20 Child Stars Who Made It Through Their Awkward Phases And Got Gorgeous
The middle school years are pretty rough on everyone, so it's safe to say that going through that mess of awkwardness is even harder when you have to do it in front of the camera. Luckily for these child stars and tween dreams, they came through on the other side better than ever — seriously, who knew these kids would grow up to look that good? Check out the 20 child stars who grew up and became grade A hotties.
Then: Alexa Vega
The Spy Kids star was barely a tween when she rose to fame.
Now: Alexa Vega
For one thing, she’s married, so permission to feel old granted. And two, holy cow did this Tomorrow People star get gorgeous.
Then: Zac Efron
Before he went on to star in the High School Musical franchise, Efron played Cameron on Summerland.
Now: Zac Efron
The Neighbors star is spectacularly hot. But you knew that.
Then: Daniel Radcliffe
Radcliffe was the young star of what would become one of the world’s biggest film franchises, Harry Potter.
Now: Daniel Radcliffe
The handsome star broke away from his Harry Potter image and now does indie films like rom-com What If and horror comedy Horns.
Then: Emma Watson
The Harry Potter star looked adorable in green on one of her very first red carpets.
Now: Emma Watson
Watson went from child star to an ever-classy feminist.
Then: Dakota Fanning
The I Am Sam star was an adorable child star.
Now: Dakota Fanning
The Very Good Girls star is an indie darling. (With amazing hair.)
Then: Jesse McCartney
The former Dream Street member struck it solo with hits like “Beautiful Soul.”
Now: Jesse McCartney
McCartney had a recurring role on ABC Family’s Young & Hungry (he wore glasses!) and currently has a new album out, titled In Technicolor.
Then: Abigail Breslin
Breslin made her film debut with the 2002 sci-fi flick Signs.
Now: Abigail Breslin
The Enders Game star rocks a more grown-up style.
Then: Freddie Highmore
The child star was barely a tween when he starred in August Rush.
Now: Freddie Highmore
Highmore is making us all kinds of uncomfortable on Bates Motel, but it’s okay because look at how great he looks in a suit.
Then: Josh Hutcherson
Hutcherson’s first major role was in Little Manhattan as main character Gabe.
Now: Josh Hutcherson
Hutcherson has become a teen-lit icon with his role as Peeta in The Hunger Games.
Then: Rupert Grint
The Harry Potter star played cowardly but loyal Ron Weasley in the franchise.
Now: Rupert Grint
Post Potter, Grint starred in films like CBGB and Charlie Countryman.
Then: David Gallagher
Oh, who are we kidding. This 7th Heaven star never had an awkward phase.
Now: David Gallagher
Annnnd it looks like he never will.
Then: Nick Cannon
The former All That star really enjoyed hats.
Now: Nick Cannon
The former Mr. Mariah Carey is currently working on Drumline 2. He still really enjoys hats.
Then: Josh Peck & Drake Bell
The Drake & Josh stars played stepbrothers in their Odd Couple–esque comedy.
Now: Josh Peck & Drake Bell
Their awkward phases are very far behind them. Bell now plays the teenage Timmy Turner in the live-action Fairly Oddparents films for Nickelodeon, while Peck has done a ton of voice work and guest-starred on shows like The Mindy Project.
Then: Hilary Duff
The Lizzie McGuire star ruled Disney Channel during the early ’00s.
Now: Hilary Duff
Duff uses fewer accessories in her hair and just released new music after a seven-year hiatus.
Then: Chloë Grace Moretz
The child actress has grown into more adult roles.
Now: Chloë Grace Moretz
The stylish actress scored a role in the upcoming film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel Dark Places and recently played the titular character in the remake of Carrie.
Then: Shailene Woodley
In the early 00s, Woodley had roles in TV movies like Once Upon a Mattress. She played Felicity (yes, like the American Girl doll) in the film An American Girl Adventure.
Now: Shailene Woodley
Woodley stars as Tris in the Divergent franchise and portrayed Hazel in the YA hit The Fault In Our Stars.
Then: Anna Paquin
Paquin took home an Oscar for her role in The Piano in 1993 when she only 11 years old. In 2000 she starred in X-Men as Rogue.
Now: Anna Paquin
Paquin’s long-running vampire drama, True Blood, just wrapped on HBO. She recently reprised her role as Rogue in X-Men: Days of Futures Past.
Then: Ashlee Simpson
Better known as Jessica’s younger sister, Ashlee Simpson had a recurring role on 7th Heaven from 2002 to 2004 and released a pop album after her arc ended.
Now: Ashlee Simpson
Simpson wed Evan Ross in 2014 and has one son, Bronx Mowgli, with her ex-husband, Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz.
Then: Carrie Underwood
Underwood sang her way to the top of American Idol’s fourth season in 2005.
Now: Carrie Underwood
She ditched the crimped hair (we all did) and was recently named the top American Idol earner post-show by Forbes. She portrayed Maria in NBC’s Sound of Music: Live!
Then: Blake Lively
Lively starred as Bridget in the 2005 friend flick The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Now: Blake Lively
Clearly, Lively’s fashion choices have improved tenfold. She is currently expecting a baby with her husband, Ryan Reynolds and recently launched a lifestyle site, The Preserve.