From Hollywood Heartthrob to Devoted Stay-at-Home Dad: Why Freddie Prinze Jr Quit a Successful Acting Career and Became a Chef
It takes a lot of courage and conviction to completely shift career directions, but Freddie Prinze Jr knew deep down that this was a decision he had to take. Once an adored actor and a teen idol, he nevertheless decided to stay out of the spotlight in order to fully enjoy his family life. Today, the 46-year-old is an accomplished chef among other things, and most importantly, he is living his life just the way he believes he should, devoted to his 2 young kids.
The crush of an entire generation.
If we want to make a list of the most handsome men of the late ’90s to the early ’00s, Freddie Prinze Jr’s name often comes up at the top spots. In fact, with his dashing good looks and leading roles in teen favorites such as I Know What You Did Last Summer and She’s All That, the 20-something actor’s career was on the rise with the promise of a long professional path ahead of him.
And the teen idol’s off-screen life wasn’t any less dreamy than the romantic dramas he starred in. In fact, in 2002, the then 26-year-old actor married non-other than the star of the hit show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar. Needless to say, that when the 2 popular stars got together, they turned into one of the most glamorous and iconic couples of the early ’00s.
In 2009, the stars became parents for the first time after having their baby girl, Charlotte. 3 years later, the happy parents welcomed their son, Rocky. And 25 years after they first met, the couple’s love is still rock solid, and the enamored pair recently celebrated their 2 decades of marriage, proving to us that fairy tales can actually last.
Wanting to step away from acting
Freddie’s love life might have been going steady for years, but his career has taken an unexpected detour. In fact, the actor demonstrated to us that listening to our inner voice and instincts is much more important than following a path that has already been planned out. It was around 2005, after the end of the sitcom Freddie — which he wrote and starred in himself — that the actor started to feel a sense of closure.
When speaking of that show, he revealed that he once felt like he heard his late father’s voice saying, “Looking good!” And this to him was like a sign. The actor explained, “I felt like I accomplished everything that I went to L.A. to accomplish.”
However, he remained in the acting industry for a few more years, even though he felt less involved and already had one foot out of the door. And it was during the time when he was acting in the series 24 that he fully realized he wanted out and admitted to himself, “Hey, I don’t think I have the passion for this.”
Starting a new chapter
The truth was that becoming a parent had fully transformed things for Freddie and made him see life from a whole new perspective. In fact, after welcoming their daughter Charlotte in 2009, the young father understood that he’s called for a new vocation. He explained, “I wanted to be a stay-at-home dad. I wanted to cook breakfast and dinner for my kids every day.”
Realizing that he wants to spend the maximum time as he can with his child made the devoted dad turn his back on his acting career, and this, in turn, allowed him to find more time for his hobbies. These included comic books, pro wrestling, video games, and Star Wars.
And with time, he learned how to turn his hobbies into sources of income. Freddie revealed that he invests his money in rare and limited-edition comic books. He also wrote and produced for World Wrestling Entertainment, and he even once lent his voice for a video game.
But his initial and biggest passion was cooking, and fatherhood allowed him to rediscover it. In fact, when he landed his first acting job, the young man was already six months into culinary school. He explained that he dropped out because “The per diem back then was more than I was making a week at the restaurant.”
However, his love and attachment for this art always remained in him. He once noted, “Cooking was something my mother and I always did together.”
Family always comes first.
And today, the loving dad is fully back in the kitchen, and he uses time there as a way of connecting and bonding with his 2 kids. He also transmits to them family values and traditions by sharing the recipes he learned from his own mom. He explained, “We already have made so many memories together in the kitchen and I know I’m giving my kids tools they’ll use for life, and for when they ultimately have their own families.”
Freddie even took his passion for the kitchen to another level. In fact, the actor turned chef even wrote his own cookbook with 75 recipes inspired by his Puerto Rican heritage and his travels as an actor.
Freddie doesn’t seem to regret his decision of stepping away from acting one bit. He explained, “I didn’t miss it at all when I walked away.” He added, “I had kids and not having a dad, it was always more important to me to be a present father.” However, this doesn’t mean that the 46-year-old has completely turned the page on his acting career.
In fact, in 2020, he was offered what he described as a “crazy job” which is a role in a reboot movie. And in 2022, he teased about his return to horror movies. This announcement comes 25 years after making the horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer, which rose him to stardom, and on the set of which he met the love of his life, his wife Sarah Michelle.
What do you think of Freddie Prinze Jr’s journey? Have you ever made a drastic change in your professional career or life in general?