Taran Noah Smith left the spotlight permanently after his eight-year run on Home Improvement.
Time has repeatedly proved that being a kid actor doesn’t necessarily result in a lot of stability in one’s later years. Being a household name in Hollywood at such a young age tends to send people down a turbulent path of fame. As jobs dwindle and admirers move on, many child stars see their careers hit the skids. Smith, who debuted on Home Improvement as Marcus “Mark” Jason Taylor at the ripe old age of seven, has undoubtedly had his share of tabloid fodder moments, but since leaving Hollywood, he’s been attempting to live a life that makes him truly happy.
Smith admitted that he knew he wanted to stop acting the moment the final episode of Home Improvement aired. At the time, he said, “Home Improvement began when I was seven and concluded when I was sixteen. I was never able to make up my mind about what I wanted to do with my life. I stopped wanting to perform when I was 16 years old.”
In 2001, Smith gained attention once more, this time for making a unique decision in life. On April 27, 2001, Smith—then just 17 years old—married Heidi van Pelt. The couple’s age gap, with van Pelt being 16 years Smith’s senior, allowed for the union to generate a lot of media attention. The couple divorced on February 2, 2007, which doesn’t seem all that shocking from the outside looking in.
After the marriage, Smith turned 18 and was given ownership of his trust fund, which was worth $1.5 million. Scandal would soon follow Smith once more. If Smith hadn’t claimed that his parents had wasted a sizable portion of his money by purchasing a mansion for themselves while he was still appearing on Home Improvement, this wouldn’t have been all that noteworthy (it’s not surprising that starring on such a popular sitcom earned him a solid chunk of change). The charges made by her son, however, were not accurate, according to Candy Bennici, who has published a book about raising a child star. In an interview from 2015, she said “Naturally, we didn’t touch his cash. It belonged to a trust fund. Even if we had wanted to, we couldn’t have touched it. When he was 17, they were attempting to get it, and we were attempting to defend it. Fortunately, the Marin courts were exceedingly gracious about it and refused to grant it.”
Smith would later address the argument with his family, saying, “I’d moved out of the teenage phase and recognised my parents weren’t doing anything wrong but were trying to protect me,” a few years after they had reconciled.
Smith had to decide what he wanted to do with his life after Home Improvement ended and he had finished most of the required child star indiscretions. Smith remarked that it was “very exciting to leave [Home Improvement] behind and explore other things” in an interview with Entertainment Weekly from 2011.
Smith has surely undertaken a variety of additional activities and endeavours. Smith, who has been a vegan for the bulk of his life, started Playfood, a firm that produces only vegan foods. He later turned to installation art for major events like Coachella after that failed to take off, telling EW that he “built cathedrals out of trash.” Later, Smith would assist his father in creating water purifiers that were energy-efficient and are currently used by military troops abroad. He assisted with disaster relief as a volunteer for the non-profit group Communitere in the Philippines back in 2014. As of this writing, he has also gotten into teaching, more precisely how to fly submarines, which he does in his capacity as Technical Manager for the Community Submersibles Project in California.
Smith has made a variety of job changes, so it’s obvious he’ll keep doing whatever takes his fancy and that he’s happy to avoid the spotlight in Hollywood. Tim Allen has publicly shown interest in a Home Improvement revival, but it’s unclear whether Smith could be persuaded to go back to a life he left behind 20 years ago. Regardless of what others think, he seems content to live his life as he sees fit.
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