Now, in a new interview, the actor has explained that he needed time out with those closest to him after struggling to cope with his rapid worldwide fame.
"I was on the cover of every magazine. I couldn't really go anywhere. I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin. I was alone. I didn't trust anyone," he told Details.
"So I went back to Minnesota and got back together with my old friends - ended up getting back together with my high-school girlfriend for a while - and I didn't do any filming for 18 months. I'm still finding my way through all that."
In another interview with ELLE magazine, he explained just what it was life living in a Hollywood bubble.
"When Pearl Harbor came out, my life changed dramatically. To avoid paparazzi we'd get two cars going different in directions. and sometimes I was getting in the trunk of one of them to get from point A to point B in Los Angeles. I was 22 years old, and I needed some reality. I'd always wanted to take some time off and go home. So I did that."
Josh's decision to retreat from Hollywood blockbusters meant turning down possible opportunities to star in franchises including Batman, Superman and Spider-Man, although he says he doesn't regret that as he was worried about being typecast.
The now 35-year-old told Details that his access to roles is now different than it was when he came to Hollywood at 18 and then found massive fame, as his name doesn't automatically generate success.
"I didn't have to struggle as an actor, although I think that I've made up for it now. I still get offered films and TV roles, luckily, but years ago, if I saw a role I wanted, there was a good chance I could grab it. When I see a role now, I've got to fight for it. It's not bad. It's actually more rewarding. Depressing when something doesn't go your way, but only for a minute."
(We'd definitely still cast him in any role he wanted!)
Josh's latest project is his first venture into TV, starring in US supernatural series Penny Dreadful, which premieres in America next week. He's also appeared in several independent movies.
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