At some point, we have all wondered what happened to some of the child stars we grew up with on TV and radio, and the online search results can often be quite surprising.It's the harsh reality of showbiz that not every child star is guaranteed a successful career. Some former child stars even got fed up with fame while they were still teenagers and decided to retire from acting altogether, in order to purse completely different career paths.
Perhaps the most surprising thing is that many former stars claim their iconic childhood roles have damaged their careers, as they've become pigeonholed - so they won't get hired due to stereotyping. Here's a mix of child stars from the early 2000s who either made it, failed spectacularly, or just simply quit showbusiness altogether.
20 Jake Thomas
Jake Thomas may have been Lizzie McGuire's annoying younger brother, but he was more than just a sidekick. After Lizzie McGuire wrapped in 2004, Thomas appeared in another Disney Channel show, Cory in the House. He's still acting, but he's also developed quite a talent for working behind the camera, and has even pursued his educational goals, graduating from college in 2018.
19 Alyson Stoner
Whether it was Sally in Mike’s Super Short Show, Max in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, or Caitlyn Gellar in the Camp Rock series, Stoner mostly portrayed tomboys. Luckily, she doesn't look like a tomboy anymore. Alyson has appeared in the Step Up franchise and performed voice acting for animated shows. She's even launched her own YouTube channel where she shares dance videos, music covers, and personal Vlog style videos.
18 Freddie Highmore
Freddie Highmore has been racking up awards and nominations his entire career and built a reputation for himself starring in movies like Finding Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. His role in Bates Hotel as a young adult showed the depth of his range, and his latest hit show, The Good Doctor, proves that Highmore is truly one of the great actors of his generation.
17 Taylor Momsen
Taylor Momsen captured everyone's hearts as little Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. For a while, Momsen kept acting, landed a major role on the teen drama Gossip Girl, then her band, The Pretty Reckless, took off and made her a bonafide rock star. Today, she focuses on her music and gets uncomfortable talking about her Gossip Girl days.
16 Jake T. Austin
Wizards of Waverly Place star Jake T. Austin had actually been in show business for years before landing a role on the show. After Wizards of Waverly Place wrapped, Austin starred on The Fosters and did some voice acting with a role in The Emoji Movie. Other than that he seems to spend his time at the gym and posting flexing pics on Instagram.
15 Madison Pettis
The adorable and vivacious Madison Pettis captivated audiences with her curly locks and winning smile. She starred on Cory in the House and appeared alongside The Rock in The Game Plan in 2007. A series of steady acting gigs followed, and she's shown her willingness to try new things by joining the cast of Five Points, a Facebook Watch web series.
14 Kevin Clark
School was back in session when Kevin Clark reunited with his onscreen teacher Jack Black. The child star played drummer Freddy, aka Spazzy McGee, in the 2003 comedy School of Rock. Seeing as he's wearing flannel, and a backwards cap, and has long hair, it's obvious that Clark is still sticking it to the man - he's now an actual drummer for Dreadwolf, a band that seems to have Jack Black's support.
13 Madison De La Garza
Madison De La Garza (far left) became famous through her role as Eva Longoria's daughter Juanita on Desperate Housewives. She also happens to have a very famous pop star for a sister. Demi Lovato shared the above pic on Snapchat for Madison's 16th birthday in December 2017. Since leaving Housewives, Madison – who is half-sisters with Demi – has gone on to have roles on Bad Teacher and Gnome Alone.
12 Abigail Breslin
By the time she landed her breakout role in 2006's Little Miss Sunshine, Abigail Breslin had already had a prolific child acting career, including films like Signs and Raising Helen. Abigail has continued to act in major roles - she starred in the TV movie remake of Dirty Dancing and had a prominent part on Scream Queens
11 Lil Bow Wow
Rapper Lil' Bow Wow, whose real name is Shad Moss, released his debut album, Beware of the Dog, at age 13 in 2000. And he went on to star in basketball flick Like Mike in 2002. Today he goes by just Bow Wow and continues to make music. He had a supporting role in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in 2006 and starred on CSI: Cyber until the show's 2016 cancellation.
10 Angus T. Jones
Angus T. Jones starred as Jake Harper on Two And A Half Men. Eventually, he became a devout Seventh Day Adventist and spoke out against the sitcom on YouTube. "I'm on Two and a Half Men and I don't want to be on it. Please stop watching it and filling your head with filth." Apparently, he's now president of entertainment at Tonite, an events company co-founded by Sean "Diddy" Combs's son.
9 Jamie Bell
Jamie Bell got his big break as the ballet-loving title character in the film version of Billy Elliott in 2000. the British star has continued to act in films like Fantastic Four and is married to House of Cards star Kate Mara. He was previously married to actress Evan Rachel Wood whom he has a son with.
8 Daniel Tay
As an 8-year-old, Tay helped spread Christmas cheer alongside Will Ferrell in the modern-day holiday classic Elf back in 2003. Since then, Tay has found joy working in smaller projects, like 2007's Brooklyn Rules, and doing voice work for video games like Grand Theft Auto IV. Still, nothing steals our hearts like Buddy's younger brother.
7 Josh Peck
One of the more memorable characters from the Nickelodeon sitcom Drake & Josh is the very loveable, yet awkward, teenager Josh Nichols. Since his days on Drake & Josh, Peck has appeared in a number of successful films and television shows such as the Ice Age franchise, and as Casey Jones in the animated series of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Peck has also gained quite the following on social media.
6 Jamie Lynn Spears
Britney Spears' younger sister landed a main role in the live-action sketch comedy show All That at the age of 11. She then had the leading role of Zoey Brooks in famed Nickelodeon series, Zooey 101. However, when she was just 16, she announced she was pregnant, which of course created a lot of controversy. Since then she has laid low and seemingly abandoned acting in favor of country music.
5 Dylan Sprouse
Despite his rather lengthy career of countless films and TV Shows, such as Piggy Banks, Friends, and Snow Buddies, Dylan Sprouse took a rather lengthy hiatus from the limelight in 2011 to focus on his studies at University. He graduated in 2015 with a degree in Professional Game Development, and can often be found attending gaming conventions, while also running his own New York business, All-Wise Meadery.
4 Amy Bruckner
Remember Phil Diffy’s evil little sister from the future - Pim? Well, the conniving little Pim Diffy, who was played by Amy Bruckner, has changed a whole lot since her days on Phil of the Future! Bruckner was only 13 years old when she landed her famous role, and when Phil of the Future ended, Bruckner decided to take a much-needed break from acting in order to pursue college.
3 Clayton Snyder
After starring as Ethan Craft on Lizzie McGuire, Clayton decided to take a rather lengthy hiatus from acting and found a new passion - water polo for the Pepperdine University. Snyder eventually went on to play professionally in Europe, but would make several attempts to return to acting in 2014 with appearances in the hit crime show NCIS, along with a number of short independent films and web-series.
2 Carly Schroeder
Carly Schroeder played Matt McGuire’s enemy turned girlfriend, Melina Bianco, on hit show Lizzie McGuire. That’s right, little Melina has grown up into a gorgeous young woman who apparently has quite a sense of adventure. When Schroeder isn’t busy adventuring into the American Wilderness, she is acting in a small number of films such as Rites of Passage, Prep School, and the role of Venus in One of Us.
1 Miranda Cosgrove
Remember Summer Hathaway, the band manager from the popular film, School of Rock? Or Megan Parker – the younger sister of Drake & Josh? That's Miranda Cosgrove and she has been in the entertainment industry since she was just 3 years old. Lately, she has struggled with unsuccessful pilots and canceled shows. In 2010, Cosgrove was earning an astounding $180,000 per episode of iCarly, hopefully, she saved some of that for a rainy day.
Sources: The List, Celebrity Nine, Hollywood, Nicki Swift