Awkward Child Stars Who Grew Up Into Super Attractive Adults

Unfortunately for child actors, their awkward phases are usually well documented. Luckily, a majority of them have had quite a "glow-up" over the years. You won't believe some of these shocking transformations...

Lacey Chabert

Once again, All My Children gave another incredible actress her start! Chabert played Bianca Montgomery when she was 10 years old. She did a lot of voice acting in her teen years until she started appearing in movies in the late 90s. She’s most notable for Lost In Space, Not Another Teen Movie, Daddy Day Care, and of course, Mean Girls. 

Small Roles

After a crazy career, she’s slowed down a bit and prefers to star in smaller films. She loves playing in Hallmark films the most! She’s currently settled down with her husband and daughter. 

Hayden Panettiere

Starting her career in 1994 as Sarah Roberts on One Life to Live, Hayden Panettiere was Hollywoods girl next door. She was in tons of films that were popular with teenage girls such as Ice Princess and Bring It On: All or Nothing

Real Life

Panettiere quickly became popular with an older crowd for her role in Heroes. She’s made waves in the activism community in her later years as well. She had a daughter in 2014 with professional boxer Wladimir Klitschko. She was very open about her struggles with post-partum depression and has been in and out of treatment ever since. 

Alexa Vega

Who else loves Spy Kids? Pretty much everyone growing up in the early 2000s, that’s for sure. Alexa Vega has had a pretty decent career outside of the Spy Kids franchise. She starred in Twister, ER, Ghost Whisperer, and The Bernie Mac Show. She’s had huge roles in the past 26 years… There’s too many to count!

Mom Life

She hasn’t slowed down one bit and has starred in many Hallmark films in the last few years. She’s currently the lead role on The Casagrandes and runs a Youtube channel with her husband. 

Zac Efron

Young Zac Efron started acting in theater productions at his high school. In his early career, he took on small roles on TV shows and was even in the Lifetime film Miracle Run. He skyrocketed in 2006 when High School Musical first premiered on the Disney Channel. He was a teen heartthrob for years, and rightfully so! 

Getting More Serious

As he got older, he branched out from Disney. In 2014, he had a lot of success in Neighbors with Seth Rogan and Baywatch in 2017 with The Rock. These films helped eradicate his Disney Channel image and he was able to get even more roles that challenged him as an actor, including his role as Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.

Danica McKellar

Adorable Winnie Cooper was a household name for all The Wonder Years fans. She’s written six books all about math as a way to help young students have confidence in the course. She’s been in a few Hallmark Channel films as well as a Netflix series called Project Mc2. 

Kids Shows

In her later years, she did a lot of voice work for children’s’ shows. She lent her voice to Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo, Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam, The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania, DC Super Hero Girls. Transformers, etc. In the last few years, she’s done tons of Hallmark films. 

Josh Peck

For anyone who has grown up watching Nickelodeon, Josh Peck was an icon. He was best known as Drake Bell’s counterpart on Drake & Josh but also starred in tons of other films and TV shows like Snow Day, Max Keeble’s Big Move, All That, and The Amanda Show. Peck also made headlines with a significant weight loss in between seasons of Drake and Josh

Weight Loss and More Roles

In the fourth season of Drake & Josh, he had lost a lot of weight. He accredited the weight loss to a diet that would make him, “happier and healthier.” After his time on Nickelodeon, he went onto more movies and TV shows but got a lot of his fame through Vine and Youtube. He stars in Youtube videos with David Dobrik and even has his own vlog channel. 

Daniel Radcliffe

Even though Daniel Radcliffe will forever be the face of the Harry Potter franchise, that doesn’t mean that was his only venture. Granted, he did grow up working on the HP movies, but that was only the middle of his career! 

Other Films

Radcliffe has some pretty popular credits under his belt. He starred in The Woman in Black, Swiss Army Man, and Now You See Me 2. Lately, he’s been into theater and smaller movies. There’s no slowing down for him!

Alyssa Milano

Everyone’s favorite Charmed witch has had a long-winded career. She first started in 1984 on Who’s the Boss? as Samantha Micelli. She’s had an extremely successful career and has been highly regarded as an A-lister for years now. 

Using Her Platform for Advocacy 

She’s been widely regarded as a celebrity activist for PETA, the #MeToo movement, and UNICEF. She’s raised millions of dollars for tons of different organizations throughout her career. Her activism started in the later 1980s when she was in her late teens. 

Matthew Lewis

Neville Longbottom truly stunned Harry Potter fans as he got older. A majority of his career was spent with the franchise, and he’s done a few films in his later years. You can mainly find him on TV these days. 

Total Glow Up

Everyone was shocked to see Lewis in the later films. The pudgy, awkward character of Neville was starting to get pretty cute! Unfortunately, most people realized this too late and before anyone was ready, he married his long-term girlfriend in 2018. 

Scarlett Johansson 

ScarJo started her career at the young age of nine when she began to study at Professional Children’s School which was for aspiring actors in Manhattan. From there, her career blossomed. She started off playing minor characters in the 90s before landing her first major roles in Manny & Lo and The Horse Whisperer. 

Taking On Different Roles

As she got older, so did her roles. She was going through a typecast situation where she was doing a lot of roles where her looks were the most important things. She wanted to break free of the “sex symbol” status and started going more science fiction with things like Iron Man, Under the Skin, and Lucy. Her most recent role in Marriage Story has taken the internet by storm as she acts opposite Adam Driver. 

Jerry O’Connell

Naturally, Jerry O’Connell started acting in commercials when he was a kid. He was cast in his first huge role as Vern Tessio in Stand By Me. A few years later, he had his first successful roles in adulthood in Jerry Maguire and Scream 2. He had at least one movie come out for 14 years in a row. He’s best known for his hilarious personality, though. 

Father Figure

O’Connell was notably very excited when his wife, Rebecca Romijn, became pregnant with twins. He’s famously said, "I am excited I am having girls. I know guys are supposed to say, 'I want a boy. I want to play baseball,' but I think I'm going to be good at raising girls...I can't wait. They're going to be tough chicks. They're only having sex when I'm dead. If they don't date boys at all and just want them to be infatuated with their father, that's what I'm really going for."

Michelle Trachtenberg

Rosy-cheeked Michelle Trachtenberg first got her claim to fame as an adorable face on tons of commercials. Once she was old enough, she started acting in TV shows and movies for kids. It didn’t take long for her to land a role for Nickelodeon and worked on The Adventures of Pete & Pete for two years. She was also a star on All My Children at the same time. 

Taking It Slow

She hasn’t been up to much since 2016. She was a hit in Disney’s Ice Princess and even played Dawn Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The 34-year-old is hanging out in the background now, probably with all of that Gossip Girl money. 

Nicholas Hoult

Nicholas Hoult has been acting since the age of three. A theater director noted him and his ability to “concentrate” so he offered the young tot a role in his next theatre show. He started going on more and more auditions and got cast in his first feature-film role at the age of 5. After that, it was smooth sailing. He got more auditions and more parts that led to more auditions for bigger parts! 

He’ll Take Any Role and Kill It

Hoult’s breakthrough role was in About a Boy and got more acclaim for his role in Skins. He loves independent films just as much as feature films. As long as he likes the role and the character, he’ll take it. 

Emma Watson

We all know Hermoine Granger as the know-it-all wizard who played the role of Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint’s best (annoying) friend. It all started for her in 2001 with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when she was just 11-years-old. Now, at 29, she’s had quite a career! 

College Educated

Even though she had her life practically made from the franchise, she still spent a lot of time working on her education. She graduated in 2014 from Brown University with a bachelor’s in English literature. She’s also starred in some iconic films like The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), The Bling Ring (2013), This Is The End (2013), Beauty and the Beast (2017), and will star as Meg March in 2019’s Little Women

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is probably everyone’s favorite little kid. He was as charming as he was adorable. He started starring in TV films when he was just six years old. In his childhood, he was most known for 3rd Rock from the Sun. He’s had an extremely successful career since! 

His Crazy Career Now

JGL has been in tons of blockbusters in his adult career. He’s starred in (500) Days of Summer, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Lincoln, Sin City, Manic, etc, etc. Since he’s gotten his start in acting, he’s also had a hand in directing. He directed Looper, Don Jon and his short film Morgan M. Morgansens’ Date with destiny. He’s currently married to Tasha McCauley and has two kids. 

Abigail Breslin

Even though Signs was a pretty terrifying movie, no one could get over how adorable little Abigail Breslin was in her role as Bo. In fact, Signs was Breslin’s very first movie. She was basically set up for success because of that. 

Impressive Career

She’s had nothing but success since her very first movie. She’s been in hits like The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Air Buddies, LittleMiss Sunshine, The Santa Clause 3, My Sister’s Keeper, Zombieland, Rango… just to name a few! In 2015, she starred in Scream Queens for 23 episodes. This was her first reoccurring role since Fairfax ended in 2009. 

Jonathan Lipnicki

We all know Jonathan Lipnicki as the adorable little boy in Jerry Maguire, Dr. Doolittle, Stuart Little, The Little Vampire, and Like Mike. He’s been acting ever since but nothing has really taken off. He’s been in tons of short films, TV movies, and direct-to-video films. 

Jonathan Now

Lipnicki shocked the world when he showed everyone his weight training progress… He’s no longer the little boy in those movies we all know and love! Lipnicki has been a speaker for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and is currently involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Starlight Children Foundation, and the NBA’s Read to Achieve program. Needless to say, he’s a man of many talents.

Alyson Stoner

Alyson Stoner was basically the face of every 2000s kid’s childhood. She was popular in Cheaper by the Dozen, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Camp Rock, Step Up, Mike’s Super Short Show, and was the voice of Isabella in Phineas and Ferb

Dancing and Singing

From Missy Elliot to Eminem, young Stoner was dancing for tons of different musicians for live shows and music videos. Now, she has her own dancing and singing career that is evident through her Instagram account. Lately, she’s been putting her singing and dancing career above acting, but she has been doing some voice roles in cartoons. 

Dakota Fanning

As a child, Dakota Fanning was extremely busy. She was nominated for a SAG Award at the age of seven for her role in I Am Sam (2001). She’s also in Uptown Girls (2003), The Cat in the Hat (2003), Man on Fire (2004), War of the Worlds (2005), Dreamer (2005), and Charlottes Web (2006). 

Modeling and Acting

Now, she’s 25-years-old and thriving. She’s worked on iconic films like Twilight and Ocean’s 8 along with modeling for Elle, Vanity, Fair, and Cosmopolitan. She also played Squeaky Fromme in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Al Pacino. 

Christina Ricci

Christina Ricci will forever be known as Wednesday Addams. She landed that role in 1991, just one year after her career started. She was also in Casper, Now and then, Little Red Riding Hood, and Sleepy Hollow as a kid and teenager. She was in 23 films before she turned 20. 

Creepy Career

Ricci is best known for taking on darker and more macabre roles. Her creepiest roles would definitely be in Cursed, Prozac Nation, Buffalo ‘66, Sleepy Hollow, and After.Life. If you’re interested in gothic movies, just check out her filmography! 

Shia LaBeouf

We all know Louis Stevens in the Disney Channel classic Even Stevens. He was pretty successful in that role, too. He won a Young Artist Award nomination in 2001 and won a Daytime Emmy Award in 2003. He did a lot of Disney Channel shows and movies for the early part of his career before branching out into roles that appealed more to adults like in Disturbia and Transformers. 

Performance Art

After a while, LaBeouf got some virality through his provocative performance art. Some people thought that he was losing his mind, but he claims it was just for the art. The first piece of “art” was when he went out in public with a paper bag over his head that said, “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE” written on it. Interesting choice.

Amber Scott

Amber Scott was only seven-years-old when she had her debut role as Maggie Banning in Hook (1991). She had an adorable little solo that melted people’s hearts. So, what’s she up to now?

Pretty Lowkey

She only has one more acting credit after her tint in Hook and that was as a voice actor in American Experience in 1995. She produced a short film called Cannonball in 2019 but has been on the down-low for the most part. 

Thomas Brodie-Sangster

People loved Thomas Brodie-Sangster’s babyface in Love Actually (2003), but they were shocked to learn that he was 13 in that film! He also starred in Nanny McPhee (2005) and easily became a crowd favorite. Has he been able to break free of those child-like parts at the age of 29? 

Sci-Fi Lover

Well, he looks the same. In recent years, he’s been in some Sci-Fi blockbusters like The Maze Runner franchise and Star Wars. He’s also moved onto television shows for some reoccurring roles as well as walk-on roles. Oh, and he played Ferb’s voice in Phineas and Ferb. He’s a true Icon. 

Elijah Wood

Interestingly enough, Elijah Wood has his breakout role in Paula Abdul’s video for “Forever Your Girl.” After that, he had another role in Child in the Night and another role in Back to the Future Part II. He then got into larger roles as a child and even worked alongside the likes of Melanie Griffith, Mel Gibson, and Jamie Lee Curtis. 

His Biggest Roles

At 38, he’s had a pretty impressive career. He’s had incredible roles in Lord of the Rings and Narnia, as well as starring in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Sin City, The Last Witch Hunter, and many more.

Anna Paquin

Winning Best Supporting Actress at the age of 11 is no easy feat! Anna Paquin had herself set up for success because of her successful childhood acting career. Her work in The Piano was a critic favorite. As a teenager, she was featured on She’s All That and Almost Famous… More classics! 

True Blood

Now, her most critically acclaimed roles would be in True Blood and X-men, easily. She keeps busy with voice acting roles and small roles in films and TV shows. She’s been very active in the Human Rights Campaign as well as working with the True Colours Fund. 

Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris was working hard to get into the acting world when he was a kid. He was picked up by a playwright at a drama camp and was cast in Clara’s Heart in 1988. Everyone who saw the film could see his potential, so he quickly took off. 

Broadway and TV

Not only did he star in films, but Harris was also a prominent figure on Broadway and TV. He’s a wonderful personality in Hollywood and has done tons of hosting for award shows and TV programs. His most notable role was on How I Met Your Mother

Demi Lovato

Another Disney Star who really rose to the occasion. She started off on Barney & Friends before heading to the Disney Channel for the Camp Rock franchise. She also starred on her own Disney show called Sonny with a Chance but has focused more on her music career in the more recent years…

Music First

She’s had tons of hit songs like “Heart Attack” and “Cool for the Summer” and she’s sold over two million albums and 20 million singles. Her music career is just as successful as her acting career. She’s won an MTV VMA, 14 Teen Choice Awards, and two Latin American Music Awards. 

Christian Bale

What was Christian Bale up to before Batman? A lot of things! Most people don’t remember but he was actually a pretty busy child actor back in the day. His first role was in Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun when he was just 13 years old. 

Iconic Roles

Bale has had so many iconic roles in his career. He played serial killer Patrick Bateman American Psycho and Batman in Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. He’s also been in American Hustle, The Big Short, and The Machinist. 

Georgie Henley

You may not recognize this name, but you probably recognize her face. Georgie Henley played Lucy in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  She was involved with all three films from 2005 until 2010. After that, she went into theater acting. 

College Grad

She studied at the University of Cambridge where she was heavily involved with the school’s theater acts. She graduated from Clare College in Cambridge with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2016. She’s currently writing her own short film. 

Kristen Stewart

Most people don’t know that K-stew was actually a child actress! She got her foot in the door in her first film Panic Room playing Jodie Foster’s daughter. After that, she starred in Speak, Catch That Kid, Zathura, and Into the Wild


As much as she wants to leave these days behind, she’s most notable in the Twilight series as Bella Swan. She’s had other successful roles like in Personal Shopper and Charlie’s Angels

Jodie Sweetin

Stephanie Tanner will always be Stephanie Tanner! Jodie Sweetin is everyone’s favorite middle child from Full House and even reprised her role for Netflix’s Fuller House. She was on Full House for almost 10 years before it finished it out. She did a lot of TV show walk-on roles at that time and also tried doing films and TV roles.

Tough Life

It’s no secret that she had a tough life after Full House. She is currently in recovery from a drug addiction that plagued her when she was 14-years-old. She was struggling for 15 years before she went into recovery and is now a substance abuse and recovery advocate. 

Bug Hall

Yes, the Alfalfa! Bug Hall was a star in The Little Rascals as the lead role and icon: Alfalfa. He was only nine-years-old when he stepped into the industry and had a pretty successful career after! He even played Adam in Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves. 

Quiet Career

After his success in The Little Rascals, he had a pretty quiet career. He’s had steady work in many films and TV shows (mostly walk-on roles) so he’s been busy! He married his long-term girlfriend in 2017 and has two daughters with her. 

Tatyana Ali

Most popular on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Tatyana Ali was an adorable 11-year-old that captured the hearts of every viewer (for a short time!). She’s been successful in her career after and even had a long role as Roxanne on The Young and the Restless. She attended Harvard and graduated in 2002 with her BA in African-American Studies and Government. 

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