Home Celebrity You Won’t Believe What These Child Stars Look Like Now

You Won’t Believe What These Child Stars Look Like Now

Darren October 16, 2023

Throughout Hollywood history, many movies cast young actors who eventually became child stars due to those roles. Some of them grow up and continue working in the industry while others fade away and the world moves on. It’s easy to forget what those former stars looked like when they began their careers. It’s also fascinating to see where the obscure child stars are now.

So today we’ll look at some of the most iconic child stars to ever hit it big in Hollywood and discuss what happened to them. Take a walk down memory lane and catch up with some of your favorite former child stars here. You’ll be quite surprised by what some of them look like now.

ABC News

Macaulay Culkin

Culkin is one of the most iconic child stars on this list. He rose to superstardom as Kevin in the Home Alone series before he starred as the titular character in Richie Rich. Home Alone is still very popular during the Holiday season so Culkin remains famous today.

Entertainment Weekly

However, his massive fame was exhausting so he took a lengthy break from acting. Unfortunately, he was once addicted to heroin. In recent years, Culkin has had a resurgence as he won acclaim for his role in American Horror Story: Double Feature. These days, he’s also making more media appearances (via Entertainment Weekly).


Mara Wilson

Many child stars find themselves in the spotlight because of their pushy parents. But Wilson was in a different situation because her parents didn’t want her to be in this world. However, it was her dream at the time and they reluctantly allowed her to audition for commercials and movies (via The New York Post).


Then she became one of the biggest child actors ever because she starred in two iconic movies. First, there was her breakthrough role in Mrs. Doubtfire with Robin Williams and then Matilda. She achieved more at nine years old than most people do in their entire lives. These days, she focuses on writing and podcasting.

Showbiz Cheat Sheet

Kieran Culkin

Succession fans might wonder where they’ve seen Roman Roy before. He’s one of the nastiest, sleaziest characters on TV and a brilliant scene-stealer. Many people did a double-take when they realized that this was Macaulay Culkin’s younger brother Kieran (via Esquire).


Kieran was a successful child actor in his own right. He had a minor supporting role in the Home Alone series before starring in the Father of the Bride franchise. Meanwhile, he enjoyed appearances in many indie movies over the years but it was Succession won him the most critical acclaim.

Rolling Stone

Ke Huy Quan

Quan has one of the most inspiring stories on this list. Many child stars have short careers that fizzle out quickly. But Quan underwent one of the greatest revivals ever. Quan starred as Data in the cult-classic adventure movie The Goonies and was also in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

New York Post

But Hollywood exhausted him and he didn’t want to be another typecast Asian star. So he went behind the camera for several decades before opportunity struck. However, earlier this year Quan won an Oscar for his sensational performance in Everything Everywhere All At Once and won hearts across the world (via CBS News).


Alexa PenaVega

Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids franchise is a classic example of a good idea that went too far. The first two movies were decent but they didn’t really need four. However, it made stars of its young lead stars, Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara. Vega flirted with the film industry after this but quit because she’s a devout Christian.

Fox News

Fame was also exhausting and traumatizing for her because she went through a lot as a teenage girl. Many media outlets sexualized her and focused on how ‘hot’ she became as she grew older. Now Vega is the mother of three children and has a YouTube channel (via E-News!).


Jonathan Lipnicki

Some child stars learn that their early success can haunt them for the rest of their lives. Ask Lipnicki because he experienced bullying after he appeared in Jerry Maguire. He was the son of Tom Cruise’s love interest in the movie and became one of the most recognizable little boys in the world.

The Hollywood Reporter

Then he starred in the Stuart Little franchise too. But he left Hollywood when he grew up. Lipnicki also went to public school but he said it was a nightmare because teachers were mean and his fellow students bullied him. He made headlines in 2017 after he displayed his lean gym body (via Nicki Swift).

Vanity Fair

Dafne Keen

Keen is one of the youngest stars on this list but also shows how quickly time passes. She won acclaim when she played the mutant X-23 in Logan (2017). The Spanish-British actress was only 12 years old at the time but she delivered a charismatic and powerful performance.


Now Keen is an adult and she’s going from strength to strength. She starred as Lyra in the BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials novels. Meanwhile, Keen is set to enter the Star Wars universe and expand her popularity further (via Elle).

Den of Geek

Neil Patrick Harris

These days it’s easy to forget that Harris was originally a child star. That’s because he has been on TV screens forever in shows like How I Met Your Mother and movies such as Starship Troopers. He has many fans due to his versatility, comic chops, and creativity.

The Daily Beast

But Harris was one of the most popular child stars of the early ’90s. He played kid Doctor Doogie Howser in the hit show of the same name. It’s fair to say that Harris has enjoyed a great career since then. He’s also one of the most high-profile gay actors in Hollywood right now (via The Guardian).

USA Today

Rupert Grint

The Harry Potter franchise catapulted its young stars into global fame. Grint was 12 years old when he won the coveted role of Ron Weasley in the series. Many critics regarded him as the most naturally gifted of the leading trio. However, it’s fair to say he’s had the quietest post-Potter career.


Grint has worked on the big and small screens with M. Night Shyamalan. He’s dabbled in theatre, music videos, and various mediums as he searches for an outlet for his creativity. The young man is in the unique position of being able to pick and choose his projects because he’s so successful (via GQ).

The List

Dakota Fanning

It’s insane to think that Fanning was only eight years old when she became the youngest SAG Award nominee ever. She starred in the polarizing I Am Sam and performed beyond her years. Instantly, she became one of the most in-demand child stars of the early 2000s (via Glamour UK).

Entertainment Tonight

Her strength of schedule would burn many young people out. However, she had a strong support network and managed to maintain her drive. Fanning is almost 30 now but she still loves the industry. She has worked with some of the best directors in the business including Quentin Tarantino and Kelly Reichardt.

The Today Show

Jack Gleeson

Gleeson soared to fame when he played one of the most despicable TV villains ever. He starred as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones and became hated around the world instantly. This was an extremely intense experience for the young Irish star because some fans struggled to separate the actor from the character.


This wasn’t Gleeson’s first major child role either. He had appearances in Batman Begins and Reign of Fire. But he took a break from acting after Game of Thrones because it was crazy. Gleeson attracted attention when he married because of his new mustache (via Today).

Fox News

Frankie Muniz

Muniz was the face of Malcolm in the Middle in the 2000s and it seemed like big things awaited him. He went on to play the title role in Agent Cody Banks and had a few other film roles. But like many child stars, Muniz fell out of love with acting and wanted to do something else.


Then he found his true passion: stock car racing. That’s what Muniz has been doing for most of the past decade. He’s also had some health issues but when he’s been fit, he’s been behind the wheel. The craziest thing is that he never seems to get older except for some occasional stubble.

Life & Style

Abigail Breslin

Breslin became one of the most famous child stars of the 2000s when she appeared in Little Miss Sunshine. Child actors rarely receive critical acclaim but she was an outlier. She secured an Academy Award nomination for her outstanding performance in the hit movie.

The Cut

It’s safe to say that Breslin has grown up a lot since 2006. Now she’s almost 30 and is an experienced acting veteran. Breslin has worked with some of the best actors in the industry like Emma Stone and Matt Damon. Meanwhile, she’s also won plaudits for her sense of style (via J-14).

Business Insider

Daniel Radcliffe

Nearly everyone knows Radcliffe for his role as Harry Potter in eight movies. The franchise changed his life but it was both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it gave him the financial freedom to do whatever he wanted to. He can pick and choose the movies he wants to be in and favors indie flicks.

The Telegraph

But it also meant that he endured many privacy violations so he maintains a very low profile today. He has been receiving attention since he was 12 years old so it’s natural that it exhausted him. His incredible wealth probably makes this an easier burden to carry (via Pinkvilla).


Maise Williams

It’s terrifying that we’re including Williams on this list because it shows how quickly time passes. In 2023, she turned 26 and also turned heads with her radical fashion. We remember how she broke onto the scene in Game of Thrones as fan-favorite, Arya Stark.


Williams justifiably won acclaim for her on-screen charisma and maturity. Since then, she has worked in almost every medium available and is also a successful entrepreneur. Many child stars struggle to shake off their original roles but she’s forging a new identity (via RTE).

Screen Rant

Elle Fanning

Fanning has been acting since she learned how to walk. She was only three when she played the younger version of her sister Dakota’s character in I Am Sam. Since then, her career has gone from strength to strength and it’s fair to say she’s more famous than Dakota too.


She’s a bonafide Hollywood actress now and is a regular feature on the big screen. Fanning cuts an ethereal figure with her ghostly pale skin and her white-blonde hair. She enjoys working with some of the greatest visionaries in the industry and has won critical acclaim for her performances (via Cosmopolitan).

Teen Vogue

Lindsay Lohan

In 1998, Lohan’s life changed forever when she played Hallie and Annie in The Parent Trap. She was only 11 years old in this movie but somehow managed to play two characters brilliantly. This kickstarted her career and she went on to star in Freaky Friday and Mean Girls.

Vanity Fair

Everybody knows that Lohan had many personal problems over the years. But she seems to be in a better place in 2023 and there’s no denying that she’s a beautiful woman now. Her dazzling smile and scorching red hair make her one of the most distinctive Hollywood stars (via Forbes).

Best Life

Haley Joel Osment

Osment is one of the most unrecognizable child stars today. Most people would walk past him on the street without realizing who he is. It doesn’t matter that The Sixth Sense is one of the greatest movies ever. Osment fell off the radar as he grew older but continues to work in the movie industry.


He also lends his voice to video games like Kingdom of Hearts. Osment has voiced Sora for over 20 years and still loves the iconic character. However, he also serves as a warning to young actors. Osment won acclaim in Forrest Gump but his career stagnated as he grew older (via The Guardian).


Hilary Duff

Duff was the ultimate teen idol and achieved unbelievable fame at a young age. She played the title character in Lizzie McGuire and became massively popular. Meanwhile, she also won acclaim for her musical talent. In short, everything that she touched turned to gold.


That’s why she could slow down when she reached middle age. Fans can’t believe how good she looks at almost 40 because she’s a stunningly beautiful woman. Duff is very protective of her children and resents the media’s attempts to photograph them (via Deadline).

Vanity Fair

Kristen Stewart

It feels as if Stewart has been on our screens forever but that’s not surprising. She was only 12 when she starred in David Fincher’s tense thriller Panic Room. This was long before the Twilight franchise catapulted her into superstardom. Many critics agreed she was one of the most impressive child stars in Hollywood.

Hello! Magazine

Now Stewart is quietly assembling a brilliant filmography. She is the only American woman in history to win a Cesar Award and also has an Oscar nomination. Meanwhile, she is an LGBTQ+ icon as an openly bisexual actress in a relationship with another woman (via Hello!)


Joey King

King made her big screen debut in the wholesome Ramona and Beezus in 2010. She was only 12 when she starred alongside Selena Gomez in the family-friendly movie. This gave her career massive momentum and Netflix saw her potential. They made her the face of the Kissing Booth franchise.

Women’s Health

Since then King has proven that she has genuine acting chops with Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. A glance at her TV and movie credits shows that King hustles hard. She’s starred in everything from The Dark Knight to Fargo and shows no signs of slowing down (via Women’s Health).

Columbia Pictures

Natalie Portman

Portman was only 11 when she starred in Luc Besson’s cult classic The Professional. She played the enigmatic Mathilda who forges a connection with Jean Reno’s eponymous hitman. Since then, Portman achieved unbelievable success and is one of Hollywood’s most bankable actresses.


Nonetheless, she recalls her origins as one of the ’90s’ most notorious child stars. She has a complicated relationship with her first movie because it transformed her into a Lolita-esque figure. In 2023, she said that some parts of it were ‘cringe’ but remained an iconic performance (via Indiewire).

Montreal Gazette

Emma Watson

Yes, it may seem crazy but it’s over 20 years since the first Harry Potter movie. Watson’s life changed forever when she won the coveted role of Hermione Granger. She was only 10 years old when she committed almost a decade of her life to the franchise. This made her one of the biggest child stars on the planet.

Vanity Fai

Watson has had several roles since she left the role of Hermione. She was in Beauty and the Beast, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and The Bling Ring. But she spends most of her time advocating for women’s rights and gender equality as a U.N. ambassador (via The Hollywood Reporter).


Chloe Grace-Moretz

This Atlanta native has already achieved so much in her young life. Her breakout role was Hit-Girl in the superhero movie Kickass (2010). This was extremely controversial because of the graphic violence and foul language. She was only 12 years old at the time when she became one of the most famous child stars ever.

Page Six

Since then, Moretz starred in dozens of movies with award-winning success. She’s also no stranger to theater because she’s also enjoyed appearances on Broadway. Moretz is one of the most talented actresses of her generation and she’s still going strong (via Landmark Cinemas).

Slash Film

Jake Lloyd

Lloyd shot to prominence when he landed the role of a lifetime. He was nine years old when he played a young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. However, his story also serves as a warning to child stars everywhere. Lloyd quit acting because he endured a torrent of hateful abuse.

The Daily Beast

Some diehard Star Wars fans sneered and shredded him for the silly dialogue. The latter wasn’t his fault because he didn’t write the script. In 2015, his life took a dark turn when he violently assaulted his mother. He now lives with a schizophrenia diagnosis and is receiving the help he needs (via Slash Film).