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16 Child Stars Have Changed Over The Years And You Might Not Recognize Them

Many celebs rose to stardom for their roles as child actors and their characters became a part of our childhood. However, being a child star is not easy. They had to work long hours on set and miss out on typical childhood experiences. Some are afraid of being out of the limelight after they’ve said goodbye to the iconic roles that made them household names.

Some former child stars went on shining in the entertainment industry, some decided to step out of the spotlight and pursue other passions. Whatever they did, their fans are excited to see what they’re up to and how they’ve changed over the years.

Scrolling down to see celebs who were in the limelight during our childhood and compare them to how they look now.

#1 Joey King

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Actress Joey King started her career with a commercial for Life cereal. After that, she landed her roles in “Ramona and Beezus” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love”. As King started navigating her late teens and 20s, the roles that she’s chosen have been varied. She’s starred in “The Act”, Netflix rom-com “The Kissing Booth 1 and 2”, and the horror movie “Slender Man”. Now, she is still busy acting.

#2 Macaulay Culkin

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As the young “Home Alone” hero Kevin McAllister, Macaulay Culkin became a Hollywood darling. Unfortunately, like many child stars, he fell onto some hard times, including an arrest for drug possession. However, he’s once again working as an actor. In 2019, he had a role in Seth Green’s movie “Changeland” with Brenda Song. Since 2021, Culkin is part of the starring cast of the series’ tenth season “American Horror Story: Double Feature” and his role in the season was critically praised.

#3 Pamela Anderson

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Anderson came to public prominence after appearing in the Playboy Magazine. She starred in the television series titled “Baywatch” and “Home Improvements”. Despite being active in the media scenes since 1989, she has been criticized for years as a result of her three previous marriages. At the age of 54, she has completely been offline from her social media.

#4 Daniel Radcliffe

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Daniel Radcliffe stepped into the world of acting at the age of 9. His first roles were in the TV film “David Copperfield” and the movie “The Tailor of Panama”, but the “Harry Potter” franchise truly made him a superstar. Daniel Radcliffe is one of Britain’s most successful actors and has managed to leave his Harry Potter persona behind. He starred in “The Woman in Black”, the most successful British horror film of all time.

#5 Natalie Portman

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Natalie Portman was 12 when she starred in the film “Leon” as orphaned girl Mathilda. Her powerful performance put her straight on the map and the actress has never been out of work since. Natalie Portman is now a hugely successful actress and won the Best Actress in a Leading Role for Black Swan at the 2011 Academy Awards. In 2012, she married Benjamin Millepied and the couple has two children.

#6 Kristen Stewart

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Kristen Stewart was already a professional at ten. When turning 12, she co-starred with another former child actor, Jodie Foster, in “Panic Room”. Her role as Bella in “The Twilight Saga” made her become one of the highest-earning actresses in Hollywood.

#7 Hilary Duff

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Hilary Duff began her acting career at a young age, quickly being labeled a teen idol. She appeared in numerous mainstream films such as “Cadet Kelly”, “Agent Cody Banks”, “Cinderella Story” and so on. The actress received two People’s Choice Awards nominations. As of 2022, she currently produces and stars in “How I Met Your Father” in the lead role, Sophie.

#8 Ryan Gosling

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The multitalented kid from Canada got his big break at age 12 on “The All-New Mickey Mouse Club”. For the past two decades, Gosling has played every type of guy, from a drug-addict teacher in “Half Nelson” to an introvert in love with a blow-up doll in “Lars and the Real Girl”. He had two Oscar nominations to his name and he won a Golden Globe for “La La Land”. Today, he still shines in his acting career.

#9 Leonardo DiCaprio

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As a child, Leonardo DiCaprio had a few minor roles on TV, including an appearance in the show Roseanne. At 15, he landed the role of young Mason Capwell in “ Santa Barbara” and a year later, he started playing the character Gary Buckman in the TV show Parenthood. After the success of ‘Titanic and Great Gatsby”, he is more successful than ever.

#10 Emma Watson

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After the training in a theatre school, Emma landed the role of Hermione Granger at the age of 10. Emma Watson has moved on from the “Harry Potter” franchise. Aside from modeling for the likes of Burberry and Lancome, she has starred in “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” and “The Bling Ring” and received praises from critics and movie buffs.

#11 Drew Barrymore

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Drew Barrymore’s successful career has spanned so many decades. When being a child, she stole hearts as the adorable little sister in “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”. Although she had troubles with drugs and alcohol, she kept working while in and out of treatment. She quit her acting career at the age of 46.

#12 Haley Joel Osment

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Although Haley Joel Osment keeps it pretty low-key these days, as a kid, he had a pretty impressive career in film. He’s best known for his starring roles in movies like “Pay It Forward”, “A.I. Artificial Intelligence”, and “The Sixth Sense”. He had made guest appearances on many TV shows, including “Walker”, “Texas Ranger” and “Murphy Brown”. The most recent film that he is involved in is  “Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous”.

#13 Kiernan Shipka

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Kiernan Shipka, a standout in the ensemble cast, took on the role of Sally Draper in “Mad Men” when she was 7 years old. When the movie wrapped, Shipka found herself at a loss. In 2018, she took on the iconic role of Sabrina Spellman for Netflix’s dark drama Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Her latest movie is “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” with the role of Sabrina Spellman.

#14 Nicholas Hoult

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With more than a decade of acting roles under his belt, Nicholas Hoult continues to star in big-budget and independent movies consistently. At the age of 7, he starred in the film Intimate Relations (1996).

#15 Bailee Madison

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The super-talented multi-hyphenate has enjoyed massive success as an actor, writer, producer, activist, and more. She has grown up from a sweet little girl into a fierce and powerful young woman. The wannabe actress started in commercials while being still in her stroller. She booked her first movie, 2006’s Lonely Hearts, at age 5.

#16 Sabrina Carpenter

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Carpenter started acting at a young age. Carpenter’s first role was as a guest on “Law & Order: SVU”, where she played a sexual assault victim. After her SVU appearance, Carpenter landed a role on “The Goodwin Games”, playing Chloe and in 2013, the star landed a significant role in the “Disney Channel’s Girl Meets World” playing Maya Hart. Now, she goes on working in the entertainment industry.