Perhaps Cameron Diaz is more the out of sight, out of mind type.
Because speaking to InStyle last September for their 25th anniversary issue, it didn’t seem as if her absence from the film industry had made her heart grow any fonder for that celebrity existence. Yes, her sabbatical had passed its five-year mark, but as far as she was concerned it could drag on indefinitely. “The way I look at it is that I’ve given more than half of my life to the public,” reasoned the 47-year-old, whose film debut was in 1994’s The Mask. “I feel it’s OK for me to take time for myself now to reorganize and choose how I want to come [back] into the world. If I decide to.”
It’s not as if she didn’t have other outlets for her creativity, having followed up her 2013 New York Times Bestseller The Body Book with 2016’s The Longevity Book. And her decades in entertainment ensured she’d never be hurting for money. So why shouldn’t she enjoy the retirement she’d so richly earned?
“I don’t miss performing,” she admitted. “Right now I’m looking at the landscape of wellness and all that. But whatever, I do, it has to be something I’m passionate about—sometime that just feels effortless.”
Because at the moment the bulk of her energy is being funneled into a project she’s had in the works for quite some time.
It’s hard to say that Diaz and husband Benji Madden‘s New Year’s bombshell that they’d welcomed a baby girl together was surprising. Sure they’d managed to keep it entirely under wraps until after their daughter was in their arms, a feat that’s hard to accomplish in a town as gossip-driven as Hollywood. But the fact that the couple, who celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary Jan. 5 mere days after bringing Raddix Madden home, were hoping to follow the traditional love-marriage-baby carriage model wasn’t exactly a secret.
“They are absolutely elated,” a source told E! News. “They wanted this for so long and so many years it’s all very surreal.”
Now tucked away in their 2,000-square-foot home in L.A.’s Studio City neighborhood, the duo are enjoying every tiny yawn and messy diaper change—an insular situation they intend to carry on for the foreseeable future. “Cameron isn’t working. She’s devoted to being a full-time mom,” reveals an insider. “She feels she gave up a lot of time and valuable years working instead of being at home. Now is her time to be a mom and she is cherishing it. She has no plans to work at all.”
Though the San Diego native understands, perhaps better than most, that plans have a funny way of changing.
Because it wasn’t quite six years ago that the actress—coming off a stretch of filming that included The Counselor, The Other Woman, Sex Tape and the 2014 Annie remake—was offering up thoughtful commentary on her decision to forego parenting altogether.
“It’s so much more work to have children. To have lives besides your own that you are responsible for—I didn’t take that on,” she told Esquire‘s August 2014 issue. “That did make things easier for me. A baby—that’s all day, every day for eighteen years.”
That’s not to say she hadn’t considered it, per se…
“Not having a baby might really make things easier, but that doesn’t make it an easy decision,” she continued. “I like protecting people, but I was never drawn to being a mother. I have it much easier than any of them. That’s just what it is. Doesn’t mean life isn’t sometimes hard. I’m just what I am. I work on what I am.”
Though, she confessed to The Telegraph that same year, she couldn’t be sure exactly who she might be in the coming years. “I’ve never said never to anything in life. If I wanted kids, at any point in life, I would have them,” she insisted. “But I’m certain that if at any point I wanted a child, that child would find its way into my life, whether through adoption, or through being in a relationship with somebody who has a child.”
Or, perhaps, falling hard for a person who suddenly flips your world on its head.
Because while Diaz was instantly attracted to Madden on initial encounter—”The first thing I said when I first met my husband was, ‘He’s hot,'” she shared with Andy Cohen on his SiriusXM radio show in 2016—she’s been forthright about the fact that she wasn’t actually looking to make it a whole thing.
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“I don’t know if I was ready, but I knew Benji was special,” she told InStyle. The more time she spent with him following that fateful 2014 dinner party where pals Joel Madden and Nicole Richie inadvertently played matchmaker, the married duo letting his twin brother tag along as third wheel, she realized what a rare find she had in the Good Charlotte lead guitarist.
“He’s just a good man,” Diaz told the mag of the Maryland-bred rocker, who was inspired to form Good Charlotte with Benji after they caught a 1995 Beastie Boys concert in high school. “There’s no bulls–t. It’s really refreshing. I’m really grateful for him.”
Because while she’d had boyfriends in the past, significant ones, even, having shared years of her life with Matt Dillon, then Jared Leto, then Justin Timberlake and Alex Rodriguez, “There’s a really, really distinct difference between husbands and boyfriends,” she told close pal Gwyneth Paltrow at her 2017 Goop Wellness Summit.
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Sure, on the surface, the blonde California girl, a quintessential rom-com love interest, and the rocker, who competed in boxing matches for fun and had a tattoo of Benjamin Franklin that covered the whole of his back, may not have appeared to be the perfect fit.
But they both understood what it meant to build thriving careers barely years removed from high school. And despite their bold-faced name status, they each crave a life as far removed from Hollywood’s glaring spotlight as possible.
“I have a husband who is just my partner in life and in everything,” she told Paltrow. “Talk about two very different people! We are so different from one another, but we share the same values—we’re totally two peas in a pod. We are both just weird enough for each other.”
And so mere months—and a handful of European getaways later—they decided to wed in the least conventional of ways, inviting 100 guests (including bridesmaids Richie and longtime bestie Drew Barrymore) to her Beverly Hills home for a Monday night ceremony.
“We got married in our living room in front of our friends,” she told Cohen, “had a little party in our backyard on the tennis court.” And as she danced the evening away, Diaz basked in the contentment of knowing she’d absolutely made the right choice. “It was one of those things where everyone tells you, ‘You just know when you know,'” she said, trotting out the well-worn phrase. “I was like, ‘What does that mean? Oh, I get it. You just know when you know. Like you’re my husband.'”
Because while they’d both done the serious relationship thing before, the musician even proposing to Australian singer-actress Sophie Monk, those previous romances hadn’t quite completely fit. “Here’s the thing: You make the same mistake over and over again until you learn your lesson,” she surmised to Cosmopolitan in 2015. “We girls sometimes do the thing where we pick the same person over and over again—they look and seem different, but deep down, they’re the same.”
With Madden, though, she was confident she had found more than just a variation on a theme. “No one compares. Everything else just like washes and slips away,” she told Cohen. “You realize like, ‘Oh right, this is what the real thing is, this is what real love is and this is what commitment and devotion is. This is the person that you build your life with.'”
And suddenly, just like getting married, starting a family made perfect sense. “Cameron is so much more settled, stable and happy. It was natural to want a baby,” a source recently told People.
In fact, what she wanted was an overhaul of everything that had come before. Content to allow her take on Miss Hannigan in 2014’s Annie to be her last film role for a bit, she stepped away from her day job to revel in life as a newlywed. And though she joked to Entertainment Weekly in 2018 that she’d be “totally down” for a sequel to 2002’s buddy comedy The Sweetest Thing, the film that saw her paired up with Christina Applegate and Selma Blair, because “I’m literally doing nothing,” she didn’t really hate her life of leisure. As a source told People, she “loves married life and just being with Benji.”
And now that they’ve added a tiny plus-one who “has completely captured our hearts and completely our family,” as they put it in their reveal, well, now she knows what people mean when they talk in cliches such as “over the moon” and “thrilled to pieces.”
Madden, now CEO of artist management company MDDN, and Diaz fill most of their days marveling at their new addition. “My Wife and Daughter fill me up with so much gratitude,” the musician, marking his 41st birthday today, wrote in a February Instagram. “I feel so lucky.”
The blissed out pair “are both at home full-time just soaking it all in and appreciating this time,” says the insider. “It’s already going quickly.”
Which is why Diaz has no interest in lightening the newborn load. “She is with the baby full-time so she doesn’t plan to have help or a nanny right now,” adds the insider. And should she need an extra set of hands, both she and her husband’s families are ready to pitch in.
Madden’s twin and bride Richie are especially eager to take on baby duty, now more than a decade removed from those early days. “They live just a few houses away so they are over all the time,” the insider says of the parents to Harlow, 12, and Sparrow, 10. “Nicole has a ton of advice, but it’s been awhile and she has forgotten what having a newborn is like.”
The reality can be jarring and the sleep deprivation very real and yet friends say the new parents are living for every moment. “It’s definitely an adjustment, but Cameron and Benji have had so many years of just being the two of them, they are welcoming this change,” says the insider. “It’s all very new and exciting so they are just feeling grateful and blessed she is finally here.”
(Originally published Jan. 16, 2020 at 3 a.m. PT)