Cameron Diaz Reveals She Always Wanted to Do This Before Acting in 50th Birthday Throwback (Exclusive)

Acting wasn't always Diaz's first career choice.

Cameron Diaz's first career choice may surprise you. In celebration of Diaz's 50th birthday, ET is throwing it back to some of our first interviews with the A-list actress, where she revealed that her plan wasn't to be in front of the camera at all.

"I always wanted to be a zoologist, you see," Diaz said at the time. "That was what I'd been planning most of my life."

In fact, Diaz had very few concerns about being a star or turning into the household name that she's cemented herself as over the years.

"It's not important for me to be a star," she insisted. "My name being a household name is not something that's important to me. I want to be able to say, 'That was my best.'"

Diaz got her start at 21 in 1994's The Mask, alongside Jim Carrey. Though she admittedly didn't have any acting experience at the time, she went on to star in a myriad of roles, including Charlie's Angels, There's Something About Mary, Shrek, The Holiday and more, and became that star she said she wasn't worried about turning into.

In 2014, she starred in the movie-musical remake of Annie. The same year, Diaz found love with Benji Madden and slowly started to step back from the spotlight. She officially announced her "retirement" in 2018, and a year later Diaz and Madden quietly welcomed a daughter named Raddix.

Diaz has spoken openly since then about the reasons why she took a step back from Hollywood. And while many thought she was done with acting for good, Diaz surprised fans in July, when she announced a return to the screen, teaming up with her Annie co-star, Jamie Foxx, for the upcoming Netflix comedy Back in Action -- her first film since 2014.

During an interview with CBS Mornings last month, Diaz opened up about her eight-year hiatus and how she plans to juggle life as a mother, wife and actress, now that she's making her return to movies.  

"When you’re doing something that you know and you’ve done well and you know how it works and it’s consumed your whole life for so long, it’s kind of a nice thing to kind of go, 'You know what? Let me just step back for a second, take a look at what the whole picture looks like for me and what are the things that I could do better and be more engaged with that would make me feel more whole.' And I did that," Diaz explained.

While stepping away allowed her to focus on her family, Diaz did say that she missed acting.

"I mean, I miss aspects of acting, or making movies," she shared. "Yeah, making movies is a particular skillset that is fun to exercise and be a part of. But yeah, it’s a different lifestyle and you kind of have to be ready to do that."

The actress' return to work means she'll have to juggle a career and parenting Raddix, who turns three in December. 

"Everybody only has 100 percent and you always have to figure out how you’re going to divide that 100 percent to spread it to all the parts of your life that matter," Diaz said of balancing work and home life.  

For more on Diaz's return to Hollywood, check out the video below.