10 Child Actors Came Back After Lengthy Breaks And Still Hit Big

Once-in-a-lifetime means there's no second chance. Especially in a harsh working environment like the Hollywood industry, everyone tries to grab any opportunity while they still can. A few kids have the luck to appear on the screen. Those kid actors have plenty of trajectories to take, but not all of them are promisingly positive. We saw some kid stars falling out from grace when they stepped into spotlights too early without support and preparation.
Most child stars leaving the business come back to ordinary life and accept that all their fame belongs to the past. However, after a lengthy acting break, several decided to fight for their way back to the screen. They knew it would be one in a million, yet they did it. Luckily, their effort got paid. They are back on track with memorable roles and are loved by the audiences.
Here are ten child actors who returned with big hits after a prolonged absence from the business.

#1. Cole Sprouse

Child Actors Came Back After Lengthy BreaksSource: Today Youtube

In his early career, he appeared in various projects alongside his twin brother Dylan Sprouse. Cole Sprouse did not act at all between 2011 and 2017, mostly to attend New York University and study archeology. In 2017, Sprouse began starring as Jughead Jones on The CW television series Riverdale. He is now more famous than ever.

#2. Ke Huy Quan

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Quan stopped acting due to a lack of opportunity in the late 1990s. He went on to work as a stunt coordinator and assistant director. He returned to acting as Waymond Wang in the film Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), a role for which he received critical acclaim.

#3. Alicia Goranson

Child Actors Came Back After Lengthy BreaksSource: Getty Images, WireImage

She is mostly known for playing the original Becky Conner on the sitcom "Roseanne" in 1988 at age 13. After leaving it in 1992, she did not act until 1999 "Boys Don't Cry" but disappeared again.  In 2018, Goranson returned to prominence when "Roseanne" was rebooted.

#4. Gaby Hoffmann

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Hoffmann appeared in films (Field of Dreams, Uncle Buck, and Sleepless in Seattle) until 2001, at which point she decided to step away from the screen. Hoffmann returned to film acting in 2007, appearing in various independent projects that garnered critical acclaim (Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus, Wild,  C'mon C'mon, Girls, Transparent).

#5. Thora Birch

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Birch took on her first film role at the tender age of six, when she appeared in "Purple People Eater". She took a break from acting between 2012 - 2016 and barely appeared until 2018. From 2019–2020, she played the role of Gamma / Mary on the tenth season of The Walking Dead. In 2022, Birch made her directorial debut with The Gabby Petito Story for Lifetime, in which she also co-starred.

#6. Mayim Bialik

Child Actors Came Back After Lengthy BreaksSource: Getty Images, WireImage

She began in show business before she even hit her teens, appearing in TV series like "Webster" and "Molloy" and became super famous in the sitcom "Blossom". Bialik largely stopped acting for a decade, from 1995 to 2005. From 2010 to 2019, she played neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

#7. Macaulay Culkin

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When it comes to child actors, Macaulay Culkin is arguably one of the most famous ever. In 1994, the Home Alone star stepped away from acting for nearly a full decade. Culkin returned to the screen on his own terms in 2003, with an acclaimed role in the film "Party Monster".

#8. Anna Chlumsky


Anna Chlumsky won America's hearts when she starred as Vada Sultenfuss in the 1991 film "My Girl".  Things started to dry up for Chlumsky around 1997, and she stopped acting entirely in 1998 when she went to college.  She returned to the business with a short film in 2005, but hit it big in 2012 when she scored the main role in HBO's political comedy "Veep".

#9. Haley Joel Osment

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He never officially retired from acting, but Osment took on only voice work between the years 2005 and 2012. Though he got into a bit of trouble with a DUI at age 18, Osment got things back on track and graduated from New York University. He started appearing on-camera again in 2013, starting with the television series "Alpha House".

#10. Andrea Barber

Child Actors Came Back After Lengthy BreaksSource: @andreabarber

She started her career in 1982, at age six, as Carrie Brady on the soap opera "Days of Our Lives" and then left the Entertainment business in 1995. Thankfully, Barber was willing to come out of retirement to return to the role that made her famous when Netflix launched a spinoff, "Fuller House," in 2016. 
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