Top 10 celebrities you didn’t know were child stars

Top 10 celebrities you didn’t know were child stars
August 08 18:16 2014

Hollywood is filled with young children who have big dreams of becoming the next big star. They wait, they audition, and they wait some more in the hopes of being one of the few lucky children who get selected to star alongside A-list celebrities in popular films.

However, it appears as though there is a decent amount of child stars that disappear from the entertainment industry once they become teenagers. This includes Erik Per Sullivan from Malcolm in the Middle, Jurassic Park star Ariana Richards, Jeff Cohen from The Goonies, Matilda (Mara Wilson) from the Roald Dahl inspired film Matilda, and Jerry McQuire actor Jonathan Lipnicki, all of whom left the entertainment industry following their childhood stardom.

While it is common for child stars to end up pursuing other hobbies once they get older, there are surprising amounts of celebrities in Hollywood that successfully made the transition from child star to adult celebrity. Here are our top 10 celebrities you didn’t know were child stars!

Image via Kristin Callahan/ACE/

[ new page= Alyson Hannigan ]

10. Alyson Hannigan

Alyson Hannigan scored the role of Michelle Flaherty in Universal Pictures’ American Pie, starring alongside Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, and Seann William Scott in the classic comedy. However, she was already a Hollywood veteran!

At the age of 14, Hannigan was cast in Columbia Pictures’ My Stepmother Is an Alien alongside Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters), Kim Basinger (Batman), Jon Lovitz (Happiness), Joseph Maher (Guiding Light), and Seth Green (Family Guy).

Hannigan has been on How I Met Your Mother since 2005 and will be appearing in a CBS television film, More Time With Family, in 2015.

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[ new page= Mae Whitman ]

9. Mae Whitman
Did you know the cute, yet nerdy little girl in Hope Floats is a current celebrity? Mae Whitman played the role of Bernice in Hope Floats at 9 years old, however, that wasn’t her first experience with a big film. Whitman starred alongside Meg Ryan in When a Man Loves a Woman when she was 5 and appeared in Independence Day, One Fine Day, and NBC’s award-winning series Friends at the age of 7.

Since then, Whitman has obtained an insane amount of acting credits with her many voiceover roles. While she is most known for voicing the infamous Angelica Pickles on Rugrats, the Hope Floats actress has appeared in a number of popular films and television shows, including The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, NBC’s Parenthood, and Fox’s Arrested Development.

Whitman most recently voiced the character Tinker Bell in The Pirate’s Fairy and is currently on Nickelodeon’s cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as April O’Neil.

Image via Peter West/ACE/

[ new page= Fergie ]

8. Fergie
Little 9-year-old Fergie appeared in Kids Incorporated, an entertainment show that featured other celebrities at young ages, including Jennifer Love Hewitt (I Know What You Did Last Summer), Mario Lopez (Saved By the Bell), Jeff Cohen (The Goonies), and Eric Balfour (Texas Chainsaw Massacre).

Since Fergie’s success with the Black Eyed Peas, her music has been featured in a number of popular films – Yours, Mine & Ours, 50 First Dates, Knocked Up, Sex and the City, 17 Again, You Again, The Great Gatsby, and Neighbors.

Fergie is also known for her hit songs “Glamourous,” “London Bridge,” and “Clumsy.” The singer is currently working on her second studio album, which will be produced by through Interscope Records.

Image via Nancy Rivera/ACE/

[ new page= Hayden Panettiere ]

7. Hayden Panettiere

Nashville star Hayden Panettiere has been in the entertainment industry for quite some time. At 5 years old, the actress appeared alongside Donnie Jeffcoat (Eagle Eye), Joey Shea (Another World), Jennifer Capri (A Season for Miracles), and Tanya Clarke (A Beautiful Mind) in the hit soap opera One Life to Live.

Panettiere has since appeared in a number of popular films, including Remember the Titans, Raising Helen, Bring it On: All or Nothing, NBC’s Heroes, and I Love You, Beth Cooper, until she landed the leading role in ABC’s hit series Nashville.

ABC’s Nashville, starring Connie Britton, Clare Bowen, Eric Close, Charles Esten, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio, and Panettiere, will be returning for it’s third season this September.

Image via Dara Kushner/

[ new page= Jake Gyllenhaal ]

6. Jake Gyllenhaal
Remember the 1991 movie City Slickers, starring Billy Crystal (Monsters, Inc.), Daniel Stern (Home Alone), Bruno Kirby (The Godfather: Part II), Patricia Wettig (Brothers & Sisters), and Jack Palance (Batman)? Did you know Jake Gyllenhaal appeared as Billy Crystal’s son, Danny?

Since Gyllenhaal’s start as a young actor, he has appeared in a number of award-winning and critically acclaimed films, including October Sky, Bubble Boy, The Day After Tomorrow, Brokeback Mountain, Love and Other Drugs, and Rendition.

Currently, Gyllenhaal has two films that will be releasing this year – Nightcrawler, starring Rene Russo (Outbreak), Bill Paxton (Titanic), and Ann Cusack (A League of Their Own), and Nailed, starring Jessica Biel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), James Marsden (27 Dresses), Catherine Keener (Captain Phillips), and Kirstie Alley (Cheers).

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[ new page= Katherine Heigl ]

5. Katherine Heigl
What most fans don’t realize is Katherine Heigl got her start in the entertainment industry at the ripe age of 16! The Grey’s Anatomy actress appeared alongside Gerard Depardieu (Life of Pi), Dalton James (Passions), Faith Prince (Dave), Stephen Tobolowsky (Memento), and Ann Hearn (The Accused) in Touchstone Pictures’ My Father the Hero.

Hiegl continued to appear in a number of films, including Bride of Chucky, Bug Buster, The Ringer, Descendant, and Valentine, until she landed the role of Dr. Izzie Stevens on ABC’s hit show, Grey’s Anatomy.

Since Heigl left Grey’s Anatomy she has appeared in New Year’s Eve, Life as We Know It, The Ugly Truth, Killers, and 27 Dresses. The actress is currently executive producing and starring in NBC’s newest series State of Affairs, which will be premiering in November.

Image via Kristin Callahan/ACE/

[ new page= Naya Rivera ]

4. Naya Rivera
Starring in Fox’s Glee wasn’t Naya Rivera’s first experience with the entertainment industry! Rivera appeared alongside Reginald VelJohnson, Kellie Shanygne Williams, Darius McCrary, Jaleel White, JoMarie Payton, and Rosetta Le Noire on ABC’s hit comedy series, Family Matters. Rivera appeared as an adorably cute Gwendolyn, who was a love interest for Little Richie (Bryton James).

Following Rivera’s appearance on Family Matters, she began guest-starring in a number of popular series, including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Baywatch, Smart Guy, Even Stevens, 8 Simple Rules, and The Bernie Mack Show. However, Rivera got her big break when she was casted as Santana Lopez, a feisty cheerleader, on Glee.

Rivera was reportedly fired off of Glee due to an altercation with her co star, Lea Michelle. However, Fox recently released a statement confirming the actress was not fired and is still under contract.
Image via Jennifer Graylock/

[ new page= Christian Bale ]

3. Christian Bale
Award-winning actor Christian Bale has made a noteworthy name for himself in the entertainment industry with a loaded resume that includes American Psycho, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Prestige, and The Fighter. But did you know Bale appeared in the 1986 television movie Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna?

At the age of 10, Bale starred alongside Amy Irving (Carrie), Olivia de Havilland (The Adventures of Robin Hood), Jan Niklas (Anne Frank: The Whole Story), Nicolas Surovy (Forever Young), and Susan Lucci (All My Children) in a television movie about the classic story of Anna Anderson, which ultimately launched him into the successful career he has today.

Bale most recently appeared in American Hustle and The Dark Knight Rises and has a number of projects in the works, including Knight of Cups and Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Image via Peter West/ACE/

[ new page= Kristen Stewart ]

2. Kristen Stewart

Star of the Twilight franchise, Kristen Stewart got her start in Hollywood when she starred alongside Jody Foster in the popular film Panic Room. Stewart played Foster’s daughter, Sarah, in the popular thriller and, if we are being honest, slightly resembles a boy in the film

Following the success of Panic Room, Kristen began appearing in a number of projects, including Speak, Catch That Kid, The Messengers, What Just Happened, and Jumper. However, it wasn’t until she landed the coveted role of Bella Swan in the anticipated Twilight films that she became a mega-celebrity.

Stewart most recently released Camp X-Ray and Clouds of Sils Maria and will be appearing in a number of upcoming films – American Ultra, Equals, Still Alice, and Anesthesia.

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[ new page= The All New Mickey Mouse Club]

1. The All New Mickey Mouse Club
While Disney’s The All New Mickey Mouse Club isn’t a specific person, you’d be surprised as to how many A-list celebrities got their start on the children’s entertainment show!

The show featured a number of young actors, singers, and dancers performing live in front of an audience. Some celebrities who appeared on The All New Mickey Mouse Club include Ryan Gosling (Crazy, Stupid, Love), Keri Russell (Dawn of the Planet Apes), Justin Timberlake (Friends With Benefits), Christina Aguilera (The Voice), and Britney Spears (Crossroads).

Who would’ve thought this group of youngsters would eventually be on the Hollywood red carpets together?



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Greta Heggeness
Greta Heggeness

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