A bunch of huge names were only kids when they stepped into the spotlight, and it’s pretty crazy to think that they’re all grown up now!
Mara Wilson, for example, starred in the flick Matilda as the title character, and now — more than 20 years later — she’s completely transformed herself into one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. When reflecting on her life as a child star, the actress told Collider in March 2021 that she’s “glad” she started so young.
“I had wonderful experiences that I never would have been able to have. It definitely meant that I had an audience for what I wanted to start writing and performing more, as an adult, that I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” she explained. “I also do feel like that level of fame, for anybody, is not a natural thing and can be very dangerous for kids.”
During a separate interview with Entertainment Tonight in August 2021, the actress also got real about staying “a child” while in the industry.
“Where I grew up in Burbank, California, it’s actually pretty common to be a child actor. A lot of my friends had been in commercials for restaurants, or clothing and things like that,” Mara shared. “Like, it was just kind of something you did. And kids would come out every year for pilot season and a lot of these kids were my friends. So, it was actually pretty normal where I lived.”
It turns out, she’s not the only one whose stayed in the spotlight after their younger years. A bunch of celebrities that we grew up watching are all grown up themselves now, and boy, do they look different. Prepare to feel old, you guys, because we went ahead and rounded up some seriously shocking then-and-now photos of the most popular child stars, including Elle Fanning, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Macaulay Culkin, Abigail Breslin, Frankie Muniz, the cast of Harry Potter and more!
Dakota Fanning, for one, even dished on her transition from child star to adult during an interview with Fox News from July 2020. “I think I just have always maintained my very pure love for what I do. When you start out so young, it’s really like make-believe and you’re using your imagination and it’s a heightened version of playing at home,” she explained at the time. “I think I always have approached it that way, that it’s supposed to be fun and it’s supposed to be creative and it’s supposed to excite you. And I’m lucky that I still love what I do.”
Scroll through our gallery to uncover 20 child stars who you won’t believe are adults now.
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