The real reason why we don't hear about Julianne Hough anymore

Once upon a time, dancer Julianne Hough's face was practically everywhere. From her long-running stint on ABC's hit show Dancing with the Stars to her very public relationship with television personality Ryan Seacrest, fans had no shortage of the upbeat celebrity. But now that Hough is no longer on DwtS and her relationship with Seacrest is kaput, Hollywood hasn't seen as much of the star lately. Why is Hough no longer stealing the spotlight? Let's investigate.

She had a tough breakup

Breaking up is never easy, but it's especially intense when it goes down in the public eye. When Hough broke up with Seacrest in 2012, she had to deal with the fallout while curious fans followed along. To make matters even more difficult, the breakup wasn't particularly smooth. Hough revealed in an interview with Redbook that she supposedly "needed to be perfect" in order to keep her three-year relationship with Seacrest harmonious, and that there was "nothing right" with the pairing.

Of course, it's natural to assume that Hough needed time to recharge in private, away from public opinion. In fact, she basically said as much in an interview with Cosmopolitan, saying, "I definitely hated that everyone had an opinion about what I was going through. At the time, I was constantly running and touring, which sometimes looked like I was totally fine and couldn't care less, which wasn't the truth."

Although Hough has since gone on to marry to pro hockey player Brooks Laich, she probably learned a big lesson about why it's important to keep your personal life mostly on the DL–and it's not a stretch to think she wants to keep her marriage and personal issues private going forward.

She has a serious health issue

In September 2017, Hough opened up about living with endometriosis, an incredibly painful condition in which, as Women's Health describes it, the "lining of the uterus (womb) grows outside of the uterus."

"This feels like sharp, dagger pains and it's almost instant," Hough told TODAY of living with her diagnosis, which she received in 2008. "It comes out of nowhere and all of a sudden I'll be like, 'Oh, crap,' and then it will last for a minute and then go away. And then another sharp pain, and then it will subside. And for me, that usually happens three or four times a day, for a span of five minutes."

In December 2017, Hough revealed to fans via Instagram that she'd undergone her second laparoscopy surgery to treat the condition, and had been in bed for four days recovering.

Given how debilitating endometriosis can be, Hough is understandably taking some downtime to deal with her symptoms and surgeries in the comfort of her own home. One can even reason that Hough's painful condition explains why she doesn't perform for fans as often as she used to. Throughout the past few years, she's definitely gravitated towards less physically taxing work—like blogging and starting her own athleisure line, for example.

The good news is Hough has a great support system to see her through these trying times.

She's enjoying married life

After dating for three years, Hough married Laich in July 2017. She's clearly over the moon in love, and she's since been focused on enjoying marriage and their time together.

In October 2017, Hough told ET Online about getting hitched. "I'm really excited," she enthused. "This is a different chapter. I'm 29, and I feel like I'm sort of coming into my own being married. I feel this maturity that has kind of just happened, and a peace and a direction that I want to go towards."

As for how Hough is taking advantage her newfound "peace," look no further than her Instagram account. She posts cute photos of Laich all the time, and by the looks of it, the they rarely leave one another's side.

Plus, it's probably safe to assume that Laich isn't the type of guy that's consumed with maintaining a very public profile. In fact, Hough once described Laich as the "most sporty, Canadian, manly of men," so it's hard to imagine him wanting to ham it up in front of the cameras. Laich's personality likely inspires Hough to live a more private and low-key life.

She was allegedly fat-shamed

When your looks are criticized, it can make you want to hide for a while. Case in point: when Hough was allegedly fat-shamed on a movie set years ago, she needed to do some soul searching before she could face the world with confidence again.

Hough explained her traumatic experience in an interview with Redbook. "I was very self-accepting growing up, then something switched in middle school," she recalled. "I would compare myself to everyone … and later I did a film where I basically was told I was fat every day, yet I was the skinniest I'd ever been."

Hough didn't realize how damaging the incident was to her psyche until she met Laich, telling the mag: "We would take a picture, he would show it to me and I'd be like, 'Oh, God, let's take it again.' He once said, 'Every time you look at a photo, you put it down right away instead of seeing the good in it."

And one has to wonder if Hough's struggle with her body image is one of the reasons why left Dancing with the Stars in September 2017, departing the show that kept her in the spotlight for years. If you're feeling bad about your body, there's a good chance you don't want to put it on display for millions of people to potentially criticize.

She was accused of racism

In 2013, Hough sparked a major controversy when she dressed up as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren from Orange Is the New Black–wearing blackface. As one can imagine, the getup didn't sit well with many people, and her mistake was quickly labeled as racist.

Hough issued an apology following the incident, writing on Twitter (via Us Weekly): "I am a huge fan of the show Orange Is the New Black, actress Uzo Aduba, and the character she has created. It certainly was never my intention to be disrespectful or demeaning to anyone in any way. I realize my costume hurt and offended people and I truly apologize."

Despite Hough's 'I'm sorry" PSA, the backlash lingered for a while, and the gaffe marked her first major controversy in the spotlight. Hough, who is now a bit more reserved and self-aware thanks to the eye-opening incident, told Allure in 2015: "Ignorance is sometimes not bliss. I really had no idea what I was doing, and it was all out of fun and respect for the character … It makes me so sad to think that I was that dumb. I learned a big lesson."

And if you've been paying attention to Hough's Halloween costumes since the incident, it's clear she has learned her lesson about keeping a low profile on the holiday. Hough's outfits post "Crazy Eyes" have all been super low-key, like her Poison Ivy costume in 2017. You can't go wrong with a DC Comics character, right?  

She's focusing on her acting career

Fans were absolutely devastated when Hough announced her departure from Dancing with the Stars in September 2017. Hough originally started as a pro dancer on the reality competition show in 2007, but she was eventually upgraded to a judge. Needless to say, her presence on DwtS catapulted her to stardom.

So why would she give up the gig that made her a household name and a regular fixture on television? Per Hough, she left to pursue her other passion in life: acting. "Obviously, right now, I wanted to take some time and focus on my acting and kind of get back on that path," Hough told ET Online in October 2017. "I'm really excited, you know? This is a different chapter. I'm 29 and I feel like I'm sort of coming into my own."

Considering how competitive acting can be, it's understandable that Hough is taking time to hone her skills. With the exception of Hough's bachelorette bash in March 2017, there aren't any photos of her partying in recent months. Although fans love Hough's fun and wild side, you have to respect her for taking her new career seriously.

She launched a new humanitarian project

If you follow Hough on Instagram, you've probably noticed that she's very involved with various charitable causes. One of Hough's most beloved non-profits is Charity: Water, an organization that supplies clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.

In November 2017, Hough announced that she and Laich had partnered up with the organization to create Love United, a water fundraising campaign to "bring clean and safe drinking water to people in need."

Hough and Laich felt compelled to make the move after after they traveled to Zambia and Kenya and witnessed how "far people in those communities have to walk, to and from river crossings, carrying heavy jugs of water back to their villages." Obviously, this project takes up a lot of Hough's time–launching a major venture like this is isn't easy–and it clearly means a lot to her. The great news is the charity is a success thus far, and Hough announced in January 2018 via Instagram that Love United had already provided drinking water to hundreds of people.

The only downside to this endeavor? It takes up a lot of Hough's time with fans. Instead of Hough spending her time at meet and greets or performing, she's traveling to Africa with Laich to work on the project. Plus, charity work is something that mostly takes place off-camera

She started an athleisure line

When a celebrity isn't seen out and about as often, a few things could be to blame. The most common reason tends to be that they're busy toiling away on a big project, like a new movie or album. In Hough's case, she's been partly preoccupied with her athleisure line—products she's passionate about, mostly because she came up with the idea on her own.

"I lived with a bunch of models when I first moved to Los Angeles, and they were always dressed to the nines, and I was always in my dance gear," she told Health. "I thought, 'I feel like such a shlub.' Nothing was really cute that I could go to the movies in or go to Target in or to dinner with the girls. But I was always dancing. So I needed to blend the two worlds."

Of course, it's goes without saying that starting your own line is time-consuming and can be tedious. Considering Hough poured her heart and soul into the project (the line's concept was her own idea, remember?), it's not too shocking that she doesn't compete on DwtS on anymore or that she rarely attends non-promotional events. The persona of a businesswoman is very different than that of an entertainer, to say the least, and Hough is clearly dedicated to her new role.

She's focusing on her friendships

Any fan of Hough knows she adores her close circle of friends. Unfortunately, her high-profile career caused her to lose touch with some of her besties, a situation she's tried to rectify in recent years.

Hough wrote about her increased focus on friendship in an August 2017 Instagram post, remarking, "Having spent this week with my beautiful friends 'gave me life' (one of our many sayings used on this trip). It's hard to stay in touch with anyone when life takes over, you live in different states (sometimes countries), you have hectic careers, or a growing family. It's easy to forget to call someone back or to see a text and say you'll respond later… I'm so grateful for all my friends that live all over the world and the effort they put in to our friendships."

Yep, it sounds like Hough is living a real-life version of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants at the moment. 

Hough's renewed dedication to her old friends might also explain why you don't see her photographed out on the town with her Hollywood pals as often. In the past, she'd often enjoy a night out with a famous friend—like Nina Dobrev, for example—and it wasn't unusual to see the pair papped at a Lakers game or some other high-profile event. Considering the bulk of Hough's old friends aren't famous, however, it makes sense that you don't see her face in the magazines as often as you used to. 

She's busy running a lifestyle blog

It's no secret that lifestyle blogs are very common these days. In fact, it's probably safe to say that every social media-savvy celeb has one, especially if they've appeared on reality television (see any Bachelor alum for reference). Given all the oversaturation of this type of content, it's understandable that some people might want to brush off Hough's lifestyle blog, Jules.

When it comes to Hough's venture, however, it's worth the visit. Hough devotes a lot of her time–which she could otherwise be spending hamming it up in front of the cameras–frequently writing at length about a variety of topics, like fitness and home decor.

In 2015, when Hough launched the website, she told her Instagram followers about its concept. "I wanted to design a space where I could connect with you all and talk about the things I'm most passionate about," she explained. "Like staying healthy, recipes, style, home décor and friendship."

Obviously, writing is a very solitary effort. And when you consider how thorough and personal Hough's website is, it's more than evident that she spends a substantial portion of her free time working on it. If you're hoping see her enjoying a wild night out on the town anytime soon, don't hold your breath. It's kind of difficult to pen a passionate post about workout tips when you're hung over, right?

She's set to appear in a new movie

After a prolonged period of quiet, expect to hear from Hough very soon. She's currently playing fitness icon Betty Weider in Bigger, a film role she's clearly thrilled about if you pay any attention to her Instagram account.

The flick is expected to debut in 2018, according to IMDb, so we can count on Hough having a busy year full of interviews and red carpet premieres. Plus, this movie marks her first major acting project. It's safe to say she'll be really proud of this achievement—and she'll want to share her milestone with fans.