Since the rise of television and Hollywood, the phenomenon of the child star grew in popular culture. Family sitcoms like The Brady Bunch put child actors in front of millions of adoring fans every week. With the spotlight on them, many child actors rose too fast and quickly crashed and burned. Too often Hollywood would replace them with a new child actor, leaving the old one in the dust. Others found it difficult to get out of the shadow of their popular character. We all have our favorites. But, with so many child stars growing up, where have they gone since their rise to fame? Here are 25 Child Stars: Where Are They Now.
Malcolm David Kelley
We all know him and love him as “Walt” on the popular ABC television show Lost. Even during the show, he grew up fast. However, now he’s made a big career change from child actor to full grown rapper. He signed to Columbia Records and released a debut album in 2014.
Melissa Joan Hart
She explained it all in her Nickelodeon show Clarissa Explains It All and captured our hearts with her elusive magic in the show Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and according to her memoir, Melissa Joan Hart partied it up back in the 90’s. Now, however, she lives a normal life as a mom raising three boys.
Jamie Lynn Spears
Jamie Lynn Spears got her start as a child actor on Nickelodeon, starring in All That and Zoey 101. She’s since transitioned to becoming a full-time country music singer.
In her childhood days, Mandy Moore was known in the 90’s as a pop singer and actress in movies like A Walk to Remember. Today, she’s continued her acting career and has a starring role in the NBC show, This Is Us.
The 90’s wouldn’t be complete without Steve Urkel’s classic phrase, “Did I do that?” For much of his career, however, Jaleel White struggled to get out Urkel’s shadow. Today, he’s hopping into a new role in the upcoming CBS comedy Me, Myself & I.
Abigail Breslin has been a child actor since 2002, playing cute and innocent characters in movies like Little Miss Sunshine and Signs. Now that she’s transitioned into adulthood, she’s still acting but taking on more horror roles. Recently, she was in the made-for-TV movie remake of Dirty Dancing.
Zachery Ty Bryan
Taking on the role of the older brother in the 90’s sitcom Home Improvement, Zachery Ty Bryan has since turned his back on acting and moved on to film producing. He owns his own film production company called Vision Entertainment Group.
In the 90’s, the show The Adventures of Pete and Pete was the show the cool kids who had Nickelodeon in their house all watched. Danny Tamberelli played the younger Pete. Today, Danny Tamberelli plays bass in the band Jounce, performs sketch comedy, and is a co-host of the podcast, The Adventures of Danny and Mike.
He charmed us as Kevin Arnold in the hit television show The Wonder Years and then moved on to being a director and producer. But now, in his forties, Fred Savage has come back to acting again in The Grinder and the new Netflix original show Friends From College.
Erik Per Sullivan
Erik Per Sullivan played the gifted younger brother Dewey on the hit show Malcolm in the Middle. Now, he’s twenty-five and has left his acting career behind for good.
Child actor Kirk Cameron is best known for his role on the sitcom Growing Pains. Later, he became a born-again Christian and produced and acted in film and television productions like Left Behind and Fireproof.
Miley Cyrus is the daughter of famed country music singer Billy Ray Cyrus, and she got her start on the show Hannah Montana. With the wild success of the show, she went on to build a major pop music career.
As 80’s teen heartthrob, Alyssa Milano got her start on the television show, Who’s the Boss? Now, she’s put acting behind her to focus on her family and philanthropic work with UNICEF.
James Van Der Beek
Everyone knows James Van Der Beek from the hit television show, Dawson’s Creek. Now, twenty years later, he continues to act in various roles but can’t seem to escape the long shadow of the show.
Amanda Bynes started her child actor career on Nickelodeon’s comedy skit show All That before moving on to her own show The Amanda Show. She continued her career in movies like She’s the Man and Easy A. However, things took a horrible spill when she suffered with an addiction to alcohol. Today, she’s recovering and looking to continue her acting career.
Cole and Dylan Sprouse
Twin brothers Cole and Dylan Sprouse began acting as babies and were seen in major television shows and films like Friends and Big Daddy. They transitioned to being in their own show, The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. Today, they’ve graduated from college, but both intend on continuing their acting careers.
Hilary Duff got her start on the Disney hit comedy The Lizzie McGuire Show. Along with acting, she started a hit pop music career. As she transitioned into adulthood, she tried to do film roles, but those didn’t pan out. Today, she’s focused on her pop music career and raising her child Luca.
Child star Lindsay Lohan had a successful run in the early 2000’s with roles in the remake of The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday. In adulthood, her partying lifestyle gave her a bad reputation and lead to legal troubles. Today, she’s moved to London and is living outside the spotlight.
Best known for his role as Screech on the hit 90’s sitcom Saved by the Bell, Dustin Diamond’s adulthood was marred in controversy after releasing a “tell-all” book, and ultimately jail time for a bar stabbing in 2014. Today, he’s trying to recover from his past and make things right with his fans.
His child stardom is legendary today with his role as Kevin McCallister in Home Alone. He, unfortunately, had never been able to revitalize his acting career in adulthood. He played for a parody band called “The Pizza Underground” until they broke up in 2016. He’s currently living on a nice net worth of $20 million.
Tiffani Thiessen started her child acting career on Saved by the Bell as Kelly Kapowsky, the cheerleader and love interest for Zack Morris. She appeared in many movies and TV shows afterward including Beverly Hills 90210 and The Ladies Man. Today, she was last seen on Jimmy Fallon’s Saved by the Bell reunion skit and hosts her own cooking show called Dinner at Tiffani’s.
Jake Matthew Lloyd
The Star Wars prequel Star Wars: The Phantom Menace launched child actor Jake Matthew Lloyd into unspeakable stardom. Unfortunately, over time, his career didn’t go so well. Recently, after leading police on a wild high-speed chase, he was sent to jail for ten months and later sent to a psychiatric facility.
Young comedian and actor Kel Mitchell was seen on Nickelodeon shows like All That and Kenan & Kel until he kind of disappeared off the face of the earth. Today, he continues to guest star on Nickelodeon shows as well as various film projects.
Shia LaBeouf became a child comedy actor in the Disney sitcom Even Stevens before moving on to be the leading man in the wildly successful Transformers franchise. Today, he’s been in a number of independent and low-budget films but makes more headlines for his outlandish behavior.
Haley Joel Osment
In The Sixth Sense, leading child role Haley Joel Osment said the four words most people still remember today, “I see dead people.” After that he was a major child actor, being in movies like Pay It Forward and A.I. However, he left the Hollywood life behind to go to college in New York. Today, he’s back and working on his acting career again.
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