Evangeline Lilly Is ‘Stepping Away’ From Hollywood Until Further Notice

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney

More than 18 years ago, Evangeline Lilly sat on the set of Lost and thought about her future.

Speaking to the camera, the actress said that she was “terrified to admit this to the rest of the acting world,” but that her dreams diverged from those of her peers.

“Ideally, 10 years from now, I would like to be a retired actress,” she said, “and I would like to have a family, and I’d like to be writing. And potentially—maybe influencing people’s lives in a more humanitarian way.”

In the years since that video was taken, Lilly has shot to a stratosphere of stardom beyond even what Lost brought her, playing Tauriel in the Lord of the Rings prequel trilogy and the Wasp in the Marvel cinematic universe. But it seems she never forgot that declaration she made on the beach all those years ago, and now the time has finally come to hang up her wings.

“I am so filled with joy and contentment today as I live out my vision,” Lilly wrote in the caption alongside the video, which she posted to Instagram on Monday. “Praise God, I feel so grateful for my blessings. Stepping away from what seems like the obvious choice (wealth and fame) can feel scary at times, but stepping into your dharma replaces the fear with fulfillment.

“I might return to Hollywood one day, but, for now, this is where I belong,” she continued. “A new season has arrived, and I AM READY…and I AM HAPPY.”

After a stint as a background character in the superhero series Smallville in 2002, Lilly broke onto the scene as Kate Austen on Lost, which ran from 2004 to 2010. In 2007, she received a Golden Globe nod for her work on the show.

She also starred in films like The Hurt Locker and Real Steel before suiting up as Hope van Dyne for the first Ant-Man movie in 2015.

But Lilly, now 44, has been open about feeling like an outsider in her industry. “I’ve never felt lonelier in Hollywood than I do now,” she told Esquire for a profile published last year.

Part of that might have had something to do with what her Ant-Man co-star Paul Rudd characterized as her “fiercely independent streak,” or what Lilly herself called her “authenticity.”

She explained to the magazine: “My authenticity is going to piss some people off, and is not going to always make me friends or make me popular. But it’s all I’ve got left.”

‘Quantumania’ Proves It’s Time for Marvel to End the Ant-Man Movies

Lilly certainly pissed a swath of people off in Jan. 2022 after attending an anti-vaccination rally in Washington, D.C.—notably the same event where Robert F. Kennedy Jr. compared mandates to the Holocaust.

Speaking to Esquire, the actress addressed the backlash she had received for the first time. “I just wanted people out there who were struggling because they were under severe pressure to do something they didn't want to do to know that they weren’t alone,” she said, “to know that there were people who actually felt they had a right to say no.”

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