Pop Culture | 90s

Jonathan Taylor Thomas On Why He Left Hollywood, And The Drama That Came With It

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When Jonathan Taylor Thomas (otherwise known as JTT) left Home Improvement, our preteen hearts shattered into one trillion pieces. We would never know heartbreak like that again (or at least not until Geri left the Spice Girls or when the Backstreet Boys went on hiatus).

Disney

At 16 years old, Thomas was leaving an insanely popular television show in order to live a "normal" life. While others may not understand his choice, JTT says it was something he had to do.

“I’d been going nonstop since I was 8 years old,” the teenage heartthrob said in 2013. “I wanted to go to school, to travel and have a bit of a break. An education is a more surefire guarantee that you have possibilities opened to you."

Thomas went on to study philosophy and history at Harvard University, and finished his degree at Columbia University.

“To sit in a big library amongst books and students, that was pretty cool,” says Thomas. “It was a novel experience for me. I never took the fame too seriously. It was a great period in my life, but it doesn’t define me. When I think back on the time, I look at it with a wink. I focus on the good moments I had, not that I was on a lot of magazine covers.”

Good Housekeeping

After leaving Home Improvement, everyone figured JTT would fade away from the limelight. Considering he left to focus on school, some time off from Hollywood would make total sense. But the child star could be found in a few movies, doing voice work, and making guest appearances on TV shows.

“I think at this point, I’d eventually like to work behind the camera,” he said. “That’s not to say I would never act again. I’m not quite sure, to be honest. I still have a passion for TV and film [and] could see myself working in it.”

But despite having a good idea of what he wanted to do with his life, TV dad Tim Allen didn't agree.

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