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Rachel McAdams recalls taking a major break from acting at the height of fame to 'stay sane'

"It's taken years to understand what I intuitively was doing."

rachel mcadams
Lionsgate Movies/Youtube

Rachel McAdams in "Are You There God? It's me, Margaret"

Rachel McAdams gave us two iconic roles back in the early 2000s with “Mean Girls” and the “Notebook.” And though she went on to star in other movies, her career certainly didn’t follow the normal trajectory of other Hollywood “It” girls—featuring in blockbuster after blockbuster until the well runs dry. In fact, there’s a cumulative two years where the actress didn’t appear in anything.

According to McAdams, this break was a form of self-care.

In a recent interview with Bustle, McAdams revealed that somewhat overnight success quickly forced her to evaluate her personal boundaries, recalling a Vanity Fair photoshoot in which she ultimately walked out after learning that she was expected to pose nude.

From that moment, the A-lister decided to move away from the spotlight, literally. She went back home to Canada to focus on raising her family, turning down major roles in films like “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Casino Royale,” “Mission: Impossible III,” “Iron Man” and “Get Smart.”

Of course, knowing her decision was the right one didn’t make things any easier. She told Bustle, “I felt guilty for not capitalizing on the opportunity that I was being given, because I knew I was in such a lucky spot.”

“There were definitely some anxious moments of wondering if I was just throwing it all away, and why was I doing that?” she added.

At the same time, she also knew that her current path wasn’t quite what she “needed to stay sane.” So, she chose sanity.

It’s been years since that leap of faith, and now McAdams is making her career comeback by starring in the highly anticipated book adaptation of Judy Blume’s “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret?” And this time, after cultivating a rich personal life, she’s more self-assured than ever, sharing that the break helped her feel “empowered.”

“It helped me feel like I was taking back some control. And I think it sort of allowed me to come in from a different doorway,” she said.

We might not all be Hollywood A-listers like Rachel McAdams, but her story feels universal nonetheless. Most of us, at one point or another, have experienced the pressure of choosing between material success and mental health. In reality, the two are inexorably linked, with our well-being providing the focus, confidence and stamina needed to truly accomplish something and sustain any momentum that follows. We know this on a gut level, and now more and more success stories are coming in that reflect this wisdom. Hustle culture certainly isn’t dead by any means, but its siren call is becoming steadily fainter. And if its silence means more empowerment, that feels like the biggest success of all.

By the way, if you haven’t checked out McAdams in the new trailer for “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret?” then do yourself a favor and watch below. Without a doubt, it marks the beginning of a career renaissance.

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