Jessica Alba. Picture: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Jessica Alba. Picture: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Why Jessica Alba vanished from spotlight

SHE was one of the biggest names of the noughties after starring in Honey, Sin City and the Fantastic Four - but 15 years on, Jessica Alba has almost vanished from the celebrity radar.

The actor has settled for a life out of the limelight, something she may have craved after the stresses of a tough childhood, which saw her endure numerous illnesses and an alleged kidnapping incident at 15 - a trauma she still refuses to speak about to this day, The Sun reports.

The actor was on the set of her first show, Flipper, in 1996 when it's alleged she was kidnapped from set and went missing for 14 hours.

The case was dismissed as Jessica couldn't provide any information - and she's since refused to answer questions about her turmoil.


Alba in the 1996 TV show Flipper.
Alba in the 1996 TV show Flipper.


But the alleged abduction wasn't the only traumatic thing to happen in her childhood.

Jessica was seriously ill as a child, suffering with partially collapsed and ruptured lungs, asthma, pneumonia multiple times every year, hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Her family were born-again Christians - but the church disapproved of Jessica's looks.

"Older men would hit on me, and my youth pastor said it was because I was wearing provocative clothing, when I wasn't," she said in a 2006 interview.

"It just made me feel like if I was in any way desirable to the opposite sex that it was my fault, and it made me ashamed of my body and being a woman."

She developed boobs at a young age, and was branded a "slut" as a child by a school administrator.

Jessica was bullied by fellow students as well and it's no surprise she ended up feeling confused about her body and developed an eating disorder.

"A lot of girls have eating disorders and I did too," she revealed.


Jessica Alba and Mekhi Phifer in the 2004 film Honey.
Jessica Alba and Mekhi Phifer in the 2004 film Honey.

"I became obsessed with it. I never see myself as a beautiful woman and have never traded on that to get ahead in this business."


Although she grew up in a strictly religious family who didn't believe in sex before marriage, Jessica dated "whoever asked her out" during her teenage years - but never slept with any of them.

"I basically went out with any guy who asked me because hardly anyone ever asked me out," she told Cosmopolitan in 2005.

"I remember this one guy who really liked me. He was so boring that I ordered a hamburger and ate it in a really masculine way, like a pig, dripping and chewing with my mouth open.

"I think I even may have burped … anything to get him not to like me so the date would finally be over. But he just liked me more. It was horrible."

Yet Jessica remained a virgin and shunned teenage parties.

It was seeing the diverse world of showbiz as a young adult that made Jessica question the church's teachings.

The biggest revelation came when she "fell in love" with a ballet-dancing, bisexual man, who she used to hang out with at a gay club four nights a week.

"I was so in love with him and thought, 'There's no way this guy's going to hell,'" Jessica told The Daily Beast in 2014.

"My born-again Christian friends didn't approve of that," she said. "(It was) very twisted."


Alba with Dark Angel co-star Michael Weatherly.
Alba with Dark Angel co-star Michael Weatherly.

Then, while filming Dark Angel, she and fellow co-star Michael Weatherly began a four-year relationship. On her 20th birthday, Michael proposed, despite a 12-year age difference and her parents' disapproval.

But it wasn't to be and they split three years later in 2003.

She said later: "I was so young, 18, when I started dating him.

"I was a virgin. I knew I wanted to be in love with the first person I slept with because for almost everyone I knew, the first experience made them feel like s**t."

After that, she admits she "enjoyed a wild period with men for a second".

She had a brief romance with Mark Wahlberg after making a cameo on his TV series, Entourage in 2004, and US baseball star Derek Jeter, both who she describes as "really nice guys".



Alba and Chris Evans in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Alba and Chris Evans in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

It was while filming Fantastic Four in 2004 that Jessica met producer Cash Warren.

"He's not famous. He might be The One. It was kind of a love-at-first-sight thing, but I met him when I was dating someone else, so it started off as a friendship," she told Cosmopolitan the following year.

"The first week that we kind of got together, he gave me a note and signed it with a dollar sign, because his name is Cash.

"It just said, 'I really, really like you.' And that was exactly how I felt at the time."

Jessica fell pregnant with their first daughter, Honour, in 2008 and the pair married in a secret ceremony with no guests.

But their romance was rocked again a year later when Cash was accused of kissing Lindsay Lohan in an LA club.

However, Jessica defended her husband and her "close friend" Lindsay, branding the report as "ridiculous".

It was around the same time that Jessica was concerned she was being typecast due to her good looks and revealed she wanted to leave the industry.


Alba and husband Cash Warren. Picture: Getty
Alba and husband Cash Warren. Picture: Getty

"I wanted to stop acting," she said. "The director (of Fantastic Four) was like, 'Can you be prettier when you cry? It looks too real. Don't do that thing with your face. Just make it flat - we can CGI the tears in.'

"And so I just said, 'F**k it. I don't care about this business anymore.'"


Since 2012 Jessica has only had one major role - in Sin City's sequel, A Dame to Kill For - and a handful of cameos in smaller films.

Instead, her movie career has taken a back seat in favour of becoming a businesswoman and supporting her family - her husband and their three children, daughters Honour, 10, Haven, 7, and son Hayes, 10 months.

Her self-started business, The Honest Company - a collection of household good and baby products - is worth a whopping $AU1.8 billion.


Alba has reinvented herself as an entrepreneur and Instagram guru.
Alba has reinvented herself as an entrepreneur and Instagram guru.

Jessica, 37, now refers to herself as an entrepreneur and boasts a net worth of £270 million ($AU492 million) - making her the fourth highest paid actor of all time, overriding the likes of megastars Sandra Bullock, Jane Fonda and Angelina Jolie.

Yet despite her wealth and career, Jessica relishes a "normal" lifestyle and prioritising her family.

"I always try to get home from work for bath time and to cuddle the kids before bed," she told ET last year. "After that, Cash and I have dinner together and talk about our days. I need 'us' time, all the time."

While their businesses are thriving, Cash recently revealed the success to their marriage is prioritising their family and leaving their work at the office.

"I do a really good job of ignoring work when I'm at home. And my wife does the same," he said. "So when we're with our kids, we're really 100 per cent with our kids."

But time without the kids also keeps their romance alive, according to Jessica.

"Whether we're settling into the couch to watch bad reality television or getting a babysitter so we can enjoy a date night out, we always know we have dedicated time after the kids are asleep to catch up, discuss what's on our minds, and simply just be with each other (no cell phones or e-mail allowed!)," she said.

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