You may know Phoebe Cates for the iconic role she played in a classic teen movie from the 1980s. Or you may recognize her as the wife of Oscar Award-winning actor Kevin Kline. However you know her, you’re probably wondering, “Where is Phoebe Cates now?” Because while the 57-year-old actress has made an indelible mark on the film industry, she’s been shying away from the spotlight for decades now. Here, we take a deep dive into this beauty’s history and find out what life is like for Phoebe Cates in 2021.
Phoebe Cates Was A Popular Actress In The 1980s And 1990s
Phoebe Cates was born in New York City on July 16th, 1963. The daughter of a well-known Broadway producer, she grew up around the arts and attended the esteemed Professional Children’s School and the Juilliard School in Manhattan.
Cates began her professional career as a model, appearing in popular magazines like Seventeen and Glamour. But the actress says she quickly realized she didn’t find the job to be fulfilling.
“That didn’t teach me anything,” Cates said of her brief modeling career in a 1982 interview with People. “It was just the same thing, over and over. After a while I did it solely for the money.”
Cates decided to pursue a career in acting instead and landed her big-screen debut in the 1982 film Paradise. She was just 17 years old at the time, and the movie involved nudity. Surprisingly, it was her father who encouraged her to take the role.
“I asked my father, ‘Should I do this?’” she told People. “He said, ‘How can you even question a lead in a feature film?’ I said, ‘Yeah, but what about the nudity?’ And he said, ‘What are you going to do, model for the rest of your life? What are you so hung up on nudity for?’ That’s all I needed. I took the part.”
Her Biggest Claim To Fame Was ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’
Cates’s role in Paradise got her noticed, but it was her second part that really cemented her status as a movie star. She played the sexy and sophisticated high school student Linda Barrett in the 1982 comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
While the movie was a hit when it came out, earning more than $27 million at the box office that year, it’s since become even bigger as an American cult classic. Cates will always be remembered for being involved in one of the movie’s most memorable (and racy!) scenes, which features her in an iconic bright red bikini. The scene also required her to be topless; however, Cates said the experience was much different the second time around.
“[The nude scenes in Paradise] were serious and more difficult because they were not easily justified,” Cates said in a 1982 interview (as reported by the New Zealand Herald). “But the topless scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High was funny, which made it easy.”
So Where Is Phoebe Cates Now In 2021?
After Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Cates went on to appear in a string of popular movies throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, including Gremlins and Gremlins II, Bright Lights, Big City, Shag, Heart of Dixie, and Drop Dead Fred. But in 1994, she decided to step away from acting to focus on starting a family with her husband, actor Kevin Kline, whom she married in 1989. The couple had two children together — son Owen Joseph, born in 1991, and daughter Greta Simone, born in 1994. In fact, you may recognize Greta if you’re into music. Now 27, she’s the lead singer of the indie rock band Frankie Cosmos.
Since ditching the Hollywood scene for motherhood more than 25 years ago, Cates has only returned to acting professionally two times. In 2001, she appeared in the movie The Anniversary Party, which also starred her Fast Times at Ridgemont High co-star Jennifer Jason Leigh. We suspect Leigh had a hand in convincing Cates to take the part, as she also co-wrote and co-directed the movie.
In 2015, Cates lent her voice to a Lego-themed video game, playing her character from Gremlins. This was her last acting credit to date.
As for her other interests, Cates owns and operates a clothing boutique in Manhattan called Blue Tree, which she opened in 2005. Located on Madison Avenue, the store carries a variety of unique goods, including jewelry, clothing, antiques, candles, books, and vintage LPs. “I always wanted to have a general store,” she told USA Today in 2006. “If I could have had a photo booth and sold candy, I would have.”
Cates says she has her husband to thank for coming up with the shop’s unique name. “It’s a gentle reference to the blue trees in the Fauvist paintings,” she told USA Today. “It’s the idea that this is not a natural thing to find in this neighborhood.”
Is Phoebe Cates Still Married?
Yes! Cates has now been married to Kevin Kline for more than 30 years. When they first got together, much was made about their age difference — she was just 25 while he was 41. But time has proven that the pair were meant to be. In fact, Kline says their age difference was a definite advantage when it came to starting a family.
“I was 40-ish, when I finally stopped obsessing about acting and thought it would be nice to have a life and actually got married,” he explained in a 2014 interview with The Guardian. “If I had married someone my own age, the possibility of progeny would have been very slim. I didn’t consciously say: ‘Hey, we could make babies; want to get married?’ It just happened that way.”
So what’s the secret to keeping their relationship alive for three decades? Kline says it’s simple. “We’re both sensible, and we don’t separate for long periods of time,” he explained in a 2002 interview with Entertainment Weekly. ”We take care of the marriage.”
Will She Ever Make A Comeback?
While anything is possible, fans shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for Phoebe Cates to resurrect her acting career. It appears as though she is perfectly happy with her life as it is. Her husband even admits that while they met because they were both in the acting biz, he was much more focused on hitting it big. “That was one of the many things I loved about her,” he told The Guardian. “She loved acting while she was doing it, but she was not driven [he goes grand, declamatory; cocks an eyebrow] by it, as I had been.”
Cates can still be seen on occasion attending red carpet events with her husband. Back in 2017, for example, she was by his side when he won a Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway revival of the Noel Coward play, Present Laughter.
What Is Phoebe Cates’s Net Worth?
Cates’s net worth is estimated to be $35 million, according to CelebrityNetWorth.com. That’s an impressive sum for an actress who hasn’t actually worked in years! With that kind of cash, she certainly doesn’t need to make a comeback anytime soon.