26 Stars Who Quit Social Media … and How Long They Stayed Away

From facing abuse to just "feeling bad about it," these stars open up about why they needed to unplug

01 of 26

Tom Holland

Tom Holland Only Teases Mark Wahlberg When There’s Security Nearby
Late Night with Seth Meyers

What went down: In August of 2022, the Spider-Man: No Way Home star announced in an Instagram video that he's going on a social media hiatus in order to focus on his mental health.

"I have taken a break from social media for my mental health because I find Instagram and Twitter to be overstimulating, to be overwhelming," he explained. "I get caught up and I spiral when I read things about me online. And ultimately, it's very detrimental to my mental state so I decided to take a step back and delete the app."

Holland added that with his announcement, he wanted to shed light on Stem4, a U.K.-based teen mental health charity that he sponsors. The charity provides mental health educational tools such as apps, conferences, and other resources.

How long it lasted: So far, so quiet.

02 of 26

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez 'Only Murders in the Building' season 2 premiere
Selena Gomez. AFF-USA/Shutterstock

What went down: Another star who has been on and off social media in recent years, Gomez told Good Morning America in April 2022 that she hasn't "been on the internet in four and a half years. It has changed my life completely. I am happier, I am more present, I connect more with people. It makes me feel normal," she shared.

How long it lasted: She has remained active on Instagram, especially with Only Murders in the Building taking off, and is earning quite a following on TikTok. Her Twitter appears reserved for promoting her work, including Rare Beauty, only.

03 of 26

Gabby Douglas

Gabby Douglas at The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation's 28th annual 'A Time For Heroes' family festival
Charley Gallay/Getty Images

What went down: The two-time Olympic gymnast announced on Instagram in August 2022 that she's going on a social media hiatus in order to "heal" from the things that she says have been taking a toll on her mental health.

"Hey guys👋Gabby here. I know I don't post a lot on social media, but I just wanted to let you guys know that I will be taking a step back from the socials to work on myself and focus on my mental health🖤," she wrote.

"My life has never been smooth or easy. I have carried a heavy weight on my back for quite some time and it has weighed me down, physically, mentally, and emotionally," Douglas said. "So many things and people have tried to crush and break me."

How long it lasted: The break is still on

04 of 26

Constance Wu

Constance Wu arrives at the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences' 11th Annual Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on October 27, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Constance Wu. Steve Granitz/WireImage

What went down: Returning to social media for the first time in three years in July 2022, Wu shared a lengthy statement that addressed what happened during her time away from social media. The actress revealed that she had attempted suicide following the backlash she received from her tweets about Fresh Off the Boat.

She shared, "I felt awful about what I'd said, and when a few DMs from a fellow Asian actress told me I'd become a blight on the Asian American community, I started feeling like I didn't even deserve to live anymore. That I was a disgrace to AsAms, and they'd be better off without me."

"Looking back," wrote Wu, "it's surreal that a few DMs convinced me to end my own life, but that's what happened. Luckily, a friend found me and rushed me to the ER."

How long it lasted: Three years; her July 2022 story marked her return to platforms. She's reserved Instagram and Twitter for promoting her work.

05 of 26

Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande. Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

What went down: The "Positions" singer deactivated her Twitter on Dec. 24, 2021. While she didn't comment on the decision, fans were quick to take notice and speculate about if she's taking a break, prepping a blank slate for a new project, or simply leaving the platform for good.

Grande previously turned off Instagram comments in 2018 following her split from then-fiancé Pete Davidson (she's since turned them back on). Explaining her decision at the time, she told a fan in part, "just sometimes can't help but bump into some negative s- that really can bum u out and it's not worth it honestly. promised i'd always tell you. i love u sm ! be well & happy."

How long it lasted: We'll have to wait and see!

06 of 26

Chrissy Teigen

chrissy teigen
Chrissy Teigen. JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX/AFP via Getty

What went down: The longstanding Mayor of Twitter resigned in March 2021 — for a time, at least. Teigen, who has briefly left the app on a few occasions over the years — including a hiatus in the fall of 2020 after suffering a pregnancy loss, and a break in October 2014 following death threats — seemingly renounced the platform for good.

On March 24, the cookbook author described the decision to deactivate her Twitter with her trademark candor, explaining that Twitter "no longer serves me as positively as it serves me negatively, and I think that's the right time to call something." She continued, "My life goal is to make people happy. The pain I feel when I don't is too much for me. I've always been portrayed as the strong clap back girl but I'm just not." She went on to express appreciation for her followers and the community they'd built over the years, for better and for worse.

How long it lasted: Chrissy returned to the platform a few weeks later on April 16, tweeting, "turns out it feels TERRIBLE to silence yourself and also no longer enjoy belly chuckles randomly throughout the day and also lose like 2000 friends at once lol."

07 of 26

Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin. Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic

What went down: Following the controversy and backlash surrounding his wife Hilaria allegedly fabricating her Spanish background, Baldwin decided to take a break from Twitter. "Twitter is like a party where everyone is screaming. Not much of a party. Goodbye for now," the Saturday Night Live star wrote on Jan. 18, 2021.

How long it lasted: The actor eventually reactivated his account, but has since switched it to private.

08 of 26

Lorde

Lorde
Lorde. Steve Granitz/Getty

What went down: The "Royals" singer opened up in a conversation with pal Cazzie David for Interview magazine about why she stepped away from social media a few years ago.

"Part of what made me peace out on social media, apart from feeling like I was losing my free will, was the massive amounts of stress I was feeling about our planet, about systemic racism, and about police brutality in this country," she said.

She elaborated to James Corden in August 2021, saying, "I just want to be as connected as possible, and I'm trying to do that without relying on a ton of screens."

How long it lasted: Aside from a small, sporadic handful of posts — like urging fans to vote and promoting her 2021 album, Solar Power — Lorde has remained mostly absent from social media since mid-2018.

09 of 26

Lizzo

Lizzo
Lizzo. Frazer Harrison/Getty

What went down: The singer has zero time to entertain any more Twitter trolls. On Jan 5, 2020, Lizzo tweeted, "Yeah I can't do this Twitter s--- no more.. too many trolls..." She then further explained her departure during an Instagram Live session shortly before her concert at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, saying, "I just want to say that I, you know, I just took a DNA test and it turns out I quit Twitter. I quit Twitter. I'm off it. All social media is not created equal."

"I would love to be on Twitter 'cause I could connect with you people who positively support me… not to mention spreading my own positive messages," she continued. "But now I've gotten to a point where I'm not just dealing with Internet bullies, I'm dealing with seeing a lot of negativity on the Internet dealing with everyone."

How long it lasted: After writing that she will return "when I feel like it," Lizzo has slowly returned to the platform after previously handing the account over to her management.

10 of 26

Ed Sheeran

ED SHEERAN
Gerardo Mora/Getty

What went down: And he's off! The singer announced in December of 2019 that he'd once again be taking a break from social media (he announced his first break in December of 2015, and later quit Twitter in July of 2017).

He explained his decision in a note on Instagram, writing he was "just gonna take a breather to travel, write and read." The "Shape of You" singer added that he'll return "with some new music when the time is right and I've lived a little more to actually have something to write about."

How long it lasted: Sheeran has been on-and-off of social media since initially swearing off of it in 2015. He's returned to Instagram after a years-long hiatus.

11 of 26

Cardi B

61st Annual GRAMMY Awards - Backstage
Cardi B. Michael Kovac/Getty Images

What went down: Following criticism that she was undeserving of her best rap album Grammy win and some social media drama where she was pinned against her nemesis Nicki Minaj by the BET Network, the "Bodak Yellow" rapper got heated in an expletive-filled rant on her Instagram before deleting the video and her account entirely in February 2019.

This isn't the first time Cardi's deleted her Instagram after getting the last word: The "I Like It" singer briefly deactivated her account in May 2018, after getting in a heated online argument with fellow rapper Azealia Banks.

How long it lasted: Two days; on Feb. 13 she wrote she was "back from retirement" to announce a new song with Bruno Mars. She's continued to have a love-hate relationship with social media since.

12 of 26

Ruby Rose

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon - Season 5
Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/Getty

What went down: According to Entertainment Weekly, Rose's casting as The CW's Batwoman was met with backlash online in August 2018. People opined that Rose, who identifies as gender fluid, is not right for the part of the first openly gay superhero at the helm of a television show.

Deadline reported that, before deleting her account, Rose tweeted, "Where on earth did 'Ruby is not a lesbian therefore she can't be batwoman' come from - has to be the funniest most ridiculous thing I've ever read. I came out at 12? And have for the past 5 years had to deal with 'she's too gay' how do y'all flip it like that? I didn't change. I wish we would all support each other and our journeys." The actress has since quit Twitter and turned off the Instagram comments.

How long it lasted: Rose has yet to return to Twitter. She has turned her Instagram comments back on to the public.

13 of 26

Pete Davidson

fads of the year - man skirts
Cindy Ord/MG21/Getty Images

What went down: In December 2018, Davidson deleted his Instagram after posting an alarming message. "I really don't want to be on this earth anymore. I'm doing my best to stay here for you but i actually don't know how much longer i can last," the Saturday Night Live star wrote. "All i've ever tried to do was help people. Just remember i told you so," he continued, adding a single red heart emoji.

Machine Gun Kelly, a friend of Davidson's, as well as ex-fiancé Ariana Grande went to check on the comedian, who was quickly accounted for at the Saturday Night Live studio.

Davidson had previously wiped the photos off his account in July 2018, explaining in part, "No there's nothing wrong ... I just don't wanna be on Instagram anymore. Or on any social media platform," he wrote. "The internet is an evil place and it doesn't make me feel good ... I love you all and I'm sure I'll be back at some point. your neighborhood goon, Pete."

How long it lasted: Davidson has yet to return to Instagram.

14 of 26

Kelly Marie Tran

PEOPLE's Ones to Watch Party presented by Maybelline New York at NeueHouse Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, America - 4 October 2017
Eric Charbonneau/LeStudio

What went down: When fans decided they didn't like her Star Wars: The Last Jedi character, Rose, they made it known, posting particularly hateful messages on the actress's Instagram photos. It was so bad costar Mark Hamill came to her defense, and she opened up about it in an August 2018 op-ed for the New York Times.

How long it lasted: Tran's Instagram account still exists, but is wiped of all her posts.

15 of 26

Millie Bobby Brown

2018 Time 100 Gala - Red Carpet

What went down: The Stranger Things actress quit Twitter in June 2018 — which also happens to be Pride Month — after Twitter users began attacking the star with a homophobic meme seemingly attributed to her. Millie has previously shown her support for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

How long it lasted: The actress teased fans with a brief reappearance in January 2019, tweeting, "hi. i missed u." She hasn't posted there since, but does use Instagram now and then.

16 of 26

Cheryl Burke

691074865AK00010_Brooks_Bro
Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Brooks Brothers

What went down: The Dancing with the Stars pro announced in March 2018 that she is "dealing with some personal things right now" and would be stepping away from social media for an indefinite period of time. "I'm dealing with some personal things right now and need to take a break from social media," wrote Burke.

How long it lasted: At the end of March 2018, Burke explained her absence with an Instagram post mourning her father; she's now fully returned to her platforms.

17 of 26

Amber Rose

amber-rose
Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

What went down: In November 2016, Rose posted on Instagram that she'd be taking time off from social media for the month of December. "Hey guys, I just want to let everyone know that I'm taking the rest of the year off of social media," Rose stated in a makeup-free video (accessorizing with the Snapchat flower crown filter, no less). "So I'll have Joe, my assistant, post some cool stuff for me, and I'll see you in the new year."

How long it lasted: Rose said the social media hiatus would last one month but in reality it lasted two weeks.

18 of 26

Kendall Jenner

Kendall Jenner's Birthday Party at Deliah

What went down: The model appeared to have suddenly deleted her Instagram account in November 2016. Instead of being greeted by fashionable photos, her millions of fans found a generic message on Jenner's Instagram page: "Sorry, this page isn't available. The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed." The model's other social media pages, such as Facebook and Twitter, were still up and running, however.

How long it lasted: Jenner's Instagram detox lasted one week. As for what sparked the break, the model spoke to Ellen DeGeneres while stopping by the host's show. "I just wanted a little bit of a break. I would wake up in the morning and look at it first thing, I would go to bed and it would be the last thing I looked at," she revealed. "I felt a little too dependent on it so I wanted to take a minute."

19 of 26

Justin Bieber

PEACE AND LOVE
AKM-GSI

What went down: Days after Bieber threatened to make his Instagram private if his fans didn't stop sending hate toward his new flame (at the time), 18-year-old Sofia Richie, he stayed true to his word and shut down his account. It probably didn't help that his ex Selena Gomez commented this on a photo of him with Richie: "If you can't handle the hate, then stop posting pictures of your girlfriend lol - It should be special between you two only. Don't be mad at your fans. They love you and supported you before any one did."

How long it lasted: Bieber deactivated on Aug. 16, 2016, but returned soon after, sharing pics from his tour as well as throwback snapshots.

20 of 26

Normani Kordei

normani-kordei.jpg
Normani. Kevin Mazur/WireImage

What went down: The "Motivation" singer was the recipient of nasty fan ire after she seemed to snub then-Fifth Harmony bandmate Camila Cabello. (When asked to say something nice about everyone in the group for a Facebook Live interview, Kordei seemed to stall at Cabello, saying: "She is … let's see. Camila. Very quirky. Yeah. Very quirky. Cute.") The online abuse - which included racist photos and insults - got so bad that Kordei announced she'd be leaving Twitter, writing in a note: "I have shown nothing but commitment for the success of Fifth Harmony even promoting on my days off but yet I always find myself as the target of unjust hate and slander."

How long it lasted: Her Twitter hiatus, which she announced on Aug. 8, 2016, wasn't permanent - she started tweeting again that September to stand up against cyberbullies.

21 of 26

Daisy Ridley

Image
Disney/Image Group LA/Getty

What went down: The Star Wars: The Force Awakens actress quietly left Instagram in August 2016, after receiving a barrage of criticism for sharing an anti-gun violence post on her Instagram and Facebook pages. The message, which was posted two days prior, reflected on the call to action that was made to stop gun violence at the Teen Choice Awards, which Ridley attended. "As I sat in the audience yesterday tears were streaming down my face at the tribute to those that have been lost to gun violence," she wrote. "I didn't get a great picture of the incredible group that came onstage but they were so brave. It was a true moment of togetherness. We must #stoptheviolence."

How long it lasted: She came back, but by 2017 was gone again, telling Radio Times she thinks social media is "highly unhealthy for people's mental health."

22 of 26

Leslie Jones

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Todd Williamson/Getty

What went down: Following a barrage of racist, hateful and downright threatening tweets in the summer of 2016, the Ghostbusters star tweeted to defend herself against this "personal hell," saying that she'd be taking a break from the social media site: "I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart. All this cause I did a movie. You can hate the movie but the s--- I got today…wrong."

How long it lasted: Three days - and we're so glad she's back. "Welp ... a bitch thought she could stay away. But who else is gonna live tweet Game of Thrones!!" she tweeted.

23 of 26

Iggy Azalea

ALL EYES ON IGGY
Mike Coppola/Getty

What went down: In February of 2015, the rapper said she'd be quitting Twitter after receiving unflattering comments about paparazzi photos taken of her in a bikini while on vacation in Hawaii. "Just got back from a great vacation, came online and saw apparently it's shocking and unheard of to be a woman and have cellulite," she tweeted. She announced that her management would be handling her account from then on "unless any message is signed -IA."

How long it lasted: Just a few months, after which she returned with updates about her dog.

24 of 26

Rihanna

STUNNER STYLE
Kevin Mazur/Getty

What went down: In early 2014, the unthinkable happened: Rihanna quit Instagram entirely, leaving her handle - @badgalRiRi - disabled. Apparently, this was an accident on the part of Instagram, but then again, she didn't immediately get it restored.

How long it lasted: She returned six months later, praise the Lord. (Nov. 1, 2014, will forever be known as the historic day of The Rihturn.)

25 of 26

Lena Dunham

LENA DUNHAM
Jason Merritt/Getty

What went down: In September of 2015, Dunham announced that she had hired someone to tweet on her behalf so as to avoid "verbal violence." "I really appreciate that anybody follows me at all, and so I didn't want to cut off my relationship to it completely, but it really, truly wasn't a safe space for me," she said. The Girls star continued to be very active on Instagram.

How long it lasted: Hard to tell, because it seemed like tweets were still in her voice! Maybe the person she hired was tweeting exactly what Dunham told him or her to, like this one: "I used to be attracted to damaged men. Now I am attracted to damaged dogs."

26 of 26

Taylor Swift

TAYLOR SWIFT
Splash News Online

What went down: This may not have been a total social media black-out, per se, but Swift said "people might need a break" from her in October 2015, and posted significantly less on Instagram and Twitter.

How long it lasted: Her posting frequency was at an all-time low, and then, before the release of her 2017 album Reputation, she deleted her entire Instagram feed, later posting teasers before making a real return to the platform later in the year.

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