Meg Ryan was once one of the biggest actresses in the world and a regular in the gossip columns, and then she was suddenly gone! It turns out that the one-time golden girl of the box office has decided to retreat from the public eye in favour of a quiet life in New York City.

Meg Ryan John Mellencamp
Meg, pictured with lover John Mellencamp, does her best to avoid these types of encounters with paps

Ryan stars as the cover girl for the latest issue of People, with the magazine discussing her decision to go from leading lady to quiet housewife. The decision to do so wasn't because the offers dried up, quite the contrary, as Ryan simply wanted to spend more time with her daughter Daisy, 8, and her boyfriend of nearly three years, rock singer John Mellencamp.

"Los Angeles is just about movies. New York is about so much more than that, and so is Meg," Delia Ephron, a friend of Meg, told the magazine. The article goes on to explain that her retreat from the public eye began in 2001, following her divorce from husband of ten years Dennis Quaid. The split came amidst reports that Meg had been cheating on her husband with her Proof of Life co-star Russell Crowe, rumours that turned out to be true and were discussed at length by Meg in a 2008 interview with InStyle. At the time, she explained how she had gone from "nation's sweetheart" to "scarlet lady" in one fell swoop.

Meg Ryan
The actress does leave the house though, as she attends the April 2013 premiere of Lucky Guy

"So this is what it feels like to be the scarlet woman. Oh! I'm having that experience now!" She said in the 2008 interview. "It was also incredibly liberating. Now I was utterly free. I didn't have to care about what people thought. I have gotten to do what I guess I secretly wanted to do. Be totally under the radar and live my life."

That interview was essentially the last bit of publicity the now-51-year-old was willing to take, and after appearing in the 2009 film Serious Moonlight, the Golden Globe-nominated actress was through with Hollywood. Apart from her few appearances in Showtime's Web Therapy, Ryan has all but given up acting and now she "does her best not to be recognised" whilst out and about in New York. Whether she'll ever come back to Hollywood, remains a doubt.

The new issue of People Magazine goes on sale on 4 October.

Meg Ryan daughter
Meg is usually seen like this, if she is ever seen at all