Not So Retro: 10 Stars 90s Kids Never Outgrew (+ 10 We Left Behind)

The '90s were the best of times and they were the worst of times... but let's be real here, they really were just the best of times. All '90s kids had the fortune of being graced with some rad music, the best TV shows, and even better movies.

The only thing better than those things were the actors and actresses behind them, many of which we still love to this day. It was those shows and our favorite characters who helped to shape our childhoods and turn us into the ravishing millennials we are today. We followed the likes of Boy Meets World, 90210, and Saved by the Bell as though it was our job and our devotion to movies such as She's All That and Cruel Intentions was uncanny.

With the good always comes the bad, though, and for us, it came in the form of lost '90s stars. While many of the movies or TV shows they starred in were memorable, the actors who appeared in them would soon be forgotten as we carried on into the early 2000s. Soon, their faces would become nothing but a whisper of memory when we thought back fondly on some of our favorite films.

Luckily, all of that changes today. We've dug deep into the depths of the '90s to bring back stars everyone knows and loves as well as those whose faces are a bit foggy to us.

20 It's Forever: Drew Barrymore


There aren't many kind souls left like those of Drew Barrymore. Not only did she rise to stardom at an unbelievably young age, but she also does plenty in the way of giving back. From the little girl in E.T. to Charlie's Angels and Never Been Kissed, Barrymore has acted alongside well-known stars such as Adam Sandler and has still never forgotten where she came from.

The actress is simply unforgettable and is still making it big, currently with her new beauty line, Flower Beauty. If fans thought they couldn't love her anymore, guess again—her IG is full of totally down-to-earth, normal people things, such as her cat and various funny selfies.

19 Left Behind: Shannen Doherty


Shannen Doherty, who was once everyone's favorite witch in Charmed, seems to have dropped off the radar since her big acting days. Aside from the 90210 reboot and recent Heathers TV series, the star has kept a fairly low profile. Doherty will forever represent classic '90s to us, even if she did disappear shortly after the early 2000s.

According to IMDB, her most recent credits include two movies: How to Make a Deal With the Devil, where she stars as none other than the devil herself, and Undateable John. So while her acting life is still very much in the works, her true '90s form will always be the thing we look back on, even if it's only a memory.

18 It's Forever: Sarah Michelle Gellar


The queen herself is, in fact, Sarah Michelle Gellar. She rose to stardom seemingly with no effort in the '90s, her versatile yet fierce acting allowing her to star in roles such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Kathryn in Cruel Intentions. To add to her allure, it seems that she never truly ages—a true vampire slayer, perhaps? Either way, we're totally here for it.

Fans of Gellar will always remain loyal and it seems that her following has only grown since the golden age of the '90s. In fact, we're pretty sure that there are still '90s girls who try to nail the perfect Kathryn stare only to be thwarted when they realize it will forever be mastered by one person. Gossip Girl has nothing on Gellar.

17 Left Behind: Fred Savage


Poor Fred Savage, he touched hearts and lives with his glory days on The Wonder Years and then kind of just fizzled out. His brother, Ben Savage, went onto stardom in possibly one of the greatest shows to ever come out of the '90s—but at least Fred got a chance to make a cameo.

Since those wonder years, Savage has filled minor roles and been on plenty of other TV shows, but none so memorable as that bright-eyed, huge-grinning preteen we all grew to know and love. While his fame may have faded out after his brother took the spotlight, it doesn't seem to bother him in the slightest.

16 It's Forever: Will Smith


The Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith, will forever be part of our lives as '90s children. Heck, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air will forever be the '90s, period. Everyone knew the song, everyone knew the steps, and we all did it outside of elementary school while our friends were watching. If you didn't watch Fresh Prince, then you just weren't that cool and you definitely weren't in the know.

The best part is that Will Smith grew up with us, moving onto some major hit movies post-California days. We laughed with him, cried with him, and now we're happy-crying because he has his own family who also loves the spotlight.

15 Left Behind: Macaulay Culkin


Yikes, Macaulay. We're not really sure what went wrong post-Home Alone and The Nutcracker, but Culkin's personal life seemed to be top news for quite some time. The childhood star rose to fame after being known as the kid who was basically everyone's kid—the typical '90s troublemaker with an innocent face.

We loved his movies as kids and we love them still as adults but the difference is that now, we struggle to figure out where his life took him. He's set to appear in a few projects but none really scream that Home Alone, kid-actor vibe that we grew to love.

14 It's Forever: Jared Leto


If you don't remember who Jared Leto is, then you need to go back and watch some more of My So-Called Life. From 1993 to 1995, we had the pleasure of fangirling over Leto for the very first time as he took the role of Jordan, high school heartthrob and crush of co-actor Claire Danes. The show was our version of Degrassi and for those two years, we were riveted.

Leto was a huge part of what made us realize that 90% of us are, indeed, enamored with the bad kids in school. He nailed '90s grunge, had the looks, and gave off the vibe that we so wanted in our own lives. Now, he's rocking out with band 30 Seconds To Mars, one of the greatest alt-rock bands of our decade.

13 Left Behind: Rider Strong


Speaking of heartthrobs, Rider Strong was definitely on our M.A.S.H. list when it came to homeroom free time. He was a 'bad boy,' had the charm, and definitely had all the emotional baggage that every girl would have gladly offered to carry. He wasn't just an idol for '90s girls, though; every guy appreciated his tough nature and ability to seemingly not have a care in the world, while actually caring very much.

Post-Boy Meets World days didn't really do much for Strong, unless you count his role in Cabin Fever to be up there with top performances. He slunk back into the '90s shadows after that, never again to be seen in Feeny's office.

12 It's Forever: Luke Perry


Not all of these lists are happy ones and many do have their sad endings. The recent news of Luke Perry's passing affected many, and not just those who knew him from his most recent role on Riverdale. He was most well-known for his role on Beverly Hills, 90210 as Dylan, where he was everyone's favorite guy.

His passing broke hearts worldwide, but his legacy is something that we will remember, especially for '90s kids. He was suave, he was cool, and he was definitely one of the best people. Long live Luke Perry and his hunky James Dean stare.

11 Left Behind: Rachael Leigh Cook


It took you a minute to figure out who we were talking about, didn't it? Here, we have none other than Rachael Leigh Cook, also known as Laney Boggs in She's All That. Cook has had quite the acting history and believe it or not, She's All That was not her first film role.

Since that movie, however, she's been more of a behind-the-scenes voice actor, voicing characters such as Tifa Lockhart from the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series, as well as several voices in the Robot Chicken series. This is probably why we haven't heard too much about her and why the only mental image we have is of her without a date post-high school prom.

10 It's Forever: Melissa Joan Hart


Yet another one of the greats, Melissa Joan Hart is absolute, one hundred percent pure '90s. If you don't know where this photo is from, then you're simply too young to be reading this article.

The one and only Clarissa from Clarissa Knows It All soon found her place in life when she took on the role of Sabrina in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She was known for her slightly clumsy, lovable humor but also for her pure acting skills that made her character so believable. She has continued with acting, staring in TV roles as well as several fun movie roles.

9 Left Behind: Alicia Silverstone


Any true fans of Clueless (the movie, not the TV show) known that Alicia Silverstone was the one and only Cher. Her silly, slightly ditsy ways, similar to that of Elle in Legally Blonde, were what made us fall in love with her in the first place.

Sadly, Silverstone hasn't starred in anything as recognizable since that glory year of 1995, but she still has a place in our hearts... even if we don't necessarily recognize her on TV. There really was no one else that could have pulled off a better Cher, and those mannerisms still stick in our heads to this day.

8 It's Forever: Alyssa Milano


Fans are still swooning over Alyssa Milano but really, can you blame them? This was every teenage boy's crush in the late '90s and even we have to admit, Milano was something else. Starring alongside Shannen Doherty in Charmed, everyone fell in love with her character of Phoebe.

She hasn't been in too many major roles since, but her appearance on TV was enough to have us head over heels for her witchy demeanor and solid acting skills. She did appear in some smaller roles afterward and each time we found her name in the credits, it was like Christmas morning all over again.

7 Left Behind: Jennifer Love Hewitt


To be completely honest, we're still not exactly sure where Jennifer Love Hewitt is at this moment. She had fans raging for more when it came to her role as Julie James in I Know What You Did Last Summer but since then, we've had to settle for random TV show appearances.

She did make an entrance on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (then again, so does everyone) as well as Criminal Minds, Ghost Whisperer, and The Client List, but none with the same level that her horror movie acting brought to the table. It's a fact that '90s Hewitt and modern Hewitt are two totally different people.

6 It's Forever: Justin Timberlake


Now, for yet another heavy-hitter. You might be reading this list thinking, 'okay, but... JT is a musician.' While it's true that Timberlake is known first and foremost for his music (and ramen noodle hair), he's also considered an actor given his past roles, hence making this list.

JT is still iconic of the late '90s and the truth is, you were either team Backstreet Boys or team N'Sync... there was no in-between. Additionally, you would always either be team Justin or team Joey, and the choice is obviously clear. He'll always be a symbol of the days when we blasted pop music proudly and how today, we need to hide that music so we don't get called names for it.

5 Left Behind: Tiffani Theissen


The show Saved by the Bell actually got its start in 1989 but it still counts as '90s. Tiffani Thiessen's role as Kelly was one that many an early '90s teen admired; she was gorgeous, strong, and had a real sense of self when it came to her and her friends. She was the girl we all low-key wanted to be and she carried that with her in her role on Beverly Hills, 90210 as Valerie, too.

Unfortunately, that show seemed to really mark the end of her momentum, as she hasn't been in much since. Her face is one that comes up in our minds as perpetually 18 years old, and it'll likely remain that way.

4 It's Forever: Joey Lawrence


Joey Lawrence is a unique '90s actor because not only did he get his start right at the beginning of the decade, but he has also consistently been in front of the camera since the start. His most recent major '90s co-star was Melissa Joan Hart, and Melissa & Joey  wasn't the first on-screen appearance they've made together.

He's known for his witty, slightly sarcastic acting, something we really couldn't get enough of in the '90s. It's something we're still huge fans of today along with the fact that Lawrence is a man of many talents. He produces, acts, directs, and even works on media soundtracks. Talk about doing it all.

3 Left Behind: Mark-Paul Gosselaar


Yet again, another 'where are they now' without actually knowing where they are now. Mark-Paul Gosselaar broke out with his role on Saved by the Bell with his classic jock attitude and reputation, and then took a bit of a hiatus (intentionally or not) from the film life. In between, he scored many minor roles before ending up on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. 

It wasn't until recently that he got a role on the new series The Passage, so even though it took a couple of decades, it appears that Gosselaar is finally hitting the screen hardcore again. However, his look is completely different now (obviously) and we have to admit, we're kind of missing the flawless white kicks and platinum blonde hair.

2 It's Forever: Ben Savage


There is no denying that Ben Savage is by far one of the most notable actors to fly out of the '90s. Cory and Topanga were every kid's dream romance, if only for the fact that they were seemingly perfect together without actually being flawless. Similar to Danielle Fishel, Ben Savage went his own way until the attempt to reboot Boy Meets World with a spin-off called Girl Meets World.

Unfortunately, the show didn't last and Savage has landed several other roles, but none as prominent as his teen days in front of the camera. Regardless, we still adore him and are totally still rooting for Cory and Topanga.

1 Left Behind: Barry Watson


7th Heaven heartthrob Barry Watson is a bit of a forgotten face nowadays. We were all totally in love with him in 1996 but since the show ended, we can't help but wonder where he ended up. He did land short roles in shows such as Hart of Dixie and Gossip Girl, but it seems that nothing ever really stuck for too long.

He's a free bird, for the most part, and though we remember his name, his face begins to get a bit foggy the longer time goes on. He'll always be the older brother we all wanted from 7th Heaven, though.

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