Nearly a decade after Jessica Alba hit ‘pause’ on her acting career, she explains why she walked away.
At the start of the 2000s, Jessica Alba was one of the biggest names in Hollywood, starring in TV series like Dark Angel and movies like Into The Blue and Fantastic Four. Then, she stopped. Jessica, 39, explained her decision to step back from acting to Romper, crediting motherhood – she welcomed her first child, Honor, in 2008 – as the driving reason for the change. “I had this real moment of, I want to live, and thrive, and spend as much time with this little person that I’m bringing into the world as possible and stay,” said Jessica. “So, my health matters. I want this little person to be healthy. And it’s really freaking hard to be happy when you don’t have your health.”
“That’s really what motivated me. My motivation was not like, ‘Am I ever going to get hired again?’ Frankly, I was at the top of my career,” she told Romper. “I couldn’t go back to what I was doing before and be authentic. I just couldn’t. I didn’t care about it the same way.” Roughly four years after becoming a mother for the first time, Jessica stepped away from acting. This isn’t to say she completely stopped, as she’s made sporadic appearances in movies over the last decade — most recently in the TV series L.A. Finest. It’s that motherhood made Jessica feel “something bigger” and made her change her priorities. “I felt like if I was going to have this platform, then what can I do with it that could be meaningful and make a difference? That just felt so real when I became a mom for the first time.”
That “difference” took shape in the Honest Company, a nontoxic household goods startup she co-founded in 2011, per Forbes. Despite some rocky years – Romper noted how the Honest Company faced a backlash after a Wall Street Journal investigation found sodium lauryl sulfate in the popular laundry detergent, and there was a call for a boycott after one of their popular sunscreens didn’t work – the Honest Company’s sales have thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Vogue Business noting the company approached $350 in sales for 2020. Jessica, as of 2016, was worth an estimated $340 million, and this good year likely increased that.
Speaking of the pandemic, Jessica shared how she’s been able to cope with sheltering in place with her family – daughters Honor, 12, Haven, 9, and her 3-year-old son Hayes. It does get pretty Groundhog Day, [so] once a week, I try to take a bath. I’ll put the baby — I still call him a baby — in this little mini bathtub he has. I’ll put his [bath tub] next to mine because that kid loves to pee in the bath. Then he has his toys. I can be in my bath, and he’s in his, and put my face mask on and just kind of sit there. It doesn’t feel heavy. It’s just sort of organic time to hang.”