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Added by nehocb on 28 Dec 2012 07:19
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2012's Notable Former Child Stars: Then and Now

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THEN: Before landing her role as Winnie Cooper in the hit TV series "The Wonder Years," Danica McKellar did two episodes of "The Twilight Zone." But it was Winnie, the first love of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage), who made America fall in love with Danica, too. While acting made Danica famous, math was her first love. When "The Wonder Years" ended, McKellar pursued her education and graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a degree in mathematics in 1998.

NOW: Danica McKellar put all those years of hard work at UCLA to good use. Her mission to inspire young girls to fall in love with numbers just like she did resulted in her New York Times best-selling book, "Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail." McKeller seemed to find her real-life Kevin Arnold in 2009, when she married composer Mike Verta in La Jolla, California. The following year, they had their son, Draco. But in June of 2012, McKellar filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.


THEN: In 1987, 13-year-old Lark Voorhies signed on to play Lisa Turtle on the new sitcom "Good Morning, Miss Bliss." And while that show's title might not strike a chord with more casual TV viewers, devotees will know that the series got a new name -- "Saved by the Bell." Although Lisa went to Bayside High School for only four seasons with Zack, A.C., Screech, Jessie, and Kelly, she made an impression on young viewers that has lasted a lifetime.

NOW: Some feel that the years since "Saved by the Bell" have taken their toll on Voorhies. The practically unrecognizable former teen star made a bizarre and rambling appearance on Yahoo!'s "The Yo Show." She followed that up with an equally odd interview in People magazine in which she would frequently stop talking and stare into space. The incidents sent tongues wagging all across the Internet, speculating that the discombobulated star might be suffering from a substance-abuse problem.

Voorhies' mother quickly rushed to her daughter's aid and informed the press that Lark had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. But the 38-year-old actress denied the claims and chalked up that defense to an "overloving" mother. In her own defense, Lark described her long pauses during the interview as "moments of prayer." Even her "SBTB" co-star Dustin Diamond conceded that this "wasn't the Lark I knew."
Average listal rating (75 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 0


THEN: There aren't many 18-year-olds who have a sitcom with their name in the title. But that's what happened to Josh Peck when his sitcom "Drake & Josh" debuted on Nickelodeon in 2004. Along with his co-star, Drake Bell, he became a tween sensation. During his run on "Drake & Josh," he received a favorite television actor nomination at the Kids' Choice Awards. He also ventured behind the camera to direct the episode "Battle of the Panthatar." Despite a few post-series "Drake & Josh" TV movies, Peck seemed to set his sights on a career on the big screen.

NOW: Back in 2009, it seemed as though Josh Peck was going to make the leap from family TV comedy to big-screen action. He had landed his first leading-man role in a remake of the 1984 action flick "Red Dawn." But when MGM, the movie studio that backed the film, filed for bankruptcy, the finished project was put into cold storage for three years. By the time it was finally released this past November, Peck's co-stars Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson were already much higher up on the teen movie idol scale than he was. And with its bad reviews and lackluster box office, "Red Dawn" might not have been the career boost he was hoping for, after all.


THEN: In 1981, Anna Chlumsky started modeling when she was 10 months old and made her professional acting debut as a schoolchild in the John Candy movie "Uncle Buck." Just two years later, she played Vada Sultenfuss to Macaulay Culkin's Thomas J. Sennett in "My Girl" and returned to the role in the film's sequel "My Girl 2" in 1994. But in 1998, she decided to give up her acting career to go to college.

NOW: Even though she had a successful career as a science-fiction and fantasy editor at HarperCollins, Chlumsky wasn't happy. Then fate intervened. She told Us Weekly earlier this year that while she was crying on a lunch break one day, a psychic approached her and asked if she was the actress from "My Girl." When she confirmed that she was, the seer delivered an unsolicited observation: "You still want to act." Forty dollars and a 10-minute reading later, Chlumsky's life went on an unexpected path. These days, she's making a big splash on TV co-starring with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale on the new HBO comedy "Veep."
Average listal rating (846 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 0


THEN: Bynes was bitten by the acting bug at just 3 years old and got her first TV commercial at 7. She booked her first TV series gig on "All That," in 1996. By 1999, she had achieved something rare for a young actress: She had her own series, "The Amanda Show." Building off some of her "All That" characters, like Judge Trudy and Penelope Taynt, Bynes was suddenly hosting her own series at the age of 13. The show ran its course after four seasons, but Bynes wasn't out of work. She starred in the WB sitcom, "What I Like About You," and made a splash on the big screen in "She's the Man" and "Hairspray."

NOW: If it weren't for Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes might be considered the most troubled former child star around. Her troubles began in March, when she allegedly skipped out on a cop while he was writing her a ticket for talking on her cell phone while driving. Less than one month later, she was arrested for driving under the influence after sideswiping a cop car. She pled not guilty and even tweeted the president for help. Bynes once again faced hit-and-run allegations in August, when she reportedly rear-ended a car in the San Fernando Valley. With two such charges to her name, the 26-year-old found herself with a suspended license. But that didn't stop her from driving, and she was pulled over two more times. Bynes' troubles may finally be behind her, though. In December, she reached a settlement with the other drivers in both hit-and-run cases.


THEN: Daytime TV was graced with a fresh new face in 1994, when Hayden Panettiere was cast as Sarah Victoria Roberts on "One Life to Live." Panettiere made it to primetime portraying Maddie Harrington on "Ally McBeal" and had a recurring part on "Malcolm in the Middle." But she rose to stardom faster than a speeding bullet when "Heroes" premiered in 2006. Soon fans learned that the key to saving the world was to save the cheerleader -- Panettiere's character, Claire Bennet.

NOW: This year, Hayden Panettiere took on one of TV's biggest challenges, playing country music crooner Juliette Barnes on ABC's new series "Nashville." And she's proved to be a worthy adversary for Connie Britton's Rayna James. In addition to tackling the challenging task of playing a conflicted young star on the rise with an addicted mother and a complicated love life, Panettiere has stunned audiences with her impressive vocal talents. Her hard work has paid off: Panettiere scored a Golden Globe nomination for the show.


THEN: When Lindsay Lohan made her feature film debut in 1998's "The Parent Trap" at the age of 11, she was the hottest newcomer in Hollywood. She secured her rising-star status five years later opposite Jamie Lee Curtis in the remake of "Freaky Friday." The squeaky-clean redhead seemed to have Tinseltown wrapped around her little finger. Then she did what few young Disney kids had managed to pull off before: She made a seamless transition into edgier teen roles with the comedy "Mean Girls" in 2004.

NOW: It's hard to imagine that anyone hasn't heard all about Lindsay Lohan's troubles. She kicked off 2012 looking strong out of the gate. She booked a guest spot on "Glee" and signed on to play film icon Elizabeth Taylor in the Lifetime movie "Liz & Dick." But before you could say "TMZ," Lohan was back in trouble yet again. This year's list of woes started with a car accident in Malibu, in which Lohan allegedly lied to police and told them her assistant was behind the wheel, not her. She followed that up with an arrest in September after supposedly hitting a man with her car and fleeing the scene. No charges were filed. In October, cops arrived to investigate a domestic-disturbance call when things between Lindsay and her mom got heated at Dina's Long Island home. And then in November, she was taken into custody again for getting into a bar fight in Manhattan, allegedly over Max George from the boy band The Wanted.


THEN: It was her turn as Blair on "The Facts of Life" that made Lisa Whelchel a household name, garnering her three Best Young Actress Award nominations at the Young Artists Awards. During her "Facts of Life" run, she also appeared in "The Wild Women of Chastity Gulch" and "The Love Boat." When the series ended, so did Whelchel's acting career. Instead of continuing in Hollywood, she chose a more Christian-focused path. She married a pastor named Steven Cauble and had three children, whom she home-schooled. She also founded a support group called Mom Time Ministries.

NOW: For a while there, it looked like Lisa Whelchel was going to outplay, outwit, and outlast all of the other contestants on Season 25 of "Survivor." Despite the fact that she played with integrity (and almost managed to avoid disclosing that she had been a child star), Whelchel lost the big prize. But just like Blair Warner, Whelchel proved to be the most popular girl on the island. While she lost the title of Sole Survivor to Denise Stapley, Whelchel did take home $100,000 for being voted Fan Favorite.


THEN: At the young age of 7, Joseph Gordon-Levitt appeared on TV for the first time in the movie "Stranger on My Land." That same year, he scored two guest spots on the Michael J. Fox sitcom "Family Ties." But his big break came in 1996, when he was cast as Tommy Solomon on "3rd Rock From the Sun." He might not have been the only alien posing as a human in the fictional city of Rutherford, Ohio, but he was the only kid on the show. And he held his own against the series' more seasoned stars John Lithgow, Jane Curtin, Kristen Johnston, and French Stewart. When the show wrapped in 2001, he made a graceful transition into the feature film world.

NOW: Since taking the lead role in "(500) Days of Summer" opposite Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has become one of the biggest names in Hollywood. The indie flick certainly put him in the romantic lead category, but it was his turn in Christopher Nolan's sci-fi thriller "Inception" that launched him on his way to action stardom. He reteamed with the director to play John Blake in this year's blockbuster "The Dark Knight Rises." He also co-starred with another adrenaline-fueled-flick legend, Bruce Willis, in the time-travel movie "Looper."

But that doesn't mean that JGL is shying away from more serious fare. He's currently on the big screen in the highly touted Steven Spielberg film "Lincoln." Gordon-Levitt plays Honest Abe's eldest son, who is determined to go to war against his parents' wishes.
Average listal rating (946 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 0


THEN: Perhaps no one in TV history has played teen angst better than Claire Danes on "My So-Called Life." Even though she only played the Jordan Catalano-obsessed Angela Chase for one season, she secured her place on the entertainment radar in the short span of those 19 episodes. In 1995, the teen was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, and that same year she took home the Golden Globe for her role.

When "My So-Called Life" came to an end, Danes continued to have a flourishing career. She starred in the feature films "How to Make an American Quilt," "To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday," and Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet," alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.

NOW: If anyone deserves the award for most well-adjusted former child star, it might just be Claire Danes. In recent years, she has become an unstoppable force on the small screen. In 2010, she won critical acclaim for her portrayal of the title character in the HBO movie "Temple Grandin," taking home both a Golden Globe and Emmy for the role. She's received similar accolades for her portrayal of bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison on the Showtime series "Homeland," garnering more statuettes for her performance and scoring yet another Golden Globe nom this year for best actress in a drama.


THEN: When she was just 10 years old, Danielle Fishel started booking acting gigs in commercials and on TV shows like "Full House" and "Harry and the Hendersons." Then came her big break. Although the role of Topanga Lawrence was meant to be a bit part on "Boy Meets World," the producers were so taken with Fishel that they soon gave her a recurring role. When the show returned for Season 2, the free-spirited tween had become a series regular -- and Cory Matthews' best girl.

NOW: 2012 was a good year for Danielle Fishel. She'd been flying under the Hollywood radar ever since "Boy Meets World" ended in 2000. But when news broke that there was a revamped version of the show titled "Girl Meets World" coming to the Disney Channel, fans started to wonder whether or not Ben Savage and Fishel would reprise their iconic roles as Cory and Topanga. "BMW" devotees were delighted to learn that they would, in fact, play the parents to a 13-year-old daughter in the spinoff.

That isn't the only happy news that Fishel has had in recent months. Earlier this summer, the 31-year-old actress announced that she is engaged to boyfriend Tim Belusko. And on December 19, she posted on Tumblr that she graduated from college after completing her last two final exams.


THEN: Danny Tamberelli had four professional credits under his belt before he became a sitcom star. Tamberelli took on the part of Little Pete Wrigley on "The Adventures of Pete and Pete." Along with his co-star, Michael C. Maronna, who played his equally redheaded brother, Big Pete, the young star enjoyed a three-season run on Nickelodeon.

NOW: Finally officially squelching the Internet rumor that he had died, Danny Tamberelli was a guest on Yahoo!'s "Yo Show" a few months ago. Despite having gotten "fatter and put this facial hair on," Tamberelli told Michael Yo he continues to get recognized by fans every single day. In fact, he's known to still hang out with Big Pete, Michael C. Maronna, since they both live in Brooklyn. He recounted, "Sometimes it becomes like hipster ground zero if we're in, like, Williamsburg or something, at a bar having a drink. One person says something, and then five people say something, and then they text on their phone, and within like 20 minutes, the bar is like blown upโ€ฆ People get all crazy. 'It's Pete and Pete in a bar. They're drinking beer.'"


THEN: While attending Wellesley College in the 1980s, Elisabeth Shue decided to try her hand at acting. In "The Karate Kid," Shue played Ralph Macchio's girlfriend: the role that cemented her place as America's sweetheart. After one semester at Harvard, she dropped out of school for good to pursue acting.

Shue went on to huge big-screen success with "Adventures in Babysitting"; "Cocktail," starring Tom Cruise; and "Back to the Future 2" and "Back to the Future 3," playing Marty McFly's girlfriend. She married "An Inconvenient Truth" director Davis Guggenheim in 1994 and had three children before returning to work in "Leaving Las Vegas." Her turn playing a prostitute opposite Nicolas Cage earned her Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe, and Oscar nominations.

NOW: Over the last few years, Elisabeth Shue seems to have kicked her career back into high gear. She started with appearances in projects like the edgy TV comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and the horror flick "Piranha." Then earlier this year, she returned to series television for the first time since 1985. Her character, Julie Finlay, served as the replacement for Marg Helgenberger's Catherine Willows on CBS's "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."


THEN: Alyssa Milano rose to fame in the '80s sitcom "Who's the Boss?" portraying Samantha Micelli, the daughter of Tony Danza's character. Her sudden rise to fame won her some feature film roles, most notably "Commando" in 1985, in which she co-starred as Arnold Schwarzenegger's kidnapped daughter. When "Who's the Boss?" ended, Milano tried to shake her good-girl image, playing Amy Fisher in "Casualties of Love: The 'Long Island Lolita' Story," and made a few erotic thrillers, including "Embrace of the Vampire" and "Poison Ivy II: Lily." She returned to TV on "Melrose Place" and then on "Charmed."

NOW: It's hard to believe that little Samantha Micelli turned 40 this year. But Alyssa Milano celebrated the big day in style with a surprise party, thanks to her husband, David Bugliari. The CAA agent threw her a huge bash that included celebrity guests, like big-time Hollywood producer Brian Grazer, rapper Ludacris, and "The Hangover" star Ken Jeong. The prom-themed extravaganza was planned to make up for the fact that the actress missed her own high school coming-of-age party because she was a child star.

This should be a good year for the actress, too. Her new series, "Mistresses," is set to premiere in 2013 on ABC. Milano will play an attorney in the new show by "Gilmore Girls" scribe K.J. Steinberg. It is based on the British series of the same name and follows the romantic drama of four women. Rochelle Aytes, Jes Macallan, and Yunjin Kim will co-star.


THEN: Few child stars have been able to play the sassy kid-sister role as well as Jodie Sweetin did on "Full House." She made her primetime debut as Stephanie Tanner when she was just 5 years old and grew up in the public eye. When the show ended in 1995, Sweetin was a young teen and out of work. In 1996, she appeared as Lydia Lump on an episode of "Brotherly Love," but it would be three years before she was seen on the tube again, playing Rhiannon Marcus on two episodes of "Party of Five."

NOW: The actress hasn't been shy about sharing the problems she's had since "Full House" ended. In her 2010 memoir "unSweetined," she admitted that she had been addicted to crystal meth, cocaine, and ecstasy. She struggled through a stint in rehab and survived a failed marriage to police officer Shaun Holguin.

But the actress insists that she is now clean and sober. All signs seem to indicate it's true. She's currently engaged to Morty Coyle, who is the father of her 2-year-old daughter, Beatrix. And her career seems to be gaining some momentum, too. In 2011, she reunited with her "Full House" co-star Dave Coulier in the Web series "Can't Get Arrested," which took a comedic look at their lack of post-"Full House" success. Earlier this year, she shot the pilot for a sitcom titled "Singled Out," which co-stars former child star Mackenzie Astin.
Average listal rating (1348 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 0


THEN: As a young girl in Houston, Texas, Hilary Duff wanted to follow in the footsteps of her older sister, Haylie, and pursue acting. She had minor roles in "True Women," "Playing by Heart," and "Casper Meets Wendy" before being cast in the title role on "Lizzie McGuire." The role propelled her to superstardom and led to a line of Lizzie merchandise, Lizzie recordings featuring Duff, and the film "The Lizzie McGuire Movie."

After "Lizzie" ended, Duff went on to star in "Cheaper by the Dozen," "A Cinderella Story," "Raise Your Voice," and "War, Inc." She also pursued her singing career more intensely, releasing "Metamorphosis," which featured the singles "So Yesterday" and "Come Clean." The album went to number one.

NOW: It took a couple years of dating before Hilary Duff's hockey-playing boyfriend Mike Comrie popped the question. They wed just six months after he slipped the engagement ring on her finger, but being a Mrs. hasn't slowed down Duff's career one bit.

In 2010, she made a guest appearance on an episode of the offbeat sitcom "Community." Earlier this year, she co-starred with Josh Gad and Kristen Ruhlin in the big-screen comedy "She Wants Me." Duff also provided the voice of Sunshine Goodness to Charlie Sheen's Dex Dogtective in the animated action-comedy "Foodfight!" To top it all off, just a few months ago, she inked a deal with 20th Century Fox to produce and star in a new TV comedy that she's developing

Hollywood has seen a lot of child stars come and go through the years. Some have grown up to be successful, well-adjusted adults with high-profile careers and fulfilling home lives... others, not so much. Here's a rundown of the year's most notable former child stars and where they are today.

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