Rachel McAdams Opens Up Over the Guilt She Felt Taking a Break from Acting

“I…knew it wasn’t quite jiving with my personality and what I needed to stay sane.”

Rachel McAdams
(Image credit: Getty)

Actress Rachel McAdams is opening up about her choice to take a two-year break from acting and the guilt she felt around the choice, telling Bustle “I needed to stay sane.”

McAdams stars in the new movie Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, out April 28. (Yes, it’s the film adaptation of Judy Blume’s iconic 1970 book.) Of taking time off, she said “I guess I always had a sense that it would be okay; either it’s going to work out or it’s not.”

She said her time away from the limelight “really helped me 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.”

McAdams’ first film role was in 2002, and she has worked steadily since, starring in Mean Girls, The Notebook, and Wedding Crashers all from 2004 to 2005, and appearing in typically at least one film per year afterwards, including the Academy Award-winning Spotlight in 2015. In the past three years, she has been seen less on screen, and she said of taking a break from her career in the 2000s “I felt guilty for not capitalizing on the opportunity that I was being given, because I knew I was in such a lucky spot. But I also knew it wasn’t quite jiving with my personality and what I needed to stay sane.”

She added that she didn’t feel fully confident that her 2000s break was the right decision at the time, and Bustle noted that she turned down parts in movies like The Devil Wears Prada, Casino Royale, and Iron Man not long after her initial breakout role in Mean Girls.

“There were definitely some anxious moments of wondering if I was just throwing it all away, and why was I doing that?” McAdams said. “It’s taken years to understand what I intuitively was doing.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.