Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
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“People think I’m trying to make a fashion statement because I never wear a bra. It’s really that I’m a tomboy at heart.” One of the highest-grossing actresses at the box office, Cameron Diaz earned her place in Hollywood after making her film debut opposite Jim Carrey in The Mask (1994). Over the next decade, she starred in My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), There’s Something About Mary (1998), Being John Malkovich (1999), Charlie’s Angels (2000), In Her Shoes (2005), and several other projects before she officially retired from acting in 2014. So, what’s she been up to over the last five years? Healthy living and more!
1970s to Stardom
Cameron Michelle Diaz was born on August 30, 1972, in San Diego, California and was raised in a conservative home in Long Beach. “We weren’t privileged—very much the opposite. My family would collect cans to turn in for extra money because $20 meant something to us. But we were very happy,” Diaz said of her childhood. “I had amazing parents; they were awesome.”
Diaz’s parents supported her dreams and encouraged her to sign a contract with Elite Model Management at the age of 16. Still in high school at the time, Diaz appeared in ads for Calvin Klein and Levi’s before she landed on the cover of Seventeen magazine in July 1990. She spent the next several years modeling and surprised everyone when she auditioned for a part opposite Jim Carrey in The Mask (1994). Although she lacked any previous acting experience, Diaz was cast as jazz singer Tina Carlyle in one of the highest-grossing films of the year.
The Mask made Diaz an international sex symbol as she expanded her reach in Hollywood with credits in The Last Supper (1995), Feeling Minnesota (1996), She’s the One (1996), and Head Above Water (1996). In 1997, she joined Julia Roberts and Dermot Mulroney in My Best Friend’s Wedding, which was a box office hit around the globe and was named one of the best romantic comedies of all time. This pushed Diaz’s career even further forward as she landed the starring role in There’s Something About Mary (1998), which sealed Diaz’s fate as a leading lady and earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination.
On the heels of her early success, Diaz took her future in her own hands and secured a percentage of her box office earnings rather than accept a hefty paycheck in advance. This proved to be a savvy decision as she went on to star in blockbusters like Being John Malkovich (1999), which earned over $32 million at the box office. She followed up with Any Given Sunday (1999) and joined Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu in Charlie’s Angels (2000), the latter of which earned over $264 million to become one of the highest-grossing films of the year. By then, Diaz was one of the top-earning actresses in Hollywood and starred in Vanilla Sky (2001), Shrek (2001), The Sweetest Thing (2002), Gangs of New York (2002), Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003), and Shrek 2 (2004).
By the mid-2000s, Diaz’s relationship with singer and actor Justin Timberlake often overshadowed her career, which is what led her back to film. She starred opposite Shirley MacLaine in the 2005 comedy In Her Shoes, joined Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black in The Holiday (2006), and Ashton Kutcher in What Happens in Vegas (2008). Over the next few years, Diaz reprised her role as Princess Fiona in the Shrek film franchise with additional appearances in My Sister’s Keeper (2009), The Box (2009), Knight and Day (2010), The Green Hornet (2011), and Bad Teacher (2011).
Leaving Hollywood Behind
Despite being named one of the richest female celebrities, Diaz became even more selective with her projects in the 2010s. She appeared in What to Expect When You’re Expecting (2012), Gambit (2012), The Counselor (2013), and The Other Woman (2014). She joined Jason Segel in Sex Tape (2014), which was a flop at the box office despite Diaz appearing nude in several scenes. She made her last film appearance in Annie in 2014 before she announced her hiatus from acting. So, what’s she been doing since then?
Diaz experienced a shift in her life after celebrating her 40th birthday in 2012. “That as you get older, your body changes in so many little ways. It doesn’t react the same way that it used to. I don’t get the results that I used to as easily as I once did,” Diaz says of aging and what led her to publish her health book, The Body Book: Feed, Move, Understand, and Love Your Amazing Body (2013). “Now I look at myself and I realize, ‘Oh right, I’m in this time in my life where I have to be thoughtful. If I slack off, things don’t come back so easily. I have to be committed.’”
Following her retirement from acting in 2014, Diaz embraced her new freedom and set out to build a life she truly loved. “Everything gets easier as you grow older,” she says. “It’s just great. It’s about your spirit and the way you look at life. I’ve matured, definitely. But I kept an open mind about everything and that keeps you young. Age is just a number anyhow.” She shared that passion and freedom in her next best-seller, The Longevity Book: The Science of Aging, the Biology of Strength, and the Privilege of Time in 2016.
Outside of sharing her story and healthy lifestyle through her books, Diaz also spent a few years single. “I do get asked out. It’s fun and I like boys,” she said. “I’m boy crazy. That hasn’t changed since I was very young. I love boys. I’m a lot of woman. In a lot of ways. And I understand that it can be intimidating.” Luckily, that wasn’t intimidating for musician Benji Madden, who fell madly in love with Diaz in late 2014. The couple married at Diaz’s Beverly Hills home on January 5, 2015, and have been together ever since. “I love my life,” Diaz says. “I don’t have any shame in being happy. You spend so many years in darkness with stuff eating away at you—it’s OK to be happy… Youth is always going to be wasted on the young. You’ll never truly appreciate what you have until it’s lost. That’s growth, that’s wisdom, that’s learning, that’s life.”