“I did 900 movies in a row”: Lea Thompson Felt She Couldn’t be a Movie Star Anymore After Back to the Future and Movie With Tom Cruise Because of Motherhood

Lea Thompson opened up about losing movie star status after she gave birth to daughters Madelyn and Zoey Deutch.

lea thompson in back to the future , tom cruise


  • Back to the Future actress Lea Thompson starred in big movies in the '80s opposite Tom Cruise and Michael J. Fox.
  • However, her film career came to a halt after she had kids and she could only get television roles after that.
  • She shared that she could hardly find any Hollywood actresses who retained their star status after giving birth.
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Back to the Future star Lea Thompson stated that her mainstream film career ended after she had her kids. Thompson was a rising star through the 1980s but she was pushed to TV roles in the ’90s. Thompson found success in her role as Lorraine McFly in Robert Zemeckis’ three-part time travel flick. Before that, she was Tom Cruise’s pair in the 1983 film, All the Right Moves.

Lea Thompson and Michael J. Fox in a still from Back to the Future | Universal Pictures
Lea Thompson and Michael J. Fox in a still from Back to the Future | Universal Pictures

Thompson met Howard Deutch during her popular teen film Some Kind of Wonderful and married the filmmaker in 1989. She had her first child, actress Madelyn Deutch, in 1991 and her second child, actress Zoey Deutch, in 1994.

Lea Thompson Says She Lost Her Movie Star Status Due To Motherhood

Tom Cruise with Lea Thompson in a still from All the Right Moves (1983) | Lucille Ball Productions
Tom Cruise with Lea Thompson in a still from All the Right Moves (1983) | Lucille Ball Productions

Lea Thompson played the mother of Michael J. Fox‘s character Marty McFly in the blockbuster franchise, Back to the Future. She reprised her role for two more movies in the trilogy and starred in several other roles before she disappeared from mainstream films. Thompson explained her absence during a chat with Justin Long on his podcast Life is Short.


Thompson shared her personal and professional stories including how she met Howard Deutch when she was still engaged to Dennis Quaid. She shared that this period in her life was a crazy time because she was in too many movies as a leading star. She shared on Life is Short:

He had a crush on me. But at this point still I was engaged to Dennis Quaid. So, I had to kind of get out of that before…but it was a crazy time, I mean, I did like 900 movies in a row.

However, she revealed that her mainstream acting streak came to a screeching halt when she became a mother in 1991. She shared that she wanted to do research on the topic because she observed that one couldn’t become a Hollywood star if they had pushed a baby out. She shared:

I did 900 movies in a row, but what happens is it all screeches to a halt when you have a baby. I wanna do the research on this because, once you push a baby out, you can’t be a movie star anymore.

Thompson had the research ready for Justin Long as well. She shared that the only person whom she could think of having a successful career after having a baby was Meryl Streep. She also added that adoptive mothers were not affected by this trope, citing Sandra Bullock and Charlize Theron as examples.


Lea Thompson Moved To A TV Career After Starring In Big Movies

Lea Thompson in a still from Switched at Birth | Freeform
Lea Thompson in a still from Switched at Birth | Freeform

Lea Thompson made her debut opposite Dennis Quaid in Jaws 3-D. Following her debut, she starred alongside Tom Cruise in All the Right Moves. She starred in the action film Red Dawn and the comedy film The Wild Life, before acting in Back to the Future. She went on to grab the leading lady roles in SpaceCamp and Howard the Duck.

She played the role of Amanda Jones, the popular teen girl, in Some Kind of Wonderful in 1987. She revealed to Justin Long that she never got a big film after the 1993 film The Beverly Hillbillies. She shared:

Does your face change that much? Or what happens? I never did a movie after that, a starring role, I did The Beverly Hillbillies, after that I’ve never done a big feature.

After having her second child, she moved to television roles. She landed the title role in the sitcom Caroline in the City. She didn’t enjoy sitcoms much because of the pressure of performing live in front of an audience. From 2005, she starred in the Jane Doe TV anthology series as the lead. She played Kathryn Kennish in 73 episodes of the Freeform show Switched at Birth.


Thompson’s Back to the Future trilogy is now available for rent on AppleTV+. All the Right Moves is also available for rent on AppleTV+.


Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1377

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 1000 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.