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Former Hallmark Star Danica McKellar's Son Asked Why She Quit Acting For So Many Years, And She Gave A Really Thoughtful Answer

Danica McKellar in Hallmark's Coming Home for Christmas
(Image credit: Hallmark Channel)

Danica McKellar’s career has gone through many changes since scoring her breakthrough role as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years. While viewers have come to know her for her Hallmark output, there was a period when McKellar set aside her acting career to pursue other interests outside of Hollywood. Years after she disappeared from TV, the former Hallmark star gave a thoughtful answer after her son asked her why she quit acting for so long.

The Wonder Years alum opened up about why she took a break from acting after starring in the ABC hit. As the source of teen crushes in the 1980s and 1990s, Danica McKellar left many hearts wondering what happened to her before she re-emerged in the 2000s. Of course, only her son Draco could get a straight answer from her as he interviewed his mom for ET. McKellar revealed how her love for education (especially math) led to her pursuing a college degree for a few years.

I went to UCLA, but when I got to school, everywhere I went, people all over campus would shout across campus, you know, 'Hey Winnie!' [or] 'Hey, loved you on The Wonder Years!' I couldn’t get away from it. So I needed to find out how I was valuable outside of Winnie Cooper, and math was challenging and I did well at it. And I love this feeling that my value, the important stuff had nothing to do with how I looked or television.

Taking herself out of the Hollywood rat race was possibly the best decision she could do for herself. Having been on TV since she was a tween, Danica McKellar felt like she didn’t have an identity outside of being Winnie from The Wonder Years. Her whole being had been warped to think her value was nothing more than her looks and appeal to TV audiences. The Winnie Cooper connection appeared to harm McKellar’s sense of self as a teenage girl growing up on TV.

For her, math was her way to let other UCLA students (and viewers) know she was more than just Winnie Cooper. During her time at the school, she did just that. Her work in the mathematics field lead to Danica McKellar gaining a place in science with Chayes–McKellar–Winn theorem after co-authoring a research paper alongside UCLA professor Lincoln Chayes and fellow student Brandy Winn. After college, the GAC Family star penned 11 best-selling math-oriented books geared toward teens.

Of course, McKellar didn’t give up on acting as she had starred in multiple TV shows and movies, including Hallmark projects. She did make waves last year for leaving the network for rival GAC Family with her first project The Winter Palace airing earlier this year. Outside of her work with her new network home, Danica McKellar has experienced mixed results from celebrating her ageless father’s 72nd birthday to opening up about an unexpected death in her family. But it appeared the 47-year-old actress has kept things moving despite life’s difficulties.

Right now, McKellar’s new network home GAC Family Is gearing up for its Thanksgiving and Christmas programming. So, viewers will have to see what projects Danica McKellar pops up in next. Keep updated by checking out CinemaBlend’s 2022 TV schedule to see what new TV shows and movies are set to premiere.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).