Pop Culture

Alec Baldwin waves 'good-bye' to public life and possibly New York City

Alec Baldwin's volatile on-again, off-again relationship with celebrity is over, according to the Emmy-winning actor. In an essay published on New York Magazine's Vulture website Sunday, Baldwin talked about withdrawing from public life and possibly relocating to Los Angeles, among other topics.

"This is the last time I'm going to talk about my personal life in an American publication ever again," he said in the piece headlined, "Alec Baldwin: Good-Bye, Public Life." (Note: The 5,300 word article uses frank, uncensored language.) 

Baldwin explains that his recent decision to withdraw from public life was triggered in part by his ongoing tug-of-war with the paparazzi and tabloid press, which came to a head in Nov. 2013 when he was accused of using a homophobic slur. "I'm not a homophobic person at all," he said. "But this is how the world now sees me."

As a new dad, Baldwin said he's seriously considering picking up and going west, where he can better control where and when he's seen in public. "I probably have to move out of New York," he said. "I just can't live in New York any more. Everything I hated about L.A. I'm beginning to crave. L.A. is a place where you live behind a gate, you get in a car, your interaction with the public is minimal. I used to hate that. But New York has changed."

On TODAY's Trending segment Monday, the anchors talked about the essay, and the bi-coastal Carson Daly acknowledged that if privacy is what Baldwin wants, he can probably get a measure of it in Los Angeles.

But Daly added, "He really is a New York fixture.... You go to L.A., the celebrities hide. You come to New York, there's Alec Baldwin somewhere riding his bike with a cup of coffee. I mean, he's out. He likes to be out. He won't get that in L.A. ... You get behind the gates, and L.A. is spread out. So he can run from (paparazzi)."

In the essay, Baldwin did acknowledge his role in keeping the flames lit around his celebrity. "I'm self-aware enough to know that I am to blame for some of this," he said. "I definitely should not have reacted the way I did in some of these situations. ... Do I regret screaming at some guy who practically clipped my kid in the head with the lens of a camera? Yeah, I probably do, because it's only caused me problems.

"Now I don't want to be Mr. Show Business any more," he went on, and added, "It's good-bye to public life in the way that you try to communicate with an audience playfully like we're friends, beyond the work you are actually paid for ... I slid into show business, where you seek only an audience's approval, whether you deserve it or not. I think I want to go back to being an actor now."

Whether he leaves New York City or not is one question, but TODAY's Natalie Morales was pretty certain his bigger good-bye will be short-lived: "We'll see how long his non-public life lasts," she said.