Updated: 04/23/2019 05:44 PM | First Published: 04/23/2019 04:54 PM

Why did Phoebe Cates leave Hollywood? What happened to her?

Phoebe Cates aka the teen queen took Hollywood by storm in the 1980s with her sultry appearances in movies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Gremlins. Starting her career with an iconic role in Paradise, she starred in a series of quintessential movies of the 80s, but later disappeared from the industry in the mid-90s.

Here’s the reason why she left Hollywood behind

Wanted to Grow Family

Phoebe and Kevin attending the 2017 Tony Awards Ceremony

After her breakthrough role in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, she met an actor, Kevin Kline while auditioning for a role in The Big Chill. After dating for years, she married Kline in 1989 and changed her name to Phoebe Cates Kline. 

They had an agreement that one of them would stay at home once they have kids and Cates was the one to do so. She left Hollywood to focus on raising children, son Owen Joseph Kline (born 1991) and daughter Greta Simone Kline (1994). 

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Box Office Disappointments

Phoebe appears in The Gremlins 2 wearing a formal grey suit

Gremlins garnered a box office collection of $153.1 million on a budget of $11 million. Along with that, Cates also got recognition as the “sex symbol.” However, her later movies became box office disappointments, with Princess Caraboo making just $3.06 million, Gremlins 2 making $41m and Drop Dead Fred collecting mere $13m.

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Lack of Interest

Smiling picture of Phoebe Cates in blue dress

Cates’ last major role was in the 2001 independent movie, The Anniversary Party, which also featured her husband and children. When she had some break from motherhood, the roles she was offered didn’t seem to justify leaving home for weeks or months at a time. So, she kept turning down the roles.

Since The Anniversary Party, she has acted in only one project. She reprised her role of Kate Beringer (voice only) from Gremlins in the video game, LEGO Dimensions.

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Charity Work

Phoebe and her children at a red carpet event

After her son Owen was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, she started devoting a lot of time and effort in fundraising to find a cure for the metabolic disease. She actively supports Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which puts on campaigns like the Promise Ball and Rock the Cure, to raise funds for research.

She also supports Heifer International, a charity that helps the causes like hunger, children, AIDS and HIV.

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Running Business

Phoebe eating a pie at her boutique

In 2001, she started her own boutique, Blue Tree at New York’s Madison Avenue. The store sells expensive designer toys, clothes, housewares and specialty foods.  All of the items are hand picked by Cates herself and the store is super successful. She says that customers stop by to tell her that she looks like the famous actress of the 80s.

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Still Attends Public Events

The couple smile for the cameras at the Tony Awards. Both are wearing black

Though she has abandoned the film industry, she still accompanies her husband to red carpets. She was spotted at 2017 Tony Awards, where Kline won the Best Actor for Present Laughter.

In 2015, she attended an event, Anthology Film Archives and honored her Gremlins co-star, Dick Miller. She, Miller and Zach Galligan also participated in a Q&A session.

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