RUN FOR THE HILLS What really turns Hollywood stars into screen-shy hermits… from child star who earned $300k an episode to Baywatch babe

 MAKING it in Hollywood is nearly every actor's dream, but a rare few choose to leave it all behind for a life in the shadows.

They include former Two And A Half Men star Angus T Jones, 29, who was branded unrecognisable during a rare public outing in Los Angeles this week.

Recently, Angus T Jones has sported a shaved head, pictured left, but in the past used to have a giant beard

At his peak, former child star Angus was paid £280,000 per episode

It’s been 10 years since the actor, who played Jake Harper on the hit US comedy, quit the show and swore off fame after being baptized by a Christian ministry called Forerunner Chronicles.

Angus has since urged fans “stop watching” and “filling your head with filth”, claiming the show, which starred Charlie Sheen, was “contributing to the enemy’s plan”.

Now Two And A Half Men fans would struggle to recognise the former child star – who was paid up to £280,000 per episode – because he has grown a bushy beard and shaved his head. 

He’s far from the only star to trade Tinseltown for a quieter life and according to behavioural psychologist Emma Kenny, this can be due to them “living an amplified life”.

The TV star told us: “Celebrities face the same challenges, emotions, and existential questions we all do, but under the relentless scrutiny of the public eye.

"While many relish the spotlight, some inevitably retreat from it, becoming recluses.”

From the actor branded "Hollywood's most reluctant star" to the fitness guru who "never leaves the house", we look at the lives of some of the most reclusive celebrities.

Yasmine Bleeth

Yasmine Bleeth was a fan favourite on Baywatch... but then, she was fired
Yasmine Bleeth was only meant to have a guest appearance on Baywatch – but she proved so popular with fans that producers kept her for on five years.

She played Caroline Holden on the show and the exposure led her to be named in FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World every year from 1996 until 2001.

But at the same time, Yasmine’s drug use was spiralling out of control and by 2000, she had checked into rehab for cocaine dependence. 

A year later, she was sentenced to two years probation and 100 hours of community service after syringes filled with cocaine were found in her car after a near-fatal accident.

Celebrity recluses explained

TV behavioural psychologist Emma Kenny tells The Sun some of the contributing factors that could lead a famous star to leave the limelight.

Child stardom

From Macaulay Culkin to Amanda Bynes, we've seen many a tale of bright, young and talent child starsdimmed by the pressures of fame. The transition from child to adult actor is precarious. As children, they are often shielded from the harsh realities of fame. But as they grow, they become aware of the world's expectations, and if these aren’t met, feelings of inadequacy can lead to withdrawal.


Not every artist craves the limelight. Some, like the enigmatic Sia or the mysterious Banksy prioritise their work over public recognition. For these sensitive souls, the clamour of celebrity can be overwhelming.

Surviving trauma

The entertainment industry can be a hotbed of abuse, manipulation, and exploitation. Those who've endured such trauma might retreat to protect themselves.

Mental health preservation

Persistent attention and invasion of privacy can amplify mental health struggles. Without a sanctuary away from the lens, many celebrities find it difficult to maintain their sanity.

Reclaiming Privacy

Imagine your every move dissected and judged by millions. It's not hard to understand why some celebs would want to snatch back some semblance of privacy.

Yasmine was fired from Baywatch and according to screenwriter Douglas Schwartz it was because she was “not showing up” and had “difficulties, again with men” due to her drug use.

In 2012, he told Esquire: “That's why we let Yasmine go off the show because it was too difficult to deal with her after a while." 

The actress, now 55, has been pictured a few times since, usually while walking her dog in her pyjamas. 

Daniel Day-Lewis took a five-year hiatus from acting before retiring in 2017

The actor played a bloodthirsty character in Gangs Of New York

Yasmine’s final TV appearance was on Howard Stern On Demand 2006 and since then she has shunned the spotlightIn The Name Of The Father, The Last Of The Mohicans and Gangs Of New York are but a few of Daniel Day-Lewis’ greatest films. 

Yet throughout the actor’s career, he regularly chose quietness and solitude over the glitz and glamour Hollywood had to offer. 

In a 2008 Daily Mail article, the journalist Paul Scott said Daniel’s “most customary role” was “as Hollywood’s most reluctant – and increasingly strange – star”.

He noted that the actor would drink alone in pubs, avoided eye contact and for the preceding 10 years lived a “relatively reclusive existence locked away on a 50-acre estate” in County Wicklow, Ireland.

In 2012, Daniel announced he was taking a break from acting and after five years returned for his final film Phantom Thread. 

That same year, the actor announced his retirement and while he did not pinpoint one specific reason, he listed problems including work not seeming “vital” or “irresistible”. 

Since then Daniel’s rarely been seen and now sports wild, long hair, a trucker hat and sunglasses while out in public – supposedly to help disguise himself from the paparazzi. 

In June, the 66-year-old was photographed for the first time in four years during a public outing in New York alongside his wife Rebecca Miller, whom he has two children with.

Bridget Fonda 

Bridget Fonda vanished from public life and Hollywood

The actress in Quentin Tarantino's film Jackie Brown

Nineties star Bridget Fonda was a highly-sought actress after impressive performances in Jackie Brown, The Godfather Part III and Scandal. 

She earned two Golden Globes and an Emmy for her scene-stealing portrayals before making her final acting appearance in the 2002 film Snow Queen.

The following year, Bridget suffered a serious car crash that fracture her vertebrae and has since largely stayed out of the spotlight. 

She got engaged in 2003 and two years later decided to quit Hollywood to become a full-time mum to her son with legendary composer Danny Elfman. 

Bridget has rarely been seen out since and in April this year, when she was photographed at LAX airport she cast doubt on any plans to return to acting. 

When asked if she wanted to be famous again, the 59-year-old told paparazzi: “No. I don’t think so. It’s too nice being a civilian.”

Richard Simmons

Richard Simmons was a big name in Hollywood before he quit the spotlight

Iconic fitness fanatic Richard Simmons became a well-known figure in Hollywood due to his eccentric style and flamboyant personality. 

He helped scores of Americans lost weight through his aerobic videos and was a popular TV guest, who regularly appeared on talk shows, before he quit the spotlight for good. 

Richard’s last public appearance was in 2014 and since then he has issued a number of public statements about his well-being to address unusual several conspiracy theories.

They include the false claims that Richard’s housekeeper held him hostage and that he had gender reassignment surgery.

In 2016, he took to Facebook to state: “In response, I feel compelled to set the record straight and refute these lies.”

One year later, he told the Washington Post: “I just sort of wanted to be a little bit of a loner for a while… right now, I just want to sort of just take care of me.”

Theories about Richard have continued to emerge including that he was forced to give up his showbiz career due to a knee injury. 

In the 2022 documentary What Really Happened to Richard Simmons, TMZ’s founder Harvey Levin claimed the star did not leave the house – apart from to go shopping or to the beach. 

He said: “There has not been a single paparazzi that has gotten anything of Richard Simmons out in public in more than eight years.”

In response to the claims, Richard’s agent told the New York Post the star was “happy, healthy, and living the life he has chosen to live”.

Jack Nicholson 

Jack Nicholson used to be a regular fixture on the red carpet but now he rarely leaves the house

Award-winning actor Jack Nicholson has starred in scores of Hollywood hits including The Shining, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and The Departed.

In his heyday, he was labelled “a man no woman could resist” and allegedly bedded 20,000 women including stars Sandra Knight, Joni Mitchell and Angelica Huston.

But since his last film How Do You Know came out in 2010, Jack has led a considerably quieter life and insiders claim he has quit acting for good. 

A source told Radar: “There is a simple reason behind his decision – it's memory loss, quite frankly… Jack has memory issues and can no longer remember the lines being asked of him.”

They claimed the megastar, now 86, had no intention of “retiring from the limelight or public life” – but in recent years, he’s rarely been seen outside of his home. 

Until April this year – when Jack was pictured on the balcony of his Beverly Hills compound – he hadn’t been seen publicly in 18 months.

A friend told Radar: "He's made it clear, his home is his castle. But people just wish he'd come out of the house and pop up to tell them how – or at least reassure folks he's OK.”

They claimed Jack was “in touch with certain relatives”, including his ‘protege’ son Ray, but said “his socialising days are long gone”.

Jack, who used to be a regular at Los Angeles Lakers basketball games, now only shows up occasionally – including once in May this yearDespite this, friends earlier this year expressed their concern that he would "die alone".

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