Even among us common folk, it can be hard to find that balance between family and work obligations. While fame and fortune have arguable perks, it must be hard to raise a family when being on-set or world tour takes you away from home for months and months at a time. For some, celebrity just isn’t as important as providing a stable, nurturing home life. Here are some stars who chose family over fame.
He was at the height of fame when Garth Brooks decided to take a break from the spotlight back in 2000. Having being through a painful divorce and the death of his mother, the country crooner wanted to focus on raising his daughters, Taylor, August, and Allie, alongside his new wife, Trisha Yearwood.
It seems that his fans supported his decision to put his family first and welcomed him with open arms after a 14-year absence. When he embarked on his first tour back while simultaneously releasing his ninth album, Man Against Machine, the ticket sales were record-breaking. He was almost immediately nominated as Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Country Music Awards (for the seventh time!).
“People said, ‘How could you walk away from music?'” Brooks told People. “But being a dad — there’s nothing that can touch that. I’d just stare at them. I knew their sweet faces and their dispositions. But I didn’t know who they were.” He took the opportunity to be a hands-on father, even leaving handwritten notes in lunches he packed himself. “You start being a part of the community,” he explained. “The dads across the soccer field looked at me as a dad just like them. And I was very grateful.”
When it comes to Hollywood power couples, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel definitely make the list. With his long-time music and her television and film career, the pair are often spotted on the red carpet for major events. It would be easy for them to succumb to the LA lifestyle, but now that they have a son they seem to cherish a quieter existence.
After relocating to New York city where Biel says they have a stable home life, she admitted to Entertainment Tonight that, it might have some challenges, but she puts her responsibilities as a mother above all else.
“You don’t have a choice. It’s called get in the car, open the front door and you better be Mom, because nobody cares what you did all day,” she said. “My work, I leave it at work. I don’t bring it home. I mean, yes, I’m exhausted and sometimes I need like, a glass of wine and to just hang out. But you got to let it go. You have a 2-year-old who just wants to play with you and that’s what’s most important.”
Despite wowing audiences at the box-office for her amazing warrior skills in Wonder Woman as well as her performance in the Netflix series, House of Cards, Robin Wright has kept a relatively low profile since becoming a mother. It turns out that the woman who first won hearts in the cult-classic, The Princess Bride, wanted a slower pace of life for her family.
Married to Sean Penn for 20 tumultuous years, Wright chose to relocate to San Francisco for 12 years while she focused on raising daughter, Dylan, and son, Hopper. In reference to her decision to leave Hollywood behind, Wright told Entertainment Weekly, “I didn’t want to raise my kids in this weird, sycophantic society. If you have celebrity parents, it’s not a good recipe for the kids, or anyone at any age. Look at what Brad and Angelina go through.”
Back in 2005, Dave Chappelle’s comedy sketch show was at the height of its popularity when he abruptly walked away from the set — and a $50 million contract! Over the years, people have theorized over the reasons why he left us all hanging, but years later Chappelle set the record straight.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, the comedian said that, after stepping away and hiding out in South Africa while the press died down, “I go home and make the kids some integrity sandwiches… It makes no sense at all. There’s nothing anyone can say. It’s just you do what you feel like you need to do. It’s a very complicated answer, because I felt a variety of ways over the last years.”
Chappelle, a married father of three, echoed the comments in an interview with People when he explained, “I never stopped being on stage. What I did was step off of the main stage because those lights were hot, and I was trying to do other things with my life. That kind of attention wouldn’t have been conducive to raising a family.”
Jamie Lynn Spears
From a young age, Jamie Lynn Spears was in the spotlight first as Britney Spears’ little sister and then as an actress on Disney channel’s hit show, Zoey 101. It was a surprise to everyone, however, when at 16 years old she announced her pregnancy and gave birth to daughter, Maddie, in 2008.
“I put myself in an adult situation, so I needed to handle it like an adult. My age was never an excuse for me — because, you know what, my daughter didn’t ask for that,” Spears told People. “I didn’t feel sorry for myself, I didn’t have any pity for myself; I made a decision, and it was time for me to hold up my end of the bargain. I brought this little girl into this world, and it’s my job to make sure that she has the best life that she possibly can have — no one else’s. You’ve got to take responsibility for your actions and that’s what I try my best to do every single day.”
As for keeping Maddie grounded within such a famous family, Spears explains, “She was born into watching her aunt perform and she was born knowing her mom was on TV sometimes. So I think for her, that is her normal: ‘It’s not bizarre — this is what my family does for a job, this is how my mom provides for me.’ I think that’s how it registers it to her.”