Jessica Alba Shares Why She Stopped Acting at the 'Top of My Career'

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Jessica Alba
Rich Polk/Getty Images for Shani Darden

Jessica Alba was at the top of her acting career when she decided it was time to pursue new opportunities. The 39-year-old actress-turned-entrepreneur reveals in a new interview with Romper published on Wednesday that after welcoming her first child, daughter Honor, in 2008, her mindset changed.

“My mother had cancer at a really young age, in her early 20s. I grew up with chronic illness. I had five surgeries before I was 11 years old. I had chronic allergies, and I was hospitalized a lot as a child," she shares. "I had this real moment of, I want to live, and thrive, and spend as much time with this little person that I'm bringing into the world as possible and stay. So, my health matters. I want this little person to be healthy. And it's really freaking hard to be happy when you don't have your health."

"That's really what motivated me. My motivation was not like, ‘Am I ever going to get hired again?’ Frankly, I was at the top of my career,” adds Alba, who is also mother to daughter Haven, 9, and son Hayes, 3. "I couldn't go back to what I was doing before and be authentic. I just couldn't. I didn't care about it the same way."

After giving birth, she felt like she needed to do "something bigger." "I felt like if I was going to have this platform, then what can I do with it that could be meaningful and make a difference?" she expresses. "That just felt so real when I became a mom for the first time."

Instead of focusing on her acting career, Alba pivoted to becoming a businesswoman and launched The Honest Company in 2012. The brand specializes in eco-conscious, chemical-free baby products and more. However, getting the business up and running wasn't an easy feat for the former Dark Angel star.

"Building a brand and building a business is f**king impossible. And to be good at it and for it to thrive and scale, it is really hard. If anything, I was like, ‘Do I really want to do this?’" she recalls. "It took me three-and-a-half years just to find partners to even join me, and I got lots of rejection. I had to learn how to build decks. In every stage, I'm trying to get better and better as a business person, but it's a totally different skill set than just taking your influence and fame and putting your name on a package and doing a press tour, picking out a couple designs."

Her company's success, she insists, comes from creating "something that never existed." Of course she's still had her ups and downs with The Honest Company, but has never looked back at moving her brand forward.

As for acting, she's appeared in a handful of projects, most recently the short-lived Bad Boys franchise spinoff, L.A.'s Finest, co-starring Gabrielle Union. While the show was canceled after two seasons, Union previously marveled over Alba and called her a "kick-ass action hero."

“What I love about Jessica is women can relate to her,” Union told ET in April 2019. “She's a mother of three while also at the same time creating a billion-dollar company that's all about the health and wellness of your families. And, she's sexy as hell and she's a kick-ass action hero by day -- doesn't really get much better than that."

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