They first came onto our radars as adorably awkward children with major roles in television and movies. But a lot of these stars have really grown up — and in some of the hottest ways possible. Click through to see some of your favorite child stars that are now quite the lookers.
Actress Alyssa Milano got her start in acting at the age of seven when she was in a production of Annie. From there, her career in acting took off and she primarily came onto the scene when she was cast as Samantha Micelli in the 1980s sitcom, Who’s the Boss?, where she played the daughter of Tony Danza. The role really brought her out into the spotlight as she became a teen idol all across America. After Who’s the Boss? Milano went on to other acting projects in film and television in an effort to shed the good girl image that she had as a result of the show that made her famous.
Hayden Panettiere has been acting since she was 11 months old, but people really began to recognize her after her role as Sheryl Yoast in the Disney film, Remember the Titans. Since then, she has starred in other films such as Ice Princess and I Love You, Beth Cooper, but people know her today as Claire Bennet from Heroes. Her most recent show is Nashville, where she plays Juliette Barnes, a role for which she was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards. As a talented actress and singer, Panettiere is one child star who rose to even bigger prominence with style and grace.
You may know Danica McKellar as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years, where she played the on and off girlfriend of Fred Savage’s character Kevin Arnold. While she maintained a professional acting career throughout her childhood, McKellar’s parents emphasized the importance of education, leading her to graduate summa cum laude from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. This has led her to write several non-fiction books on mathematics that are aimed at teen girls to give them the confidence to succeed in math. Still, McKellar has tried to maintain an acting career as an adult, having been in minor roles on shows like The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother.
You may not know him by right name off the bat, but the British actor has starred in the Harry Potter film franchise as Neville Longbottom, the roundish friend of Harry, Hermoine, and Ron. As all the actors got older, people began to notice how Lewis was aging — and in the best way possible. Lewis was only 11 when he took on the role of Neville, but the now 27-year-old actor has gone on to have a prolific stage career, having been in a production of Agatha Christie’s Verdict and debuting on the West End stage in Our Boys by Jonathan Lewis. Click on to see what other Harry Potter stars went from frumpy to hot.
People first saw actor Jerry O’Connell when he was in the 1986 film Stand by Me. In the film, O’Connell played Vern Tessio, who was known for being overweight and timid. Well, since then O’Connell has certainly shed the image that got him noticed because he grew into a handsome adult actor. As an adult, he starred in films like Jerry Maguire and Kangaroo Jack. He wrote and sold his first screenplay in 2004 called First Daughter, which starred Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. In 2007, he married actress-model Rebecca Romijn and they two had twin girls the following year.
You most likely know Tatyana Ali for her role as Ashley Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Ali was on the show from 1990 to 1996 starting around the age of 11, but she actually got her start in acting at the age of six as a regular on Sesame Street. But it was on Fresh Prince where Ali began showcasing her singing talents and when the series came to an end, she released an album called Kiss The Sky which became certified gold in 1999. After that, Ali has been on a number of other shows and movies but has primarily stayed out of the spotlight in recent years.
Everybody knows Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, a role he played for ten years over the span of eight movies. He was merely 11 years old when he began the role and didn’t shed the Harry Potter image until his twenties. After the Harry Potter films, Radcliffe went on to work in theater. He was only 17 when he appeared in Equus, which was controversial at the time due to his having a nude scene. In 2011, Radcliffe found considerable success on Broadway when he starred in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The next Harry Potter alum also succeeded after the films, but not in ways that you may think.
Emma Watson also rose to prominence from the Harry Potter film franchise, starring as the spunky and smart Hermoine Granger. Of the three main characters in the entire series, Watson was almost always the one to get praise for her performances in the movies. Towards the end of filming the Harry Potter series, the most notable thing that Watson has done was enroll herself into Brown University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature in 2014. She has recently been a strong advocate for women’s rights and even delivered a speech at the United Nation’s headquarters in New York City in 2014.
Irish actress Evanna Lynch got her start in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at the age 14, after going to an open casting call and beating out 15,000 other girls. Lynch played the whimsical Luna Lovegood. After the final Harry Potter installment, Lynch went on to star in other British shows and stage productions. Lynch decided to use her Harry Potter fame for good, being a spokesperson for positive body image in young girls as she herself has previously suffered from an eating disorder. She wrote an essay titled, “Why the Body Bind is My Nightmare,” which described her struggles using allusions to the Harry Potter series.
The name Eric Lloyd isn’t really a household name, but his role as the adorable Charlie Calvin in the 1994 classic The Santa Clause has captured the hearts of many. Lloyd began acting at just 18 months old and had minor roles on The Wonder Years and starred as a young Robert Downey Jr. in the film Heart and Souls. He was only seven years old when he was in The Santa Clause alongside Tim Allen. Years later, he reprised his role for the second and third installments of The Santa Clause films. The now-30-year-old Lloyd hasn’t acted much in recent years but lives in Los Angeles and co-owns LP Studios.
Actress Christina Ricci made her acting breakthrough with the role of Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family in 1991 at the age of 11. She was highly praised for her performance and has since gone on to subsequent films such as Now and Then and Casper. She tried to be a more serious and take on more adult roles as she got older, such as the role of Dede in The Opposite Sex, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe. In recent years, Ricci has started on the television series Pan Am and in an off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Blake McIver Ewing
Blake McIver Ewing might not be a name you heard before, but if you remember him from Full House and The Little Rascals, then you would instantly remember him. He had a recurring role as Michelle’s friend Derek Boyd on Full House. On The Little Rascals, he played the snooty rich kid Waldo Aloysius Johnston III. In 2013, he worked as a go-go dancer in Los Angeles, which he says helped him finish his record, The Time Manipulator which was released in 2014. He is currently a host on The People’s Couch which is on Bravo.
Nicholas Hoult rose to prominence after he was cast as Marcus Brewer in the film About a Boy. He was only 11 years old at the time, but the role earned him a nomination for the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Young Performer. By the time he was 17, he was cast as Tony Stonem in the British show Skins. Being a rising star in the British acting scene, he went on to bigger roles in more internationally known movies such as the new X-Men series and Mad Max: Fury Road. His first major lead role for a big studio in Hollywood was in Jack the Giant Slayer.
Tyler Posey has been acting since a very young age, but most people remember him as Jennifer Lopez’s son in the movie Maid in Manhattan. Since then, he has been in a number of other television shows and movies but he didn’t really become a popular name until he was cast as Scott McCall on the MTV show Teen Wolf, which is based on the 1985 film of the same name. Posey could have played another popular werewolf, Jacob Black from the Twilight Saga, but he was beat out by fellow actor and friend, Taylor Lautner.
Josh Peck became interested in stand-up comedy when he was eight years old, and knowing this, it makes sense that he rose to popularity in the early 2000s on The Amanda Show, a Nickelodeon sketch-comedy series featuring Amanda Bynes. After the show’s end he and fellow Amanda Show co-star Drake Bell went on to star in their own Nickelodeon show, Drake & Josh. Now, years after the show’s end, not only had Peck starred in other movies and shows, he has noticeably lost a lot of weight since his adolescence. The weight loss was noticed while he was still doing Drake & Josh, which he has said made him want to be a better role model for his fans.
Selena Gomez got her start in acting at the age of ten when she was cast in Barney and Friends, where she met another child actress coming up on this list. When producers determined that she was getting too old for Barney, she began to appear in various Disney Channel shows, until she finally got her own show, Wizards of Waverly Place, at the age of 15. Her career has only skyrocketed from there. After leaving behind Disney, Gomez tried her hand at more serious acting roles, but she is currently making a name for herself in the pop music scene. Her latest solo album Revival was released in 2015.
Demi Lovato also got her start on Barney & Friends and followed a similar path to Gomez, getting her own show, Sonny With A Chance, in 2007. At the same time, she became a breakout star with the lead role in the Disney Channel Original Movie Camp Rock, where she really made a name for herself as a singer. Unfortunately, Lovato was known to struggle with eating disorders and self-harm and took a break from her fame to go to rehab. But she recovered and returned to the public eye as a breakout pop singer. Click on to see what other child stars became popular through the Disney Channel.
Alyson Stoner became popular for her incredible dancing skills after being featured in music videos for Missy Elliot and Eminem. She made her way into acting after being cast on Disney’s Mike’s Super Short Show and having small roles on various Disney Channel shows. She was cast in both recent Cheaper by the Dozen movies, which is when people began to recognize her as an actress. In recent years, Stoner has been working with producers and vocal coaches to venture in into music, releasing her EP Beat the System in 2011. Still, she’s not the only one who can thank Disney for her early success.
Dylan & Cole Sprouse
Famous twins Dylan and Cole Sprouse began acting at a mere eight months of age. Their most prominent roles as children were in 1999’s Big Daddy and in Friends, where they both played the same role due to California child labor laws. They didn’t become household names until they got their own Disney Channel show The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, where they played twins who lived in a hotel. After the series’ end and by the time the twins were college-aged, they decided to focus on their education and enrolled at New York University, graduating in 2015.
Alexa Vega became known worldwide for her role as Carmen Cortez in the hit 2001 movie, Spy Kids. She reprised the role for the following three films in the franchise and performed all of her own stunts. After the success of Spy Kids, Vega continued to act in films such as Machete Kills, Bounty Killer, and Wicked Blood. In 2015, she competed in the 21st season of Dancing with the Stars, where she placed sixth. She is now married to actor-singer Carlos Pena Jr. and the two have a son, who was born in 2016.
Hallie Kate Eisenberg was a kid actress best known for starring as “The Pepsi Girl” in a commercial series for the soft drink giant. She was also in the popular children’s movie How to Eat Fried Worms. Many people mistake her for Alisan Porter, who starred in Curly Sue, because of their physical resemblance. Eisenberg, who is a sibling to the Academy Award-nominated Jesse Eisenberg, certainly grew into her distinctive looks over the years. She eventually expanded her repertoire to roles in films like Beautiful, P.J., Holy Rollers, and Wild Child. Eisenberg, now in her mid-20s, has temporarily retired from acting to attend college. Beauty and brains!