Want to learn a lesson in family values? Then look no further than Growing Pains , the '80s sitcom that gave life lessons infused with the lightest of humor. I was a little young to catch the show in its first run, but there are benefits to catching Growing Pains later in life: I already know where some of the show's guest stars end up after their time on the show, and that makes it super fun to watch. Every episode is like one giant #TBT; catching reruns is endlessly entertaining.
While many of the sitcom's guest stars reached their highest career point with the amazing Growing Pains, not every actor disappeared post-Growing Pains. In fact, some of today's biggest stars cut their teeth in the acting game by appearing on the sitcom — and you may have forgotten that they were ever on it in the first place. I know you know about Leonardo DiCaprio's role, but there were others, too.
So which big names guest starred on Growing Pains before moving on to other major roles? Here are the celebrities that you may have forgot appeared on the show, and what role they played on this iconic '80s sitcom.
Kelly Rowan, "Daddy Mike"
Before she played Best Mom Ever a.k.a. Kirsten Cohen on The O.C., the actress guest-starred as Mike Seaver's girlfriend Rachel.
Matthew Perry, "Second Chance"
In this very special episode, Perry's character Sandy takes Carol out on a date — and ends up getting into a car accident after drinking and driving. Sandy survives the accident, and it seems like his fate with Carol is looking up. Carol confesses that she learned just how much she liked Sandy after his accident because she was so worried about him being OK. Unfortunately, Sandy isn't OK; he dies hours later from internal injuries. Say it ain't so, Chandler Bing!
Jennie Garth, "Ben And Mike's Excellent Adventure"
Before she was playing Kelly Taylor on Beverly Hills, 90210, Garth guest starred as a girl who flirts with Ben and Mike from the passenger seat of a red convertible. How very West Bev of her.
Brad Pitt, "Who's Zoomin' Who?" & "Feet Of Clay"
Pitt guest starred in two episodes of Growing Pains, oddly as two different characters. In "Who's Zoomin' Who?" he plays a new classmate who flirts with Carol, and in "Feet Of Clay," he portrays a jerk of a rockstar. Hey, with a face that good looking, no one's complaining.
Hilary Swank, "Menage A Luke" & "There Must Be A Pony"
Unlike Pitt, Swank played the same character in her two-episode arc. Swank played Sasha, who helps entertain Chrissy at a party. Swank later appeared on the series Beverly Hills, 90210 in a guest role.
Candace Cameron Bure, "The Long Goodbye" & "Fool For Love"
Growing Pains was already on the air by the time Full House introduced us to D.J. Tanner. Candace joined her brother, Kirk Cameron, on his series as classmate Jenny, and Kirk returned the favor by appearing on Full House as D.J.'s older cousin.
Robin Thicke, "Ben And Mike's Excellent Adventure," "Mom Of The Year," & "Ben's First Kiss"
Long before he was sparking controversy (and topping charts) with "Blurred Lines," Thicke appeared on three episodes of his dad's show as Ben's classmate. Check out the Entertainment Tonight interview above from the set of the sitcom, in which the would-be celeb talks about his musical aspirations.
Dennis Haysbert, "Weekend Fantasy," "Gone But Not Forgotten," & "State Of The Union"
The All State spokesman appeared on three episodes of the series as three different characters between 1985 and 1988, before breaking out with his role in 24.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Season 7
OK, so most people know that DiCaprio appeared on Growing Pains at the beginning of his career, but how could one of the world's biggest movie stars not make this list? Long before he starred in Romeo + Juliet or Titanic, DiCaprio played Luke Brower, a troubled homeless student who becomes a foster brother to the Seaver family before going to live with his formerly absent father.
Image: ABC (2)