Growing up is one of life’s inevitabilities. But this truth is most troublesome to one very specific sector of the population: child stars. While some of these child stars become more famous with time, such as Drew Barrymore, others are rarely heard from again, or if they are, they never really amount to much in the business and simply get by without really wowing anyone.
This article will take a look at 10 former child stars and what they’ve been up to since they stepped out of the Hollywood spotlight. Check it out!
10. Alexa Vega
Alexa Vega is an actress and singer who is best known for her role as Carmen Cortez in the Spy Kids series. She got this role when she was 13 years old and it garnered her worldwide fame and attention. Over the next half decade or so, she appeared in a number of sequels and was named one of the hottest teen stars out there. Though not ever taking on a role that garnered her as much fame as Spy Kids, she has starred in a couple of films and even appeared on this year’s season of Dancing with the Stars. And if you haven’t seen a recent picture of her, wow, she has blossomed into one of the most attractive women in Hollywood.
9. Tahj Mowry
Tahj Mowry is best known for playing the child prodigy TJ Henderson in the late ’90s sitcom Smart Guy. This show is likely the only thing you would remember his face from, but he is also a talented voice actor who played Wade on the popular animated series Kim Possible. After being fairly unactive in the 2000s (taking time to attend high school, play football, and attend college) he returned in 2012 as Tucker Dobbs in the ABC Family sitcom Baby Daddy. He is also a rapper/artist and has recently released a single and a six song EP.
8. Steve Anthony Lawrence
You would best remember this actor for his recurring role on Even Stevens as the loveable but mischievous Bernard “Beans” Aranguren. He played the Stevens’ annoying neighbor who always came over uninvited and had an unhealthy obsession with Bacon. In addition to this role and appearances on a few other TV shows, Lawrence starred in a number of movies such as Cheaper by the Dozen and Kicking and Screaming. Since then he has done little except for appearing in a few commercials, but in 2013 he gained some media attention as he was the Twitter avatar for Tyler the Creator for a little while.
7. Erik Per Sullivan
Erik Per Sullivan is known by most fans as Dewey, the youngest brother of Malcolm, in Malcolm in the Middle, a Fox series that was on the air for six years. In the series, Dewey is portrayed as being quieter and more caring than his brothers in the show. In terms of entertainment work since the show, he has played a couple of small roles in both movies and TV shows, but has generally shied away from work in the industry. He attended the University of Southern California for a year and is also a Black Belt in taekwondo.
6. Jaleel White
Friday nights in the 1990s just weren’t the same without this guy on your screen. Jaleel White played the ultra-popular role of Steve Urkel on the hit show Family Matters. In fact, the character was originally supposed to appear in only one episode, but was so loved by the fans that he became a permanent cast member. White is also known as the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog. After Family Matters ended and his TV career tapered off, White attended UCLA and graduated with a degree in film and television. He then resumed his TV career with guest appearances on various TV shows, including Dancing with the Stars in 2012.
5. Jonathan Lipnicki
Lipnicki made his film debut at the age of six and is most well-known for his various childhood roles in Hollywood films such as Jerry Maguire, Stuart Little, Like Mike and The Little Vampire. Despite the fact that he was a huge star at this point in his career, he has not appeared in a widely released film since his childhood, instead focusing on smaller and more independent films. He once again came into the public eye recently as current photos of him surfaced, which showed a shirtless muscular man, not the boy most people remember him as. He is also a big proponent of MMA and has trained for years, but has not said whether or not he plans to fight.
4. Ben Savage
Ben Savage was acting in film before the age of 10, but really got his big break starring as Cory Matthews on the ABC sitcom Boy Meets World, which ran from 1993-2000. He became very well known among young adults everywhere as the show was extremely popular. Following the show, he took some time off from acting and graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Political Science. In 2014, he took on his first major role in over a decade when he returned to the TV screen as one of the leading roles in the spinoff series, Girl Meets World.
3. Henry Thomas
Henry Thomas is one example of a child star who hasn’t really attempted to do much since his big break. Thomas got his start as Elliott Taylor in E.T., a film that performed way better than expected and is considered to be a true classic. He won the role after acting in only one film prior. It was said the he was given the role for his ability to give a genuinely tearful performance during his audition. After E.T., Taylor went back to Texas and has since appeared very sparingly in other films, instead using his time to attend school and take up music. He is currently an actor and musician and still remains largely out of the public eye he was engulfed in as a childhood actor.
2. Haley Joel Osment
After a series of lesser roles in television and film throughout the 1990s, Haley Joel Osment finally hit gold when he appeared in M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller The Sixth Sense. In this film, 11-year-old Osment played an eerie and often unwilling child medium. The role garnered him worldwide fame and led to him receiving leading roles in numerous other films, but sadly none of them came close to his success in The Sixth Sense. Since then, he has continued acting but has also run into some tough times along the way, including a DUI in 2006. In 2013, he appeared in a number of episodes on Alpha House and some other miniseries that have led to a slight “career resurgence” for the former child star.
1. Macaulay Culkin
Likely the most notable and famous child star of all time, Macaulay Culkin got his big break in the Home Alone series. In these films he played Kevin McCallister, a crafty child who was accidentally left home alone by his family on Christmas, and who goes through various interesting situations in order to evade of pair of burglars. This role established him as a mega child star and led to numerous other similar roles in the following years. He then took a break from the spotlight, during which he got into some legal troubles, but reappeared several years later in small roles in Party Monster and Saved!. Currently, he continues to act a bit but is primarily a musician, a passion he has held for many years.