Kelly Carlson Gave up Acting for Navy Husband — A Glimpse into the 'Nip/Tuck' Star's Personal Life

Her life took a radical turn when she met the man she was going to marry, and now her priorities are different. But there is always the possibility of her returning to the screen.

44-year-old actress (or is it former actress) Kelly Carlson rose to fame in 2003, when she joined the cast of the series “Nip/Tuck,” on which she starred as Kimber Henry for seven years, until the show was wrapped in 2010.

Carlson impressed the showrunners enough for her character (which started off as a supportive one) to become a series regular, and she soon was a fan-favorite member of the cast.

Kelly Carlson arrives at the Montblanc Pre-Oscar brunch celebrating Princesse Grace De Monaco Collection at Bel Air Hotel on February 25, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. | Image: Getty Images.

Kelly Carlson arrives at the Montblanc Pre-Oscar brunch celebrating Princesse Grace De Monaco Collection at Bel Air Hotel on February 25, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. | Image: Getty Images.

Capitalizing on the popularity of “Nip/Tuck,” Carlson landed roles in several TV projects on the side, and she even made a couple of big-screen appearances.

Apart from guest-starring in TV series like “Everwood” (2004-2006), “CSI” (2006), “CSI: Miami” (2007), and “Monk” (2009), she had a recurring role in the iconic drama “Melrose Place” (2009-2010).

Carlson’s last significant role to date was in the comedy/horror series “Ghostfacers” (2010), appearing in eight of its eleven episodes.

The actress was in the middle of a promising career, but after 2010 she moved away from show business for strictly personal reasons, as she recently opened up about.


After 2010, Carlson spent two years out of the spotlight, returning briefly for a guest-star appearance in the series “The Finder” (2012), followed by a role in the 2013 film “Jimmy.” She hasn’t been on anything ever since.

If this wasn’t enough for her fans to assume that she had quit the business, she kind of confirmed it by describing herself in her Instagram biography as a “former actress of TV and Film and now Navy wife.”

So, it is not surprising at all that at the first chance they had, Carlson’s fans asked her about her involvement in Hollywood and what had distanced her from the industry. 

In a “Nip/Tuck” Q&A Instagram Live session on May 15, 2020, one of the actress’s fans asked Carlson if she was still acting, and, if not, what made her decide to leave the entertainment business behind.

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Without giving it much importance, Carlson stated the obvious by replying that she is “not acting right now,” and she initially explained this by citing geographical reasons, saying:

“I need to be in L.A. and we're not for my husband's work, which is down — he's in the Navy, so we're way down in southern San Diego."

After saying this, the actress made it clear that “nothing bad happened” and that she loved her life in Los Angeles, the city where she became a star.

As Carlson further explained, her husband Dan Stanchfield not only is in the Navy but also owns a business that the two of them have to take care of, keeping her away from the TV and film cameras.


As a final note, and to the delight of her devoted fans, Carlson said that she didn’t discard making a comeback one day. “I’m kind of a free spirit. I kind of am, and I’m kind of not. But I’m always up for new experiences,” she said.

According to Stanchfield’s Instagram account, he is also a survival instructor who doesn’t only offer his services but also sells all kinds of survival tools and accessories on his website.

During the above-mentioned Instagram Live, Carlson described her husband (who was the one operating the camera) as “such a great guy,” and she made it clear that he never asked her to leave her profession.

“He didn't at all. It was like I saw a lot of value in what he was doing and so I said we have to go do it. And so we moved,” the actress insisted.


Two years after “Nip/Tuck” ended, Carlson became the target of a person from her past, who not only stalked her but also went as far as hiring people to break into her home and tap her phone lines.

After the authorities failed to take Carlson seriously after she reported several break-ins and people following her on the street, she was left with no options but to prepare herself for the worst.

Never did she imagine that the steps she took to feel safe once again were going to put her in the path of her now-husband.

Even though Carlson had practiced martial arts from age 19, after that threat to her safety she sought professional help to take the measures she needed, and that is where Stanchfield entered the picture.

As she revealed in 2017, it was her attorney that introduced her to her future husband, who was hired by Carlson to become her security advisor and self-defense trainer, which eventually evolved into a romantic relationship.

“He trained me tactics, how to operate different guns, and I’m still learning. I mean, I don’t think you stop learning,” Carlson shared in a 2015 interview, when she and Stanchfield were still engaged.

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