12 celebrities who worked normal jobs after becoming famous

Kevin Jonas Nick Jonas Joe Jonas
While The Jonas Brothers were on hiatus, Kevin Jonas ventured into tech and developed an app.Kevin Mazur / Getty Images
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  • Some celebrities worked normal jobs before returning to Hollywood, while others left for good.

  • Former Disney Channel star Jennifer Stone is now a nurse, and Kay Panabaker a zookeeper.

  • "The Cosby Show" star Geoffrey Owens continued to act while working at Trader Joe's.

Peter Ostrum's first and only movie role was Charlie Bucket in 1971's "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory." He's now a veterinarian.

Peter Ostrum in an interview for OWN. He wears a plaid shirt and overalls.
Peter Ostrum.OWN

Ostrum was 12 years old when he was cast as Charlie. He was discovered by talent agents in Cleveland while acting in a play.

Ostrum is now a veterinarian in upstate New York working with large animals, mostly in the dairy industry.

"Acting was fine, but I wanted something more steady, and the key is to find something that you love doing, and that's what my profession has given to me," Ostrum told the American Veterinary Medical Association in an interview in 2000.

He continues to keep a low profile, but he does speak at public schools about his time on "Willy Wonka" and appeared on a 2014 episode of OWN's "Where Are They Now?"

Geoffrey Owens bagged groceries at Trader Joe's after starring on "The Cosby Show."

Geoffrey Owens smiles at a red carpet event
Geoffrey Owens.Efren Landaos/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Owens still works as an actor, but took a job as a cashier at Trader Joe's for a steadier source of income. After photos of Owens working at the grocery store circulated online in 2018, Owens spoke out against "job shaming" he experienced.

"I've been teaching, acting, directing for 30-plus years, but got to a point where it just didn't add up enough and you gotta do what you gotta do," he told Good Morning America. "There's no job better than another ... every job is worthwhile."

After rising to fame on "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," Dylan Sprouse went to NYU and opened a meadery in Brooklyn.

dylan sprouse
Dylan Sprouse.Rich Fury/Getty Images for Blake and White Films

Dylan, along with his twin brother Cole Sprouse, played Tipton Hotel residents Zack and Cody Martin on the Disney Channel sitcom from 2005 to 2008, and the subsequent spin-off "The Suite Life on Deck" from 2008 to 2011.

In addition to acting in a few indie projects, he opened the All-Wise Meadery in Brooklyn, New York, with two business partners in 2018.

After touring with the Backstreet Boys as an early-2000s pop star, Willa Ford now works as an interior designer.

Willa Ford poses for a photo outside
Willa Ford.Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Ford is perhaps best known for her 2001 bop "I Wanna Be Bad," which reached No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100. She also ventured into acting, playing Anna Nicole Smith in the Lifetime biopic "Anna Nicole."

Ford discovered her passion for interior design when she moved into a new home after her divorce, and began helping friends design their homes, she told Refinery29. She eventually founded W Ford Interiors, and even partnered with Scott Disick for a home renovation show.

"It's really exciting to be able to say, I'm not just a pop singer, I am a business owner and an entrepreneur," Ford told W magazine. "I'm really proud of that."

Jeff Cohen, who played Chunk in 1985's "The Goonies," now works as an entertainment lawyer.

jeff cohen the goonies
Jeff Cohen.Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly

Cohen attended Berkeley and earned his law degree from UCLA, then cofounded the entertainment law firm Cohen Gardner in 2002.

"Boy Meets World" star Danielle Fishel worked as a gift-wrapper at Bloomingdale's after the show ended.

Danielle Fishel wearing a black sweater and blue top.
Danielle Fishel in 2009.Amy Graves/WireImage

Fishel worked as a gift wrapper at a Bloomingdale's store in Newport Beach, California while going to college around 2009.

"I liked to wrap presents," she said on an episode of her rewatch podcast "Pod Meets World."

While Fishel did get recognized by customers on occasion, she played coy about confirming who she was. Instead, when customers asked her if people told her she looked like the girl from "Boy Meets World," she would simply say "yes."

"Aliens" star Carrie Henn became a teacher instead of pursuing an acting career.

carrie henn 2016
Carrie Henn.John Sciulli/Getty Images for WIRED

Henn was 9 years old when she was cast as space orphan Newt in "Aliens," and she had no prior acting experience. She won a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor.

She decided to leave acting behind, graduating with degrees in liberal arts and child development from California State University at Stanislaus in 2000 and becoming a teacher.

Henn made an appearance at the Comic Con 30th Anniversary panel for "Aliens" in 2016 with fellow cast members Sigourney Weaver and Bill Paxton and voiced a character in the animated series "Thunder Island" in 2020, but has otherwise stayed out of the limelight.

"I would miss being in the classroom," Henn told People in 2001 of her decision to pursue teaching over acting. "I love being in there with the kids."

While The Jonas Brothers were on hiatus, Kevin Jonas ventured into tech with a restaurant app called Yood.

Kevin Jonas at the 2022 Oscars.
Kevin Jonas at the 2022 Oscars.Momodu Mansaray/Getty Images

Launched in 2014, Yood allowed users to search for local restaurants by type of cuisine. The app is no longer available.

Kevin's entrepreneurship career was short-lived, but The Jonas Brothers reunited in 2019 with a new album, "Happiness Begins," and the Happiness Begins Tour. They've continued making music together and recently wrapped a Las Vegas residency.

Danny Lloyd, who played Danny Torrance in "The Shining," is now a biology professor at a community college in Kentucky.

danny lloyd doctor sleep
Danny Lloyd's cameo in "Doctor Sleep."Warner Bros.

Danny was Lloyd's first role, and, it turns out, his second-to-last one. He only appeared in one more project, "Will: G. Gordon Liddy," a TV movie in 1982, before leaving acting behind at age 9.

He returned for a brief cameo in the 2019 "Shining" sequel, "Doctor Sleep," as a spectator at a baseball game.

"I don't do many interviews. But when I do, I try to make it clear, 'The Shining' was a good experience," Lloyd told The Guardian in 2017. "I look back on it fondly. What happened to me was I didn't really do much else after the film. So you kind of have to lay low and live a normal life."

Jennifer Stone, who played Harper on Disney Channel's "Wizards of Waverly Place," is now an emergency-room nurse.

Jennifer Stone in 2018.
Jennifer Stone.Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for Scale Management

Before her Disney Channel debut, Stone had appeared in episodes of "House" and "Without a Trace." She went on to act in TV movies such as "High School Possession" and "Nasty Habits."

Stone now works in the emergency room at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, and has testified about her experience with type 1 diabetes before the US Senate Special Committee On Aging.

She told Deadline in 2020 that her character work as an actor has been helpful as a medical professional.

"In nursing, you come across so many different kinds of people ... To be able to say, 'I may not know what you're going through because I personally haven't gone through it, but I can only imagine and I'm here to listen. I'm here to empathize. I'm here with you for whatever you need me to do.' I don't know if I would have been able to do that as effectively without being an actor," she said.

After "The Jersey Shore," cast member Angelina Pivarnick worked as an EMT.

angelina pivarnick jersey shore
Angelina Pivarnick.Santiago Felipe/WireImage via Getty Images

From 2016 to 2018, Pivarnick worked as an EMT with the New York City Fire Department. In 2018, Pivarnick filed complaints alleging sexual harassment from two of her superiors, resulting in a $350,000 settlement.

"I said when the case was filed that it had nothing to do with television or entertainment and that remains true. Sexual harassment is serious and has devastating consequences for so many women. It has for #MeToo," she said in a statement to People magazine. "Although I experienced horrendous treatment at EMS, I'm pleased with the resolution of my case and I look forward to using my voice to speak about the need to protect all women from sexual harassment."

Kay Panabaker, who starred in "Summerland" and Disney Channel movies like "Read It and Weep," works as a zookeeper.

Kay Panabaker
Kay Panabaker.Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Panabaker often appeared alongside her sister Danielle in Disney Channel shows and movies. She also played Jenny Garrison in the 2009 remake of "Fame."

She studied history at UCLA and completed an 18-month zoology program at Santa Fe College, and currently works as an animal keeper at Disney World.

Panabaker said she became disillusioned with acting after a producer told her she needed to lose weight because her character on a TV show was getting a love interest.

"Looking back, finding my true passion was worth all of the extra time," she told Naperville Magazine in 2016. "[...] I love it when I leave work and have felt like I was able to inspire and make a difference, even if it was just one person that day. I don't earn a fraction of what I used to, and yet, I couldn't be happier."

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