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Phoebe Cates | Source: Getty Images
Phoebe Cates | Source: Getty Images

This '80s Icon Chose to 'Cook Dinner Every Night' over Hollywood — At 60, She Is a Businesswoman & Has 2 Grown-up Kids

Monica Otayza
Jun 20, 2024
08:02 A.M.
  • She started as a model but later became a household name with roles that defined an era.
  • Despite her success, she walked away from Hollywood in search of a quieter, more fulfilling routine.
  • Now, she is 60 and enjoying life as a businesswoman, wife, and mother of two grown-up kids.
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By the mid-'80s, her face had graced countless movie posters and magazine covers. However, at the height of her career, she stepped away from the limelight.

The former actress in a movie scene, from a video dated November 5, 2016 | Source: YouTube/@neros77

The former actress in a movie scene, from a video dated November 5, 2016 | Source: YouTube/@neros77

Now, at the age of 60, this former screen siren has embraced her new roles. Instead of going to fancy parties every night, she finds happiness in making dinner for her family. Her life isn't about movie sales anymore. It's about the achievements of her two adult children and the successful business she's created.

The former actress with her son on January 8, 2006 | Source: Getty Images

The former actress with her son on January 8, 2006 | Source: Getty Images

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The former starlet was born on July 16, 1963, in New York City. At the time of her birth, her family had already been part of the entertainment industry. Her dad was considered a TV pioneer and a Broadway producer.

At ten years old, she was already taking classes at Juilliard. Unfortunately, she had to stop three and a half years later due to a knee injury. Unrelenting, she then ventured into modeling shortly after, at fourteen.

The former star as a teenage model, circa 1970s | Source: Getty Images

The former star as a teenage model, circa 1970s | Source: Getty Images

In the years that followed, she became a well-recognized model. She's been on four Seventeen Magazine covers, two Elle covers, and a British Vogue cover, alongside many other magazines.

The model posing during a photoshoot, from a video dated September 2, 2022  | Source: YuoTube/@VintageDiamonds

The model posing during a photoshoot, from a video dated September 2, 2022 | Source: YuoTube/@VintageDiamonds

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Her modeling career was going well, but a sudden shift in career came after she met a film agent at a party in New York. She began training with Robert Ravan, founder of The Actors' Circle in New York, and with Alice Spivak of H.B. Studios.

The actress posing during a photoshoot, from a video dated September 2, 2022  | Source: YuoTube/@VintageDiamonds

The actress posing during a photoshoot, from a video dated September 2, 2022 | Source: YuoTube/@VintageDiamonds

At first, the model was hesitant about making the sudden career switch. However, with some encouragement from her dad, she took the jump and accepted the challenge.

The actress posing during a photoshoot, from a video dated September 2, 2022  | Source: YuoTube/@VintageDiamonds

The actress posing during a photoshoot, from a video dated September 2, 2022 | Source: YuoTube/@VintageDiamonds

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Her name is Phoebe Cates the siren who made her movie debut in "Paradise" in 1982, portraying the role of Sarah. In the same year, she starred in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" when she was only 19 years old.

Phoebe Cates in a scene from the 1982 film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," from a video dated August 28, 2023  | Source: YouTube/@RomComs

Phoebe Cates in a scene from the 1982 film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," from a video dated August 28, 2023 | Source: YouTube/@RomComs

Her appearance on "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" made her a pop culture icon. She had a scene donning a bright red swimsuit, which until today, people – even Jennifer Aniston – continue to channel.

Phoebe Cates in a scene from the 1982 film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," from a video dated November 5, 2016 | Source: YouTube/@neros77

Phoebe Cates in a scene from the 1982 film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," from a video dated November 5, 2016 | Source: YouTube/@neros77

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At "Dane Cook Presents Feelin' A-Live: Fast Times at Ridgemont High," A-list actors and actresses got together to re-enact the iconic 1982 movie virtually. Aniston played Linda Barrett, the character played by Cates back in the day.

Phoebe Cates in a scene from the 1982 film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," from a video dated November 5, 2016 | Source: YouTube/@neros77

Phoebe Cates in a scene from the 1982 film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," from a video dated November 5, 2016 | Source: YouTube/@neros77

At the virtual table read, Aniston took off her denim jacket, revealing that she was wearing a tank top and a red bikini under – almost the same as the bikini top Cates once wore in the movie.

Jennifer Aniston during the star-studded table read of the teen classic "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," from a video dated September 19, 2020 | Source: YouTube/@InsideEdition

Jennifer Aniston during the star-studded table read of the teen classic "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," from a video dated September 19, 2020 | Source: YouTube/@InsideEdition

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A year later, Cates was auditioning for a role in "The Big Chill" when she met Kevin Kline. While she didn't get the part, she did find a partner in Kline.

Phoebe Cates in 1982 | Source: Getty Images

Phoebe Cates in 1982 | Source: Getty Images

Their relationship didn't turn into something serious until two years later when they met again at the New York Public Theater. Kline reportedly asked Cates' former assistant to get him a date with her.

Kevin Kline attends 40th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 29, 1983 | Source: Getty Images

Kevin Kline attends 40th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 29, 1983 | Source: Getty Images

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Even then, however, their compatibility seemed questionable. She was a true New Yorker – bold, daring, and fun. She was a high-school dropout who chose to model and act and the daughter of a Broadway producer.

Phoebe Cates during the filming of "Lace" on December 7, 1983 | Source: Getty Images

Phoebe Cates during the filming of "Lace" on December 7, 1983 | Source: Getty Images

Meanwhile, Kline was a Tony Award-winning actor from Juilliard with a liking for more serious things in life – like Shakespeare. "She's too happy to be with me," Kline once admitted.

Phoebe Cates on November 27, 1984 | Source: Getty Images

Phoebe Cates on November 27, 1984 | Source: Getty Images

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He wondered what they'd ever talk about since Cates was so enthusiastic while he was a lot more serious. Ultimately, they did find things to talk about.

Kline and Cates got married in 1989 and have been together since. For the first few years of their marriage, she continued to act, including on the hit comedy fantasy film "Drop Dead Fred." After having kids, however, things changed.

Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline attend the premiere of "Cry Freedom" on November 1, 1987 | Source: Getty Images

Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline attend the premiere of "Cry Freedom" on November 1, 1987 | Source: Getty Images

Kline is 16 years Cates' senior, but that didn't stop them from having a healthy, happy relationship. In fact, they found a lot to talk about and had much in common.

Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline attend the premiere of "The January Man" on January 9, 1989 | Source: Getty Images

Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline attend the premiere of "The January Man" on January 9, 1989 | Source: Getty Images

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In 1991, Cates gave birth to their first child, Owen Joseph. Their daughter Greta Simone was born three years later, in 1994.

Following the birth of their children, Cates decided to take a break from acting to focus on her young family. She had an agreement with Kline that they'd never be out working at the same time so that one parent would always be home with their children.

Greta Kline, Phoebe Cates, Kevin Kline and Owen Kline at the New York Film Festival Premiere of "The Squid and the Whale" on September 26, 2005 |  Source: Getty Images

Greta Kline, Phoebe Cates, Kevin Kline and Owen Kline at the New York Film Festival Premiere of "The Squid and the Whale" on September 26, 2005 | Source: Getty Images

Ultimately, Cates chose to stay with their children. She only made an exception in 2001, when her "Fast Times" co-star Jennifer Jason Leigh asked her to appear in "The Anniversary Party."

Phoebe Cates and Jennifer Jason Leigh at the premiere of "The Anniversary Party" in 2001

Phoebe Cates and Jennifer Jason Leigh at the premiere of "The Anniversary Party" in 2001

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Even then, Cates brought along the entire family. Owen and Greta appeared alongside Cates and Kline in the film, co-written and co-directed by Leigh.

Despite decades together, Cates and Kline didn't have the most conventional start to their partnership. In fact, the actress admitted to her husband that before they met, she thought he was gay.

Phoebe Cates in 1986 | Source: Getty Images

Phoebe Cates in 1986 | Source: Getty Images

Speaking about it, Kline said, "Before I met Phoebe, she'd seen me in 'Sophie's Choice.' And when we first started dating, she said, 'You know, I'd sort of assumed you were gay.'"

Kevin Kline in 1978 | Source: Getty Images

Kevin Kline in 1978 | Source: Getty Images

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When he asked her why, she said it was because he was a theatre actor and that he always seemed so clean. "And you really used your hands a lot on that movie," she added.

Now that they've been married for over thirty years, Cates has no regrets about choosing the simple life over Hollywood. While she admits not everyone will be okay with her decision, she loves it.

Kevin Kline, wife Phoebe Cates and their kids, Greta and Owen, on September 25, 2003 | Source: Getty Images

Kevin Kline, wife Phoebe Cates and their kids, Greta and Owen, on September 25, 2003 | Source: Getty Images

Cates also noted how she never hired any help at home, aside from a housekeeper who comes in to clean their house every so often. Other than that, Cates takes kitchen duties seriously and cooks dinner for her family every night.

Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates at Madison Square Garden on January 13, 2014 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates at Madison Square Garden on January 13, 2014 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

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The apples don't fall far from the tree – that's what the Kline family has proven with their talented children. Owen is an actor-director, while Greta is a musician.

Phoebe Cates with son Owen Kline on January 8, 2006 | Source: Getty Images

Phoebe Cates with son Owen Kline on January 8, 2006 | Source: Getty Images

Owen has worked on several films through the years, including "Squid and the Whale" and "Funny Pages." Meanwhile, Greta has worked on "The Squid and the Whale" and "The Surface."

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Other than the films she's worked on, Greta, who goes by the stage name Frankie Combos is also responsible for songs on the soundtracks for "Hilda" and "Animals."

Greta Kline performing on stage as Frankie Combos on July 14, 2018 in Madrid, Spain | Source: Getty Images

Greta Kline performing on stage as Frankie Combos on July 14, 2018 in Madrid, Spain | Source: Getty Images

After quietly leaving Hollywood, Cates kept a low profile throughout the years. Her family remains based in Manhattan, where Kline works.

Phoebe Cates at Tavern on the Green for the Fresh Air Fund's Salute to American Heroes on June 5, 1997 | Source: Getty Images

Phoebe Cates at Tavern on the Green for the Fresh Air Fund's Salute to American Heroes on June 5, 1997 | Source: Getty Images

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To keep herself busy and for her passion to keep flowing, Cates started the store "Blue Tree" in 2005, which is a general store filled with all the things she considered to be part of her style.

Beginning in Carnegie Hill, the store is followed by people from all over the world for its eclectic women's clothing collections and jewelry. The store also carries gift items in the form of homeware, music, fragrance, and delicacies. Now, people from all over the world can shop through their online store.

Phoebe Cates Kline, circa 2006 | Source: Getty Images

Phoebe Cates Kline, circa 2006 | Source: Getty Images

To adapt to modern times, Cates has used Instagram to connect with her clients. She makes fun and interactive reels to market her products, which have been well-received by her audience.

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In one rare Instagram reel, Cates modeled a couple of outfits herself. From wearing a casual outfit featuring a striped shirt, an oversized cardigan, and a pair of black trousers, she playfully jumps into an entirely new outfit featuring clothes from the latest Blue Tree collection.

The reel is meant to show their newly renovated store space. In the first clip, Cates stood inside a bare store space that was under renovation, while the second clip showed her in her newly opened Blue Tree boutique.

Phoebe Cates' "Blue Tree" on Madison Avenue circa 2006 | Source: Getty Images

Phoebe Cates' "Blue Tree" on Madison Avenue circa 2006 | Source: Getty Images

On some occasions, she asks her daughter Greta to model for the brand. In one recent photo, Greta sported a bright blue colored cardigan, which many internet users raved about.

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Whenever given the opportunity, Phoebe Cates still occasionally goes back to her Hollywood roots by attending red-carpet premieres. She also enjoys watching the NBA with her husband and has done this through the years, supporting the New York Knicks.

Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline at Madison Square Garden on January 3, 2013 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline at Madison Square Garden on January 3, 2013 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

As for how they've managed to keep their marriage strong through the decades, Kline said their secret has always been to prioritize it. They choose not to separate for long periods of time and take care of it as best as they can.

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