When we see actors on our favourite soaps or hear pop stars on the radio, it is sometimes easy to forget that these are all just normal people who opted for a life in the spotlight.
Well sometimes whether it be through their own choice or because circumstances forced it, these stars leave the limelight had take on new challenges. Sometimes actors just get fed up acting or pop stats don’t enjoy the life on the road and long for a simpler life.
Here are some well known faces from the past and what they have gone on to do now.
1. Kevin Kennedy
Kevin Kennedy played the iconic character of Curly Watts in Corrie. After leaving the show, the star made a return to the Cobbles in 2014 as a tour guide, showing fans around the newly-opened Corrie tour at the former Quay Street site in Manchester.
Kennedy played the part of Curly in the soap from 1983-2003, as a bin man who became the Bettabuys supermarket deputy manager. Highlights included his bickering with boss Reg Holdsworth and marriage to barmaid Raquel, played by Happy Valley’s Sarah Lancashire.
He has now moved on again and can be found on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Anthem of the Seas starring in a production of We Will Rock You.
2. Sean Wilson
Sean Wilson used to play Martin Platt in Coronation street, a role he had for 21 years before leaving over a dispute over a planned storyline for his character. Since leaving the show in 2005 he’s made a radical career change and is now an award-winning cheese maker. He and his best friend Mark Revell started the Saddleworth Cheese Company in 2009, and now Sean is a patron of the International Cheese Awards, as well as setting up The Great Northern Food Company.
He has said “We make four cheeses. Our Smelly Ha’peth has won four gold World Cheese Awards.”
3. Charlie Lawson
Charlie Lawson played the bad-tempered Jim McDonald in Coronation Street for 11 years before leaving the show in 2000. He now leads a more relaxed life, running his own farm shop alongside his partner.
When he opened the shop in 2010 Lawson said:
‘I’ve been a professional actor for 31 years now and I’m kind of lucky that I’ve always been busy. But I really get fed up of it, it’s not the same job that it used to be, nobody seems to have fun anymore.
‘I don’t want to keep doing Casualty or Holby City any more, I’ve done them about seven times already. I don’t want to look in the mirror at the age of 70 and think I’ve never had a crack at doing something different with my career.’
His new business is named Prestbury’s Farm Shop, which provides quality farm fresh Cheshire produce.
Pop star Tiffany – best known for her cover of I Think We’re Alone Now in the 80’s – had a few roles in TV and films after leaving music, including voicing Judy Jetson in Jetsons: The Movie.
In the early 2000’s she left the public eye, and now runs a vintage shop called Tiffany’s Boutique, just outside Nashville, Tennessee.
5. Rebecca Ritters
Rebecca was best known for playing the part of Hannah Martin in Neighbours.
The curly haired school girl was the daughter of Philip and Julie Martin and had a sister called Debboe? She had a bit of a fling with Lance before her dad married his mum.
Since leaving the show, actress Rebecca Ritters moved to Berlin and away from acting to became a journalist and producer.
6. Steven Seagal
Steven Seagal is best known for his roles in Under Siege and Above the Law, but has always had in interest in actual policework, and is currently working as a a deputy sheriff in rural Doña Ana County in southern New Mexico as part of a reality TV show.
7. Neil Webb
Neil Webb is a former footballer, once a fan favorite for Manchester United. He earned £5000 a week working at Old Trafford in 1989, but after only playing four games for Manchester United he snapped his Achilles tendon in an England match against Sweden, badly affecting his performance.
When asked about his new career he said: “You never get used to the 4.15 alarm but it’s good exercise and I’m home by lunch. What else do people expect me to do?”
8. Jeff Cohen
When I say the words “Jeff Cohen”, you probably say “Who”. But if I said “Chunk” from the Goonies, of course you would know who I am talking about.
The reason the name means nothing to you is that after his role in the goonies, Cohen moved away from acting.
Unlike his Goonies co-stars Josh Brolin and Corey Feldman, Jeff Cohen who became mega stats, he trained to be a lawyer and became a founding partner of Cohen & Gardner LLP. He was also included in The Hollywood Reporter’s “Next Generation: Hollywood’s Top 35 Executives 35 and Under.” The boy done good!
9. Adele Silva
Adele Silva first appeared in Emmerdale when she was just 12, staying until 2000 before making a brief two-year return in 2005. After leaving the show for a second time she left to America to try and make it big in Hollywood.
When she couldn’t get a big break, she started working as a shop assistant at a Ted Baker store on Melrose Avenue in LA, as well as launching her own dog walking service called ‘Walkies of Fame’. She said of her jobs: “I’m a jobbing actress and in this climate you can either sell your soul or do an honest day’s work.”
She has since moved back to the UK.
7. Peter Ostrum
Peter Ostrum was a child star at age 12, becoming famous for his role as Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. He doesn’t seem to think back on his role fondly, saying: “After the film, I always denied my involvement with Willy Wonka. I didn’t really want to have anything to do with it.”
Now he’s 49, and is working for Countryside Veterinary Clinic in Lowville, New York, where he works on small and large dairy farms. He’s spoken about his new job, saying: “For me, veterinary medicine is a really nice mix between using your head, using your brain, problem-solving, but at the same time, there’s a physical aspect of the work that I enjoy. I won’t get fat doing this job! You’re always on the go and each day is a little bit different. Everybody could be so lucky to have an experience like this and then to go in a completely different direction.”
11. Mark Feehilly
Mark Feehilly was part of Westlife, one of the biggest pop groups of the 90’s. The band sold 44 million records before disbanding in 2011 after 14 years together.
Since the breakup Mark has given up fame to set up his own catering business. He now runs a catering company named Old Street, which runs out of a refurbished 1971 Citroen H Van. He mostly caters at music festivals, saying: “People were flabbergasted that I was in the van making crepes. They have this thing, ‘Oh, he was in Westlife and now he’s making tea.’ I love festivals, so why not?”
— Old Street (@tweetoldstreet) December 5, 2014
12. Danniella Westbrook
Danniella Westbrook played Peggy Mitchell’s daughter Sam in EastEnders, and is currently working in a real pub, alongside some DJ work. She started working at The Bill Nicholson pub in Tottenham while she was struggling to fing acting work, and seems to really enjoy it. She posted on her Twitter:
“I help my mate at her pub, it makes me feel useful and I laugh all day. The locals are the nicest bunch, always respectful even though I’m a West Ham girl.”
13. Lee MacDonald
Lew MacDonald played Zammo Maguire in the school drama Grange hill from age 12 to 17, and even starred in the 1980s Just Say No anti-drugs campaign as the character.
After leaving the show he had a brief career as a professional boxer before it was ended by a car accident when he was 21. He now works as a locksmith with a shop in Surrey.
He has said:
“I got the part of Zammo at 12 and did it until I was 17. After the celebrity, and the excitement of boxing, here I was at 21 working in a wholesaler’s. My early 20s were really dark because of that. It took time to sort myself out. I started learning the locksmith trade then took my own shop. I do bits and pieces of acting but the shop is my main port of call.”