It looks like Jonathan Taylor Thomas will be home for Christmas.
Thomas, 42, was spotted out and about near his Southern California residence on Wednesday, November 29, according to photos obtained by Page Six. The ‘90s heartthrob rocked a tan Lacoste sweater over a green shirt and denim while sipping a drink and heading into a local convenience store. He finished off the laid-back look with a dark beanie, glasses and a pair of sneakers.
Wednesday’s outing marks the first time in two years that Thomas has been spotted in public. Prior to being photographed walking his dogs in Los Angeles in January 2021, the former child star hadn’t been seen for nearly eight years.
Thomas, who began acting in 1987 at the age of 7, shot to stardom with various films like 1995’s Man of the House and 1997’s Wild America. He also portrayed middle child Randy Taylor on 7 seasons of Home Improvement opposite Tim Allen before exiting the series early to focus on school.
When attending the Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards in 1999, Thomas opened up about his decision to step back from acting, telling press, “Had I stayed at the show and tried to do academically what I’m doing now, I would’ve, you know, put myself in an early grave.”
Thomas attended both Harvard and Columbia University before taking a few smaller roles in recent years, guest starring on 8 Simple Rules and Veronica Mars and lending his voice to six episodes of Nickelodeon’s The Wild Thornberrys. Between 2013 and 2015, he reunited with Allen, 70, for four episodes of Last Man Standing. He also directed three episodes of the sitcom.
“You can’t be trapped in this bubble called the acting industry,” Thomas told Premiere magazine in 1996 about his desire to step out of the spotlight. “The industry is neurotic and weird, and so when I go home and I play basketball with my friends, I’m not Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I’m just Jonathan. I don’t like hanging out with other actors and actresses.”
While Thomas has separated himself from the industry, many of his former castmates have opened up about their desire to work with the actor again. Thomas’ former Wild America costar Devon Sawa exclusively told Us Weekly in 2019 that he’d love for the duo to work together on another project.
“We should totally do a TV show or something. I don’t know if he wants to act anymore, I don’t know what he’s doing,” Sawa told Us at the time. “I need to have a serious one-hour lunch sit-down, figure out what that guy wants to do! ‘You should be acting! Forget this Harvard nonsense, you should be acting!’”
Sawa added that he had a “great time” on the set of the duo’s 1997 adventure film and that Thomas was an “amazing” person to work with. “I remember we did school together and we had tons of great times,” he continued. “I spoke to [Jonathan] recently, within the last year or so. I don’t keep in touch with him as much as I should, I think. He’s a great dude.”