode of her podcast Empty Inside, the iCarly alum told guest Anna Faris that she decided to stop acting a few years back and is now focused on opportunities in writing and directing, in addition to hosting the podcast.

"My experience with acting is, I'm so ashamed of the parts I've done in the past," revealed Jennette, who detailed her experience in her 2022 memoir I'm Glad My Mom Died. "I resent my career in a lot of ways. I feel so unfulfilled by the roles that I played and felt like it was the most cheesy, embarrassing. I did the shows that I was on from like 13 to 21, and by 15, I was already embarrassed. My friends at 15, they're not like, 'Oh, cool, you're on this Nickelodeon show.' It was embarrassing."

Though she hasn't totally written off a second act. "I do feel like only through writing the book have I gotten to a place where I think there might be a way of exploring acting that doesn't carry that baggage that I carried with me for so long," she told E! News in October 2022. "Maybe if I write something for myself. I think that'd really be maybe one of the only ways I could kind of try exploring it again."

Meghan Markle

This felt like something of a no-brainer. If we had a shot to marry Prince Harry, dedicate our life to the philanthropic causes that matter most to us and gain access to the Queen's impressive collection of tiaras, bidding ta-ta to Tinseltown would feel like an okay sacrifice.

Following in the path Grace Kelly took from Hollywood to the Palace of Monaco, Markle left behind her home in Toronto—and her breakout role on Suits—for a life in The Firm. Though, now that she and Harry have shed their senior roles, she's edging back into the business thanks to their new multi-year production deal with Netflix

Cameron Diaz

Having made upwards of 40 movies since her debut in 1994's The Mask, the actress was long overdue for a break when filming wrapped on 2014's Annie. "I just decided that I wanted different things out of my life," she explained to pal Gwyneth Paltrow of her ultimate act of self-care. "I had gone so hard for so long, working, making films and it's such a grind. When you're making a movie—it's a perfect excuse—they own you. You're there for 12 hours a day for months on end and you have no time for anything else."

And there was plenty more she'd like to explore, from writing (she followed up her 2013 New York Times best-seller The Body Book with 2016's The Longevity Book) to starting a family with husband Benji Madden. But while she confessed to InStyle in 2019, "I don't miss performing. Right now I'm looking at the landscape of wellness and all that," apparently she could be swayed into making at least one encore. 

"We just begged and pleased on my knees, like, 'Just give the people one more again,'" Jamie Foxx told E! News of getting Diaz to sign on for the upcoming Netflix film Back in Action. "We love her, we've been waiting on her and this is just gonna be fantastic."

Terrence Howard

The actor insisted there'd be no encore after he finished his five-year run on Empire. When Extra asked the Oscar nominee about his future ahead of the musical drama series' sixth and final season in 2019, he responded, "Oh, I'm done with acting. I'm done pretending."

And though he returned to set for a handful of projects, he again announced his plans to quit acting while promoting his Peacock series The Best Man: The Final Chapters in 2022. "I've gotten to the point where now I've given the very best that I have as an actor," he told ET. "Now I'm enjoying watching other new talent come around, and I don't want to do an impersonation of myself."

Jack Gleeson

Once his time as King Joffrey came to a sudden, purple-faced end in 2014, the then-21-year-old told EW he was getting out of the game. "I've been acting since age 8," the Game of Thrones star explained of his decision. "I just stopped enjoying it as much as I used to."

No longer a child star, a bit of the magic had worn off. "Now there's the prospect of doing it for a living, whereas up until now it was always something I did for recreation with my friends, or in the summer for some fun," he continued. "I enjoyed it. When you make a living from something, it changes your relationship with it. It's not like I hate it, it's just not what I want to do." But after a six-year break, he may just be ready to resume his reign, joining the cast of BBC's upcoming series Out of Her Mind

Phoebe Cates

When Fast Times at Ridgemont High's dream girl (Jennifer Aniston took on her part in September's virtual table read) wed fellow actor Kevin Kline in 1989, they "agreed to alternate so that we're never working at the same time," he told Playboy of their plan to care for son Owen and daughter Greta (a singer who now goes by the stage name Frankie Cosmos). However, he continued, "whenever it's been her slot to work, Phoebe has chosen to stay with the children." Though she made a cameo in pal Jennifer Jason Leigh's 2001 indie The Anniversary Party, Cates devotes most of her time to operating her New York City boutique Blue Tree

Rick Moranis

At the height of his Ghostbusters and Honey, I... fame, the '80s star stepped away from filmmaking not long after his wife passed away from breast cancer in 1991 to focus on raising his kids Rachel and Mitchell. Though he hasn't had a live-action role since 1997, even passing on a cameo in Paul Feig's 2016 Ghostbusters remake, he's remained a treasured cultural icon, as evidenced by the outrage over reports that he'd been assaulted while walking in New York City Oct. 1. Thankfully there's good news for fans: he'll make his triumphant return alongside Josh Gad in the forthcoming Disney reboot Shrunk.

Leelee Sobieski

Once she wed fashion designer Adam Kimmel in 2010, the Never Been Kissed standout hinted that she was maybe kinda done with movies. "Ninety percent of acting roles involve so much sexual stuff with other people, and I don't want to do that," she explained to Vogue. "It's such a strange fire to play with, and our relationship is surely strong enough to handle it, but if you're going to walk through fire, there has to be something incredible on the other side."

Her decision was solidified after son Martin joined older sister Louisanna in 2014. "I don't do movie stuff anymore. I am totally an outsider! I … am just a mom and an outsider," she noted to Us Weekly at a 2016 event, explaining that she helps Kimmel with his business and paints on the side. "I am just focused on my kids. I think that's mainly why I stopped." 

Portia de Rossi

She'd done Ally McBeal. And Nip/Tuck. Then Arrested Development and finally Scandal when the Aussie realized that maybe she was ready to turn the dial. "I was approaching 45 and I just kind of…was wondering is there something that I could tackle now that I've never done before that would be really challenging and different," she explained on wife Ellen DeGeneres' eponymous talk show in 2018. "I kind of knew what acting would look like for me for the next 10, 20 years, so I decided to quit and start a business."

Her consumer-art company, General Public, already a work in progress, she had just one piece to finish. "I called Mitch Hurwitz, who's the creator of Arrested Development and I said, 'If there is a season 5, I won't be doing it because I quit acting. And he seemed really understanding and he totally got it. We had a great conversation, and then he wrote me into five episodes."

Daniel Day-Lewis

To be fair, once you've won three Academy Awards, what's left to accomplish? Shortly after receiving his sixth Oscar nod for his final film, 2017's Phantom Thread, the thespian had his rep issue a statement informing fans that he "will no longer be working as an actor. He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years. This is a private decision and neither he nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject."

Bridgit Mendler

The Good Luck Charlie alum took a step back from the spotlight in 2018 when she began pursuing a master's degree from MIT, later earning a PhD from the institution. She's also pursuing a law degree from Harvard Law School.

And as if that weren't enough, Bridgit also launched her own startup Northwood Space, which aims to build ground satellite stations to help send and receive data from space, which she became CEO of in Feb. 2023


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