Jim Carrey was once a $20 million-per-movie star.
After Ace Ventura: Pet Detective catapulted him to international fame, he was suddenly a bona fide leading man. Follow-up hits like Dumb and Dumber, The Cable Guy, Liar Liar, The Truman Show and Bruce Almighty — along with a string of high-profile girlfriends including Renée Zellweger and Jenny McCarthy — kept him firmly in the spotlight.
But in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter , the Golden Globe winner admitted he'd never taken any of it seriously, reports news.com.au.
"My plan was not to join Hollywood, it was to destroy it. Like, take a gigantic sledgehammer to the leading man and to all the seriousness."
He went on to describe fame as having a "weightlessness to it" and added that once it was achieved, "it's really not a place that's very comfortable for very long."
Knowing that now, it makes Carrey's slow retreat from the public eye a few years back a little less surprising.
According to the star — and in a stark departure from the norm — Hollywood didn't tire of him. He simply grew tired of Hollywood.
"I just didn't want to be in the business anymore," Carrey admitted to THR. "I didn't like what was happening, the corporations taking over and all that.
"And maybe it's because I felt pulled toward a different type of creative outlet and I really liked the control of painting — of not having a committee in the way telling me what the idea must be to appeal to a four-quadrant whatever."
Sadly, public fascination in recent years switched from his glittering career to the lengthy saga surrounding his makeup artist ex's 2015 suicide — and the ugly subsequent legal battle between her family and the star.
A string of bizarre antics followed, punctuated by a red carpet appearance late last year in which he left an E! News reporter absolutely gobsmacked by his mind-bending comments outside a Harper's Bazaar party.
"There's no meaning to any of this. I wanted to find the most meaningless thing I could come to and join and here I am," he told her during a live interview, as her jaw dropped.
Despite his lack of interest in the glossy world of show business these days, Carrey has — somewhat reluctantly — been drawn back in.
He'll make his small-screen return later this month in Kidding, a series about Jeff, aka Mr Pickles (Carrey), a children's TV icon who finds his own life imploding.
According to the actor, there was something in the tragedy of Jeff's personal crisis that he found attractive.
"You're always waiting for that thing that you recognise as some part of yourself. And the life experience here matched up," Carrey told THR.
"I've gone through great loss, and somehow I ended up on the other side in a place where I can look anybody in the eye and feel like I'm on the same page. I understand how the river of grief can grab you at some point in your life and just throttle you."