12 Movie Characters You Had Secret Crushes On As A Kid
There's a critical point in any young movie-watcher's maturation where finding your taste in movies coincides with the transition from platonic relationships with the characters on screen to... something more. Some of these early crushes are the stuff of homeroom gossip: Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean stands out, or Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Bend It Like Beckham. But then there are the others that you probably wouldn't confess — the ones you wouldn't cop to when asked what you really thought of Pirates of the Caribbean (Johnny Depp over Orlando Bloom any day) or Lord of the Rings. These are the 12 movie characters you had a secret crush on as a kid.
This is a judgment-free zone, okay? Some of these characters are cartoons, some are live-action, and some are, well, not precisely human (and might actually exist in that weird nether-region between human and animal), but they're all linked by the sort of secretive attraction they cultivate in young audiences. It's what ties together Edward Scissorhands, Lord of the Rings, and The Lion King — three movies that, on the surface, seem to bear little similarity, but are united by a lingering memory of an unfulfilled childhood crush. Because really, Johnny Depp in anything at all was enough.
1. Edward Scissorhands In Edward Scissorhands
Maybe it was the palpable chemistry between stars Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder, back when they were also a real-life couple, but Johnny Depp's titular Edward Scissorhands character was 100 percent crush-worthy. Except... He has scissors. For hands. So that sounds messy.
2. Frodo In Lord Of The Rings
We all know Viggo Mortensen could get it as Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, but I always had a thing for the blue-eyed hobbit Frodo. It's just that, well, he was also child-sized and had furry feet.
3. Haku In Spirited Away
Half-spirit, half-dragon, Haku is not exactly a viable love interest — and though his relationship with Spirited Away's protagonist Chihiro borders on romantic, it never crosses over from platonic, which means that we kids might have a shot. Indeed, director Hayao Miyazaki gave us a fair share of secret childhood crushes, from Haku in Spirited Away to Howl in Howl's Moving Castle and Ashitaka in Princess Mononoke.
4. Wesley In The Princess Bride
Need I say more? This one's not necessarily a secret, except that I was always super awkward about any crush — even if he was golden-haired and blue-eyed and objectively perfect, like Wesley in The Princess Bride.
5. Sailor Mars In Sailor Moon
She's still my favorite sailor scout, and my affection for her was always somewhere between girl-crush and actual-crush.
6. Simba In The Lion King
It's super validating to be able to Google this one now and find that I wasn't alone. When you're four years old, does it matter whether your first crush is a lion or a human?
7. The Beast in Beauty And The Beast
It was really such a disappointment when the Beast turned into a prince at the end of Beauty and the Beast, because the beast was way hotter. Maybe Belle was just as disappointed, considering she fell in love with the dapper Beast.
8. Dodger In Oliver And Company
It sort of makes sense that so many secret childhood crushes were animals because, well, most kids' movies characters are animals. Dodger, Oliver's trusty sidekick in Oliver and Company, had an appealing nonchalance about him.
9. Captain Jack Sparrow In Pirates Of The Caribbean
A solid 30 years older than me, Jack Sparrow spends a large majority of Pirates of the Caribbean drunk and hapless. And then there's that unfortunate dark eyeliner. But still, it's Johnny Depp.
10. Nick Parker In The Parent Trap
Your best friend's hot dad you knew was off-limits, embodied in Dennis Quaid.
11. Dean Thomas In Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone — And The Rest Of The Harry Potter Movies
Not only is he the clever half of the Seamus Finnegan-Dean Thomas duo, but he eventually turns into Wes of How to Get Away with Murder. While everyone was watching Harry Potter (or Sirius Black, let's be real), your eyes were secretly drifting to Dean.
12. Pepito In Madeline
A nine-year-old French bad boy on a motorcycle? Count me in. (Except, he's nine, so this is definitely illegal, and also, he's nine.)
Scissors for hands, hairy feet, not-quite-human — you may have kept these childhood crushes secret for a reason. But they played an important role in all of our sexual awakenings, and also made many of us fall in love with movies as well as characters. And we're all just looking back with nostalgia now, right? Right?
Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy (11); TriStar Pictures