We've all said things that we don't mean. "I'm never drinking again." "I just really enjoy exercise." "I'll call you next week."
But the problem with being a famous actor is that people are waiting to transcribe your every word on to the internet, where it will sit, waiting to contradict you for ever more. So maybe don't tell everyone you're going to retire from acting unless you really mean it...
1. Anthony Hopkins
Bizarrely, Sir Anthony himself declared that his acting days were numbered all the way back in 1998. "Acting is bad for the mental health," he told the Daily Mail. "I can't take it any more. This has got to stop. I have wasted my life." He described acting as "a desert wasteland" and "fake environment".
It didn't even stick for a minute. Still feel acting is a wasteland? You seemed to be having a lovely time in Transformers: The Last Knight.
2. Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis was unequivocal in 2006 about the end of her acting career. "I'm not an actor anymore," she told Access Hollywood. "I really don't imagine I'll do that again... I just can't imagine, I'm just focused on my family and just can't imagine anything that's going to pull me away from them right now."
It didn't stick, and she was soon back for... uh... Beverly Hills Chihuahua. She went on to better roles, like her hilarious starring turn in Scream Queens.
3. Shia LaBeouf
We may never really know what was going on with (actual cannibal) Shia LaBeouf when everything blew up in 2013 around plagiarism accusations and a series of arrests, but the Transformers star eventually declared that he'd had enough.
In light of the recent attacks against my artistic integrity, I am retiring from all public life.- Shia LaBeouf (@thecampaignbook) January 10, 2014
Of course, he never really disappeared from the public eye at all, going on to create a load of performance art and appear in Sia's 'Elastic Heart' video. He was seen in the well-received movie American Honey, which landed a handful of awards, and has made The Peanut Butter Falcon and Borg/McEnroe. So much for "retiring from all public life".
4. Joaquin Phoenix
Getting back to LaBeouf, it seemed for a while that he was actually pulling a move that will be hereafter known as a 'Joaquin Phoenix'. The well-respected Oscar nominee famously made a very peculiar appearance on The David Letterman Show in 2009, behaving strangely and claiming that he was retiring from acting to pursue a career in hip-hop.
It was actually all a stunt set around his odd, self-starring mockumentary I'm Still Here. He later apologised to Letterman and apparently the experience didn't hurt his career much, as he carried on starring in more hits like The Master, Her and Inherent Vice.
5. Liam Neeson
"I'm getting out, I'm retiring from movies next year," said Liam Neeson all the way back in 1999. "Honest to God, I'm not happy doing it – I don't want to do it anymore." He complained that actors were treated like "puppets". Was it a coincidence that this was all in the wake of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace? Who can say?
The last we heard on Neeson's retirement was in 2015, when he was going to quit acting "in two years". He currently has five films in production.
6. Diane Lane
Unfaithful star Diane Lane had had it with acting in 2008, describing Nights in Rodanthe as "the last film, and by that I could mean it in any way. It's the last one I did, and it's the last one I'm gonna do for a while, and it's the last one I have in the can... and then we'll see".
"I need to be a bitch and I need to be in a comedy," she told Moviefone of the only circumstances that could bring her back. "I've decided. No more Miss Nice Guy." She was back two years later for Disney's horse drama Secretariat, and her most prominent recent role is as Superman's mom Martha – as far from bitchy and comedic as you could wish to get.
7. Daniel Day-Lewis
It's little wonder that the king of method acting (sorry, Jared Leto) felt burned out after getting completely absorbed in roles including a gay punk, a Puritan accused of witchcraft and an artist who can only move his foot.
So after 1997's The Boxer, he announced that he was taking a long break to become... a shoemaker in Florence. He completely dropped off the map for five years until he returned for Martin Scorsese's 2002 film Gangs of New York. Day-Lewis bagged an Oscar nomination and a BAFTA for his troubles.
He has since retired again.
8. Keira Knightley
"I think I just have to move away or give it up altogether," Keira Knightley told the BBC ten years back. "I'm just not so hungry any more. I made a decision very recently that I wanted a life instead."
Given the thorough beating that Collateral Beauty took, maybe she's wishing she had. You last saw her in the Pirates of the Caribbean comeback, Salazar's Revenge, and she has four films in production.
BONUS: Michael Sheen
It seemed that Michael Sheen was as put off as the rest of us by the politics of 2016 when he was quoted as saying he would "completely" stop acting "for the time being" to concentrate on anti-fascist activism.
However, he was quick to step in and point out that he had been taken completely out of context and wasn't giving up the bright lights of Hollywood anytime soon.
Before this gets ridiculous I said I'm thinking I might start acting less and maybe even stop for a while at some point but don't know yet.- michael sheen (@michaelsheen) December 17, 2016
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