Huge Stars Who Now Live As Total Recluses

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For most people, the idea of living a life of total solitude isn't exactly ideal (unless your significant other's family members are coming to stay; then it sounds mighty fine indeed). However, with all the pressures and pitfalls of a life in the spotlight, we can certainly understand why some big stars seek out an escape from the public eye. From Grammy-winning musicians to Hollywood icons to fitness gurus, even family and friends can't pin down some of these famous faces. 

Find out which rocker won't answer the phone and who prefers life in a castle with her cats. What Oscar-winning actor is making shoes these days and which famous director does everything in his power to avoid being photographed? What's your best chance at seeing one of these famous faces in the wild? We've scrounged up all the details about huge stars who've chosen to avoid the glare of the camera in favor of some major "me time."

Daniel Day-Lewis

Undeniably one of our greatest living actors, Academy Award-winner Daniel Day-Lewis prefers his privacy, thankyouverymuch. In 2008, the Daily Mail ran a profile describing the performer's preference for a life far away from Hollywood's trappings, highlighting his "resolutely reclusive existence, locked away on a remote 50-acre estate in the mountains of County Wicklow" and describing that visitors to his home would see him practicing his hobbies of "shoe-making and woodwork." (Don't threaten us with a good time.) An associate told the Mail, "He hates all the razzmatazz and standing around on the red carpet."

The London Times (via MNN) reported in 2011 that Day Lewis was taking a hiatus from acting after filming Lincoln in order to focus on his family and a quiet life in Ireland. However, he did take on one final role, in Paul Thomas Anderson's 2017 film Phantom Thread, for which Day-Lewis was nominated for a best actor Academy Award. In June 2017, according to the BBC, he announced that he was officially retired from acting. "This is a private decision and neither [Day-Lewis] nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject," read a statement.

Retired or not, the internet still loves itself some Daniel Day-Lewis. The former actor was snapped on an NYC subway using a flip phone in April 2018, sending fans on Twitter into a tizzy, reported USA Today

Richard Simmons

Fitness guru Richard Simmons used to tear it up all over the place, whether guesting regularly on David Letterman or sweating to the oldies on infomercials, but he's done a complete 180 in recent years and totally backed off from making public appearances and apparently even from maintaining relationships with a number of his friends. 

Simmons responded to growing concern about his wellbeing by calling in to talk shows in March 2016 to insist that "no one should be worried about me. The people that surround me are wonderful people who take great care of me." In November 2016, the Daily Mail reported that Simmons was also closing his L.A. gym, Slimmons, thus retreating even further into a hermetic lifestyle at home.

Rumors about the reasons for Simmons' disappearance even spawned a hit 2017 podcast called Missing Richard Simmons, produced by a former Slimmons member and friend Dan Taberski. That program never really reached a conclusion, but it did prompt Simmons to speak out again on Facebook to reiterate that he is, in fact, fine. All we can do for now is order up some sweet merch from the new Richard Simmons Sweatin' Shop or fondly bust out our VHS copies of Sweatin' to the Oldies.

Terrence Malick

Director Terrence Malick (pictured on the screen to the right) is best known for hauntingly beautiful films such as Badlands, The Tree of Life, and The Thin Red Line. Although he's captured some amazing performances from the likes of Brad Pitt and Martin Sheen, he's notoriously camera-shy. Malick prefers never to be photographed and only very rarely gives interviews about his work. As numerous outlets have pointed out, this guy takes "reclusive" to the next level. 

The Independent described some of Malick's more eccentric behavior in a 2011 profile. "He refused to let producers keep copies of his own handwriting, and after going missing, he once called a producer to say he was walking from Texas to Oklahoma 'looking at birds.'" Hey, who are we to judge? His former wife mentioned never being allowed to enter his office or borrow his books. Fun!

There has been the occasional Malick sighting over the years. In 2012, TMZ caught some footage of him speaking with actor Benicio del Toro (the tab didn't even know it was filming the elusive director at the time.) Malick was also photographed in March 2017 during a panel discussion at the South by Southwest festival, so although it's rare to catch Malick in the wild, it's not entirely impossible. 

Meg White

Meg White, the female half of The White Stripes, has always been notoriously press-shy. The band even had to cancel a 2007 tour due to Meg's "acute anxiety." Since the band's official split in 2009, she's really gone off the radar, with former bandmate Jack White telling Rolling Stone in 2014, "I don't think anyone talks to Meg. She's always been a hermit ... When we lived in Detroit, I'd have to drive over to her house if I wanted to talk to her, so now it's almost never." Jack also told fans during a 2015 online Q&A that Meg "doesn't answer her phone."

Meg reportedly married Jackson Smith, singer-songwriter Patti Smith's son, in 2009, though the couple divorced in 2013. Since The White Stripes disbanded, Meg seems to have stopped performing completely, though in October 2016, the band "reunited" to make an anti-Trump statement via Facebook after their song, "Seven Nation Army," was used in a Trump campaign video. We don't know if Meg had a hand in that message. 

Gene Hackman

In his heyday, actor Gene Hackman appeared in some of Hollywood's biggest movies, including Bonnie and Clyde and The French Connection, but the actor has been off the screen and out of the limelight for more than a decade, and it doesn't sound like he's got any plans to make a return. In 2010, Newsweek proclaimed that Hackman had officially "quit the movies," and in May 2017, Radar reported that Hackman had moved to Santa Fe, N.M., where he's focused on painting, riding his e-bike, and writing novels such as 2013's Pursuit. Who knew?


Ethereal Irish singer Enya has sold an estimated 75 million records worldwide and has been described as "the wealthiest woman in British and Irish music." Despite her tremendous success, she apparently prefers a quiet life in her castle near Dublin ... with her cats. According to The Sun, Enya's even known among her own social circles for her reclusive behavior, with one "friend" telling the tab, "She's not exactly a barrel of laughs. You wouldn't go for a few pints with her." Noted. Her family even got in on the action, with uncle Noel Duggan adding, "We don't see much of her. She lives like a queen. She is a recluse." 

Enya still makes the occasional red carpet appearance, and every now and then she performs. However, it sounds like she prefers the company of her kitties to humans any day, and, really, we can't blame her.

Sly Stone

Even during the peak of his career as a member of legendary funk band Sly and the Family Stone, frontman Sly Stone cultivated a reputation for being difficult to pin down as a result of his erratic and eccentric behavior. After a 1987 arrest for cocaine possession, he has rarely appeared in public. His most notable appearances in recent history include his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and his attendance at the 2006 Grammy's during a performance in his honor. A documentary filmmaker working on a project about Stone told The Washington Post, "He's been in seclusion for so long, he's like J.D. Salinger ... A lot of people who you'd think are in the know actually think Sly Stone is dead."

Au contraire. Stone reemerged for a lengthy interview with Vanity Fair in 2007 and discussed the reasons for his reclusive behavior and what he'd been up to. "Just traveling— going around, jumping in and out, and up and down," he said. In 2011, the New York Post reported that Stone was living in a camper in Los Angeles, and in 2016, news broke that he'd been awarded $5 million in damages after suing his former manager and lawyer. Here's hoping that, wherever he is, Stone is enjoying his hard-earned success and privacy.

Doris Day

Singer and actress Doris Day was one of Hollywood's hottest commodities prior to her retirement in 1973. She starred in classics such as The Man Who Knew Too Much and Pillow Talk, but after retreating from the spotlight, she changed her name, moved to a California town called Carmel-by-the-Sea, and proceeded to live a quiet, understated life. A lifelong lover of animals, she also started the Doris Day Animal Foundation, which is still going strong to date.

The actress did make her first public appearance in six years in 2014 to wave to fans who had congregated near her home on the occasion of what she thought was her 90th birthday. Interestingly, Day discovered in 2017 that she was actually born in 1922, not 1924 as she'd previously believed. That meant when she emerged again in March 2018 when her town threw her a birthday bash that doubled as a fundraiser for her foundation, she was actually celebrating her 96th. "I am blessed with good health and so fortunate to be surrounded by loving friends and fans who have traveled so far to help raise money for the precious four-leggers," Day told People. Other than that, she's clearly taken this whole retirement thing very seriously. 

D'Arcy Wretzky

Rocker D'Arcy Wretzky played bass in the Smashing Pumpkins during the band's most popular years, which saw the release of iconic albums such as Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Wretzky left (or was kicked out of the group, depending on who you believe) in 1999, then "moved to a horse farm and disappeared," reported Rolling Stone. According to M live, she was arrested for drunk driving in 2011 but has mostly avoided the spotlight and stayed away from the music biz.

A June 2016 article in LA Weekly suggested there might be more Wretzky to come because, at the time, she'd "resurfaced for a rare interview in which she said she was working on new music and would be open to a Pumpkins reunion under the right circumstances." That same year, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan told fans in a Facebook Live Video that he'd "been in communication with D'arcy for the first time in 16 or 17 years. It's awesome to have my friend back."

We've since lost hope that this Smashing Pumpkins reunion is going to materialize. In 2018, Wretzky and Corgan started publicly feuding on the internet, according to NME. Corgan told Howard Stern in June 2018 that discussions with Wretzky about rejoining the band for a reunion tour had failed, so for now, it seems she's once again shying away from the public eye. 

John Deacon

As the bassist for Queen, John Deacon (pictured center) wrote and performed on some of rock n' roll's biggest hits, including "Another One Bites the Dust" and "I Want to Break Free." However, after a 1997 performance with Elton John, Deacon basically stopped appearing in public to perform, opting instead for a quiet life in England, reported Rolling Stone. Although his fellow band members (minus the inimitable Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991) have reunited a number of times since, Deacon has not participated. As the music mag so aptly put it: "Maybe playing the bass parts to 'Tie Your Mother Down' with Adam Lambert just isn't his idea of a good time."

Despite his reluctance to play in public, Deacon is still raking it in from royalties. The Daily Mail reporting his estimated net worth in 2015 at £85 million. He'll be portrayed by Jurassic Park actor Joseph Mazzello in the 2018 Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.