"When you're making a movie … they own you," she says. "You're there for 12 hours a day for months on end you have no time for anything else."
Cameron Diaz was one of the biggest stars on the planet. She was well paid, world famous and seemingly could have her pick of any film project out there. And then she walked away.
Speaking to Gwyneth Paltrow on the latest installment of the latter's "In Goop Health: The Sessions" series, Diaz described the feeling of walking away from a lucrative and incredibly successful career at it's apex as being "like peace."
"I feel grounded and light," she said. "It's a strange thing to say. I know a lot of people won't understand it, I know you understand it." She went on to describe it as "a peace in my soul because I was finally taking care of myself."
The weight she inferred comes from that extra level of intensity and scrutiny that people on the outside looking in on a movie star might not see. "There’s a lot of energy coming at you at all times when you’re really visible as an actor and doing press and putting yourself out there," she said.
And then there's the other side of stardom and that's just exactly what you're signing on for when you agree to appear in a movie or on a television series.
"When you’re making a movie … they own you," Diaz said. "You’re there for 12 hours a day for months on end you have no time for anything else."
At the same time, she met and quickly fell in love with her husband, Benji Madden. "Benji and I met each other and we got married pretty much immediately because we both knew that we both had to do it."
The couple wed in 2015 and started their family seven months ago with the birth of daughter Raddix. Diaz said that despite their age difference -- she is currently 47 and Benji's 41 -- they were both at the same place in their lives and ready for the same things.
She credits her husband with helping on her path of self-discovery after stepping away from stardom. Part of that was relearning how to be "self-sufficient" after years of being catered to as a member of Hollywood's elite.
"I broke that mirror about a thousand times when he put it up to me. I was like, 'I hate you ... don't show me that,' and he was like, 'Look, bitch, look,'" Diaz said, quickly adding, "Thank God for him."
Diaz first announced that she had "retired" from acting in 2018, though she hasn't ruled out a return. "Look, I'm never going to say never. I'm not a person who says never about anything, clearly," Diaz said in another casual chat with her longtime makeup artist Gucci Westman a few months ago.
Perhaps it means something that the usually elusive Diaz has made herself more available for interviews of late. Perhaps now that she has found that peace and love with her family she's ready to embrace again her love of acting.
And with her center clearly established, she's in a better place to not lose herself in it. And after a career filled with highlights from "The Mask" to "Charlie's Angels," "There's Something About Mary," "Being John Malkovich" and "Gangs of New York," fans would love to see the versatile talent in front of the camera again.