Amy Smart: The real reason you don't hear about the actress anymore

In the late '90s, Amy Smart began her career as an actress. She worked her way up from a tiny role as "Girl #1" in the 1996 TV mini-series Seduced by Madness: The Diane Borchardt StoryJust one year later, Smart appeared opposite Keanu Reaves in The Last Time I Committed Suicidea role that was quite a jump from "Girl #1." In 1999, Smart starred in yet another film, Varsity Blues, but she didn't solely stick to the big screen.

In the early 2000s, she was cast to play Ruby on the hit TV show Felicity. Smart's fame only continued to grow through the years and she would go on to star in dozens of projects. However, in 2015, her acting career started to slow down. While she hasn't outright disappeared from Hollywood, she has been keeping a lower profile than in years past. What's the reason? So glad you asked.

Amy Smart turned to green living

It might surprise you to learn that Amy Smart is, and has been, quite the environmentalist. The actress serves on the board of the Environmental Media Association — where she has fought to have plastic bags banned and have BPA removed from baby-feeding products in Sacramento, California. She's even pushed for schools to plant vegetable gardens.

In 2010, the celeb accepted one particular gardening project for the Environmental Media Association that would lead her to meet TLC's Trading Spaces carpenter Carter Oosterhouse. The two were "assigned to adopt a school garden together," the actress revealed to People. And, as it so happened, Smart and Oosterhouse's shared passion for environmentalism brought the two closer together — but the timing was far from perfect.

"We met, and we were both in relationships, so we just remained friends," she divulged to the publication in fall 2011. "And then we both got out of relationships around the same time, a year ago this summer." At that point, the stars began dating. Smart admitted that she didn't recognize the famous handyman. "I don't watch a whole lot of TV," she explained, "so I kind of didn't know who he was."

Amy Smart got hitched

Carter Oosterhouse and Amy Smart got engaged in spring 2011 and, by the fall, of that year they were married. According to People, the couple's ceremony was held in Traverse City, Michigan, the town in which Oosterhouse was raised. Because both the bride and groom were especially passionate and conscious about the environment, they were determined to have a wedding that produced as little waste as possible. By the day's end, the wedding had only generated one bag of trash, which is no small feat. According to Oosterhouse, 220 people were in attendance. That's pretty amazing.

It became clear that this couple's passion for green practices would continue to be a part of their relationship. When speaking with People, Smart said her new husband was not just knowledgable when it came to construction, but "green building." Although Smart herself was interested in interior design, she revealed that she was already learning from her husband, who she said is "not super dominating." She continued, adding, "It's never his way or the highway. He allows me to do what I need to do in the house." 

Amy Smart co-owns an organic winery

Amy Smart and Carter Oosterhouse may have first bonded over their earth-friendly ways, but the couple realized early on that they had something else in common. The famous carpenter was actually born and raised in the very same town where Smart had often vacationed. "I did a double take when I heard he was from Traverse City, [Michigan]," the actress revealed in an interview with Naturally, Danny Seo magazine (via People). "I almost wanted to ask her to marry me right then," Oosterhouse dished.

The couple entered into married life with two homes: one in California and one in Oosterhouse's home state of Michigan. There, the couple, along with Smart's brother-in-law Todd Oosterhouse, opened the Bonobo Winery. But it's not just any winery. People described it as an "organic and biodynamic vineyard." According to the winery's site, all of their wines are produced on the property and are made from grapes grown on the estate. The winery also supports the conservation of endangered primates called bonobos (hence the name) through the Bonobo Conservation Initiative.

Amy Smart became a yoga instructor

Along with opening a pretty phenomenal winery in 2014, Amy Smart was also working hard to become a certified yoga instructor. In an interview on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, the host brought up the idea of having Smart come back on the show to put on a "yoga demonstration." The star replied, "I could — when I'm certified." She joked, "Not before." Smart revealed that she mainly practiced Kundalini yoga and admitted that she wasn't a fan of Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga, because she doesn't like working up such a sweat in a classroom setting.

Smart did earn her certification as a yoga instructor, and, according to an interview with Naturally, Danny Seo, she also became a certified nutrition coach. "I believe in eating organic foods and having a somewhat-clean lifestyle, but what's more important is balance," she advised readers. "There are times when you indulge in yummy, delicious things and times when you eat healthy greens and protein-packed smoothies." In addition to practicing and teaching yoga, she said she has fun hiking and running.

Amy Smart struggled with infertility for years

Amy Smart and her husband were busy building their careers and working on their passion projects from the very start of their relationship, but they also desired to grow their family. "When we got married, I didn't know if we were going to get pregnant right away," Smart admitted to People. "That didn't happen. Years went by and we were just on this roller coaster." The actress recalled fearing that she might never be able to become a parent.

It wasn't until 2016 that the couple welcomed their daughter, Flora. "Feeling so grateful to have her in my arms...," Smart captioned a photo of her daughter on Instagram, "after years of fertility struggles I give thanks today to our kind, loving surrogate for carrying her."

Although Smart is thrilled that she got to become a mom in the end, she remained honest about the struggle to get to that place. "[It] was hard and the more that we can talk about it, the more that we can share our struggles, our difficulties," she explained, "the more we can help each other and not feel alone in the process."

Amy Smart became a full-time mom

When Flora was born, Amy Smart's priorities shifted. "Right now she comes first," Smart told Us Weekly. "But I want to and I'm still continuing to work." She confirmed to the publication that she made the choice to become "a full-time mom" and feels thankful to have the opportunity to do so. And, although Smart revealed to Us Weekly that being a mother has been "the most precious experience," she's also not jaded when it comes to the challenges of full-time parenting. The star was honest about raising her daughter, who she dubbed an especially "busy" toddler. No doubt, many other moms can relate to Smart's experience.

When her daughter was 17 months old, she admitted to the publication that she started to dread taking her on flights. "She doesn't want to sit at all. I was basically in the aisle the whole time walking her back and forth," she revealed. "She was screaming and loud!" Smart clearly loves her long-awaited little one and it's refreshing that she has remained open and honest not just about her infertility and eventual surrogacy, but also about motherhood itself.

Amy Smart enjoys a quiet life in Michigan

Despite splitting their time between their California and Michigan residences, Amy Smart seems to have a clear favorite. "The feeling here is very different," Smart said of her midwestern town when speaking to Traverse City Record Eagle. "Los Angeles is very Hollywood-centric. There's this pervasive entertainment feel." The actress said being in Michigan is both "refreshing" and "rejuvenating." 

Although getting to Michigan from California takes a lot of work — Smart said she flies while her husband drives cross-country — the couple looks forward to spending every summer in their century-old farmhouse. The house is certainly stunning — and it surely doesn't hurt that Oosterhouse is a carpenter and Smart has a knack for interior design. Their home also happens to be just about as peaceful as it gets. If the family makes it to Traverse City during the winter, the gorgeous, modern fireplace is the spot to be. And, in lieu of watching TV, Smart told People that she and her husband like to enjoy a glass of wine while reading or playing backgammon.

Amy Smart still calls Los Angeles her home

In January 2017, Amy Smart and her husband put their California home on the market for $3.8 million. The pair bought and lived in the 4,100-square-foot Beverly Hills home beginning in 2012, not very long after they married. Although Carter Oosterhouse has said that he could picture staying in Michigan permanently, the family isn't ready to leave La La Land just yet.

The couple listed their home during the same month they found a new place in a section of Malibu, California. The stunning ranch-style home is about 600-square feet smaller than their Beverly Hills house, but the location more than makes up for it. The 1940s home sits on a knoll overlooking a part of the California coast known as "Billionaires' Beach." The family also now has three acres of land. Ironically, the house was featured in Felicity, according to The Los Angeles Times, which is the same show Smart starred in back in the early 2000s. Small world, that Hollywood.

Amy Smart partnered with... pears?

Over the years, Amy Smart has continued to be environmentally-conscious. In 2018, USA Pears announced the actress as their new spokesperson. Yes, pears. As in the fruit. Smart explained her decision to work with the Oregon-based brand in a press release (via The Packer). "Knowing where my food comes from is one of my highest priorities, and when I visited the Pacific Northwest to see the harvest for myself I was incredibly inspired by the pride and dedication of the pear growers," the environmentalist revealed. "Harvest time is a special time, and I'm so happy I could see the start of this year's pear crop before it made its way to stores."

In fall 2018, Smart started working to promote pears — again, yes, the fruit — through a series of videos and recipes. It sounds odd, but marketing is an integral part of farming. Kathy Stephenson, marketing communications director of Pear Bureau Northwest, said Smart will help not only in "growing the demand for pears" but also in "bringing enthusiasm to the category."

Amy Smart's husband was accused of sexual misconduct

In December 2017, Carter Oosterhouse's former makeup artist, Kailey Kaminsky, accused the carpenter of repeated sexual misconduct during the production of the 2008 season of Carter Can. When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Kaminsky claimed that Oosterhouse also threatened to have her job terminated. In a statement to the publication, Oosterhouse acknowledged "an intimate relationship" with the makeup artist, but said their encounters were "consensual."

Immediately following the allegations against her husband, Amy Smart took to Instagram to both defend Oosterhouse and condemn the article. Some five months later, Smart sat down with Us Weekly to formally break her silence. "I think in life, nothing's black and white. And I would never speak out against the Me Too experience, because I think it's very powerful and I'm so, 100 percent on board with women on all levels finding equality in this world and not being quiet when things happen," she began. "I also know that within peoples' stories, you can't always — people aren't given truth detector tests before they are interviewed."

Amy Smart created an eco-friendly line of products

When her daughter was nearing her second birthday in 2018, Amy Smart acknowledged to Us Weekly that "time goes by really fast." And although she was still very busy as a full-time mom, she made some space in her schedule to pursue some new endeavors. At the time, she and her husband were developing an eco-friendly line of mattresses called Smart Homes, which later changed to SmartHouse. In addition to the mattresses, which retail for around $2,000 to $3,000 as of this writing, the couple also offers pillows, bed frames, sheet sets, and even eyeglasses.

However, this company was not Smart's first foray into selling eco-friendly products. In 2017, Smart revealed to Traverse City Record Eagle that TruSelf Organics, a skin care company based in Michigan, brought her on as "consultant/co-creator of a new line." Smart told the publication, "I liked their integrity as a company and the high-quality ingredients they use in their products."

Amy Smart's empire is only in its "beginning stages"

Organic skincare products and mattresses are likely not the only things you can expect from Amy Smart and her husband. In 2017, the actress told People that their empire is only in its "beginning stages." She added, "It's something we thought would be fun to create together — different than what our careers are doing but still in line with our values."

Who knows, Carter Oosterhouse and Amy Smart might just become a green version of Chip and Joanna Gaines. You can kind of see it, can't you? Oosterhouse already has the HGTV credentials and Smart has a love for interior design. Just as Magnolia has taken over Waco, Texas, perhaps SmartHouse will do the same thing in Traverse City, Michigan. Of course, even if they don't start a conglomerate of businesses in the midwest, they'll probably be just fine. Oosterhouse told People that no matter where they live or end up, their town "will always be in [their] lives."

Amy Smart never really left Hollywood

Amy Smart became a full-time mom in 2016, but she never fully put her acting career on hold. In 2016 alone, she worked on several different projects in varying capacities. She lended her voice to the short film All the Way to the Ocean and played a role in the made-for-TV movie Sister Cities — among three other projects. Smart wasn't exactly starring in major blockbuster hits, but she also wasn't totally out of the Hollywood loop. In 2017, Smart took on four additional roles and the same was true for 2018. Most notably that year, Smart starred in the James Franco drama, Mississippi Requiem. Smart rounded out the year by starring in the biopic The Brawler.

If Carter Oosterhouse and Amy Smart did permanently relocate to Michigan, you might be able to make the case that she's scaling down her acting career, but because she lives in L.A. — not to mention her filmography list only continues to grow — it doesn't seem like Smart is going anywhere any time soon.

Amy Smart landed a role in the DC Universe

In February 2019, Variety reported that Amy Smart joined the cast of Stargirl, a DC universe series. Smart has quite the role too. According to the report, she'll be playing the titular character's mom, Barbara Whitmore. Her character will be going back to work after taking time off to care for her daughter. Hmm, now that doesn't sound like too big of a stretch. Of course, Stargirl, or Courtney Whitmore, is a teenager and not a toddler, but still. You can see how Smart would relate to this role. Smart will also have an onscreen husband, played by Luke Wilson, and Trae Romano will play her stepson.

This show is an exciting edition to the DC Universe, especially since Geoff Johns, the comic book writer who created the characters, will not only be a showrunner, but will also step in to write the first episode. Yes, it's a pretty big deal. Way to go, Starmom!