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NCIS' Pauley Perrette wows fans with rare peek of life away from acting

The former CBS star has lived life away from the screen since 2020

Actress Pauley Perrette attends the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's Beastly Ball 2023 at the Los Angeles Zoo on June 03, 2023 in Los Angeles, California© Getty Images
Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
March 19, 2024
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Pauley Perrette's years away from the screen in California has taken on its own kind of magic, and the former NCIS star is sharing a new peek of her home life.

The 54-year-old star took to Instagram with views of the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch the night of March 18, which lit up the California sky.

Pauley shared photos and a video of the smoke stream left behind by the rocket, some of which left orange streaks in the beautiful night sky with a sprawling snap from her backyard.

She captioned her post with: "We just accidentally watched the #SpaceXlaunch (swipe) We were just sitting out on the patio and were like 'What the heck is that? 'That' was #SpaceX."

Fans left comments like: "Interesting sight, good that it was witnessed by a local," and: "Thanks for sharing Pauley P!" as well as: "It's a bird. It's a plane. It's space X!"

Pauley retired from the screen in 2020, two years after concluding her 15-year-long stint on NCIS, where she played Abby Sciuto from 2003-2018, one of the show's biggest breakout characters and an enduring fan favorite 21 seasons into the CBS crime procedural drama.

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After her sitcom Broke was canceled following one season in 2020, the star announced that she would be retiring after decades in the business that also involved stints in music, voiceover work, writing, and production.

She has since pivoted to behind-the-scenes efforts championing documentaries like 2013's Citizen Lane and has made appearances in recent years at events celebrating activism for humanitarian and LGBTQ+ rights.

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The actress left NCIS due to an incident involving co-star Mark Harmon's dog on-set and tensions with the actor, who is also a producer on the series (and will executive produce/spearhead the upcoming prequel spin-off NCIS: Origins, based on his character).

 Pauley Perrette in NCIS© CBS via Getty Images
Pauley concluded her stint on "NCIS" in 2018 after 15 years

In an oral history of the series with The Hollywood Reporter, celebrating 20 years to its premiere in September 2003, executive producer Charles Floyd Johnson went more in-depth on the situation.

MORE: Pauley Perrette inundated with support over emotional TV comeback following NCIS exit and acting retirement

"In Pauley Perrette's case, there was an incident with the show with a dog," he explained. "The dog was Harmon's, and apparently the dog bit someone. Pauley was a huge, huge SPCA [Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] animal person. 

Pauley Perrette attends Donatella Versace And Dwyane Wade Host Celebration Of The Los Angeles LGBT Center at Los Angeles LGBT Center on March 08, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.© Getty Images
Pauley has since devoted much of her time to activism and the occasional humanitarian gala

"And then the dog kept coming with Harmon, and she felt it wasn't safe for the show. By the end of that year, she just felt like it wasn't working for her anymore, and it was time to move on."

MORE: NCIS' Duane Henry's real-life story of homelessness – and how Pauley Perrette helped him

James Whitmore Jr., director on JAG, NCIS, and three of the series' spin-offs, also said: "Diona Reasonover (Kasie Hines) is wonderful and brilliant, and the work is great. But you walk onto that set sometimes, and you miss Pauley."

Mark Harmon and Pauley Perrette as Gibbs and Abby on NCIS© CBS
Tension between Pauley and her co-star Mark Harmon influenced her decision to leave

Glenn Geller, former CBS Entertainment president, praised her work on the show for over a decade, sweetly adding: "Pauley Perrette made Abby one of the most beloved characters on television in the 21st century."

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