Why Evangeline Lilly retired from acting and what brought her back

Lilly stars opposite Paul Rudd in Marvel's "Ant-Man and the Wasp."

Evangeline Lilly makes a welcome return to the big screen on Friday with the release of "Ant-Man and the Wasp."

The 38-year-old British Columbia native, best known for her role in ABC's "Lost," actually retired from acting after the television series ended. While promoting her latest film, she shared with The Hollywood Reporter why she left and what ultimately wooed her back.

"I was instantly launched into international stardom, and that was really uncomfortable for me," she said of her role in "Lost." "I instantly balked, didn't know how to deal with it and felt very uncomfortable after that situation. I ended up deciding to retire after I finished 'Lost.'"

After filming "Real Steel" with Hugh Jackman, Lilly left Hollywood for Hawaii to raise her two sons with partner Norman Kali, publish a children's book series and work on other writing projects.

She had no intention of returning until Peter Jackson convinced her to join the cast of "The Hobbit."

"That helped opened my eyes to the fact that, okay, this job can be a joy, it's just a matter of how you approach it," she said of filming with Jackson.

As she was wrapping press on "The Hobbit," Lilly got another offer she couldn't refuse -- this time from Marvel to play the "Wasp."

"I just thought, 'Well, I'm a smart lady. I can figure this out. I'm going to figure out a way to do this and be happy.' And I am, I'm very happy," Lilly said.

Still, the actress is forthright about the challenges of being a working mom in the industry.

"I don't think it's easy for any mother who works," she told THR. "And I've grappled with this a lot: Is it harder for women to work and be a mother than it is for fathers to work and be fathers? I don't know, but it certainly seems that way in my observation."

These days, Lilly works "to live, I don't live to work," she said, adding that writing is her first passion. She is currently re-launching her children's book series and developing a TV show.

"One of the reasons why I have such a peace with my age and where I'm at in my career," said Lilly, who will be 40 soon, "is that what I really want to do is create my own content."

"Ant-Man and the Wasp" open in theaters on Friday.

Marvel is owned by ABC News' parent company, Disney.

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