Once Hollywood’s go-to funny girl, Cameron Diaz was one of the most successful comedy actors of the ’90s and beyond. The star appeared in mega-hits such as The Mask, My Best Friend’s Wedding and There’s Something About Mary, and her films raked in more than $5.5 billion at the worldwide box office. But then in 2014 Diaz quietly took a step back from acting – and officially retired four years later. Why did the ever-popular actor do this? Well, Diaz finally revealed the reason behind her decision in a recent interview.
At first, you see, people wondered whether her retirement was down to 2014 being a particularly bad year for Diaz. Yes, that year saw the star headline a string of box-office failures and critical maulings. It all started with The Other Woman, a revenge comedy in which she played a woman taking on her cheating boyfriend. Critics hated it; The New York Times said the movie was “dumb, lazy, clumsily assembled and unoriginal.”
Next Diaz and Jason Siegel – playing a couple searching for a naughty recording they’d somehow mislaid – starred in Sex Tape. The film was actually a modest success with audiences – but Diaz was awarded the dreaded Golden Raspberry for her performance. Yet it was the star’s final film of 2014 that people felt could have forced Diaz’s hand.
You see, the critics simply abhorred 2014’s Diaz-starring remake of Annie. A couple of reviewers singled out the star for a mauling, too. The Hollywood Reporter described her performance as “obnoxious” and “strident,” for instance, while Rolling Stone said Diaz “overacts to the point of hysteria.” It wouldn’t be surprising, then, if this was the reason the actor hasn’t made a movie since. Yet Diaz’s decision to retire turned out to be unrelated to these criticisms.
After all, Diaz’s career began incredibly brightly and has, for the most part, been blessed. Born in California in August 1972, the future star was the younger of Emile and Billie Diaz’s two daughters. She spent most of her childhood in Long Beach – a place she still calls home. The actress also went to a local elementary school before taking a place at the city’s Polytechnic High School. And that’s where she met another star-to-be.
Believe it or not, Diaz counted rapper Snoop Dogg among her high school classmates. The actor would later describe her early years as happy, too – despite the family having little money. Of course, Diaz would go on to drastically change that situation – starting with her first job, which had nothing to do with acting.
Before Diaz had even finished high school, you see, she was offered a deal with Elite Models. In fact, she was just 16 when she completed her first shoot. Her modeling career kicked off in style, too, with her appearing in ads for both Levi’s and Calvin Klein. And in under a year, she’d also made the cover of Seventeen magazine.
Diaz spent three months of the next year working in Australia – even starring in a Coca-Cola commercial. But her greatest success was still to come. It happened when, out of nowhere, one of the Elite Model agents recommended her for a movie role. And that’s how, in 1994, the star got her first-ever acting job.
Yes, despite having no acting experience, Diaz was cast in the Jim Carrey-starring classic The Mask. Just 21 at the time, the former model immediately began taking acting lessons – and they paid off. Playing the sultry club performer Tina Carlyle, she wowed audiences and even delighted critics. The movie went on to be one of the biggest hits of the year, too – making a whopping $350 million worldwide.
From there, Diaz made the pitch-black comedy The Last Supper. A 1995 arthouse release, the movie involves a bunch of liberal students bumping off their conservative dinner guests. The former model then continued to prove her comedy – and indie – chops with appearances in 1996’s She’s the One and Head Above Water.
And after starring alongside Ewan McGregor in Danny Boyle’s quirky A Life Less Ordinary, Diaz once again struck box-office gold. Joining Julia Roberts in 1997’s My Best Friend’s Wedding, the former model helped the movie become an unqualified smash – raking in nearly $300 million. But the film’s success didn’t end there.
My Best Friend’s Wedding was actually one of the biggest cinema hits worldwide that year, making the global box-office top ten. It received dozens of award nominations, too, including a Satellite Award Best Supporting Actress nod for Diaz. It is often considered one of the all-time most beloved rom-coms as well. But it would be the star’s next film that cemented her comedy reputation.
That’s because, in 1998, Diaz starred in what would become her most iconic movie: There’s Something About Mary. With Diaz playing the titular heroine, the movie crashed into the top five highest-grossing films of that year and has since become a classic. In fact, it’s included in both the American Film Institute’s and Total Film magazine’s list of greatest comedies. And the star was praised for her performance, too.
Indeed, playing Mary earned Diaz her first Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. She also went on to win gongs from both the American Comedy Awards and the New York Critics Circle. And the movie’s success kick-started a string of commercial and critical smashes for the star – beginning with indie perfection in Being John Malkovich.
The Spike Jonze-directed comedy cast Diaz in a completely new light. Playing the dowdy Lotte Schwartz, the star was almost unrecognizable in a frizzy brown wig and no make-up. In fact, she looked so unlike herself that movie critic Roger Ebert proclaimed, “Diaz has fun with her talent by taking it incognito to strange places and making it work.” And the Golden Globes agreed: Being John Malkovich earned her a second nomination.
With Diaz having more than proved her comedy chops, then, she dipped her toe into the world of drama. First, she starred alongside Al Pacino in 1999’s Any Given Sunday. Critics didn’t love the flick, but cinema audiences did – with the movie earning $100 million worldwide. Then, at the turn of the century, the star made another iconic career move.
In 2000 Diaz teamed up with Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore in a remake of ’70s TV show Charlie’s Angels. Playing a trio of private detectives working for the titular Charlie, all three women earned praise for their strong performances. Entertainment Weekly magazine singled out the former model, though, gushing that she was “not just an Angel” but “a star.” And from there came another award-worthy role.
Starring opposite Tom Cruise in 2001’s Vanilla Sky, Diaz earned Best Supporting Actress nominations from the American Film Institute, the Screen Actors Guild and the Critics’ Choice awards. Reviewers also praised her “ferociously emotional” approach to the part of Julie Gianni. And after that success, the star took yet another uber-successful role – but this time she didn’t spend a second on the big screen.
Yes, Diaz voiced Princess Fiona in 2001’s Shrek. The animated picture became a global smash-hit and would eventually spawn three sequels, a musical and plenty of spin-offs. Diaz then picked up yet another Golden Globe nomination for her work on screen in Martin Scorsese’s 2002 epic, Gangs of New York.
So this period of Diaz’s career saw her ping-ponging between dramatic and light material. But the star returned to comedy for her next four movies. Among them were 2005’s In Her Shoes and Nancy Myers’ 2006 classic, The Holiday. The actor also managed to squeeze in not one, but two successful Shrek sequels.
In 2010, with a fourth Shrek installment under her belt, Diaz earned another accolade – but not for acting. That year, you see, Forbes magazine placed her at number 60 on its Celebrity 100 list. The ranking, believe it or not, made the star the world’s richest female actor. Despite this, however, Diaz would retire completely from Hollywood within four years…
This period also marked something of a turning point in Diaz’s career. Case in point? In 2010 Diaz made another movie with Tom Cruise: Knight and Day. The flick was a miss-hit with critics – and audiences took a long time to warm to it, too. But Diaz followed it with an even bigger box-office failure: 2011 remake The Green Hornet, alongside Seth Rogen. One critic dubbed this movie “overblown, interminable and unfunny.”
Yet 2011 saw Diaz grab the starring role in another iconic comedy. Playing a horrific educator in Bad Teacher, the actor earned a return to box-office success for the star. Her performance earned a Best Actress gong at that year’s Teen Choice Awards, too. Despite this, however, the critics mostly dismissed the movie out of hand.
A supporting role in the modest hit What to Expect When You’re Expecting followed in 2012 – but Diaz’s next movie would be perhaps the least successful of her entire career. Gambit, written by the Coen Brothers, made just $10 million at the box office and was hated by critics. People have argued, too, that this failure was the beginning of the end for the star’s career.
Diaz made only one film in 2013, the psychological thriller The Counselor. And although her turn as a delusional ex-dancer was praised as one of her finest performances, the movie itself was panned. Critic Mark Kermode even listed the Ridley Scott film as one of the worst of the year – and it seemed that many others agreed.
Then came 2014. So, after the mauling she received for her performance in Annie – coupled with the various failures of her other on-screen endeavors – it’s perhaps understandable that Diaz wanted to take a break from acting. But was it really just a professional consideration? After all, it was while on hiatus that the star seemed to focus on her personal life.
Throughout Diaz’s career, you see, she’s dated several celebrities. Her most notable partners include fellow actors Jared Leto and Matt Dillon, baseball legend Alex Rodriguez and singer Justin Timberlake. And while the star’s relationship with the singer lasted four years, she eventually settled down with an altogether different musician in 2015.
Diaz first met Good Charlotte guitarist Benji Madden in 2014. And after a whirlwind romance, the pair tied the knot in 2015 in a Jewish-faith ceremony. Since then, the newlyweds have been living a fairly low-key life in Long Beach. So much so, in fact, that Diaz officially announced her retirement in 2018. But the star never really explained her decision to quit Hollywood. That is, until 2019.
In August that year, Diaz wrote a piece for InStyle magazine. And, in the article, the star finally explains why she turned her back on a successful acting career. So was it really the lack of love for her later films that made her shrink from the spotlight? Well, despite the fame and celebrity she earned, it seems that the price the star paid may well have been too high.
“I started [experiencing fame] when I was 22, so 25 years ago — that’s a long time,” the article began. Diaz then went on to explain her feelings at the time she decided to retire. “The way I look at it is that I’ve given more than half of my life to the public.” The star then added, “I feel it’s okay for me to take time for myself now.”
Of course, not being paparazzi fodder anymore has its benefits for Diaz. As she told InStyle magazine, “It’s fun to just not have anybody know what I’m up to.” And that, she says, is a direct result of not being a movie star anymore. She wrote, “I’m not selling any films, and because I’m not selling anything, I don’t have to give anybody anything… I’m living my life.”
Yet having been famous for so long also has its perks, as Diaz mentions in her article. “At this point, I’ve done so much, I feel fulfilled with the adventures I’ve sought out in my life,” she said. But as it stands, the star has found that, in retirement, she has the time to do whatever she wants. That doesn’t mean, however, that the former actor has been idle.
In 2013, for instance, Diaz co-authored The Body Book – an in-depth look at how humans function. It spent time on The New York Times Bestseller list and led to the publication of her second co-authored work. This was 2016’s The Longevity Book, advising on how best to approach aging. That’s a subject, it seems, close to the former actor’s heart.
“I think the 40s are the best decade,” Diaz wrote in her InStyle magazine article. “You just get to be real with yourself… 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. I’m a 47-year-old woman who’s like, ‘Hell, yeah!’”
Whatever Diaz is doing, then, this new life certainly seems to agree with her. As she wrote for InStyle magazine, “My husband’s the best. He’s the greatest human being… Getting married to him is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” Despite this enthusiasm, though, the star is a realist when it comes to relationships.
“Marriage is certainly hard, and it’s a lot of work,” Diaz wrote in her article. “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.” And it’s just possible that these sage words were written with a very specific and life-changing situation in mind.
You see, at the time that Diaz’s candid InStyle article was on the stands, the star was keeping a very big secret. In the piece, she hinted at new projects that she had “brewing.” But it would take until January 2020 for Diaz to reveal exactly what she had been working on.
Then, as 2020 began, Diaz posted a picture to Instagram that shocked the world. Not only did it reveal what her new project was, but it also made clear that her stance on living her life in private had not changed. “Happy New Year from the Maddens!” the post began. And then the star surprised everyone.
“We are so happy and blessed to begin this new decade by announcing the birth of our daughter, Raddix Madden.” That’s right, the pair had become parents for the first time over the holiday period. But the message didn’t end there. Like any new mom, Diaz had some things to say about her new baby.
Diaz went on, “[Raddix] has instantly captured our hearts and completed our family.” Yet the loving mom then went on to explain why we wouldn’t be seeing the infant any time soon. “While we are overjoyed to share this news, we also feel a strong instinct to protect our little one’s privacy,” she said.
The message went on, “We won’t be posting any pictures or sharing any more details, other than that she is really, really cute!” So with a new baby in her life, a return to the screen appears even less likely for the former actor. She even wrote for InStyle magazine, “I don’t miss performing.” Whatever her decision, though, we’ll always have the ’90s.
And we’ll always have this incredible Diaz-related story. What happened? Well, we all know how frustrating it is to lose an important personal possession, and things are no different for celebrities. So when Cameron Diaz recently misplaced her wallet, she probably expected obsessive fans to turn up at her front door. Luckily for her, though, a guardian angel was watching out that night.
As one of the most famous film stars on the planet, Cameron Diaz needs no introduction. But many people may not know that this beautiful actress was once a successful model. In fact, Diaz had already worked with companies like Calvin Klein and Levi’s before she hit 20.
And like many young stars, Diaz couldn’t resist the allure of the big screen. As a result, she soon made a break for Hollywood. In 1994 the then-22-year-old actress made her movie debut as Jim Carrey’s love interest in The Mask. However, it was with There’s Something About Mary four years later that Diaz really broke through.
Since then, Diaz has enjoyed a rich and varied film career. She’s continued to star in big budget franchises such as the Shrek and Charlie’s Angels films. But alongside them she’s appeared in more low key works like Being John Malkovich. Consequently, the actress has become one of cinema’s most familiar faces.
Around the world, Diaz’s movies have in fact grossed over $7 billion. And that has given her an estimated net worth of $140 million. Meanwhile, a high-profile relationship with rock star Benji Madden has also helped to keep her name in the headlines.
One night in August 2017, Diaz left her L.A. home to dine out with her friend Gwyneth Paltrow in Beverly Hills. With their minds set on sushi, the two made their way to Matsuhisa, a restaurant that has served such famous faces as Al Pacino, Clint Eastwood and Snoop Dog. As a result, the pair likely expected some star-spotters and photographers to be waiting outside when they arrived.
However, things went smoothly enough, and after finishing their meal, the two friends made a break for home. While Paltrow decided on a less conspicuous exit through the back door, Diaz made a dash for the front entrance. And following a brief walk past the paparazzi, the actress got in her car and headed for home.
Yet though Diaz had escaped being mobbed by her showbiz fans, she did misplace something during the short journey to her car. Amidst the photographers’ camera flashes, the star didn’t realize that she’d mislaid her wallet. Unbeknownst to her, it lay on the ground in the restaurant parking lot as the actress sped away.
Naturally, leaving such an important item out in the open was bad news for Diaz. Not only were her credit cards left behind, but presumably some sensitive pieces of information – such as her driver’s license – were also in there. Indeed, anybody who found the wallet would almost certainly have learned the film star’s home address.
But despite being left in such a bustling area, the wallet somehow remained untouched. Thankfully, no thieves came and claimed it for themselves. But then again, no good Samaritans amidst the paparazzi nor any of Matsuhisa’s well-off clientele came across it, either, and thought to turn it in to the proper authorities.
But though fellow diners proved less than helpful, one unlikely individual still had good intentions in mind. Watching from the wings was a homeless woman who spied the wallet lying on the ground. And – when no one came to claim the item – she stepped in to pick it up herself.
Of course, the woman had no idea whom the wallet belonged to. But she knew there was a good chance that one of the restaurant’s patrons had dropped the item on their way inside. So she made her way over to Matsuhisa in order to reunite it with its missing owner.
But while it seemed sensible for the woman to make inquiries at the restaurant, its staff weren’t so forthcoming. Though able to identify the wallet as belonging to Diaz, the workers there were reportedly suspicious of this kind soul’s intentions. So they told her that Diaz had already left and refused to engage any further.
Ejected from the restaurant, the woman was left still in possession of the wallet but no closer to returning it to Diaz. We’d imagine that, at this point, many people would have given up on trying to do the right thing. But this lady thought differently.
Rather than call time on her altruistic quest, the woman in fact decided to hang around and wait for another helping hand to arrive. According to TMZ, the police were alerted to her situation. And soon enough a couple of officers were on the scene to talk to the lady in person.
Sure enough, the homeless lady explained the situation and presented the officers with the lost item. And as a result, the wallet would soon be back in Diaz’s possession. The woman’s persistence had finally paid off.
As remarkable as this story is, it’s thankfully not, though, the only tale of the public helping out showbiz figures in their hours of need. In 2016 young Tristin Budzyn-Barker saved Chris Hemsworth’s skin after the actor left his wallet in a restaurant. And the Thor star was so grateful that he invited Budzyn-Barker on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to thank him in person.
What’s more, in a surprising twist, Hemsworth’s Avengers co-star Mark Ruffalo has had a similarly heart-warming experience. After misplacing his phone during a New York City snowstorm in 2016, the star reached out to his fans on Twitter to ask for its return. And amazingly, the device made its way back to him just one hour later.
In both cases, these good Samaritans have had their generosity rewarded. So far, Diaz, for her part, hasn’t publicly acknowledged a debt of gratitude to her guardian angel. However, seeing as the star has kept a lower profile in recent years, we imagine that she’s expressed her appreciation behind closed doors.
Either way, her story is one that everyone can learn from. Not only does it show just how far people will go in the name of courtesy, but Diaz’s guardian angel shows that help can come from the least likely places. And even though this helpful stranger so far hasn’t been named, we think she deserves a huge round of applause.