White Oleander star Alison Lohman opens up about her decision to QUIT Hollywood

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Alison Lohman has opened up about why she quit acting to start a family at the height of her fame 13 years ago, saying she values anonymity and want to be treated like ‘anyone else.’

The 43-year-old reflected on her decision to leave Hollywood in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter celebrating the 20th anniversary of White Oleander — the 2002 film adaptation of Janet Fitch’s bestseller that launched her to fame. 

‘I always wanted to have kids and a family, that was always a huge thing for me,’ she told the magazine. ‘In a way, if someone does find out that I was an actress before, in a weird way, it’s kind of a bummer because they don’t see me anymore. The bubble bursts and I’m now an actress. I just want to be me.’ 

Alison Lohman, 43, opened up about why she left Hollywood behind in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter celebrating the 20th anniversary of White Oleander

Alison Lohman, 43, opened up about why she left Hollywood behind in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter celebrating the 20th anniversary of White Oleander

The actress was launched to fame when she scored the lead role of Astrid in the 2002 film adaptation of Janet Fitch's bestseller White Oleander

The actress was launched to fame when she scored the lead role of Astrid in the 2002 film adaptation of Janet Fitch’s bestseller White Oleander 

Lohman was up against 400 actresses when she scored the lead role of Astrid in White Oleander, which also starred Michelle Pfeiffer, Renée Zellweger, and Robin Wright. 

She was just 23 when the film premiered on October 8, 2002, and turned her into a bonafide movie star complete with magazine covers and red-carpet appearances. 

‘Initially, it was fine, you know, it was flattering. But, as an actor, there’s a certain amount of anonymity that I like to have. It’s hard to study people when they are looking at you. I generally don’t like attention,’ she explained. 

Lohman said her publicist at the time told her that part of the job is being in the limelight, and she had to ‘accept that’ if she wanted to continue acting. 

After White Oleander, she worked steadily for seven years, appearing in ten films, including Matchstick Men, Big Fish, The Big White, and Drag Me to Hell. 

Lohman started alongside Michelle Pfeiffer (left) and Robin Wright (right) in the film

Lohman started alongside Michelle Pfeiffer (left) and Robin Wright (right) in the film

Lohman worked steadily for the next seven years and appeared alongside Halle Berry in the 2007 film Things We Lost in the Fire (pictured together at the premiere)

Lohman worked steadily for the next seven years and appeared alongside Halle Berry in the 2007 film Things We Lost in the Fire (pictured together at the premiere) 

Lohman (pictured at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009) broke away from acting after meeting her husband, Mark Neveldine, on the set of the film Gamer, which he co-directed

Lohman (pictured at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009) broke away from acting after meeting her husband, Mark Neveldine, on the set of the film Gamer, which he co-directed

Lohman broke away from acting after meeting her husband, Mark Neveldine, on the set of the 2009 film Gamer, which he co-directed. 

‘It’s funny because he initially did not like me and didn’t want me for that part,’ she recalled. ‘I had these dreads at the time so he had another girl in mind. So, when I came in, he was like, “What is this girl doing here? We don’t want this girl in dreads. This is not going to work.”

‘It’s so funny because that’s how it started. Even for myself, I didn’t understand the concept of the script but looking back on it now, it was way ahead of its time. It was a great experience though because I met Mark.’ 

Lohman said she realized she didn’t want to live in Los Angeles anymore when she was filming the 2006 movie Flicka in Wyoming, but Neveldine was the one who told her she didn’t have to work. She could take a break if she wanted. 

‘No one had ever said that to me,’ she explained. ‘I said, “Wow, take a break? What would I do?” I thought about it and came up with all these ideas of what I wanted to do and that included living on a farm.’

The couple (pictured on their wedding day in 2009) bought a farm in upstate New York on 200 acres and had three children together

The couple (pictured on their wedding day in 2009) bought a farm in upstate New York on 200 acres and had three children together

Lohman found it difficult to return to acting after she became a mom and decided to focus on raising her kids

Lohman found it difficult to return to acting after she became a mom and decided to focus on raising her kids

Lohman said she continued to get acting offers for the first five years, but she turned them down because she couldn't imagine leaving her children when they were that young

Lohman said she continued to get acting offers for the first five years, but she turned them down because she couldn’t imagine leaving her children when they were that young

The couple bought a farm in upstate New York on 200 acres after marrying in 2009 and went on to have three children together. 

‘It became like another role for me, but it was real life. It was so much fun,’ she said. ‘Then we started to have kids and it was so hard for me to get back into acting.’

Lohman said she continued to get acting offers for the first five years, but she turned them down because she couldn’t imagine leaving her children when they were that young. 

‘I would see all these other actresses being able to have kids and still work but I realized that it was not for me,’ she explained. ‘I miss it but I cannot do two things at once, in terms of juggling motherhood and my career. I decided that I would be a mother and raise them and maybe later, get back into acting.’ 

Lohman now works as an acting coach through her virtual business, Act With Alison, which connects her with other actors around the globe. 

The mom (pictured with her husband in 2017) said she values her anonymity and is happy that she'hardly ever' gets recognized because she was treated differently as a famous actress

The mom (pictured with her husband in 2017) said she values her anonymity and is happy that she ‘hardly ever’ gets recognized because she was treated differently as a famous actress

Lohman (pictured with her husband in June) now works as an acting coach through her virtual business, Act With Alison, which connects her with other actors around the globe

Lohman (pictured with her husband in June) now works as an acting coach through her virtual business, Act With Alison, which connects her with other actors around the globe

‘So I’m just waiting now to see how life unfolds without putting too much pressure on myself to control it or plan [what comes next],’ she said. 

And after 13 years away from Hollywood,’ she is happy to report that she ‘hardly ever’ gets recognized anymore. 

‘The part that I do like about anonymity is when you meet someone and they don’t know who you are, they are so different towards you,’ she explained. ‘That’s what you miss as a famous actor because people treat you so differently and it’s true. You’re not really going through what normal people go through because it’s so coddled and not real. 

‘And I have to be honest, I love it,’ she added. ‘I’m like, “Yes, treat me like you would treat anyone else or how you want to be treated.” It’s just real interactions and to be a good actor, you have to be able to experience and draw from these real moments.’ 

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