We came to discover and love many of these child stars when they were pint-sized, but where are they today? The little ones that stole our hearts look very different in 2021. Let’s catch up with them and see where they are today after playing iconic roles as kids.
1. Alexa Vega
Alexa Vega was acting for nearly 10 years before her breakout role: playing the lead Carmen Cortez in Spy Kids back in 2001. She was a hero for girly girls and tomboys alike, and followed up the hit with three more installments in the Spy Kids franchise. Today, she’s changed her name to Alexa PenaVega, and has starred in movies like Machete Kills, and the TV show Nashville. She now has two kids — Ocean and Kingston — and is about to have a third.
2. Mara Wilson
You might recognize those chubby cheeks and adorable bangs from the 1996 family movie, Matilda. Mara played the precocious role with charisma and charm, but we didn’t see her in many movies since. She actually retired from acting in 2000 in order to focus on writing (she wrote a book titled Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame), but in 2012, returned in the dramedy Billie Bob Joe and an episode of Broad City.
3. Jonathan Lipnicki
This cutie pie in glasses once starred Ray Boyd in Jerry Maguire, but he’s also well known for the Stuart Little movies, in the role of George Little. Today, Lipnicki is all grown up still acting, and has starred in high-profile TV shows like Monk, Dawson’s Creek and Interns of F.I.E.L.D. He’s also been in indie movies like Edge of Salvation and loves practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which he’s gotten his killer abs from.
4. Anna Chlumsky
Everyone remembers Anna Chlumsky as Vada Sultenfuss, the super smart and endearing little lady in My Girl, the 1991 hit. She also acted with another child actor, Christina Ricci, on Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain in 1995. Today, she’s blossomed into a stunning woman. She left acting briefly in 1998 to study international studies at the University of Chicago, and acted as a fact-checker for Zagat Survey. In 2007, she made her comeback to Hollywood on Veep with Emmy nominations. She will soon star in a new Shonda Rimes show called Inventing Anna.
5. Tia and Tamera Mowry
These twins starred on the successful Sister, Sister and have remained extremely close even years after filming. Their career trajectory is very impressive — the two are still highly successful — with Tamera co-hosting on the popular talk show called The Real. Her sister Tia now stars in the popular sitcom Family Reunion. Both ladies have families — Tamera has two children with Fox News correspondent Adam Housley, and Tia just had her second baby with actor Cory Hardrict.
6. Danielle Fishel
We all fell in love with Danielle Fishel, aka Topanga, as soon as she graced our screens back in the 1990s. Not only did she have some gems of wisdom and feminist lessons for us, but that thick and wavy hair was the envy of many young girls. Today, she’s starred in the modern-day spinoff of the show, Girl Meets World, with on-screen bae Ben Savage. She still looks absolutely gorgeous and has held onto those cascading locks.
7. Jaleel White
Jaleel White may have played a mega nerd with glasses and suspenders, but he’s grown into quite the looker. Back in the day, he appeared on Family Matters as Steve Urkel with his famous catch phrase “Did I do that?” In 2012, he made a comeback on Dancing with the Stars. He also starred in the CBS show, Me, Myself and I and shares a daughter with ex-girlfriend Bridget Hardy.
8. Abigail Breslin
Abigail Breslin starred in so many shows and films that she practically grew up on set. Still, her family kept things normal, and didn’t let her talk about work when she got home. She starred in famous flicks like Signs, Little Miss Sunshine, and My Sister’s Keeper. Today, she’s still acting and has a clear passion for the craft, in shows like Scream Queens and movies like Final Girl. It’s safe to say that this babe loves working in the horror genre!
9. Haley Joel Osment
Everyone recognizes Haley Joel Osment as that little boy who can see dead people. After breaking out in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense with stellar acting, which earned him many nominations and awards, he starred in the equally successful 2001 flick, AI: Artificial Intelligence. After filming Secondhand Lions, he mostly did voice acting for video games and TV shows. Today, looks notably different, but that hasn’t stopped him from acting parts in Entourage and Silicon Valley.
10. Soleil Moon Frye
Punky Brewster was a household name for the TV show named after her. She was played by Soleil Moon Frye, who also played Roxie King in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She then did voice work on The Proud Family and Bratz, but today, she’s making a Punky Brewster reboot. In other news, she’s had four babies, and from 2013 to 2014, hosted an OWN show called Home Made Simple.
11. Keshia Knight Pulliam
This sweet pigtailed princess had her first role on Sesame Street at only 3 years old, and one year later, she earned the role of Rudy, the littlest Huxtable on The Cosby Show. At just six years old, Pulliam snagged an Emmy nomination for best-supporting actress thanks to her role. Afterwards, she attended college and appeared in movies like Beauty Shop and Madea Goes to Jail. She also run a production company and is a chef with her own spice line called Keshia’s Kitchen.
12. Candace Cameron Bure
Bure’s older brother was in Growing Pains, and little sis Candace soon followed suit. In 1987, she got the role of D.J. Tanner in Full House, starting a prolific career as one of the most famous preteens ever. After such success in the 1980s and 1990. Nowadays, you can see her in the Fuller House reboot, as well as Dancing With the Stars back in 2014. She also wrote two books, one of which was a New York Times bestseller, titled Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness.
13. Macaulay Culkin
Macaulay has multiple iconic roles under his belt as a child star, from Home Alone to Richie Rich. He reached a level of fame that other child actors dreamed of. But today, he’s mostly staying out of the spotlight, sans a few indie roles like Saved! and Party Monster. However, in 2021, he’s supporting to have a role on the 10th season of American Horror Story, which we can’t wait for.