The Stunning Transformation Of Cameron Diaz

There was a time when it seemed like Cameron Diaz was everywhere. From her first-ever film role in the comedy "The Mask" to her memorable scenes in "There's Something About Mary" to her turn as a woman who takes Tom Cruise on a ride in "Vanilla Sky," Diaz has made dozens of wildly successful films that even had her crowned the highest paid film actress in 2008 (per Forbes).

But behind the scenes, there's always been more than movies going on. Diaz weathered a number of high-profile romances before meeting her husband, Benji Madden, in 2014, and famously declared she wasn't interested in having children before welcoming daughter Raddix in 2019. As some would say, sometimes it just takes the right person at the right time to change everything.

Here's a dive into how Diaz built a career from modeling to movies to a surprise retirement over seven years ago and what else might be in store for her down the road.

Cameron Diaz grew up in San Diego, California

Cameron Diaz was born in August 1972 in San Diego, California, to a Cuban-American dad and an Anglo-German mother. In the book "Location Filming in Long Beach," author Tim Grobaty notes that Diaz grew up in Long Beach, California, and attended Poly High School in the area. At the age of 16, Diaz signed on to become a professional model with the Elite Agency. She quickly began picking up work for designers such as Calvin Klein and Levi's.

Diaz has spoken openly proud of her father's Cuban ancestry, telling RTVE.es in 2014 that her relationship with her Cuban family is a big part of her life. Diaz explained, "I grew up with the last name Diaz, my father was Cuban, my grandparents were very Cuban. I spent all my childhood with that influence and I feel that it is a very important part of me, with which I feel connected."

Despite that connection, Diaz also admitted she doesn't speak Spanish — or any language besides English at all.

Her breakthrough role was in The Mask

In 1994, Cameron Diaz was working as a model when a casting director named Fern Champion inquired at her agency about any women who might be available for a role in an upcoming Jim Carrey film. At the time, Carrey's first movie "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" had just been released, and Champion was part of the crew for his next film, "The Mask."

After asking if there were any models who fit the description of a character named Tina, Champion was offered one: Diaz. Director Chuck Russell later told Variety that he had a good feeling about Diaz from the start, saying, "I saw Cameron's 8×10 on the casting desk and asked, 'What about her?' I was told she was submitted but had not acted in anything else yet. I said to bring her in and let's see."

Diaz was a perfect fit as Tina, which Russell said was clear right away. After working through a few callbacks and improv sessions with Carrey, Diaz landed the role.

1998's There's Something About Mary really put Cameron Diaz on the map

In 1998, Cameron Diaz joined the cast of "There's Something About Mary," a film written and directed by funnyman brothers Peter and Bobby Farrelly. Diaz played the title character, a woman who film reviewer Roger Ebert described as "beautiful, sunny, good and pure, and inspires a remarkable array of creeps to fall in love with her."

As Bobby Farrelly told the Los Angeles Times, at the time of its release, the movie was the first comedy to be rated in R in several years. The goal of the brothers was to make a truly adult movie, and by all appearances, they succeeded. In one of the movie's most memorable scenes, Diaz shares "hair gel" with Ben Stiller's character, though the gel she's been given is actually an intimate bodily fluid. Diaz told Variety she was nervous about the scene on the day of shooting, but that "I trusted Bobby and Peter, obviously, because they are so hilarious, but when we came up with the visual to the joke, it made me realize how right they were."

The Farrelly brothers had Diaz top of mind for the role, and were thrilled when she accepted. Diaz ended up winning a New York Film Critics Circle for her part and quickly picked up a series of parts in more movies.

In the years that followed, Cameron Diaz dated several high-profile men

Cameron Diaz's time on "There's Something About Mary" also included personal developments. She and co-star Matt Dillon fell head over heels in 1995, a few years before filming the movie together. In 1997, Diaz told Rolling Stone exactly how she felt about her beau, explaining, "Matty, he's the best. He's one of a kind ... He's never taken that commercial route. He's an intelligent, poetic, full, real human being. And he's down-to-earth. Matt is the greatest."

Sadly, despite their short romance, things didn't work out, and the couple broke up soon after the release of "There's Something About Mary." Following her relationship with Dillon, Diaz was in relationships with a few high-profile men. In 2003, Diaz made things official with singer Justin Timberlake after they met at that year's Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. The pair weathered quite a few reports that they each cheated, with Timberlake being accused of stepping out with Lucy Clarkson and Diaz weathering reports that she and MTV producer Shane Nickerson were involved (per People). The pair split up in 2007.

In 2010, Diaz was linked to former New York Yankee and ex-fiancé of Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez. The two began dating that year, but didn't make it too long — they reportedly called it quits in September 2011 (via People).

Charlie's Angels was a watershed moment for Cameron Diaz

In 2000, Cameron Diaz teamed up with Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore for the massively successful cinematic version of the TV show "Charlie's Angels." The trio played a set of private investigators named Dylan, Natalie, and Alex, and their movie delighted audiences around the world.

The three actresses quickly became very close friends, and that relationship has lasted throughout the decades that have passed since the film's release. In fact, when Barrymore celebrated her 46th birthday in February 2021, producers on her talk show had Diaz show up as a surprise guest. Diaz admitted that the stars typically hang out in person, something they weren't able to do in 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. She explained, "We are not big gift givers, we're more about experience, so we always try to go some place and do something with the girls and be together" (via Bustle).

Cameron Diaz was devastated by her father's death in 2008

In April 2008, Cameron Diaz was left reeling after her father unexpectedly died from pneumonia at the age of 58. Cameron's father, Emilio Diaz, was reportedly in excellent health, which made the news of his passing all the more troubling and surprising for his family members. Cameron later issued a statement about her father's death, noting that she and her mother and sister were "deeply appreciative of the overwhelming outpouring of love" before adding, "My dad was loved by so many people and his humor and spirit will always live on in our hearts" (via TMZ).

Cameron spoke again about her father's passing a year later while speaking to Vogue. She explained that death is "the human experience," noting, "You know, that's what the heart does. Things are given and things are taken away. And I think the heart becomes stronger, more capable" (via Fox News).

In 2008, Cameron Diaz was also named the highest-paid actress in Hollywood

While 2008 was a challenging year for Cameron Diaz following the death of her father, it was also an incredible time for her professionally. Diaz was crowned the highest-paid actress in Hollywood that year, earning approximately $50 million, largely due to her role as Fiona in the "Shrek" film series (per SMH.com.au).

Being cast in "Shrek" was a huge moment for Diaz, and the series went on to spawn several installments. While being interviewed by Collider alongside her illustrious co-star Julie Andrews ahead of the third film's release, Diaz explained what she loved the most about the story in the first place. Diaz says that her character offers a wonderful lesson to young children, which is to not "just sit around and wait to be rescued, go out and take care of it — if you want this, go and get it. You can't wait for somebody to do it for you."

Cameron Diaz met her husband Benji Madden in 2014

In 2014, Cameron Diaz met the man she would go on to marry. When she and Good Charlotte guitarist Benji Madden met at party hosted by Benji's twin brother, Joel, and his wife Nicole Richie, Diaz was immediately attracted to him. As she later told Andy Cohen, that attraction ran deep. She said, "It was one of those things where everyone tells you, 'You just know when you know.' I was like, 'What does that mean?' Oh, I get it. You just know when you know. Like you're my husband" (via Hello! magazine).

The pair were engaged not even a year later, and they got married in January 2015 in their living room. While that might lead one to believe the pair's wedding was on the small side, it turns out the opposite is true. Their wedding party included both Richie and Diaz's close friend Drew Barrymore, and The Knot revealed that the guest list included several celebrities, such as Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lionel Richie, Judd Apatow, Leslie Mann, Nancy Juvonen, [and] Will Kopelman.

She stepped back from acting the same year she got married

Cameron Diaz made another major move in 2014: She decided to step back from Hollywood nearly completely. After completing the 2014 remake of "Annie," Diaz decided to take a break from Hollywood. While the move surprised many, Diaz later told Kevin Hart that it was necessary so that she could focus on other parts of herself. As she put it, "Just, the management of me as a human being ... Cameron Diaz is a machine. But for my personal, spiritual self, I was realizing that one part of me that functioned at a high level wasn't enough."

Diaz also explained to Gwyneth Paltrow that as an actor, she felt that too much of her life was taken care of by other people, and retiring from acting allowed her to learn to take care of herself on her own. This was hugely important to her. Diaz explained, "I really needed to know that I could take care of myself ... that I knew how to navigate the world of the complexity of being an adult and having responsibility and putting all the pieces of my life together the way I wanted it to be put together."

Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden welcomed their daughter in 2019

In December 2019, Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden welcomed their daughter, Raddix, to the family. The pair announced Raddix's surprising arrival in January 2020 in a joint statement that was posted to each of their Instagram accounts. The statement reads in part, "We are so happy, blessed and grateful to begin this new decade by announcing the birth of our daughter, Raddix Madden. She has instantly captured our hearts and completed our family" (via Instagram).

Diaz had previously stated that she had never been especially interested in becoming a mother, but this changed when she met her husband, Benji Madden. Following the birth of Raddix, a friend close to the family told People that the timing just made more sense. The friend said, "Cameron is so much more settled, stable and happy. It was natural to want a baby." The friend went on to add that the baby was very much wanted by the pair and that they were "very emotional" following her arrival.

Cameron Diaz says being a mother is the happiest part of her life

When it comes to motherhood, Cameron Diaz has jumped in with both feet and never looked back. The actress has been only too happy to gush about daughter Raddix and their life together with Benji Madden. In February 2021, Diaz admitted that now that Raddix is in the picture, her retirement from acting feels even more cemented. As she told People, "Maybe, never say never, but I couldn't imagine being a mom now where I'm at as a mother with my child at her first year to have to be on a movie set that takes 14 hours, 16 hours of my day away from my child."

Diaz went on to add that welcoming Raddix later in life has allowed her to be a type of mother that is so different from who she would have been at any other point. While chatting with Naomi Campbell, Diaz did open up about what it's been like to become a first-time parent in "the second half of my life." As she put it, having a baby in your late 40s is a different beast. Diaz explained, "But when you're my age and you decide to do it, it's a real choice. You really have to work hard for it."

She launched a business in 2020

Though she's no longer lighting up the big screens with new films, Cameron Diaz hasn't stopped working completely. In 2020, she announced the launch of clean wine label Avaline, which she founded alongside Katherine Power. While speaking to Yahoo! Finance, Diaz pointed out that she hasn't spent a lot of her career endorsing products or brands. But this time around, things were different because she was part of the process of launching Avaline from the start. She said, "It felt right for me to be putting my name and energy behind a product that I was co-founding with Katherine. It was ours, we built it from the ground up."

The company immediately did well, selling more than 120,000 bottles of wine in the first two months of operation, and it seems that things are only improving. Diaz told Yahoo! Finance that the goal has been for the brand to stand on its own separately from her career, and so far things look like they are moving in that direction. She shared, "We have skill sets that we have to offer this, this brand and this product. But we know that eventually our goal is for Avaline to stand on its own."