Why Brigitte Bardot Left Hollywood Behind

French model turned actor Brigitte Bardot became a cinematic sensation when she appeared in the 1956 film "...And God Created Woman." Directed by her then-husband, Roger Vadim, this was not Bardot's first film, but it was a breakthrough for her career. Bardot went on to star in several renowned works of the 1960s, including "La Vérité" and "Contempt." With her voluminous and easily replicated bouffant hairstyle and exaggerated eyeliner, Bardot became an icon of culture and fashion, making off-the-shoulder looks a sought-after trend. Nevertheless, a 39-year-old Bardot left the entertainment industry behind in 1973, focusing on animal activism instead. 

However, author James Clarke, who worked on a photography book about Bardot called "Being Bardot," told Fox News a different story and noted that Bardot wanted privacy in her life and got tired of the hustle of bustle of being a movie star. He said, "That is one of the things that come out a little bit [in this book] ... She got to that point where it's just like, 'I've kind of done it and 20 years has been sufficient.'" 

With that said, Bardot has revealed why she retired, and although it is related to animal activism, the truth is more heartbreaking than that. Furthermore, Bardot, who has not starred in a film since 1973, has remained in the spotlight, and not for the right reasons.

Brigitte Bardot can relate to the animals she helps rescue

After her retirement from the film industry, Brigitte Bardot launched Foundation Brigitte Bardot in 1986. The organization champions animal rights, fights against animal abuse, and rescues animals in France and other countries. The Herald reported that Bardot funded Foundation Brigitte Bardot by auctioning her possessions. Bardot's animal activism has led her to criticize various entities for animal cruelty, including France's President Emmanuel Macron and the Russian government. In addition, Bardot has condemned Canada since the late 1970s for its seal hunting.

In 2019, Bardot co-authored "Tears of Battle: An Animal Rights Memoir" about her journey into animal activism. In the book, Bardot disclosed why she decided she did not want to continue acting and why she chose animal activism instead. Per The Guardian, she wrote that the notoriety of being a star became too much, noting, "I know what it feels like to be hunted."

Bardot said of her acting career, "In the beginning, I enjoyed having people talking about me, but very quickly, it suffocated and destroyed me. Throughout my 20 years starring in movies, each time filming began, I would break out with herpes." She also said, "Humans have hurt me. Deeply. And it is only with animals, with nature, that I found peace."  While Bardot's dedication to animals is evident, she has used animal activism as a justification for spreading hate speech. 

The former actor has landed in hot water for racist remarks

Brigitte Bardot has been tried and fined in France six times for making racist statements, per The New York Post. The BBC wrote that the first trial occurred when Bardot published an article in a newspaper in 1997 with an anti-Muslim message and denounced Islamic traditions that involved killing animals. The publication notes that she made another derogatory statement toward Muslims in 1998, resulting in another conviction. 

Bardot was fined in 2000 after she published her offensive newspaper article in her book, "Le Carre De Pluton" (Pluto's Square). Bardot faced another fine in 2004, this time for what she said in her book "Un Cri Dans le Silence" (A Cry in the Silence). In it, The Guardian states that Bardot wrote another anti-Muslim message. Bardot later apologized for these statements.  

Her fifth conviction came in 2008 when Bardot wrote a letter to politician Nicolas Sarkozy once again condemning slaughtering animals for Islamic traditions. Bardot, per The New York Times, was fined $23,325. Bardot's sixth fine occurred in 2021.  According to Radio France Internationale, Bardot wrote a letter full of racist assertions about the citizens of France's Reunion Island, which is located in the Indian Ocean. She noted that the letter stemmed from how the people mishandled animals.