Evangeline Lilly is known worldwide for her role on J.J. Abrams’ fan favorite show Lost. Despite its success and multiple Emmy wins, the British Columbia native didn’t have a blast during the making of it.
“I was never enamored by the idea of fame,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, admitting she went through “a pretty dark time” coming to terms with being a public figure.
For more about Lilly, check out this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.
In fact, she planned on retiring from acting after Lost ended in 2010, and for two years enjoyed life off the grid, moving to Hawaii with her partner, Norman Kali, who worked in film production and is now a stay-at-home dad.
She took up surfing and wrote scripts and children’s books. She also settled into the role of mom, having two sons.But when Peter Jackson offered her a role in The Hobbit movie, she couldn’t turn it down.
Lilly says she had to find a way to “make peace” with working in Hollywood and “embrace all the things that made me uncomfortable.”
That includes headlining her second Marvel movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp, out Friday.
“I had to find a place in which I could be happy,” she says. “And now I very much am.”