Jonathan Taylor Thomas was a teen heartthrob at the height of his career when he suddenly disappeared from the entertainment industry without notice. At the time, he decided to change his life and focus on something else altogether.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas was one of the main characters from the TV series "Home Improvement" with Tim Allen and little Simba's voice in the Disney movie "The Lion King." Those were only two of his many projects, on top of his countless magazine appearances.
People have never forgotten about him through the years, often wondering why he suddenly disappeared from the spotlight. After all, he was one of America's most sought-after teenage actors and was everywhere at the time, too.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas for "Home Improvement" on August 23, 1996 (L), Jonathan Taylor Thomas spotted out in Los Angeles in July 2021 | Photos: Getty Images, twitter.com/yahooentertainment
A TEENAGE FIGURE
It was a sudden disappearance, as, during the early years of his adolescence, he was a well-known youth figure. His first television appearance was as the son of Greg Brady in the "Brady Bunch" spin-off.
However, his participation in "Home Improvement" as Randy Taylor launched his career. From the age of eight, he was working non-stop until he voluntarily left the show.
HIS REASON FOR LEAVING
His abrupt departure was surprising, but he later revealed that he was suffering from terrible migraines due to the stress of being in the entertainment industry for many years. Thomas added that while he still went to the studio, he was in great pain most of the time.
After departing from "Home Improvement," he decided to return to school in 1998. Since then, he's lived a normal life away from the public eye, enjoying his schooling and traveling as well. Speaking about it, he once said:
"I'd been going nonstop since I was 8 years old. I wanted to go to school, to travel and have a bit of a break. To sit in a big library amongst books and students, that was pretty cool. It was a novel experience for me."
NOT LETTING GO OF ACTING ENTIRELY
In 1999, although his co-stars were disappointed by his decision, Thomas defended it by saying that it was a good decision for him. He admitted that he would have put himself in an early grave if he stayed on the show.
However, he did not give up acting entirely and never closed his doors through the years. Although he hasn't been under the spotlight lately, he played minor roles and performed voice work through the years. During all those years, he has preferred to stay out of the public eye.
NO REGRETS WALKING AWAY
Leaving Hollywood at the height of his career was something he never second-guessed, and it's something he has no regrets about. Since walking away, he's studied at Harvard, Columbia University, and St. Andrew's University in Scotland.
He went back to Los Angeles after studying in some of the world's top universities and is still working in the entertainment industry, this time directing, writing scripts, and of course, still making the most out of his life.
STILL IN HOLLYWOOD
When he isn't working, Thomas is watching movies, hiking, or staying up on shows and theater. He was also given a guest spot on "Last Man Standing" with Tim Allen. Reuniting with his TV dad, he was also given the opportunity to direct a couple of episodes.
Aside from his work, he's served on the SAG-AFTRA National Board, a labor organization representing approximately 160,000 workers in the entertainment industry. When asked about taking a step back from the cameras, he said he "never took the fame too seriously."
Jonathan Taylor Thomas at Nickelodeon's 12th Annual Kids' Choice Awards in January 1999 | Source: Getty Images
LOOKING BACK AT HIS JOURNEY
Although Thomas had a difficult time during his acting days, he recalls it as a significant period in his life. Speaking about it some more, he once shared:
“It was a great period in my life, but it doesn’t define me. When I think back on the time, I look at it with a wink. I focus on the good moments I had, not that I was on a lot of magazine covers.”
HIS MOST RECENT SIGHTING
In July 2021, Thomas was photographed out in public for the first time in about eight years. After being away from the spotlight for so long, fans may not recognize him anymore, as he's aged.
The 40-year-old "Home Improvement" alum wore a navy blue zip jacket, a pair of jeans, sneakers, and a baseball cap. He was walking his two poodles at the time, sometimes puffing from a vape in his hand.
To try and keep his anonymity, he also sported sunglasses and wore a black face mask. However, while using his vape and texting, he put it down under his chin to multitask.