Last century through the beginning of this one, actress and director Helen Hunt was everywhere. She starred in Mad About You for much of the 90s while appearing in multiple films during that decade, and in 1997, she received an Academy Award for her role in As Good As It Gets. In 2000, she starred in four major films: Cast Away, What Women Want, Pay It Forward and Dr. T and the Women.
Since then, Helen has made fewer media appearances, causing many to wonder where she went and why. In a new interview with the Guardian, Helen shared her clapback to that question.
“It’s so funny when people ask: ‘What happened to you?’ Well, I had a baby—I made a whole person—and I co-wrote, directed and produced two entire films so it didn’t seem so quiet to me. There’s a difference between working hard and being famous,” she told the Guardian.
Helen gave birth to daughter Makena Lei, whom she shares with ex-husband Hank Azaria, in 2004, and becoming a mother, she told the Guardian was a turning point for her. “I spent much less time working and doing interviews and more time in private, so it just naturally quieted down and that was nice. I don’t get followed anymore, and it doesn’t disturb my life. I get good theater tickets, and that’s worth all of it.”
Helen’s explanation about what happened to her career after motherhood is totally understandable. When you have a kid, adjustments are necessary. And though your career might take on a different appearance—in regular working moms’ cases, a different type of schedule, or part-time work, and in Helen’s case, more time directing, producing and writing and less time doing press—it doesn’t mean you aren’t still busting your butt and succeeding professionally.
Nevertheless, Helen’s aware her decision to spend more time in private might have resulted in her not being as “famous” as before. “I haven’t been, in my personal life, so intriguing that I’ll always be that famous. I haven’t tried to make that happen. I’d like to be well known so I can get more jobs,” she said.
We applaud Helen for building her career on her own terms as a working mom, but we’re also happy to start seeing more of her again in upcoming projects. The actress and director will star in the reboot of 90s TV show Mad About You, which will air on Spectrum Originals, and will also star in the BBC drama World of Fire.