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At one point the world was calling her "America's Sweetheart" thanks to an off-handed comment from Nora Ephron, but now, many years later in her career, Meg Ryan says she really never wanted to be an actress in the first place. Speaking at a Goop Wellness Summit with Gwyneth Paltrow, the actress admitted she had been "very reactive instead of proactive" during a time in her career. She also described how she never actually wanted to be in the acting business, at all. She said:
I didn't really aim to be an actor, I was a journalism major at school, and a curious person, and I wanted to go back out into the world and figure out who I was--am--in relationship to other things and other people and other environment.
While speaking with Gwyneth Paltrow via (E!), Meg Ryan touched on her heyday in the eighties and through the nineties, mentioning that really she "had a lot of fun" as an actress but that it was never something that was a huge calling for her. She also touched on the fact that she actually filmed a movie with Paltrow when he son was only three-months old, questioning "what was wrong" with her to want to work when she had such a young child at home. It seems the actress has some guilt over her successful acting career, and so when the parts stopped rolling in at a regular rate, she just rolled with the punches and figured out what other values the world held for her.
After taking a small part in Top Gun in 1986, Meg Ryan's career really picked up in 1989 when she starred in When Harry Met Sally. A year later she did Joe Versus the Volcano. Her heyday was in the nineties when she led such hits as Sleepless in Seattle, French Kiss, City of angels, You've Got Mail, Proof of Life and Kate & Leopold (opposite a young Hugh Jackman). She also talked a little bit more about what it was like when she was still uber-famous, noting,
When you're a famous person, there's a certain degree of blankness that needs to happen so that people can project on you. Despite what you may think, people don't really want to know all that much about you. They want to imagine the best or the worst. So when you're caught in that, it really is interesting because you get reactions that have almost nothing to do with you and some that have everything to do with you, and you have to be this jiu-jitsu master to figure out what mirror you should actually be looking in.
Meg Ryan is still acting, but her output has slowed down quite a bit from her heyday. In fact, there was a period between 2009's Serious Moonlight and Curb Your Enthusiasm guest stint and 2013's Web Therapy when she didn't act at all. Since then, she's appeared in Fan Girl, the pilot for the failed series How I Met Your Dad and a movie called Ithaca. How I Met Your Dad was supposed to be her big comeback, and when it didn't happen, her career has stayed rather low key. Regardless, from what the actress was saying, acting was never a big deal to her anyway. Plus, she's left behind a body of work she can certainly be proud of, so what's next?