Actresses Michelle Pfeiffer and Meg Tilly are both experiencing a career resurgence. Pfeiffer’s role as Ruth Madoff in HBO’s Wizard of Lies earned her a Primetime Emmy nomination, and Tilly’s portrayal of Jeanie McMahon in Netflix’s War Machine opposite Brad Pitt has many of her fans thrilled to see her back. The two stars recently revealed what caused them to put acting on the backburner. In both instances, prioritizing family over career was the case. Now, with their kids fully grown and out of the nest, we can expect to see more of the celebrated talents. Here, they share some of the challenges they faced as parents while attempting to maintain an acting career.

Michelle Pfeiffer

Empty-nester Michelle Pfeiffer is glad to be back. She told Interview magazine, “I feel really at home on the movie set. I’m a more balanced person honestly when I’m working.” But she recalled the point when she felt she needed to take a step back. “When [my children] were really little, I could just take them anywhere. And then once they started school, I felt like I didn’t want to take them out of school during the school year.” Consequently, she decided the best time for her to work was during the summer, but even then, the job would need to fit around the kids’ schedules. She was also picky about where she’d shoot. Soon it  became apparent that her strict requirements made her “impossible to hire.” So Michelle said, “I disappeared.” When she longed to do something creative, she painted. But once the kids were college bound, Pfeiffer realized she wanted to try to get back into acting. Now 59 years old, the legendary Scarface star told the magazine, “I’m more open now–my frame of mind–because I really want to work now because I can. And these last few years I’ve had some really interesting opportunities.” Those opportunities include her Wizard of Lies role opposite Robert De Niro, and she’ll soon be starring opposite Jennifer Lawrence in the psychological horror film Mother! to be released September 15. Later this year, she’ll appear in Murder on the Orient Express, and looking forward, Pfeiffer will star in Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Meg Tilly

In the 1980’s, Meg Tilly was at the top of her game with roles in the films The Big Chill and Leaving Normal as well as her Golden Globe-winning performance in Agnes of God as a tormented nun. But Meg recently shared with People that she took time away from her acting career to make parenting her children the priority. “I would always take my children with me when I went on movies. That worked really well for a few years. But then one year, we went to shoot ‘Leaving Normal’ and when we came back, my daughter’s best friend was best friends with someone else. She was devastated,” Tilly recalled. Meg’s childhood was a tragic one due to her abusive stepfather. In turn, she found it difficult to trust others with helping her raise her kids. “My children didn’t ask to be born. I had a responsibility to be there,” she told the magazine. Tilly prided herself in being the traditional, Leave It to Beaver-like mom and pushed acting to the recesses of her mind while living in British Columbia and writing novels. Tilly is now 57 and her kids are adults, so she took the opportunity to get back into acting. Beginning with theater and then starring in a Canadian television show Bomb Girls, word got out that Tilly was back. Her next role was playing a war general’s wife in War Machine alongside Brad Pitt. However, Meg is uncertain if she wants to continue further with acting. But she keeps the bracelet her sister once gave her engraved with the inscription: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

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