What Ever Happened To…? Forgotten Disney Stars, Then And Now

By: Riley Brown | Last updated: Feb 29, 2024

While many of the Disney stars of our childhood have since gone on to become high-profile actors in their own rights, the same can’t be said for every one of them. While the star trajectories of Selena Gomez, Hilary Duff, and Miley Cyrus have been well-documented, what about the rest? What became of our other beloved Disney show teen or child actors?

It’s fascinating to see how people grow up and what they’re doing with their lives. How many of them can you have remembered, and how many have you forgotten? If you had a crush on them back then, what would you think of them now? Take a trip with us down memory lane as we revisit ten of your favorite faces, now all grown up.

Andy, Matthew, and Joey Lawrence

Only 90s kids will remember the real-life brothers in 1995’s Brotherly Love, in which the trio played the Roman brothers. The show had some impressive guest stars, including Brian Cranston. But you can’t forget that they were also Disney kids. All three brothers starred in Disney Channel’s Original Movie Horse Sense and its 2001 sequel Jumping Ship. Andy even went on to star in Disney’s The Other Me and Going to the Mat. Where are the brothers now? 

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There is still brotherly love between them! All three of the brothers have continued to take on acting roles over the years. From time to time, the brothers have hinted at putting together a TV show starring all three of them again, but unfortunately, nothing has come of it so far. We are still holding out hope.

Jason Priestley

Jason Priestley is a Canadian-American actor and director. He began acting as a child and has continued his career into adulthood. He first started his career in commercials before progressing to film and television. His role as Brandon Walsh in ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ is perhaps what turned him into a bonafide teen idol and fast-tracked his career’s success.

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Source: Teen Angel (1989) Disney / Wikimedia Commons Eva Rinaldi / CC BY-SA 2.0

But before Brandon Walsh, there was Buzz Gunderson. Priestley was cast in Disney’s shortlived 1989 show Teen Angel centered around a 1950s teenage guardian angel who died in a car crash (Buzz) and goes back to earth to complete various missions to be able to pass on to heaven.

Camilla Belle

Camilla Belle is an American actress born and raised in Los Angeles. She grew up in an English and Portuguese-speaking household because of her Portuguese mother. Her career began in the early 90s and has only continued to blossom. But before we knew her as the accomplished actress and model she is today, she starred as a 14-year-old Sydney Miller in Disney’s Rip Girls.

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Source: Camilla Belle in Disney's Rip Girls / Camilla Belle Instagram

As you can see she is still wearing the same shade of pink years later and still as beautiful as ever. Since her Disney days, she has worked on countless projects and famous franchises such as Law & Order: Organized Crime and even a Jonas Brother’s music video.

Christy Carlson Romano

This list would not be complete without Christy Carlson Romano, best known from her Disney days for her portrayal of Ren Stevens on Disney Channel’s Even Stevens. She also starred opposite Hillary Duff in Disney’s 2002 original movie Cadet Kelly.  However, we can’t forget her role voicing Disney’s beloved Kim Possible in which she also appeared in the fairly recent live-action movie.

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Source: Disney's Even Stevens, S1E3 Take My Sister... Please, IMDB / thechristycarlsonromano Instagram

Where has Romano been these last few years? Well, she has been working on some different projects in the entertainment industry, namely investing in her company PodCo, a podcast network where your fan favorite childhood stars host a rewatch of their popular TV series. She has also married fellow actor Brendan Rooney and is the mother of two girls.

Hillary Duff

Hilary Duff was the star of the famed and popular Disney show Lizzie McGuire. The show aired from 2001 to 2004. Since her days as Lizzie, she has not only developed her music career but also acted in countless television shows and films such as, ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘Younger.”

Hilary Duff has no signs of slowing down both personally and professionally. She has even gone on to have four kids in addition to her thriving career. She is one of those child stars who was able to retain her fame and celebrity from childhood into adulthood. No easy feat! Although we are still waiting for that Lizzie McGuire reboot.

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Kirsten Storms

Storms appeared as the lead role in the futuristic sci-fi flick Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century and its sequel and threequel. She also appeared as Emily on Johnny Tsunami. You may also recognize her as a voice on Kim Possible, in which she voiced a few minor characters most notably the character of Bonnie Rockwaller. She even appeared once again in a 2003 episode of That’s So Ravan

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Storms is still going strong in the acting business but has stayed mostly in the Soap Opera lane. She appeared in episodes of the long-running Days Of Our Lives and Clubhouse. She’s a mainstay on the doctors and nurses drama, General Hospital. She even got an Emmy nomination for her work there. 

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Elisabeth Harnois

Harnois joined the acting profession at age five when she starred in One Magic Christmas and Where Are The Children? You might remember her from the all-singing, all-dancing 1992 series, Adventures In Wonderland.

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She got the role after turning twelve and even won an award for her efforts. Now she’s best known for her portrayal of Morgan Brody, a CSI scientific investigator in the police procedural drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. She has also taken minor roles in other television shows and films.

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Jake Thomas 

You may remember him as everybody’s favorite annoying brother and perpetual evil schemer, Matt McGuire, but Jake Thomas, the actor who played him on the classic Disney sitcom Lizzie McGuire is now all grown up. He picked up a Young Artist Award for his performance in 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Source: "Lizzie McGuire" Sibling Bonds (TV Episode 2001) IMDB / sirjakethomas Instagram

Thomas transitioned out of acting from around 2015, although he has had a few minor roles here and there. Thomas mainly works as a photographer and director. He’s worked in the advertising sector and has also produced writing for television and film.

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Jake T. Austin 

Best known as Max Russo on Wizards of Waverly Place, grown-up Jake now divides his time between acting, the fitness industry, and doing work for children’s charities. He’s grown into quite a handsome young man—and apparently, we weren’t the only ones to take notice.

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Arguably Jake’s biggest fan, Danielle Caesar, managed to get into contact with Jake after six years of persistent tweeting. The two met at a signing event in 2011, and in 2015 the two began dating. We wonder how he must have felt seeing a poster of his own face on his date’s bedroom wall.

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Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez was the star of Wizards of Waverly Place, a show where her and her family were wizards. Naturally, it was a hit and sprung Selena into fame.

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She maintained her career and eventually dipped her toes into music where she has firmly stayed. Not to say that she doesn’t act! She released a film called Only Murders In the Building.

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Sterling Knight

Fans of Sonny With A Chance and So Random! will know Knight as Chad Dylan Cooper, AKA Chaddy, AKA, CDC, Sonny’s egoistical rival and eventual friend. What has Knight been doing since both shows ended in 2012? 

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He’s still in the acting game. He sticks mostly to sitcom roles and occasionally does some voiceover for animated projects. He also uses his musical talents, as evident by his appearance on the Starstruck soundtrack.

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Zendaya

Zendaya first appeared in the Disney show Shake It Up from 2010-2013, which was a smash hit. She was also the leading lady in the Spiderman

Zendaya’s beautiful name means ” to give thanks” in the language Shona. It really speaks for itself that she only has to go by her first name, we all know who she is.

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Kyle Massey

That’s So Raven actor Kyle Massey, who played Cory Baxter in the show, was so popular that he spawned his own spin-off show, Cory In The House. The spin-off show was the first of its kind for Disney and ran for two seasons. 

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Corey continued his acting career after the end of the show. He branched out into singing and rapping through the Disney label and is set to star in the new MTV docuseries, The Hills: New Beginnings, where you’ll be able to catch him on TV for yourself.

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Aaron Michael Metchik

Metchik played the second-oldest brother, Steven Floyd, in the 1991 sitcom, The Torkelsons. He continued acting, even voicing a minor character in Disney’s Hercules, until around 2012. Since then, he hasn’t been seen much in front of the camera, but he’s still in the entertainment business.

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Metchik has worked as a writer, producer, and director. He founded Actor’s Edge, a company dedicated to instructing the actors of tomorrow. Some of Actor’s Edge’s alumni include Kathleen Rose Perkins, Tiffany Thornton, and even Zac Efron!

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Anneliese van der Pol

Fans of That’s So Raven will remember Chelsie Daniels, played by the stunning Anneliese van der Pol. Her part on That’s So Raven was one of her first roles, and she’s been seen on TV and in films since, such as the Twilight parody, Vampires Suck.

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While van der Pol has been active in film and TV, she’s been even more active on stage and in the music scene. She has many stage credits to her name, including the part of Belle in Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast. She’s also lent her heavenly voice to several Disney musical numbers.

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Cole And Dylan Sprouse

Best known as the adorable and awesome Marin twins in the 2005 sitcom The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, the young brothers also appeared in 1999’s Big Daddy and everyone’s favorite sitcom about friends, Friends. The show also got a sequel series in 2008 and a movie in 2011.

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The brothers are still into acting, but only occasionally and usually apart. They both have their own interests. Dylan got into the video game development biz, while Cole is more into searching for ancient artifacts as an archeologist.  

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