It can take a long time to become a great actor in Hollywood, so we wonder how our favorite actors got their start. Plenty of movie stars started their acting careers as children. However, being a child star is not easy.
If actors have a hit, heavy expectations can be placed upon them. However, if not, they may feel like the whole world is rejecting them. Additionally, they work hours and experience a lot of pressure from adults to be on all the time that have led more young performers quit their acting careers. Luckily, after long breaks, some child actors are ready to handle the pressures of fame and return triumphantly.
Below are 11 former child stars who left Hollywood for years and came back.
#1 Ben Savage
Savage made his film debut at the age of 9 in his elder brother Fred Savage’s “Little Monsters”. When turning 13, he played the lead role of Cory Matthews on the ABC sitcom Boy Meets World and then took a break from acting to further his education. After graduating with a degree in political science, he continued to act. In 2022, Savage was cast “Girl in the Shed: The Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez”, in which he portrayed Nathaniel Kibby.
#2 Mayim Bialik
Source: Jason Mendez
Mayim Bialik won America’s hearts as the title character on the TV show “Blossom”. When it ended in 1995, she decided to pull back on the show business commitments to pursue higher education. She got a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA. After many years, she chose to return to acting full-time. From 2010 to 2019, she played neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, for which she was nominated four times for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
#3 Jussie Smollett
He began his career as a child actor in 1991, acting in films such as “The Mighty Ducks”, “Rob Reiner’s North”. However, after playing Jess Jerrico in “On Our Own”, he took a break from acting. After over 10 years, he starred in “The Mindy Project” (2012) and “Revenge” (2014).
#4 Cole Sprouse
He is known for his role as Cody Martin on the Disney Channel series “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” (2005 – 2008). After that, he shied away from acting to attend New York University. In 2017, he returned to the spotlight when starring as Jughead Jones on the television series “Riverdale”.
#5 Jason Bateman
Jason Bateman began acting on television in the early 1980s on the NBC drama series “Little House on the Prairie” and the sitcom “Silver Spoons”. A few years later, he took a break from acting for part of his 20s. In 2013, Bateman was cast as Michael Bluth in the comedy series “Arrested Development” and won several awards.
#6 Emma Watson
As a child, Emma Watson rose to stardom after landing her first professional acting role as Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” film series. From 2011 to 2014, Watson split her time between working on films and continuing her education, graduating from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in English literature in May 2014. Emma starred as Belle in the live-action adaptation of the musical romantic fantasy Beauty and the Beast (2017), which ranks among the highest-grossing films of all time.
#7 Hilary Duff
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”, “Cheaper by the Dozen” and “A Cinderella Story”. However, when becoming a mom for the first time in 2012, she quit acting for a while. Fortunately, she came back to Hollywood when starring as Kelsey Peter in “Younger”, for which she received two People’s Choice Awards nominations.
#8 Ke Huy Quan
At the age of 13, Ke Huy Quan played Short Round in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”. However, he stopped acting due to a lack of opportunities in the late 1990s. After seeing Crazy Rich Asians in 2018, Quan was inspired to give acting another try. He returned to acting as Waymond Wang in the film “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and received critical acclaim.
#9 Macaulay Culkin
Culkin rose to prominence as a child actor starring as Kevin McCallister in the first two films of the Home Alone film series (1990 and 1992), for which he was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. After starring in some movies, he took a break from acting in 1994. He returned in 2003 with a guest appearance on the television show “Will & Grace” and a role in the film “Party Monster”.
#10 Andrea Barber
Andrea Barber is known for playing Kimmy Gibbler in the ABC sitcom “Full House”. After “Full House” ended, Barber retired from acting and started focusing on her personal life. In 2012, Barber reprised the role for a Funny or Die sketch alongside Dave Coulier, her former Full House co-star.
#11 Tami Stronach
At age 11, Tami Stronach portrayed the Childlike Empress in “The Never Ending Story”. Because of being under a lot of pressure, she decided to shy away from acting. Stronach returned to acting in 2002 with a physical theatre company, and by 2006 had performed in Chambre at “La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club”. In 2020, she was cast to star in “Man and Witch” alongside Sean Astin, Rhea Perlman, Christopher Lloyd, and Michael Emerson.