In the world of all things celebrity, it’s not hard to see why so many actors choose to call it quits or take on less challenging roles. Acting is great and all that, but is it really worth all the hassle, especially once an actor has made enough money to buy a yacht and buy that 105 inch TV that they’ve been dreaming about for so long?

Although this means trading in a serious acting career for a more ordinary life, some actors feel that this decision benefits them in the long run. What’s more, (believe it or not) acting in blockbuster movies can get monotonous after a while, just like any other job. Therefore who can blame an actor for wanting to ditch the cameras in favour of a life like everybody else’s (well, kind of at least)?

Unfortunately for other actors, this wasn’t much of a choice. Some celeb relationships tend to be so big that they redefine the actor’s image in the eyes of the public, making it difficult to get certain roles.

This list does not solely blame these actors’ relationships for placing a sell-by date on their careers, but it does acknowledge the influence that they may have had. Plus, having a family or a partner usually takes priority.

With that said, here are the 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame.

15. Angelina Jolie

angelina jolie girl interrupted 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame

What can we say? Angelina Jolie was getting acting awards and everything before she met the likes of Brad Pitt. During her marriage to Brad Pitt, Jolie started testing her luck at directing. Since Mr and Mrs Smith, her acting credits have been scarce, though she did hit the movie jackpot with her roles in Maleficent and Changeling.

However, before that, she was pretty much in everything, including the classic thriller The Bone Collector and Girl Interrupted. While most fans hold her directing dreams accountable, we have to wonder how her movie career would have panned out had she not met Pitt.

Plus, it seems like the two have zero luck making movies together– Mr and Mrs Smith and By The Sea sadly weren’t that good.

14. Katie Holmes

katie holmes rachel dawes batman begins 1 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame

Katie Holmes found fame as America’s girl next door in the hit teen TV show Dawson’s Creek. In 2005, approximately two years after the series finale, Holmes dated Tom Cruise and became engaged to him within the same year.

Prior to meeting Cruise, Holmes had had a shaky acting career– her role as Joey Potter in Dawson’s Creek meant she was type cast or not cast at all. However, once the show ended, she was offered a major role as Rachel Dawes in Christopher Nolan’s movie Batman Begins, but despite its success, she decided not to partake in the sequel and the role was given to Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Some fans have speculated that Tom Cruise and the birth of their daughter, Suri, played a huge part in this, as there was a lot of pressure involved in playing the leading lady in the Nolan trilogy. Nevertheless, she still pursues acting, but now on her own terms.

13. Charlie Sheen

charlie sheen two and a half men 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame

Charlie Sheen has had his fair share of tumultuous marriages, but the one that eventually led to the end of his huge TV career was his marriage to Brooke Mueller.

Having already been in and out of rehab quite frequently during his time on the popular show Two and a Half Men, in 2010 Sheen pled guilty to a misdemeanour assault charge involving Mueller.

Although he was technically fired for bad-mouthing the show’s creator, his tarnished reputation almost certainly influenced the decision. After this, he was never able to fully bounce back and regain the same stardom that he had had on Two and a Half Men.

Since then, he has starred in a TV show (Anger Management) and taken on some smaller acting roles.

12. Meghan Markle

megan markle suits 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame

Meghan Markle hasn’t had much of a movie career but her catalogue of TV roles is extensive to say the least. Her fame arose after playing the part of Rachel Zane in the well-received show Suits. Now that Suits is over and she has become engaged to Prince Harry, Markle is throwing in the towel on her acting profession for good.

Meghan’s departure from acting has drawn comparisons between her and Grace Kelly, who famously left acting after marrying the Prince of Monaco.

As part of the Royal Family, she will have other obligations to attend to and thus she will have to focus her time and energy on those. In an interview with Hello! magazine, Prince Harry said that they’ve had many talks regarding Meghan’s new role as Royal Family member and what it entails.

11. Jude Law

Jude Law Talented Mr Ripley 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame

Jude Law still has a huge movie career, but there was a time when he was Hollywood’s favourite golden boy.

While it’s possible that he opted to step away from leading roles, it most likely had something to do with his affair whilst married to actress Sienna Miller– Law famously cheated on his wife with the nanny and for this reason, his leading man image was somewhat tainted.

It would be unfair to say that he doesn’t still get the odd protagonist role here and there. For example, Law recently starred in the critically acclaimed HBO show The Young Pope, and will also play a young Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. What’s more, he will be retuning as Watson in Sherlock Holmes 3. 

However, it’s obvious that he had a much better public image before the affair.

10. Lindsay Lohan

lindsay lohan mean girls 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame

Lohan was once America’s number one sweetheart. At the age of 12, she starred in one of the biggest children’s movies at the time, Parent Trap. Of course, her fame also came from starring in the critically acclaimed teen movie, Mean Girls.

Her breakthrough role as Cady Heron in Mean Girls meant that she became the number one teen-movie star in the world, so it was a bit of a surprise to us all when she didn’t make anything half as prominent afterwards.

Being so famous at such a young age took its toll on Lindsay Lohan, however, and she eventually became renowned for her run-ins with the law and extreme party habits, both of which had a negative effect on her career.

In 2012, Lindsay acknowledged that her relationship with Samantha Ronson had an extremely damaging impact on her well-being, as they were both in bad places at the time of dating.

9. Selena Gomez

selena gomez the fundamentals of caring 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame

After starring in Disney’s long-running show Wizards of Waverly Place, Selena Gomez’s music career has grown rapidly. Unfortunately, her career as an actor hasn’t been as prominent.

Indeed, many former Disney stars find it impossible to get rid of their Disney image. In Selena’s case, her relationship with Justin Bieber only made matters worse. The movie industry can at times be a tad pretentious and thus dating a teen pop star probably restricted the types of roles that she was offered.

Even though her acting career has remained stagnant, her new role in Woody Allen’s A Rainy Day in New York might give her a little recognition. Plus, she has already starred in a couple of good ones, including Spring Breakers and The Fundamentals of Caring.

8. Robert Pattinson

robert pattinson twilight saga 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame

Although Pattinson’s career as an actor is still alive and kicking, his relationship with co-star Kristen Stewart during their time filming and promoting the Twilight saga tended to overshadow his other movie roles.

It’s fair to say that, since Twilight, he hasn’t been able to achieve the same success despite appearing in some relatively good movies and opting for a serious acting career.

Much of the blame can be placed on him being unable to shake off the teen-crush image that he obtained during his Twilight years, but his on-off relationship dramas with Kristen Stewart and her infidelity somehow gained more notoriety.

He does, however, have a bunch of projects lined up for 2018, which could take him to the level that he wants to be at very quickly.

7. Brad Pitt

brad pitt fight club 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame

Brad Pitt gained and kept hold of his prestigious success for more than a decade. His career swelled up after starring in Interview with the Vampire in 1994, and then went from strength to strength with movies like Se7en, Snatch, and Fight club.

In 1996, Pitt won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in 12 Monkeys. He was also renowned for playing characters that were different to the typical “Hollywood heart-throbs” that most prominent actors went for.

However, after meeting Angelina Jolie and gaining a large family of adopted children, Pitt felt that it was necessary to put his acting career on the back burner.

Although he still did a lot of stand-out movies, he has not taken on any stand-out roles since.

6. Amber Heard

amber heard the rum diary 2 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame

As with Robert Pattinson, Amber Heard had the misfortune of being in a relationship that blew up more than her career. A lot of this was down to Johnny Depp’s fame and their messy divorce, which ended with Heard making domestic assault allegations against Depp.

Depp has a long list of famous exes (including Kate Moss, Winona Ryder, and Vanessa Paradis), but Heard was on her way up when she landed her first major role alongside Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary.

Unfortunately, her career stopped moving after that. Shortly after she started dating Johnny Depp, her publicized romance became a main focal point, taking the focus off of her and her career.

Nowadays, Heard is still very much in demand, but she might have been bigger had she not met Depp.

5. Madonna

madonna evita 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame

Madonna is the queen of reinvention when it comes to music, but her career as an actress didn’t evolved in the same way. Madonna kicked off her acting career with major hits like Desperately Seeing Susan and Dick Tracy, but she also did a ton of really terrible ’80s movies.

It wasn’t until she took on the lead role in Evita that she gained some acting credibility. With this movie, she managed to bag herself a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy and was nominated for a bunch of other awards.

However, after meeting British director Guy Ritchie in 1998, and starring in his movie Swept Away, her recognition as a serious actress went down the toilet and she hasn’t tried her luck at anything else since. We doubt that Madonna cares that much about this, though.

4. Phoebe Cates

phoebe cates gremlins 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame

You might remember Pheobe Cates from all-time favourite ’80s horror film Gremlins. You might also remember her from that very weird but very hilarious ’90s movie Drop Dead Fred, as well as her role in Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

Although Cates had a huge career in acting during her youth (from the ’80s up until the mid-’90s), she dropped everything to dedicate her life to her family. After Princess Caraboo in 1994, Cates has only done one movie– The Anniversary Party.

She married her husband Kevin Kline in 1989 and the two are still together to this day. Kevin Kline still has a flourishing acting career, having recently played Maurice in Beauty and the Beast, but Cates went in another direction entirely. She has her own boutique in New York City. Despite being at the height of her career when she quit acting, we doubt that she has any regrets.

3. Elizabeth Hurley

elizabeth hurley bedazzled 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame

Elizabeth Hurley hit the peak of her acting career in the ’90s and early ’00s. During the ’90s, she was involved in a ton of shows and TV movies. After that, she was in a few successful (albeit not very high-brow) comedies, including Bedazzled and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.

However, in 2002, Hurley quit acting for 8 years to take care of her new-born son, Damian. Although she may not have had the greatest Hollywood career had she chosen to carry on acting, she certainly would have had her fair share of roles.

Hurley is now back on track, having most recently starred in TV shows such as Gossip Girl and The Royals. She also doesn’t regret her decision in the slightest, as it gave her the opportunity to launch her own swimwear range and allowed her to dedicate her time to other important aspects of her life.

2. Meg Ryan

meg ryan when harry met sally 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame

For many years, Meg Ryan was the biggest rom-com actress about. Her charm and likability landed her with many noteworthy roles. Ryan’s movies made big money and became instant classics, as can be seen with When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle.

However, her career lost momentum during the early ’00s when Meg Ryan opted for a quieter life.

Her decision sprung from a nasty divorce. The actress had been married to actor Dennis Quaid for 10 years before it was reported that they’d both been unfaithful during their marriage, something that ultimately led to their separation.

Ryan didn’t completely quit acting but rather stepped away from the limelight. Due to her infidelity, the actress also felt that Hollywood had decided that she was no longer the wholesome leading lady that they wanted her to be, which gave her the motive to pursue a more peaceful lifestyle.

1. Michael Schoeffling

michael schoeffling sixteen candles 15 Actors Whose Relationships Destroyed Their Fame

Although most of us only know him from ’80s teen classic Sixteen Candles, Micheal Schoeffling was relatively big during his acting heyday. After starring alongside Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles, he played Winona Ryder’s love interest in Mermaids and the leading man in Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken.

However, his movie career ended just seven years after he made his acting debut as an extra in Racing with the Moon.

While Schoeffling blamed the lack of roles for his early retirement from the big screen, he also said that having a family finalized his decision. Schoeffling now lives in his hometown of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania with his wife Valerie C. Robinson and their two children. There, he owns a carpentry shop and is enjoying a more peaceful life.

Can you think of any other actors whose relationships ended their acting careers? Let us know in the comments!

  • Ad Free Browsing
  • Over 10,000 Videos!
  • All in 1 Access
  • Join For Free!
GO PREMIUM WITH SCREENRANT
Go Premium!

More Videos