God only knows how many times I've watched a favorite show from my childhood and then googled the actors to heck when it was over. Seriously, we've all done it and it's kind of no different than keeping tabs on old high school friends on Facebook. Curiosity is a big motivator, man. Sometimes we're surprised to see that they've aged like a fine wine ("Chunk" from The Goonies is no longer doing the truffle shuffle, that's for sure), and sometimes they just look like completely different human beings (hello, Haley Joel Osment). It's surreal (and somewhat sad) to be reminded of the passage of time, particularly when all your memories are of them at a certain age, but it's also fascinating to see how life has changed them.
Unlike the Leonardo DiCaprios and the Natalie Portmans of this world, some child stars are launched into fame at an early age but then slowly drift off into the realm of anonymity, leaving a big question mark as to what happened to them. Are they directing movies behind the camera nowadays, like Ralphie from The Christmas Story, or are they someone's high school biology teacher, like the kid from The Shining? Inquiring minds want to know!
Here are 20 once popular celebrity kids (and what they look like today).
20 Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes rose to prominence when she starred in the Nickelodeon series All That and The Amanda Show, later appearing in several films including What a Girl Wants, Hairspray, and Easy A (to name a few). Starting around 2010, Amanda had a highly publicized breakdown when she exhibited highly erratic behavior and started getting in trouble with the law. Eventually Amanda was diagnosed with bipolar and manic depressive disorder and took a hiatus from the spotlight to focus on her mental health.
Last year, Amanda told PEOPLE that she was three years sober and planned to return to acting, despite being virtually unrecognizable these days. Honestly, I wish her all the best.
19 Macaulay Culkin
Macaulay Culkin became world famous for his portrayal of Kevin McCallister in the iconic Christmas film Home Alone. According to Wikipedia, at the height of his fame he was considered to be the most successful child star since Shirley Temple!
After stopping acting completely in 1994, Macaulay returned in 2003 with a role on the television show Will and Grace and in the film Party Monster, and wrote an autobiographical book in 2006.
After a time spent touring with his band, the Pizza Underground, the band eventually dissolved. He will soon appear in the upcoming comedy-drama, Changeland.
18 Haley Joel Osment
Anyone who lived through the nineties remembers little Haley Joel Osment's role in the iconic thriller The Sixth Sense, which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Although always remembered for his creepy line, "I see dead people," Haley is all grown up now and has been a busy little bee within the entertainment industry.
After making his broadway debut in 2008, Haley has worked on comedies such as The Spoils of Babylon.
You might not recognize him, however.
Haley Joel Osment, 2018:
17 Mara Wilson
Awww, remember little Mara Wilson? We first "met" her as Natalie in Mrs. Doubtfire before she became famous for her role as Matilda, and it honestly doesn't seem that long ago (22 years)!
Since retiring from film acting, Mara has become a very successful writer, penning the play Sheeple which was produced for the New York International Fringe Festival in 2013 and publishing her memoir, Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame. Seems like Mara was destined to be successful no matter what she did.
Mara Wilson, 2018:
16 Abigail Breslin
Honestly, Abigail Breslin's character in Little Miss Sunshine was my absolute favorite, but she's been in a TON of films, including (but not limited to) Signs, Nim's Island, and Zombieland.
Now 22-years-old, Abigail has a regular role on the Fox television series Scream Queens and is jaw-droppingly GORGEOUS.
Unfortunately, not everything has been "sunshine" and rainbows for Little Miss Sunshine over the years. Back in 2017, Abigail came forward as part of the #MeToo movement and opened up about her experience. Brave girl.
Abigail Breslin, 2018:
15 Jamie Lynn Spears
That's Britney Spears' little sister, y'all!
Remember when Jamie Lynn Spears played the role of Zoey Brooks on the Nickelodeon teen sitcom Zoey 101? Yep, we do too. Just as the rising star was making a name for herself in showbiz, Jamie Lynn shocked the world when she announced her pregnancy at only 16-years-old. As a result, Jamie Lynn's career took a long hiatus, but in 2013 she launched a career in country music and has actually been pretty successful, performing at the Grand Ole Opry back in 2016. Remarried now, Jamie Lynn seems to be pretty content with her life as a mother of two.
Jamie Lynn Spears, 2018:
14 Fred Savage
Obviously Fred is best known for his role as Kevin in the hit TV series The Wonder Years, running from 1988 to 1993.
At the age of thirteen, Kevin was the youngest actor to receive two Golden Globe nominations and two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
After a few supporting roles in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, Fred lent his voice to some animated projects before returning to acting with the Fox series The Grinder in 2015, during which he was accused of verbally attacking female cast members. Ugh, how disappointing.
Fred Savage, 2018:
13 Jeff Cohen
Who didn't love Chunk in the 1985 Steven Spielberg production of The Goonies?! His character is beloved by all and kids are STILL doing the "truffle shuffle" to this day! Unlike most of the other successful child actors on the list, Jeff Cohen opted out of show business early on.
After earning a B.S. in Business Administration at Berkeley, Jeff attended the UCLA School of Law and is now a successful entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles.
So successful, in fact, that he was named to The Hollywood Reporter's "Next Generation: Hollywood's Top 35 Executives 35 and Under."
Dang, Chunk! He's looking good, too.
Jeff Cohen, 2018:
12 Danica McKeller
Speaking of The Wonder Years, next up we have Danica McKellar, a.k.a. "Winnie Cooper." From 2010–2013 and 2018–present, McKellar has voiced Miss Martian in the animated superhero series Young Justice, but that's not the only thing she's been doing with her life!
Besides aging like a stone cold fox, Danica has a mathematics degree from UCLA and coauthored a scientific paper titled "Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Ashkin–Teller models on Z (squared)."
Yeah, I don't know either. The point is, the woman is SMART and WE'RE NOT WORTHY!!!
Danica McKellar, 2018:
11 Mark-Paul Gosselaar
I think we're all familiar with "Preppy," a.k.a. Zack Morris, from the teen comedy Saved by the Bell. We were all either in love with Zack or A.C. Slater, but I was team Zack ALL THE WAY. After hitting the upper echelons of teen fame, Mark-Paul went onto star in a few feature films, but for the most part his success has always remained in television. His most recent TV role was in the Fox series Pitch, which unfortunately only lasted one season. Sadly, it seems his fame peaked in high school, but he's still a pretty hot father of two (who happens to also be a race car driver and pilot. The more you know).
Mark-Paul Gosselaar, 2018:
10 Jonathan Lipnicki
Look at that little face! Look at those freakin' glasses! No wonder this kid made it in a slew of movies as a kid: Jerry Maguire, Stuart Little (loved that one), The Little Vampire, Stuart Little 2, and Like Mike.
Since his days as a famous little child munchkin, Jonathan has continued to appear in independent films, but nothing widely released.
Lipnicki currently trains in mixed martial arts styles, but when asked whether he plans to ever fight professionally, he replied, "I'm not saying no and I'm not saying yes."
Well, there you have it.
Jonathan Lipnicki, 2018:
9 Blake and Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit
You might not have known their names, but did you ever wonder what happened to Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky's two little boys, Nicky and Alex? No?! Too bad, I'm going to tell you anyway.
Blake (Nicky) grew up to be a firefighter, according to E!. Although he has been on the DL since his days on Full House, he connects with fans via Instagram and Twitter and posted a photo of the Fuller House script with the caption, "It's Nicky time."
Dylan now creates sounds for movies, also known as a "foley artist," and he's pretty successful at it, earning an Emmy nomination for his work on Game of Thrones.
Blake and Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit, 2018:
8 Maureen McCormick
Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!
By far, Maureen McCormick is most widely known for her role as Marsha Brady on The Brady Bunch. Even as an adult she continued to make bank as Marsha by appearing on numerous Brady Bunch spin-offs and films.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Maureen tried her hand at stage acting, appearing in a variety of different roles and productions such as Wendy Darling in Peter Pan and Betty Rizzo in Grease.
In her brief career as a recording artist, Maureen released four studio albums with the Brady Bunch cast and released a country music album back in 1995. Wo knew?!
Maureen McCormick, 2018:
7 Tia and Tamera Lowry
Tia and Tamera Mowry were originally known for their roles in the sitcom Sister, Sister, a series that was developed for them after a producer spotted them on the set of Full House (on which their brother made regular appearances). Tia and Tamera were in a singing group together called Voices back in the early nineties, but mostly they have continued making a career for themselves in television by starring in sitcoms, Disney movies, and even a reality TV show following their lives called Tia & Tamera.
Tia and Tamera Mowry, 2018:
6 Danielle Fishel
Danielle Fishel is best known for her role as Topanga Lawrence-Matthews on the 1990s teen sitcom Boy Meets World, where her glorious locks gave every single one of us a serious case of hair envy. Danielle has since managed to make a career in the entertainment business by doing a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.
She's been the host of Style Network's The Dish, the spokeswoman for Nutrisystem (random, I know), a resident reporter on PopSugar, and now she plays the mom on Girl Meets World on the Disney Channel.
Danielle Fishel, 2018:
5 Jaleel White
"Did I do thaaaat?"
Although you'd never know it by looking at him today, Jaleel White played Steve Urkel on the sitcom Family Matters. Unbelievably, the series aired for nine seasons, from 1989 to 1997. So what do you do after that kind of success?!
His first order of business was attending UCLA, where he graduated with a degree in film and television in 2001.
Since then he has continued his acting career throughout the years, appearing in Dreamgirls, Boston Legal, House, and Psych. In 2012 he appeared as a contestant in season 14 of Dancing with the Stars and came in 7th place. His most recent TV venture was his single camera comedy series Me, Myself & I with Bobby Moynihan.
Jaleel White, 2018:
4 Kell Mitchell
I don't care how old Kell Mitchell gets, I will always think of him as Ed in the film All That and from the sketch Good Burger, despite the fact that he's done a LOT more than that over the years!
After starring in the Nickelodeon sitcom Kenan & Kell and comedy sketch series All That, both Kenan Thompson and Kell auditioned for Saturday Night Live in 2003, but Kell lost the spot to Kenan.
Despite his disappointment, Kell has gone on to make a career in television and is currently a cast member on Game Shakers, which premiered on Nickelodeon in 2015.
Kell Mitchell, 2018:
Raven-Symoné is an actress, singer, songwriter, model, television personality, dancer, rapper and producer, but she is fondly remembered for her role as Raven Baxter on the Disney Channel television series That's So Raven (2003–2007). Since the show, Raven-Symoné has been pretty damn busy with a laundry list of film credits, four studio albums, recurring roles on television (including Empire and Black-ish), and her brief stint as a panelist on The View. Raven-Symoné has now reprised her role as Raven Baxter on Raven's Home, and VH1 has ranked her at number nine on their "100 Greatest Kid Stars Of All Time" list in 2012. So yeah, she's doing okay.
2 Peter Ostrum
Peter Ostrum is a former child actor whose only film role was Charlie Bucket in the 1971 motion picture Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. After the filming for Willy Wonka wrapped up, Peter became interested in horses and was particularly influenced by the veterinarian that tended to them. Receiving his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984, Peter practices veterinary medicine in Lowville, New York, where he works mainly with horses and cows. Hey, when you find your passion you've got to follow it, even if it leads you away from fame!
Peter Ostrum, 2018:
1 Mike Vitar
I'm not going to lie, I had a HUGE crush on Mike Vitar's character, Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez, in the movie The Sandlot. After starring in D2: The Mighty Ducks and D3: The Mighty Ducks, Mike retired from acting completely in 1997.
Since 2002 he has been a firefighter for the Los Angeles Fire Department, and is currently married with children.
It's not all been smooth sailing, however. In November 2015, he and a few of his fellow firefighters were charged with a misdemeanor battery charge which he did not contest.
Mike Vitar, 2018:
Sources: Wikipedia.com, PEOPLE.com, Variety.com, EOnline.com, Romper.com, IMBD.com