20 Child Stars You Wouldn’t Recognize Today

The entertainment industry is one of the most lucrative and demanding in the world. It is one field that has great power to change anyone who chooses the part – this change could be positive or its contrary. Most celebrities today became famous in their later years, while a couple of others were stars right from childhood. With so many waters passing under the bridge, these child stars have grown up to be people we may not recognize anymore. Although some of them are still very active on screen, they look absolutely different from what we knew them to be years back. Here they are:

1. Demi Lovato


Demi Lovato started singing at an early age and also starred in Barney and Friends. After struggling with drugs, alcohol, eating disorders and depression among other demons, Demi has risen from the innocent little girl with an angelic voice to one bold powerhouse vocalist who is a role model to most aspiring singers.

2. Danica McKellar


Danica – Winnie of The Wonder Years, did a pretty good job in her transitioning from child actress to adult actress. She added writing to her list of hobbies and has authored several books on the joys of math for middle and high schoolers. The film director graduated from UCLA Summa Cum Laude and studied Mathematics which has helped to keep her head straight.

3. Lindsay Lohan


Lindsay came onto the acting scene playing twins in the re-make of The Parent Trap. She also starred in Freaky Friday and Mean Girls. She was a bonafide child star. The Disney star could not resist the temptations of tinsel town, which has made her spend time in and out of rehabilitation, jail and psychotherapy. Lindsay keeps trying though, perhaps one day just like Stella, she will get her groove back.

4. Shirley Temple


Shirley Temple was able to successfully graduate from giggles and curls to responsible adulthood and eventually a United States Ambassador. Not all child actors fare as well as she did.

5. Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Jacob Radcliffe rose to prominence as the title character in the Harry Potter film series. He was a cute kid who made his acting debut at the age of 10 in BBC One’s 1999 television film. Daniel is no longer the cute boy we once knew, he has grown into an awkward looking young man with big scraggly eyebrows and thicker brows. We hope to see him back on screen, as an adult

6. Angus T. Jones


Augus Jones starred as the sarcastic Charlie Sheen in the popular comedy, Two and a Half Men. He became the highest paid child actor at the age of 17, earning $300,000 per episode for 26 episodes. In 2012, he began criticizing the show and discouraging people from watching it. His protest is linked to his religious belief as a member of the Voice of Prophecy Seventh-Day Adventist church in Los Angeles.

7. Kristen Stewart


At age nine Kristen Stewart was nominated for a Young Artist Award for her performance in Panic Room. Her family are into showbiz, and she is best known for her performance in The Twilight Saga, where she met and began a relationship with Robert Pattinson. Kristen continues to give critically acclaimed performances and so far has been able to stay out of trouble.

8. Jonathan Lipnicki

As a child, American actor, Jonathan starred in Jerry Maguire, Stuart Little, The Little Vampire, and Like Mike. So far he lived a normal teenage life, and is now back on screen. Without those glasses and with a super-buff body gained from competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Jonathan is ready once again for more lead roles in Hollywood.

9. Danny Bonaduce


Danny got into spotlight in the 70’s for playing his name on The Partridge Family. He also made several movies and appeared on television shows. In his later years, Danny started abusing drugs and at a point became homeless. While presenting in a radio show in Los Angeles, the actor mentioned that he had lived in his car for a while, where he was greeted by fans and autograph-seekers. Today, he is back on the radio and appears to be a survivor.

10. Mischa Barton


The once rail-thin star of The O.C. has come under scrutiny for her weight gain with which she has come to terms. She says, “When you’re 16, you’re not what you are at 25. Not everybody stays the same body type. She complained that people always had what to say about her weight; its either she was too slim or a bit fat. Whatever weight she is, she has enough acting jobs and endorsements to keep her busy.

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11. Macauley Culkin

Called the greatest child actor since Shirley Temple, Macauley Culkin rose to international fame in the blockbuster movie, Home Alone, playing Kevin. He went on to similar acclaim in several other movies, including Lost in New York, My Girl and The Good Son, and more. After several years away from acting, he returned to play some darker, more experimental roles and play in a band. He has been battling with heroine addiction, and is said smoke up to 60 cigarettes a day, which he can definitely afford with his $15 million net worth.

12. Amanda Bynes


Amanda was a regular cast member on two Nickelodeon shows—Figure it Out and All That. Her first ticket was for talking on the cell phone while driving, and the crimes grew from there to include a DUI for sideswiping a police car, two hit-and-runs, driving with a suspended license, tampering with evidence by throwing a bong out her Manhattan apartment window during an arrest for marijuana possession, and starting a small fire in front of a stranger’s house. She is currently enrolled in fashion school.

13. Jodie Foster


Jodie Foster has been acting since the age of 3, she has received two Academy Awards and many nominations. She graduated from Yale University and has two sons. She continues to act/direct and seems to have weathered her early fame quite well.

 14. Dustin Diamond

Dustin Neil Diamond is an American actor, musician, director, and stand-up comedian. He played “Screech” in the television show Saved by the Bell. Dustin was a cute kid and has grown into an adult that is not exactly handsome or ugly, he has added a little flesh though.

15. Raven Symone


90s starlet, Raven has not done much acting since her stint on the Disney channel in both That’s So Raven and the Cheetah Girls, but she has not been resting on her laurels. This actress is pursuing a degree at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and she is also making a name for herself in the talk show circuit.

16. Mark Hamill


Mark is best known for playing the hero Luke Skywalker in the 1977 film Star Wars Episode IV and V. He is also  famous for his role as Pvt. Griff in The Big Red One, where he starred alongside Lee Marvin in the 1980 war movie. His appearance was affected by an unfortunate car accident after the making of Star Wars in 1977, he has changed a lot.

 17. Mara Wilson


This quintessential child star was famous in her time. Mara is best known for her stunning performances in Miracle on 34th Street and Mrs. Doubtfire, where she played the daughter of late Robin Williams. Those performances got her a role in Matilda. Even though she was successful, Mara decided to retire from acting and focus on other things. She just wrote her first off-Broadway play and is working on publishing young adult novels.

 18. Todd Bridges

Todd played Willis on the television show Different Strokes. He grew up without his afro-textured hair – not bad anyway. No one knew he would end up bald, or is it just his style? He looked more adorable as a child star though.

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19. Haley Joel Osment

Joel played in the great 1999 film The Sixth Sense with Bruce Willis. He was 11-years old when he played the role in the film that fetched huge success to director M. Night Shyamalan. Joel still does amazingly well in acting, only he got chubbier and almost unrecognizable.

20. Keke Palmer


American singer, songwriter, actress, and television personality, Keke Palmer came into the entertainment scene when she released her debut album So Uncool in 2007. She made her acting debut in the 2004 film Barbershop 2, but is best known for playing the prominent role of Akeelah in Akeelah and The Bee. Palmer also played the lead role in Nickelodeon sitcom True Jackson, VP, she earned $20,000 per episode making her the fourth highest-paid child star on television. In January 2015, she was cast in one of the leading roles in the Fox horror series Scream Queens. Over the years she has grown to be more beautiful and bolder, and intends to be around for a long time.

Amira Daniel
Amira Daniel
Amira is a personal finance and entertainment writer by trade with several years of experience covering businesses, CEOs, and celebrity profiles, her favourite subjects include business and personal finance, entertainment, celebrities, and travel. When she's not writing, you can find her reading or catching up on any of her favourite series


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