But some have managed to disappear from the limelight and forge completely different lives for themselves.
And they are now making a living in VERY different ways, the Mirror reports.
Sean Wilson, who played Martin Platt in Coronation Street for 21 years, is now an award-winning cheesemaker.
The former actor founded the Saddleworth Cheese Company after leaving the soap in 2005.
Following his stint on the cobbles Sean spent a year training as a chef – fulfilling his secret lifelong passion of working creatively in a kitchen.
He started Saddleworth with his best friend Mark Revell in 2009.
He said: “We make four cheeses. Our Smelly Ha’peth has won four gold World Cheese Awards.”
Charlie Lawson was involved in some of the most explosive storylines in soap, playing fiery Jim McDonald in Coronation Street.
Lawson quit Corrie in 2000 after 11 years playing bad-tempered dad-of-two Jim, known for his stormy on/off relationship with long-suffering wife Liz, played by Beverley Callard.
His character went in and out of prison before briefly returning to Weatherfield periodically.
Speaking in 2010 when he opened the shop, Lawson said: ‘I’ve been a professional actor for 31 years now and I’m kind of lucky that I’ve always been busy.
‘But I really get fed up of it, it’s not the same job that it used to be, nobody seems to have fun anymore.
‘I don’t want to keep doing Casualty or Holby City any more, I’ve done them about seven times already. I don’t want to look in the mirror at the age of 70 and think I’ve never had a crack at doing something different with my career.’
Pop star Tiffany quit music to run a vintage shop called Tiffany’s Boutique, just outside Nashville, Tennessee.
Full name Tiffany Darwish, she became a star with a string of late 80s hits, including teen anthem I Think We’re Alone Now.
Ironically, her last US No1 was the single Could’ve Been.
Her career began to wane after her second album.
Tiffany, 45, tried TV and films, doing the voice of Judy Jetson in Jetsons: The Movie. After a nude Playboy shoot in 2002, she turned her back on fame.
Seagal, 65, previously spent years in law enforcement training before developing a special interest in border issues.
The action hero – a martial arts specialist – starred in a string of top movies, including Above the Law and Under Siege.
Undersheriff Eddie Lerma arranged to have Seagal sworn in as a deputy as part of future training on border issues, and to execute police work.
But in 2007 it emerged Webb had begun pitching in as a postman on £220 a week.
Webb, 54, won 26 caps for England in a career which also saw him playing for Portsmouth, Nottingham Forest and Grimsby.
At the time of his move to Manchester United, Webb was rated the best player in England.
But after only four games he snapped an Achilles tendon in an England match against Sweden and was never the same player.
Emmerdale pin-up Adele Silva launched a brave attempt to make it big in Hollywood in 2010.
But when her dreams failed to materialise Stateside, the actress was forced to take up a slightly less glamorous job – working as a shop assistant at a Ted Baker store on Melrose Avenue in LA.
In a bid to make some extra cash, Miss Silva also launched her own dog walking service called ‘Walkies of Fame’.
The actress rose to fame playing Kelly Windsor in the ITV soap joining the show at the tender age of 12. She stayed until 2000, before making a comeback in 2005.
She again left Emmerdale in 2007 to pursue other roles before being crowned runner-up to boxer Barry McGuigan on Hell’s Kitchen in 2007 and also appearing on a celebrity edition of the programme Total Wipeout in 2009.
She said at the time her shop job was revealed: “I’m a jobbing actress and in this climate you can either sell your soul or do an honest day’s work.”
Adele is now back in the UK.
Peter Ostrum became a child star aged 12, playing Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Now aged 49, he is employed by Countryside Veterinary Clinic in Lowville, New York, where he works on small and large dairy farms.
He said: “After the film, I always denied my involvement with Willy Wonka. I didn’t really want to have anything to do with it.
“For me, veterinary medicine is a really nice mix between using your head, using your brain, problem-solving, but at the same time, there’s a physical aspect of the work that I enjoy.
“I won’t get fat doing this job! You’re always on the go and each day is a little bit different.”
He added: “Everybody could be so lucky to have an experience like this and then to go in a completely different direction.”
He now spends his days serving crepes and drinks from a van at festivals.
He said: “People were flabbergasted that I was in the van making crepes.
“They have this thing, ‘Oh, he was in Westlife and now he’s making tea.’ I love festivals, so why not?”
Westlife sold 44 million records before splitting in 2011 after a 14-year run.
Once the darling of the Queen Vic in EastEnders, began pulling pints to make ends meet in a real London boozer.
She started putting in shifts behind the bar at The Bill Nicholson pub in Tottenham after struggling to find acting work, and was seen lugging around a vacuum cleaner at the pub a stone’s throw from Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane Stadium.
Danniella, cast at 16 as Peggy Mitchell’s daughter Sam in EastEnders, battled a cocaine addiction that eventually ate away the flesh between her nostrils.
Now 43, she is trying her hand as a DJ after coming fifth in last year’s Celebrity Big Brother .
Zammo Maguire in school drama Grange Hill – is a locksmith with a shop in Surrey. As Zammo he starred in the 1980s Just Say No anti-drugs campaign.
His dreams of reinventing himself as a professional boxer were ended by a car accident at 21.
Lee said: “I got the part of Zammo at 12 and did it until I was 17.
“After the celebrity, and the excitement of boxing, here I was at 21 working in a wholesaler’s. My early 20s were really dark because of that. It took time to sort myself out. I started learning the locksmith trade then took my own shop.
“I do bits and pieces of acting but the shop is my main port of call.”