As the Lindsay Lohans and Shia LaBeoufs of the world have taught us, avoiding scandal is no easy task when you're a former child star. After all, growing up is hard enough without having millions of eyes watching your every move. Still, not everyone struggles to navigate the transition from awkward teen years to adulthood in Hollywood — take Neil Patrick Harris, for example. A 16-year-old Neil shot to fame in 1989 as the titular teen doctor on "Doogie Howser, M.D," and these days he's still thriving in Hollywood and doing just fine! In honor of his 46th birthday on June 15, 2019, check out more child stars who turned out OK…
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Neil Patrick Harris appeared in a number of made-for-TV movies after "Doogie Howser, M.D." came to an end in 1993. He also popped up in countless small roles on various TV shows, did voice-acting work, racked up an impressive résumé on Broadway and starred in the 1997 cult sci-fi flick "Starship Troopers." In 2004, he played a version of himself in "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" and then achieved his official comeback the following year when he started his run as playboy Barney Stinson on "How I Met Your Mother." More recently, he hosted of the NBC game show "Genius Junior," and he currently stars as Count Olaf on Netflix's "A Series of Unfortunate Events." In 2010, he and longtime partner David Burtka welcomed twins Harper and Gideon via surrogate. They tied the knot in Italy four years later.
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Zendaya first came to fame as a Disney star on "Shake It Up" and "K.C. Undercover," landing that first big gig at just 13!
Today, Zendaya is an even more successful actress and movie star. Since wrapping up her time on Disney, Zendaya has starred as Michelle "MJ" Jones in "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and trapeze artist Anne Wheeler in "The Greatest Showman." She's also served as a global women's ambassador for Tommy Hilfiger and a Lancome spokesmodel. In 2019, Zendaya appears on the HBO series "Euphoria" and in the sequel "Spider-Man: Far From Home" alongside rumored boyfriend and Marvel co-star Tom Holland.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were wildly popular in the '90s. After breaking into the industry on "Full House," the Olsen twins founded their own company, Dualstar, and produced a slew of movies, books and merchandise. This early success made them some of the wealthiest stars in the entertainment industry while they were still children.
Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen are more successful than ever these days, but not because of acting. Ashley gave up acting in the mid-2000s while Mary-Kate continued to act until 2011, when she appeared in "Beastly." After both sisters retired from Hollywood, they pursued careers in fashion. They are behind the luxury fashion brands The Row and Elizabeth and James and founded the more affordable fashion lines Olsenboye and StyleMint. Their empire is worth an estimated $1 billion! Mary-Kate has also found success in her personal life, marrying French banker Olivier Sarkozy in 2015. Ashley was most recently linked to artist Louis Eisner, whom she's been dating since 2017.
Christina Ricci shot to superstardom when she starred as Wednesday Addams in "The Addams Family" in 1991. She followed that up with equally successful roles in "Addams Family Values," "Now and Then" and "Casper."
Christina Ricci still has a rewarding career in Hollywood. The actress has appeared in a number of highly successful films and shows including "Sleepy Hollow," "Monster," "Black Snake Moan," "Ally McBeal" and "The Lizzie Borden Chronicles." She starred in the action-thriller "Distorted" in 2018 and will next appear in "Percy" alongside Christopher Walken and Zach Braff. Christina married dolly grip James Heerdegen in October 2013. The couple welcomed a son, Freddie, in August 2014.
Tia Mowry and Tamera Mowry-Housley became household names when they landed lead roles on the hit TV show "Sister, Sister" in 1994. After the show ended in 1999, the twins continued to act in a number of popular movies such as "The Hot Chick" and "Seventeen Again."
Tia Mowry and Tamera Mowry-Housley are still doing perfectly fine. After graduating with degrees in psychology from Pepperdine University, the sisters branched out in their individual careers. Tia starred on a number of successful TV shows such as "The Game" and "Instant Mom" while Tamera appeared on "Strong Medicine." Both sisters have since transitioned into presenting, with Tia hosting the Facebook Watch show "Tia Mowry's Quick Fix" and Tamera co-hosting the FOX talk show "The Real." In early 2018, Tia and Tamera confirmed a reboot of their hit show, "Sister, Sister," but announced that plans had been put on hold in May 2018. The twins have also become happy wives and mothers. Tia married actor Cory Hardrict in 2008 and welcomed son Cree in 2011 and daughter Cairo in 2018. Tamera married Fox News correspondent Adam Housley in 2011. They welcomed son Aden in 2012 and daughter Ariah in 2015.
Dakota Fanning was just 7 when she wowed as the daughter of an autistic man in "I Am Sam." Roles in "Uptown Girls," "The Cat in the Hat" and "War of the Worlds" soon followed.
Dakota Fanning transitioned from child to teen roles in the late aughts. She portrayed Jane in the "Twilight" franchise and starred as Cherie Currie in "The Runaways" in 2010. In more recent years, the beautiful and talented blonde focused on smaller dramas — like "Very Good Girls," "Night Moves," "The Last of Robin Hood" and "Effie Gray" — while she studied at New York University. In 2018, Dakota starred on the critically acclaimed limited series "The Alienist" and joined the cast of Quentin Tarantino's 2019 period film "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" as Squeaky Fromme. She can also be seen in "Viena and the Fantomes" alongside Zoe Kravitz and Evan Rachel Wood in 2019. She's been quietly dating Henry Frye since 2017.
Mara Wilson, the star of "Matlida," had the monopoly on precocious-little-girl roles during the early '90s. She also starred in "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Miracle on 34th Street" before taking a decade-long hiatus from Hollywood in 2000.
After graduating from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Mara Wilson decided to return to acting in the early 2010s. She's appeared in 2015's comedy-drama "Billie Bob Joe," live productions of the podcast "Welcome to Night Vale" and voiced Jill Pill, a writer-director-anthropomorphic spider, on Season 3 of "BoJack Horseman." Today, the former child star — who came out as a bisexual woman in 2016 following the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting — primarily focuses on her writing.
Emma Watson made her acting debut in 2001 as Hermione Granger in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." She went on to star in seven more installments in the franchise before transitioning to more grown-up roles.
Emma Watson enrolled in Brown University in 2009 and graduated with a degree in English literature in May 2014. During that time, she starred in "My Week with Marilyn," "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," "The Bling Ring," "This Is the End" and "Noah." She's also served as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador since 2014, was appointed as a visiting fellow at Lady Margaret Hall by Oxford University in early 2016 and portrayed Belle in the super-successful live-action version of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" in 2017. (Emma has also romanced primarily non-famous men though she went public with "Glee" alum Chord Overstreet in early 2018, though the relationship didn't last.) You can next see her in "Little Women" on the big screen. She plays Meg March.
A 12-year-old Ryan Gosling made his television debut on "The All-New Mickey Mouse Club" in 1993.
Ryan Gosling flawlessly transitioned from child to teen to adult roles. In 2007, he scored an Oscar nomination for his work in "Half Nelson." He's also earned four Golden Globe nominations over the years and made his directorial debut with "Lost River" in 2014. Ryan became an even bigger celeb when he starred in two critically acclaimed films — the financial dramedy "The Big Short" in 2015 and the musical "La La Land" in 2016. For the latter, he won a best actor Golden Globe Award and received his second Oscar nomination. More recently, Ryan played Neil Armstrong, the astronaut who became the first man to walk on the moon in 1969, in the biographical film "First Man" in 2018. The former child star, who previously romanced co-stars Sandra Bullock and Rachel McAdams, has been in a relationship with Eva Mendes since 2011. The extremely private pair have since welcomed two daughters, Esmeralda and Amada.
After getting his start in commercials at age 14, Leonardo DiCaprio made his TV debut in "The New Lassie" in 1989. Roles on "Parenthood" and "Growing Pains" followed.
Leonardo DiCaprio is now considered one of Hollywood's greats. After earning four acting nominations between 1994 and 2014, he finally took home an Oscar in 2016 for his work in "The Revenant." In 2019, he's back to star alongside Brad Pitt in Quentin Tarantino's period film "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." Though he's never been shy about his love of nightclubs — or beautiful women! — the A-list actor has nonetheless managed to avoid scandal over the course of his long career. Still, fans love to comment on his dating history, which includes romances with Gisele Bundchen, Bar Refaeli, Blake Lively, Erin Heatherton, Toni Garrn, Kelly Rohrbach and, most recently, model-actress Camila Morrone.
In 1993 — the year after an 11-year-old Justin Timberlake competed on "Star Search" — the young singer-actor starred on "The All-New Mickey Mouse Club." He was just 14 years old when *NSYNC formed two years later.
Justin Timberlake has since earned several Grammys as a solo artist. He's also developed an impressive acting résumé with roles in a number of critically acclaimed films from "The Social Network" to "Inside Llewyn Davis." He's even won four Emmys for his work with "Saturday Night Live." In 2018, Justin performed during the Super Bowl Halftime Show and returned to the music scene with his first album in five years, "Man of the Woods," which was not a critical hit like his past efforts. Justin famously romanced Britney Spears and Cameron Diaz before finding love with Jessica Biel. They wed in 2012 and welcomed son Silas in 2015.
A 7-year-old Joseph Gordon-Levitt made his television debut in 1988 in the made-for-TV movie "Stranger on My Land." He was 15 when his hit comedy "3rd Rock from the Sun" debuted in 1996.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is now one of Hollywood's most in-demand actors. He scored Golden Globe nominations in 2010 for his performance in "(500) Days of Summer" — a movie that also made him a heartthrob — and in 2012 for his work in "50/50." He also made his feature-film directorial debut in 2013 with "Don Jon," which he also wrote, and launched variety show "HitRECord on TV" in 2014. Joseph played National Security Agency surveillance leaker Edward Snowden in 2016's "Snowden" and is set to appear in the upcoming flick "7500." The super-private star wed tech entrepreneur Tasha McCauley in late 2014. They welcomed a baby boy the following year and a second son in 2017.
An 11-year-old Alyssa Milano made her feature-film debut in "Old Enough" in 1984. Just months later, her hit show "Who's the Boss?" debuted.
Alyssa Milano portrayed Samantha Micelli on "Who's the Boss" until 1992. After that, she appeared in a number of films and made-for-TV movies until 1997, when she joined the cast of "Melrose Place" as Jennifer Mancini. She then starred on "Charmed" from 1998 to 2006 and "Mistresses" from 2013 to 2014. In 2017, she appeared on the hit Netflix series "Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later." The same year, she helped revive a movement on Twitter (that was started by activist Tarana Burke a decade earlier) when she started using the hashtag #MeToo in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal. These days, you can catch her on Netflix's "Insatiable." In 2009, she wed Hollywood agent David Bugliari. They now have two children, son Milo and daughter Elizabella.
An 11-year-old Anna Paquin found fame in 1993 when she starred as Flora McGrath in "The Piano." She won an Oscar for her performance in the romantic period drama.
Anna Paquin has since appeared in everything from "She's All That" and "Scream 4" to the original "X-Men" trilogy and "Almost Famous." She also starred as Sookie Stackhouse on HBO's hit series "True Blood" from 2008 to 2014. In 2017, she began starring on the WGN show "Bellevue." The same year, she drew raves for her work in the the critically acclaimed Netflix miniseries "Alias Grace." She's currently starring on two television shows — "The Affair" and "Flack." The bisexual actress wed her "True Blood" co-star Stephen Moyer in 2010. They welcomed twins Poppy and Charlie two years later.
Jodie Foster got started in Hollywood at age 3 when she became the Coppertone girl. She continued to score commercial gigs for years then ventured into the world of television before starting her career on the big screen. In 1976 at age 15, she landed a big role opposite Robert De Niro in "Taxi Driver" and also starred in three other films that same year including the horror flick "The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane."
Jodie Foster grew up to win two Academy Awards for her performances in 1988's "The Accused" and 1991's "The Silence of the Lambs." After 2010, she scaled back on her acting roles as she transitioned to working behind the camera as a director and producer. In recent years, Jodie has directed episodes of "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black" as well as features "The Beaver" and "Money Monster." She was last seen on the big screen in 2018 when she starred in the dystopian thriller "Hotel Artemis." She and her partner of 15 years, Cydney Bernard — with whom she raised sons Charles and Kit — split in 2008. In April 2014, Jodie married actress and photographer Alexandra Hedison.
Melissa Joan Hart starred as Clarissa Marie Darling on Nickelodeon's "Clarissa Explains It All" from 1991 to 1994.
After starring on "Clarissa Explains It All" in her teens, Melissa Joan Hart started her 20s on a new hit show, "Sabrina the Teenage Witch." After playing Sabrina, Melissa dabbled in directing and appeared in a few television movies before starring on the ABC Family show "Melissa and Joey" from 2010 to 2015. She's continued to direct since that ended, helming a 2018 episode of "The Goldbergs" as well as Lifetime's 2017 remake of the cult classic "The Watcher in the Woods." In 2018, she appeared in the Lifetime movie "A Very Nutty Christmas," and she currently stars on Netflix's "No Good Nick." As for her personal life, Melissa has been married to musician Mark Wilkerson since 2003. They share three sons: Mason, Braydon and Tucker.