The real reason Cameron Diaz decided to leave the spotlight for good

Cameron Diaz was once one of the hottest stars in Hollywood. She was an A-list actress who was highly sought after and worked alongside the biggest names in the business. And then she disappeared.

Following a few years without any news from Diaz, in March 2018, her friend and The Sweetest Thing costar Selma Blair caused a bit of a buzz when she revealed at the Oscars' Vanity Fair pre-party in 2018 (via Complex), "I had lunch with Cameron the other day. We were reminiscing about the film. I would have liked to do a sequel but Cameron's retired from acting. She's like 'I'm done.'"

While Blair reportedly followed that with a now-deleted tweet claiming that she had been joking, Cameron Diaz herself confirmed the retirement news via Entertainment Weekly during a conversation between herself, Blair, and another The Sweetest Thing cast member, Christina Applegate. While talking about their careers, Diaz admitted, "I am actually retired."

Although she'd noticeably stepped back from taking on any new projects in recent years, fans were certainly surprised to find out that the star actually considered herself done with her professional days performing in major movies. They were also left wondering why she would abandon what many people would consider a dream career. But it turns out that she has some very good reasons for walking away from the red carpet. Here's why Cameron Diaz decided to leave the spotlight for good.

Cameron Diaz has been working since she was 16

No wonder she's ready for a break! At just 16 years old, Cameron Diaz signed a contract with Elite Model Management, which has also handled the careers of runway superstars like Gisele Bündchen, Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, and Coco Rocha. The deal helped Diaz land jobs for ads with top brands like Calvin Klein and Levi's while also giving her the opportunity to live for a time abroad in Japan, Australia, and Paris before returning home to the U.S.

Just a year after signing with Elite, Diaz appeared on the cover of the July 1990 issue of Seventeen magazine and when asked about her style, she told the popular publication, "I'm definitely into black army boots, which aggravates my father... he'd rather I wear heels. (Of course, that's easy for him to say. He doesn't have to walk in them!)" 

The then-17-year-old who was sporting a rather patriotic outfit on the cover along with what would become her signature smile also talked about what she saw herself doing in the future, saying, "I'll probably model until I'm old and gray." However, she admitted, "Actually, my ultimate dream is to be a zoologist. Maybe go on safari in Africa and study lions." While she didn't mention anything about acting, a career working with wild animals sounds pretty darn awesome as well. And now that Diaz is retired from movies, perhaps it's time for her to consider zoology again.

Cameron Diaz starred in plenty of popular movies

It didn't take long for Cameron Diaz to make the leap from modeling to acting, a move that definitely paid off with both fame and fortune. In 1994, she scored a gig alongside Jim Carrey in The Mask, playing the sultry girlfriend of a mobster. That was followed by The Last Supper in 1995 and three films which came out in 1996, She's the One with Jennifer Aniston, Feeling Minnesota with Keanu Reeves, and Head Above Water with Harvey Keitel and Billy Zane.

From there, she was cast regularly and worked steadily with some of Hollywood's biggest names on films like 1997's My Best Friend's Wedding with Julia Roberts, 1998's There's Something About Mary with Ben Stiller, 1999's Any Given Sunday with Al Pacino, 2001's Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise, and 2002's Gangs of New York with Leonardo DiCaprio.

However, her most beloved roles might just be her characters from 2000's Charlie's Angels and its sequel, 2003's Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, as well as her voice-work as Princess Fiona in the animated Shrek movies which she took on from 2001 until 2010. If that sounds like a lot, frankly, it's only the tip of the incredibly impressive iceberg. Over the course of a career that spanned two decades, Diaz appeared in over 40 films.

Cameron Diaz earned enough accolades

The fact that Cameron Diaz has been in so many movies may make it a little less surprising to find out that she's earned her fair share of accolades throughout the years, but that doesn't make her accomplishments any less impressive.

Over the course of her career, Diaz has seen her name on the list for four Golden Globe Award nominations, one in 1999 for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical thanks to There's Something About Mary and three for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture which came in 2000, 2002, and 2003 respectively for her roles in Being John Malkovich, Vanilla Sky, and Gangs of New York. Her other industry nominations include three Screen Actors Guild Award nods for two of the same films which almost nabbed her Golden Globes, Being John Malkovich and Vanilla Sky.

While she didn't manage to take home those honors, she has earned three MTV Movie + TV Awards (for There's Something About Mary and Charlie's Angels), two Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards (for Best Burp and the Wannabe Award), two Teen Choice Awards (for There's Something About Mary and Bad Teacher), and a People's Choice Award (Favorite Leading Lady for The Holiday), among many other accolades. If awards are proof of an accomplished career, then Diaz's trophy case certainly shows how much she's done thanks to her time on the big screen.

Cameron Diaz was once one of the highest-paid and richest actresses in Hollywood

Cameron Diaz definitely proved her (financial) worth in Hollywood by working her way up to A-list level paychecks. In fact, in 2013, Diaz was "regarded as the highest-paid actress among the over-40 set," according to The Hollywood Reporter

THR explained at the time, "While many actresses might not command the same upfront fees as their male counterparts, Diaz — who received first-dollar gross on the 2011 comedy Bad Teacher instead of her occasional $15 million fee, despite Sony's reluctance to do such deals — ended up scoring $42 million after the movie (which cost $20 million to make) grossed $216.2 million worldwide." Her following contract with Sony for Sex Tape with Jason Segel apparently ensured the actress the same kind of sweet money-making deal.

Thanks to these kinds of lucrative contracts, in 2010, Forbes included Diaz among the richest celebrities in the business, ranking her #60 among the wealthiest 100. She also reportedly brought in $50 million during the 12-month span back in 2008. With Celebrity Net Worth currently estimating her fortune to be in the area of $140 million, she's obviously made enough money to last a lifetime. With this in mind, it's easy to understand why, at the very least, money wouldn't be a motivating factor for her to stay in the public eye.

Cameron Diaz is ready to take her life back after 25 years

After starting her modeling career when she was still just 16 years old and breaking into the big-time acting business in her early 20s with immediate success in both industry-related endeavors, Cameron Diaz had spent nearly half of her teen years and her entire adult life in the public eye. That's why she apparently feels totally fine about stepping back and getting her life in order after being in the spotlight for so long. 

In August 2019, she opened up about her decision to retire from Hollywood in an honest essay published via InStyle magazine, explaining, "I started [experiencing fame] when I was 22, so 25 years ago — that's a long time. The way I look at it is that I've given more than half of my life to the public. 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."

While fans surely hope that they will indeed see the star reemerge one way or another sometime down the road, Diaz's desire to take time for herself after decades of fame seems perfectly reasonable.

Cameron Diaz is happy with her life and how much she's done

Cameron Diaz also stated in her same August 2019 InStyle essay, "At this point, I've done so much, I feel fulfilled with the adventures I've sought out in my life."When you think about how much she's done and how much she's earned, while also realizing how long she's spent in the business, it's easy to understand why the star is so satisfied.

Her accomplished career is also likely why, when she chose three words to describe herself back in 2008, she opted for "hardworking, younger," and "transformed," but today, she revealed, she would go with "focused, content," and "blessed."

She also revealed that she's "in a great place" these days, which is something Selma Blair seemed to back up at the Oscars' Vanity Fair pre-party in 2018 (via Complex) by saying, "I mean, she doesn't need to make any more films. She has a pretty great life, I don't know what it would take to bring her back. She's happy."

Cameron Diaz is wary of modern online culture

"The world is so different now too," Cameron Diaz wrote in her essay for InStyle, while discussing her thoughts on the modern state of constant online culture. She explained her perspective by admitting that she's in awe, while also being wary. "I look at technology now, and it's unbelievable. Sure, you can post anything at any time on Instagram and you're able to control your own narrative, and that's incredible. But you're tied to your phone, and you're so dependent on it."

"We've exported our entire brain capacity into this little thing we carry around in our hand," she continued, obviously referring to our seemingly ever-present devices. "We've lost touch with our humanity and our humanness, and I think it's really healthy to not have to be accountable for every minute of our day."

Beyond being healthy, she also enjoys the privacy that not being overly active on social media allows her, writing, "It's fun to just not have anybody know what I'm up to. Because my time is all mine. I'm not selling any films, and because I'm not selling anything, I don't have to give anybody anything. I'm not doing this anymore. I'm living my life."

Cameron Diaz is enjoying her 40s

"I think the 40s are the best decade," Cameron Diaz declared in her InStyle essay. "You just get to be real with yourself, and you can also make necessary changes because you have the experience of looking back on four decades. Looking at patterns and seeing what things really work. You get to let go of giving a sh*t about anything. You're done! Don't care. I really don't. It's such a relief."

"You also start to go through changes on a physical level and realize there's nothing you can do about them," she continued, before discussing what it's like to look back at pictures of yourself and realize how young you were at the time, while also thinking, "Oh, wait, I have, hopefully, another 40 years of looking back at pictures not knowing how young I was."

"I know right now I'm the youngest I'll ever be," she added. "I'm a 47-year-old woman who's like, 'Hell, yeah!' I'm fine with it. I'm grateful for every moment I have." She also talked to Oprah about getting older in 2017, saying, "I get so mad when I hear commercials on television where [they say] 'anti-aging.' ...We don't honor the journey and who we are and how much we have to offer. ...It's almost as if we have failed if we don't remain 25 for the rest of our lives. Like we are failures. ...Oh, I'm sorry, I apologize, I wasn't able to defy nature."

Cameron Diaz is investing in her relationships

When it comes to important investments, Cameron Diaz apparently thinks that the people in her life are worth their weight in gold. She wrote about her relationships in her InStyle essay, revealing, "I just want to build better, stronger friendships with the people who are in it with me." 

Those relationships include her famous friends such as her Charlie's Angels costar Drew Barrymore, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, and Nicole Richie, who's also her sister-in-law. Barrymore once chatted about her friendship with Diaz while sitting down with Katie Couric, talking about how they met, saying, "She was 16 and I was 14 when we became friends. We were both L.A. kids. I worked in a coffeehouse, and she was a model. I served her a coffee, and we had mutual friends, and we just knew each other from around town."

"I will say this about her — she was always kind. Someone who looks like that, they could have an attitude, and she was the opposite. She was friendly and goofy and really nice," Barrymore added. "So when we got older and our lives had taken very different directions, I called her up and said, 'I have this amazing idea. I know exactly how I wanna do it. It's Charlie's Angels. Come play with me!' And she said yes! And then we just went on some of the best years of our lives."

Cameron Diaz is focused on her marriage

Back in 2015, Cameron Diaz said "I do" when she married Good Charlotte guitarist Benji Madden. Four years into her marriage, she talked about her relationship with her husband in her InStyle essay, saying, "Getting married to him was the best thing that ever happened to me. My husband's the best. He's the greatest human being, and he's my great partner." 

Despite obviously adoring her hubby, she was willing to admit, "Marriage is certainly hard, and it's a lot of work." That's why she explained that "you need somebody who's willing to do the work with you, because there's no 60-40 in marriage. It's 50-50, period. All the time." She then confessed, "I don't know if I was ready [when I got married], but I knew Benji was special. He's just a good man. There's no bullsh*t. It's really refreshing. I'm really grateful for him."

She also talked about Madden to Marie Claire in 2016, saying, "No one compares. Everything else just like washes and slips away. You realize like, 'Oh this is like the real thing is. This is what real love is. This is what real commitment and devotion is. This is the person you build your life with." It's no wonder Diaz wants to focus on her marriage these days.

Cameron Diaz wants to do her own creative thing

Cameron Diaz may be retired from acting, but that doesn't mean she's ready to say goodbye to her creative ways. That's why she revealed that she is indeed up to something, but is keeping her endeavors under wraps for now. "I like doing my own thing. I like creating, so I'm just looking for the project that makes the most sense for me now. I have some things brewing, but it's a little too early to talk about them," she admitted in her InStyle essay.

She also gave her friends some big praise and a little plug while discussing her own plans by adding, "I love everything that my girlfriends are doing, like what Gwyneth Paltrow has done with Goop [her website and lifestyle brand] and my sister-in-law Nicole Richie with her House of Harlow [her fashion and lifestyle brand]." Maybe Diaz should consider following in her friends' footsteps and start her own lifestyle brand. Perhaps we'll soon be seeing the debut of House of Diaz or a Doop website?

Cameron Diaz is writing wellness books

Fans may miss Cameron Diaz, but she apparently doesn't miss her life on the big screen. Frankly, she has a new interest to explore. "I don't miss performing. 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 — something that just feels effortless," Cameron Diaz wrote in her InStyle essay.

That's apparently why she's now written two health books, 2013's New York Times bestselling The Body Book: Feed, Move, Understand and Love Your Amazing Body and 2016's The Longevity Book: The Science of Aging, the Biology of Strength, and the Privilege of Time. In fact, she may have already introduced her own lifestyle brand thanks to the website for her first book, which now includes a range of posts on how to live a Diaz-like lifestyle. 

"This site was launched with the same intentions that drove me to write The Body Book: to merge information with action, so that we will all know how to take care of this machine that we call our bodies, from eating to moving to getting enough sleep to everything else that impacts our health and happiness," she writes in the welcome message. She adds, "And that's what it's all about, right? Loving and living and laughing... with lots of breakfasts and lunches and think-fests and sweat-fests and stretch-fests in between." A+ advice from a former (but still adored) A-list star.