Jennifer Garner almost ''retired'' after giving birth to her third child.

The 46-year-old actress has Violet, 12, Seraphina, nine, and Samuel, six, with her estranged husband Ben Affleck, and has opened up on how she very nearly ended up without a career after taking a break when Samuel was born, but was ''forced'' to realise she didn't want to ''be at home all the time''.

She told Variety magazine: ''I would have to decide, 'No I actually do love this job.' [I took a break because] three kids just knocks you flat on your a**.

''[I got a call from my then-agent Patrick Whitesell.] Patrick said, 'Either this is the telephone call about you doing 'Dallas Buyers Club' and how we're going to make that happen, or it's a telephone call about your retirement,' That was a real moment of decision and clarity and I loved him for it because it forced me to say, 'OK, I am not ready to be home all the time.'''

The 'Peppermint' star chose not to give up her career, and was awarded this week with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which she dedicated to her brood, whom she said ''define'' her.

She said whilst accepting the prestigious honour: ''All of you here are the most special people in the world to me. Violet, Sera and Sam. Hi, buddy! And my parents and my sisters, my nieces and my nephews.

''For my children, when you walk over this star I want you to remember, first of all, that I love you. And that this is about hard work and good luck and not a whole lot else. You define me, not this wonderful spot on the pavement.

''Also, for the record, don't spend too much time on Hollywood Boulevard.''